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When We Don't Understand

John 16:17-19
Some of his disciples said to one another, "What does he mean by saying, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" They kept asking, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying." Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, "Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? ..." (NIV)

Uncertainty brings out our true character. Despite all that Jesus had told His disciples about the cross and His return to the Father, they did not understand. So why did they not ask Him directly? Did they feel that they would reveal their ignorance and lose His respect of them? Did they feel that if they discussed it enough they would be able to work it all out? Or did they not really want to hear the answer in case it was too great for them to bear?

They were right to question what they did not understand. However, in discussing together they were still no wiser and, if Jesus had not intervened, they might have come to a false conclusion and believed a lie. Of course, after the Holy Spirit came to each of them, He would lead them into all truth, but until that time, they had to ask Jesus. Although they were not talking to Jesus, He knew exactly what they were thinking and saying, and wanted to answer their questions.

There are many things we do not understand, and it is right to ask questions. Around the world there are thousands of philosophers who like to give their opinions; and thousands of discussion forums (not least on the internet) where people share their views. However, the truth is only to be found in God and given by Him. So why do people not ask Him directly? Are they afraid of the truth; or are they so arrogant that they believe that they can find the answer themselves; or have they decided what they would like the answer to be and therefore seek out others who agree with them? God is always speaking through His Word by His Holy Spirit, who interprets the truth to anybody who really wants to hear it. Asking God to reveal Himself is profoundly glorifying to God. Self-revelation is part of His nature and by asking Him to display His nature, His glory is revealed. So let us be glad when we do not know; then let us glorify Him by asking for His wisdom on any matter.

God of all truth and wisdom. I come to You today and rejoice that You know everything. I know that, through Your Word and by Your Spirit, You will explain to me all I need to know in order to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ. I am sorry for my foolishness when I have failed to ask for Your wisdom, or not persisted in my prayer and Bible Study to find Your answer. Please help me to keep on asking questions – there is so much I do not know. Teach me the wisdom of asking You in prayer, and in searching the Scriptures, so that I will not waste time or fall into error by accepting the opinions of others and not asking You. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams