To Whom Shall We Go?

Theme: Jesus alone has eternal life. Proper 16 (21) - 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B
Object: Books, a backpack, or other items suggesting it is time to go back to school.
Scripture: Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you also going to leave?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life." John 6:67-68

It is back to school time! Does that make you happy, or are you sad? Are you excited? Nervous? Afraid? You needn't be ashamed if you are a little bit nervous or afraid. After all, you will be facing a lot of new things. You will have to make a lot of choices. What are some of the choices you will have to make when you start back to school? (Allow time for the children to answer, but if they don't respond, here are some suggestions to get them started.) Well, if your school does not require uniforms, one of the first things you will have to choose is what you will wear the first day of school. That is pretty important, isn't it? After all, you want to look your best and make a good impression. When you get to your classroom, you will have to choose where you want to sit. Is it best to sit up front, at the back, or maybe somewhere in the middle? When it is time for lunch, you will have to choose what you want to eat in the cafeteria. Will you choose chicken nuggets or pizza?

Some choices you have to make are not very important, but others are very important. There will be rules in your classroom. You will have to choose whether or not you are going to follow the rules. That is very important! You will also be choosing who your friends will be. That is important, because if you choose the wrong kind of friends, you might find yourself in a lot of trouble. What if the teacher says something and you don't understand it? Will you pretend that you understand, or will you go to the teacher and ask for help? Those are some pretty important decisions you may be facing in the new school year.

The followers of Jesus faced some difficult decisions too. Sometimes, the teachings of Jesus were hard for them to understand. One day Jesus was teaching in the synagogue and he said to the people, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who feeds on me will live forever." When the people heard it, they said, "This is a hard teaching. How can anyone accept it?" Some of them quit following Jesus after that day.

Jesus knew that many people were grumbling and complaining, so he turned to the twelve whom he had chosen to be his disciples and said, "You don't want to leave too, do you?"

Peter answered him. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." The disciples had answered the call to follow Jesus. They were not about to turn back now.

You and I face the same decision those first disciples faced. Will we follow Jesus, or will we look for another to lead us? It may not always be easy to follow Jesus, but to whom can we go? Who else offers eternal life?

Father, we thank you for Jesus, the only one to whom we can go for the gift of eternal life. In his name we pray. Amen.

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