“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69).
I find it most interesting in our day of pragmatic church growth philosophy which places such a great important on making the lost sinner comfortable, that Jesus did not tone down His rhetoric when He delivered His Bread of Life Discourse. He spoke the truth, even though if offended His hearers (John 6:66) resulting in them turning away.
Not only did Jesus not tone down His preaching, He also did not run after those who left and attempt to persuade them to continue following Him. Many pastors today would have conducted a survey with the crowed and polled them to see what they wanted to hear. Not Jesus!
Instead, He turned His attention to the twelve and asked, ““Do you want to go away as well?” He did this as a way of encouraging their fragile faith. They could have been affected by the apostasy of the many, or even the apostasy of the one (John 6:70-71).
As usual, Peter spoke up first for the group and openly confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” What a confessional statement. Let’s look at its specific parts in order to grasp the sum and scope of its significance.
“Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter was convinced that to follow another teacher was ludicrous. His question was rhetorical. The answer was obvious. There was no other Messiah for them to follow. Others may leave, but they would not. A rather ominous declaration in light of what we know of Peter in the narratives to follow.
“You have the words of eternal life.” Peter continues by confessing that Jesus alone presently and actively possesses the words and statements of eternal life. No one else has this gift.
“And we have believed.” Additionally, Peter confesses that the twelve have believed in Jesus. This is not entirely true because Jesus will immediately indicate that there is one among them who is a devil, referring to Judas Iscariot (John 6:71). Perhaps, as one commentator explains, “Peter’s words were somewhat pretentious in that he implied that the true disciples somehow had superior insight and as a result came to belief through that insight.”
“And have come to know.” This is a parallel statement to what Peter just said. Peter says that the twelve understand who He is. Do they truly understand? Future statements by John the Apostle will indicate otherwise.
However, Peter does conclude with this excellent statement: “you are the Holy One of God.” Peter says that Jesus exists as the set apart from sin Messiah who originates solely from God the Father.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Peter was confident of the apostles’ commitment to Jesus as the Holy One of God. This title is unusual (a demon addressed Jesus that way; Mark 1:24). It suggests Jesus’ transcendence (“the Holy One”) and His representation of the Father (“of God”); thus it is another way of confessing Him as Messiah. Peter knew this by a special work of the Father (cf. Matt. 16:17).”
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Although the Gospel narratives make it plain that Peter and the others did not fully understand Jesus until after His resurrection, before then they nevertheless understood important truths about Jesus that others failed to grasp. Peter said they would stay because Jesus alone had the words of eternal life and was “the Holy One of God,” the Messiah (vv. 68–69). They had some sense that Christ was the source of life and that they could find fellowship with God in no one else.”
Do you confess Jesus as the Holy One of God? There is life in no one else (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Repent of your sins and receive Him today as your Savior and Lord (John 1:12-13).
Soli deo Gloria!