Now I Get It!

August 2, 2022

His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:28-32).

Language can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we cannot communicate without it. On the other hand, it can be so complex and complicated that we cannot communicate with it. Jesus used figures of speech both to clarify His truth to the disciples and at the same time hide His truth from the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. How often I have stood at the door of the sanctuary and had people comment on the sermon that was just preached. One would say, “Thank you for making that passage of Scripture clear to me,” and another would say, “I really didn’t understand what you were saying about that text.” I have read a passage of Scripture in my native language and wondered what it was really saying, then read the same passage in its original language and understood clearly what it was saying. Language can be a blessing and a curse.

Jesus had labored to convey to the disciples His role in God’s plan of salvation. He repeated several times that He would be betrayed by one of them, arrested, condemned by the Elders of Israel, crucified, then resurrected. He spoke their language. He illustrated these facts using concepts they were familiar with, parables, metaphors, and other figures of speech to clarify the truth of the Gospel. Finally, they were beginning to understand what He was saying . . . now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! They became excited and expressed a new depth of trust in Him. But Jesus was not impressed. Do you now believe? It was sarcasm. It was as if Jesus had said, “Well, duh! I’ve been telling you these things all along!”

We cannot, however, be critical of the disciples in this regard. We cannot be critical of others either. It may sound odd to say it like this, but each of us understands at our own level of understanding. Some people have the ability to grasp ideas and concepts immediately. Some do not. Some people can figure out what is being said after a time of meditating on it. Some have to have things explained to them. It is not a deficiency in some and an exceptional ability in others. It’s just the difference in people and the way we have developed in our mind. Jesus knew that about the disciples. That’s why He labored to help them understand God’s plan for Him and for them. He knows that about us as well, and He is patient with us, helping us through His Word, His Spirit, and His church so that we can understand His truth.

We cannot discount the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this. Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit who would teach them what He has said and would lead them into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13-15). He had not come to them yet. So, they struggled to understand all that Jesus said. But now He has come, and we have the benefit of His ministry in opening our understanding to the truth of God’s Word. We can say with the disciples, “now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!" Thank You, Lord, for sending us Your Holy Spirit! Amen.

Pastor Martin

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