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68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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68. Then Simon Peter—whose forwardness in this case was noble, and to the wounded spirit of His Lord doubtless very grateful.

Lord, to whom, &c.—that is, "We cannot deny that we have been staggered as well as they, and seeing so many go away who, as we thought, might have been retained by teaching a little less hard to take in, our own endurance has been severely tried, nor have we been able to stop short of the question, Shall we follow the rest, and give it up? But when it came to this, our light returned, and our hearts were reassured. For as soon as we thought of going away, there arose upon us that awful question, 'To whom shall we go?' To the lifeless formalism and wretched traditions of the elders? to the gods many and lords many of the heathen around us? or to blank unbelief? Nay, Lord, we are shut up. They have none of that 'ETERNAL LIFE' to offer us whereof Thou hast been discoursing, in words rich and ravishing as well as in words staggering to human wisdom. That life we cannot want; that life we have learnt to crave as a necessity of the deeper nature which Thou hast awakened: 'the words of that eternal life' (the authority to reveal it and the power to confer it). Thou hast: Therefore will we stay with Thee—we must."

69. And we believe,—(See on Mt 16:16). Peter seems to have added this not merely—probably not so much—as an assurance to his Lord of his heart's belief in Him, as for the purpose of fortifying himself and his faithful brethren against that recoil from his Lord's harsh statements which he was probably struggling against with difficulty at that moment. Note.—There are seasons when one's faith is tried to the utmost, particularly by speculative difficulties; the spiritual eye then swims, and all truth seems ready to depart from us. At such seasons, a clear perception that to abandon the faith of Christ is to face black desolation, ruin and death; and on recoiling from this, to be able to fall back, not merely on first principles and immovable foundations, but on personal experience of a Living Lord in whom all truth is wrapt up and made flesh for our very benefit—this is a relief unspeakable. Under that blessed Wing taking shelter, until we are again fit to grapple with the questions that have staggered us, we at length either find our way through them, or attain to a calm satisfaction in the discovery that they lie beyond the limits of present apprehension.