Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lord, to Whom Shall We Go?

After Christ miraculously fed the five thousand with a lad's five loaves and two fishes, He was hailed by those who would, for His miracles, make Him their king. Knowing that this was not His mission, and desiring to be followed for His teachings, not His food-related miracles, He left the multitude and went to be alone. But they were persistent, and followed Him and the Twelve across the sea to Capernaum. When they confronted Him, Christ counseled them to believe in Him, for He was sent from God.

The people protested, asking for a sign of His divinity, and cited the miracle of manna from heaven as Moses led the children of Israel in the desert. Wanting them to understand, Christ referred to Himself as the "bread of life," reminding them that "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:49-51).

Those who heard him murmured at His saying, for they knew His father and mother, and failed to understand how they could eat His flesh. Christ then explained His divine Sonship and Messianic role, a hard doctrine for the people of His day. John recounts that "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). No doubt saddened by this wholesale desertion on the part of His fickle followers, Christ turned to His chosen Apostles. "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:67-69).

I have long loved the poetic beauty of Peter's solid testimony. When other voices beckon, when the principles of the gospel seem difficult, my mind can hear the heart-stricken Christ turn to me and ask, "Will you also go away?" But the alternative to the life I love has never interested me. Where would I go, when I know this is true? How would I live, without the testifying and comforting power of the Spirit of God that I have long enjoyed? What beauty or power would life hold then, if I thought myself deluded all these years? "Lord, to whom shall I go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And I believe and am sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God."

I am sure, certain of the living reality of my Savior, convinced that this is His great work in the latter days, secure in the knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the prophetic mission of its translator. I know that He who proclaimed Himself the bread of life, who suffered in Gethsemane, died on Calvary, and rose the third day from the tomb, lives today and beckons me to follow Him. I love Him, He who holds the keys of death and hell, He who ransoms His children from the grave, He who stands on the right hand of the Father, He who will come again and subdue all enemies under His feet, the King of Kings, whose right it is to reign. I know that His name is the only name under heaven whereby man can be saved. I honor Him. I worship Him. For He has the words of eternal life.

1 comment: