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To whom shall we go?

October 8, 2012
by Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, Zion Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod; Mayer

To whom do you go when you are sick? To whom do you go when you have a toothache? To whom do you go when your pet needs care?

To whom do you go when you need legal advice? What about when your car breaks down? What if your house is on fire? To whom do you go? You know the answers to these questions.

These are examples of familiar people to whom we go when the various needs of life come upon us. But to whom do you go when your soul is down? To whom do you go when guilt overwhelms you? When shame overcomes you? When your sins press upon you? To whom do you go when you are buried by burdens, or when someone you love is covered by a casket?

Peter answers these questions: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life . . . (John 6:68)”

For some, these are rather familiar words. Many Christians use them regularly when they gather together to worship, as part of their liturgy. They are the very words of Scripture.

They were first spoken at a point when many people were abandoning Jesus because his teachings had become difficult for them. Thus, Jesus asks the apostles: “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).

Believing in Jesus Christ in an unbelieving world is not always easy. Whether it’s the likes of today’s “new atheism” that says there is no God or that God is dead, or the “spiritual but not religious” movement that declares all ways lead to heaven, believing in Jesus Christ as the only way, the only truth, and the only life is risky business. Your reputation, your popularity, and even your job advancement can be impacted by what you believe and the way you live.

Consider the new health care mandate passed by congress and President Obama. It has a direct impact upon Christians in this country. So much so, that Lutheran Church Missouri Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison had an article published in the Washington Post that ardently spoke against it. He brought to the forefront the reality of living as a Christian in a culture that is becoming vastly irreligious, and a government that is now ending the long-established fundamental principle of religious freedom.

In President Harrison’s words: “The mandate would effectively force religious institutions, as well as businesses and organizations, to pay for services such as contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs that are in direct conflict with their deeply held beliefs. The [mandate] will ask them to make the impossible choice between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets . . . We believe the government has overstepped its bounds.”

So what do you do when rights are being violated? To whom do you go when the government is going astray?

Peter reminds who first to go to in everything, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It means, you get on your knees and you pray! You pray for your leaders. You pray for your country.

But then, just like with the other various issues of life – like going to the doctor, the dentist, the vet, or the mechanic – you go to your elected officials, you go to the election polls, you make your voice heard.

And then, come what may, our trust is not in presidents or in earthly governments, but remains in the One who has the Words of eternal life.

Jesus has words for your daily and eternal living. He is more than a historic figure who lived and died a long time ago. He is your raised-from-the-dead, living Lord, who continues to speak to you today through His Word.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”