One of my favorite passages in the Gospel of John comes at the end of chapter six. Jesus has just taught some pretty heavy stuff, and the crowd doesn't care for the implications of cannibalism in the "I am the bread of life" statement. Slowly and then not-so-slowly, the multitudes who had followed Christ disperse, and Jesus finds himself with a much smaller group of disciples. John 6:66-68 records things this way: "From this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 'You do not want to leave too, do you?' Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"
Peter states point-blank that the Twelve have no intention of going anywhere -- and it's all because of who Jesus is and what he's been teaching. They know they can go nowhere else to find words of life, so they're sticking with the man who speaks them. It's easy for us to limit those words of life, though. Peter specifically says "words of eternal life," but what about just normal life? Words of hope, words of encouragement, love, fidelity, truth, even rebuke can all be words of life. Think about the difference someone made in your life simply by saying they believed in you, that they loved you, that they would be with you no matter what. They spoke life to you in that moment.
Brothers and sisters, we're often quick to offer words of death instead of words of life. We criticize, we complain, we circle the wagons and talk about how terrible the world is getting around us while offering no real solutions to any problems we face. We say, "Y'all need Jesus," without doing anything to get them to Christ -- or to bring Christ to them. We judge and tear down much more easily than we build up and love. I challenge you today to speak words of life. Share hope and love. Spread encouragement. And do it so that one day that person will listen to words of eternal life and know Jesus, the one who is Life.