In one of my former churches I worked as a Youth Pastor and then an Associate Pastor to Youth. Our Senior Pastor had a plaque on his desk that quoted a verse from today’s reading: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” While I appreciated the plaque, I always felt a little uncomfortable with it.
Whenever I read it, I felt like it was saying, “Jesus, nothing better has come along so you’ll do for now.” I know that’s not the point, but it’s how I felt about it. And maybe that’s because I see that sentiment so often in our world today. We follow Jesus, but as soon as something better comes along, it gains our allegiance. When we can comfort ourselves with a rival belief, we do. When we can find relief from the pains of life in a bottle, a pill, or another addiction, we do. Jesus is great as long as He gives us what we want and there isn’t anything better.
Maybe it would have been better had the plaque included the next verse as well: “We have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God.” We cannot turn away from Jesus once we have been convinced that He is the Messiah, the “Holy One of God”, for that belief demands a commitment. I’ve spoken with people who don’t believe, or who question their beliefs, but never with someone convinced that Jesus is who He said He was yet not following Him. If Jesus truly is the Messiah in all that the Messiah is supposed to be, then we have no choice but to follow. If we don’t, it’s not Him who has failed, it’s our faith in Him.