Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Lars Janssen
We are presented with so many options in our culture. From entire grocery store aisles full of different kinds of cereal to the brand of vehicle we drive, we are overwhelmed with a complex web of choices every day. Sometimes those choices are easy to make and sometimes not so much.
In John 6:53-58, Jesus presented himself as the only way to know God. He called himself the only true food and true drink through which we may live forever. The choice may seem simple when Jesus puts it that way, but even then “many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (v66). They made a choice. Jesus did not suit their taste so they went searching for another brand.
As his followers left Him, Jesus turned to the twelve disciples in verse 67 and asked, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter’s response in verses 68-69 cut through the branding to the truth: “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.”
Jesus is the Holy One of God! Brands and choices fade into the background in light of this reality—at least they should. But that’s not always what happens. Did you know that Jesus is only called the “Holy One of God” in one other story in the New Testament? In Mark 1:24 (paralleled in Luke 4:34), a demon cried out at Jesus, “I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” Thus we see that Peter’s genuine confession of Jesus as his Lord in John 6:69 echoes an earlier demonic cry of terror at Jesus’ lordship. Even those who believe that Jesus is the “Holy One of God” have a choice to make. This is why Jesus responded to the twelve in John 6:70 with both encouragement and a gut-check, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
Knowing facts about Jesus is different than choosing to humble ourselves and follow Him. One may know exactly who Jesus is and decide, “That’s not the brand for me.” I could shout as loud as anyone that Jesus is the Holy One of God and then spend my time on only myself, use my money without a thought of Jesus, and hate people for whom he became true food and true drink on the cross.
The challenge of James 2:29 rings in my mind as I recognize my own poor choices, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” Do you believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God? I hope so. I do. But what matters most is what we do with that. Do we look to Jesus as our only true food and true drink through which we may live forever? Or do we look for another brand? Something other than the Holy One of God?
We are confronted daily by choices and we will not always make the right ones. But thank God that our hope is in Jesus’ choices. What grace that the Holy One of God would choose such as us! Where else can we go for our true food and true drink than to our Jesus? Nowhere else! Every day, let us go to Him and Him only. And though we may choose wrongly at times, our hope and help will remain nestled in the Holy One of God who says of us, “Did I not choose you?”