67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The word “then” is therefore. Jesus now drew an inference from the large defection from Him and His ministry. Only the twelve remained. Now the question was, where did they stand?
Jesus said to the twelve,
This is the first time the “twelve” are mentioned in the gospel of John. The twelve must have wondered what was happening to the ministry of Jesus since there was wholesale defection from Him.
“Do you also want to go away?”
Jesus asked a question that expected a negative reply. He did not doubt the loyalty of His disciples. The point of His question was to help them to see the necessity of strong conviction during times of crisis.
He opened the door for the twelve to leave. Jesus now used the defection of the many to strengthen the faith of the twelve. He drew a line in the sand indicating that He would not compromise His message. If the twelve were to follow Him, they must take a clear stand.
But Simon Peter answered Him,
Peter was the spokesman for the twelve. He had no problem with speaking his mind, albeit at times he was dead wrong.
“Lord, to whom shall we go?
Peter asserted the support of the twelve for Jesus. His argument was that Jesus was the only one that the twelve could follow.
You have the words of eternal life.
Jesus’ words lead to eternal life. Peter’s point was that it was only Jesus who could offer the twelve eternal life (Jn 6:63).
Also we have come to believe and know [for sure]
The twelve had confidence that Jesus was the Messiah. The grammar of both “believe” and “know” carries the idea of an act that was completed at a point in the past with ongoing results. They had come to believe and they still believed. They had known and still knew. Their initial belief and their current belief had stability. There was no question about where the twelve stood. They “knew” or had certainty about who Christ was. The twelve carried deep conviction about who Christ was.
that You are the Christ,
“Christ” means Messiah. Some translations have “the Holy One of God.” Jesus was more than a mere prophet to the twelve. He was uniquely set apart as the Father’s own Messiah.
the Son of the living God.”
There is a manuscript problem between the majority and the critical Greek texts here. The critical text reads “the Holy One of God.” Jesus was the consecrated One to fulfill the messianic task.
Peter’s profession is reminiscent of his confession in Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16).
Jesus does not want fickle followers.
A person who decides to follow Jesus cannot be fickle. He or she needs to come to a solid point of conviction about Christ. Loyalty to Christ is central to effective Christian living.
Jesus has no desire for unwilling followers. There are times when we must decide between what is popular and the difficulty in following Jesus. There will be occasions when our ministry may appear to fail. That should make no difference to our commitment to Christ.