“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
The sixth chapter of John’s gospel ends very poignantly. After a huge number of his disciples walk away because of his challenging teachings, Jesus turns to the Twelve and asks, "You do not want to leave too, do you?" (John 6:67). There is so much vulnerability in this question. Only someone who has been through similar rejection can truly understand what it feels like to have people leave you en masse, but we can all surely empathize.
Peter's response is simple, yet profound: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). Peter's statement is not just about intellectual assent but a deep, existential realization. In essence, he acknowledges that even if there are teachings or moments they don't fully grasp, there's nowhere else and no one else who offers what Jesus does. It's a testament to the depth of relationship and trust he had cultivated with Jesus.
However, the narrative takes a twist. Jesus, who knows all things, remarks, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (John 6:70). He was referring to Judas Iscariot. It was a shocking revelation. There’s a traitor in Jesus’ inner circle! It's a sobering reminder that proximity to God doesn't automatically translate to fidelity. It's possible to be close, yet far – to see, yet be blind.
This passage challenges us to introspection. What is our heart’s orientation? Are we truly with Jesus, or are we merely near him? Do we, like Peter, recognize that despite the challenges and mysteries of faith, there's nowhere else to turn for eternal life? Or are we, like Judas, close in proximity but distant in heart?
The Christian journey is not smooth. The path is narrow and rocky, and there are numerous times we might find ourselves disappointed with what happens along the way. It is at such moments that our faith will truly be tested and we will get through only if our understanding is like Peter’s. May it be so.
God bless you.