John captures the moment when a multitude of would-be Jesus followers begin to slowly walk away, going back to their former lives. They ate the loaves and fish and were satisfied (6:11), but they are not so enthusiastic about eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood.
As the crowd leaves, Jesus looks at the twelve and asks, “Do you also wish to go away?” (v. 67). Jesus seems to realize that sometimes fear makes us walk away immediately, and sometimes fear grips us so tightly that our feet will not move even though that is what we want.
Peter speaks up for his fellow disciples and asks Jesus a question: “Lord, to whom can we go?” (v. 68). Then he says, “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (v. 69). Believing without knowing is reckless. Knowing without believing is cold and uninspiring. Believing and knowing are inseparable dimensions of discipleship.
Believing involves trust and confidence. Trust God’s promises even when you do not understand them. Knowing is perceiving and understanding. When you consider your earliest memories of God, how do they shape your understanding of who God is?
When you are tempted to go away or turn back from Jesus, ask yourself what you believe and what you know. Reflect on what it means for you to believe that Jesus is the bread of life. Prayerfully meditate on the depth of God’s love for you (1 Jn 3:16). What will that love lead you to do differently?
What choices will you make today now that you know and believe Jesus has the words of eternal life?
Merciful Lord, help me to live this day like I believe and know that Jesus is the Holy One. Amen.