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Poor Understanding

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John 16:29–33

His disciples said: “See! now you are speaking clearly, and you are not speaking in hard sayings. Now we know that you know all things, and that you do not need that anyone should ask you anything. Because of this we believe that you came forth from God.” Jesus answered them: “So you believe at this moment? See! the hour is coming—it has come—when each of you will be scattered to your own homes, and you will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have spoken these things to you that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have tribulation. But courage! I have conquered the world.”

 29 His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech.
30 Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.”
31 Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe?
32 In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me.
33 I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.

 In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

The Message

Its seems rather strange that they suddenly leapt into full belief because they realized that Jesus did not need to ask anyone anything for he knew what they were thinking. What did they mean? Back in verses17 and 18 we find them puzzled by what Jesus had said. Beginning in verse19 Jesus begins to answer their questions without asking them what they were. In other words he could read their hearts like an open book. That is why they believed.  

But Jesus was a realist. He told them that, in spite of their belief, the hour was coming when they would desert him. Here is perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Jesus. He knew the weakness of his men; he knew their failure; he knew that they would let him down in the moment of his direst need; and yet he still

1/  They would desert him he would be left alone. And yet never alone, because he still had God. No one whoever stands for what is right, stands alone. God always stands with that person. Such a person is never forsaken by God.

2/ He knew that they would abandon him, yet at the moment he did not upbraid them. He loved them even in their weakness; he saw their betrayal yet he loved them. But what is even more wonderful—he still trusted them.   To put it simply, He loved them forgivingly.


3/ Jesus says a strange thing: He says “I have told this to you, that in me you may have peace.”  Incredibly, Jesus was thinking, not of how their betrayal would hurt him, but of how it would hurt them. Maybe even destroy them as it did Judas. Sometimes it would make all the difference if we thought, not of how much someone has hurt us, but of how much the fact that they hurt us has driven them to regret and the sorrow of an aching heart.

4/ They were going to see that the world could do its worst to Jesus and still not defeat him. Life can do its worst to you, and you too can emerge victorious. You too can possess the courage and the conquest of the Cross.” There is the gift of Jesus—courage and conquest

The point is this—if Jesus had not foretold the weakness of the disciples, afterwards when they realized how they had failed him, might well have been driven to utter and absolute despair. It is as if he said: “I know what’s going to happen; you must not think that your disloyalty came as a shock to me; I knew it was coming; and it does not make any difference to my love. When you think about it afterwards, don’t despair.”

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