Today’s Reading: John 16:17-18 (NIV)
17 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’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does He mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what He is saying.”
Jesus could have been speaking Greek that day, for all the disciples knew. In fact, some of the disciples may have understood and spoken Greek well, and maybe they would have understood Jesus better had He spoken these words in Greek. They just didn’t get it, and sometimes, I feel like that. I’ve been known to pray these exact words: Dear Lord, I just don’t get it! What is Your point?
Maybe I just don’t want to understand it. Sometimes I think I may know more than I want to admit. Or maybe I don’t want to face the knowledge that is buried deep inside my heart. Jesus wasn’t telling a Parable, a story to make a point; He was speaking plainly, as one friend would speak to another. Jesus said, “In a little while, you are not going to see me, but soon, you will see me again.” His words are not hard to understand, unless you really don’t want to. The disciples did not want not to see Jesus leave at all. They wanted Jesus to stay with them every minute of every day. Somehow, they knew as long as Jesus was there, everything would be okay. They loved watching Him walk and talk and break bread in the evenings, seeing miracles unfold in the people He touched along the way. Oh, not having Jesus there, even for a little while, was a thought they did not wish to entertain. So, it was much easier to say, “I just don’t get it,” than “I won’t accept it. Lord, you have to stay here. You cannot leave us alone.”
Jesus had a very important reason for going away. This was His entire purpose for His coming. You see, Jesus has been with humanity all along from beginning to the end; He is with the Father and the Spirit – the Three in One, a holy mystery, offering an amazing love unlike any other ever known. Jesus was there with Moses walking across the wilderness; He was on the ground with Isaiah, for long three years, as he prophesied God’s Word to all who would hear it. Jesus was the One Jacob wrestled with all night long; He was with the angels who visited Abram and Sarai outside their tent. Jesus made the perfect entrance into an imperfect world one night in a cold cave just outside of Bethlehem, beneath a cloud of angelic host and a bright North Star. The Shepherds saw Him there; did you? Jesus is with us today, even when we’re not certain we see Him clearly. But if you look closely, you will see that He is sitting with the starving child; He is resting under the bridge with the homeless; He tries to come into our churches on Sunday, but we have this nasty habit of locking the doors behind us, only letting in the folks we are most comfortable being around. It forces our Lord to wait outside the walls, as He peers through the window waiting for us to respond. Jesus looks at me every Sunday as I sit in the sanctuary and gaze at the stained glass window above the altar. Can you see Him there? He came to reveal the Father to a broken and lost world. We had lost touch with our Master Creator. Jesus came to redeem us from sin, to purchase back what was stolen from Him, and to give us new and everlasting life in His presence forever.
Jesus had to go away for a little while, but He came back, just like He said He would. Do you get it? What will it take for you to understand what Jesus meant? Oh Lord, help me see what You want me to see; Help me understand the Word you are speaking into my heart today. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2008, Deb Spaulding
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