I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. Psalm 119:162
Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. John 6:68
Words are powerful things. The old saying of “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is really not accurate. Of course words can hurt. Think of the teens who are so distressed by what is posted about them on social media that they contemplate suicide; sadly, some succeed. Words can also heal, and build up and encourage. We can share sympathy, and love and so many other positive things with words.
Then we come to the Word of God. The writer of Psalm 119 wrote the whole Psalm about God’s word, glorifying God and His word. A long Psalm (the answer to the question what is the longest chapter in the Bible? The writer is so excited about the worth and wonderfulness of God’s word. He says he rejoices at God’s word just like he would if he found a great treasure. Just imagine that you go out somewhere and find a great treasure – maybe a whole pirate’s treasure chest of gold and jewels. Finding that would be wonderful, you would really be happy, and that is how the psalmist says he feels about God’s word. Something to be sought after and treasured.
Then we get another way of looking at Word. Just before John 6:68 Jesus has said some hard things for his followers to hear, and some have left. He asks Peter if he too is leaving, and Peter’s reply is verse 68.
There is nowhere else for the disciples and others to find the words of eternal life. Peter knows that Jesus is sharing the Word of God, that believing in this message is the way to eternal life, to being with God forever. Of course, John also refers to Jesus as the Word. The gospel starts out with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ John 1:1. Jesus, the Word, was present at creation and throughout all of history, yet became a flesh and blood person like the rest of us. This fulfills God’s promise of salvation for all people. This is what Peter and all the disciples that remain want to hear, and to share with all those who couldn’t be there to hear.
Your word, O Lord is life for the world. We thank you that we are entitled to such a great treasure. Open our hearts to hear, our hearts to receive, and our lips to share your word today and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.