John 16: 17-22: Any Answers?
“17 At this, 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.’19 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”? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” NIV
”Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said…?” (19) The Message.
Questions, questions, questions! It is not wrong to ask questions. Rather it is natural and normal to have them. Life throws up scores of questions.
It’s not wrong either to talk with fellow disciples about our questions. The essence of fellowship is ‘sharing’, and we can and should open up our hearts, our thoughts to one another. We really can help each other.
Neither is it wrong to try to ”figure” out what Jesus means. God has given you a wonderful brain. It is a remarkable gift. We are told that we don’t come anywhere close to fully utilising its capacity. So, by all means, please use the grey stuff between your ears. Be a thinking Christian…
…but do this PRAYERFULLY.
It is a big mistake to ask questions that pertain to Jesus, His Word and His work, and not ask Him WHEN HE IS WITH US. It is sad when we run the church by committee meetings and brainstorming sessions and good ideas, but do not pray – or, at least, pray only perfunctorily:
”If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Sometimes we just don’t do the obvious:
”Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant…” (19) The Message.
So why don’t we? Is it that we think the Lord might ‘find fault’ with us; might scold us for our stupidity or ignorance? Might be somewhat annoyed or irritated?
Jesus is willing to explain to us as much as He wants us to know. He doesn’t unveil every mystery of course, but He is alive, and He speaks to His followers. I thought about entitling this piece ‘Any questions?’, but in the end I went for ‘Any answers?’ His answers are far more important than our questions. We will not always find what He says to us easy to bear, but we can trust Him to be truthful. Whatever pain may lie in the short term, over the long haul the outlook is glorious. The Christian story is a ”happy ever after” story.
And a day is coming when we will have all the answers we need.
But for today, what pressing, burning questions do you need to lay at Jesus’ feet? Come – He bids you, and at His door you will see the ‘welcome’ mat.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus that you speak to your disciples still today, and that you are willing to help. Please forgive me for the many times I try to work through stuff on my own. I ask today for your wisdom with regard to…(fill in the blanks yourself), and I trust that I will be given help and understanding. Thank you Lord.