The story is recorded in the Gospel of John. After a critical event in the life of Jesus many of his followers drew back and no longer followed him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Peter answered for the group, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Dr. Hazen Werner, a bishop in the Methodist church, once told about a doctor who was called by another doctor in a town some 50 miles away. A young boy was critically ill with an infection that was causing internal hemorrhaging.
“I don’t know how to treat this,” the caller said, “but you do; it is your specialty. Can you come at once?” The doctor assured him, “Of course, I am on my way.” He hurried out to his car and headed toward the hospital where the boy was.
On his way out of town he stopped for a traffic light. Suddenly the door of his car was yanked open. A man wearing a gray cap and a brown leather jacket thrust a handgun in his face and shouted, “Get out of the car!”
“I can’t do that,” the doctor tried to explain, “I’m on my way—” The man with the gun cut him off, “I don’t care where you are going. Get out this instant or I will kill you.” Heartsick, the doctor got out. The man in the gray cap and brown leather jacket jumped in behind the wheel, gunned the motor and sped away.
Realizing that he needed to find another car, the doctor went to the nearest house and knocked on the door. No answer; there was no one at home. He went to another house, another and another. Finally his knock was answered. He explained his situation, was loaned a car and drove to the hospital.
He was met by the other doctor. “I am glad you came,” he said, “but you are too late. The boy died a few minutes ago. Please come in and meet his father. He is almost hysterical with grief.”
They went into the waiting room and the doctor met the father—wearing a gray cap and a brown leather jacket. In his rush to get to the hospital he had shut out of the car and out of their lives the one man who could have made all the difference.
It is a grave danger that we all face. Let us beware; lest in quest for life that has meaning we shut out the One who came that we might have abundant life. Today he speaks to your heart and mine: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.