Truth Made Plain
July 29, 2022
These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father (John 16:25-28).
Over the course of His ministry with the disciples, Jesus used language that was sometimes mysterious, enigmatic, and frustrating. Jesus was fond of telling parables - simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson (my mother called them earthly stories with heavenly meanings). He used metaphors - figures of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable; and similes - a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, i.e. ‘the kingdom of heaven is like . . .’. I am sure the disciples wondered why Jesus didn’t speak in clear, simple language.
‘Figurative language’ (paroimia) is another word for ‘proverb’, like those given in the Book of Proverbs. A proverb is an insightful saying, principle, or oracle (an ambiguous or obscure statement) that requires interpretation. Jesus used these figures of speech for two reasons: (1) to hide spiritual truth from non-believers who are spiritually blind as a result of their unbelief, and (2) to challenge the true disciple to pursue spiritual truth through inquiry, meditation, and prayer (Mark 4:10; Luke 8:9). In other words, the spiritual person will seek to understand the truth of God while the non-spiritual person will dismiss and reject the truth of God.
But Jesus said, the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. Prior to His crucifixion, the disciples struggled to comprehend the words of Jesus. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, all that Jesus said and did became clear to them, more specifically the relationship between Jesus and God the Father, their relationship to Jesus, and the love of God for them.
This truth is fundamental to salvation and the Christian faith. Unless the Holy Spirit comes to a person and awakens their spirit to the truth of God, they will not understand and believe God’s truth. Without the Holy Spirit opening our eyes to the truth of God’s Word, His words will be mystery to us like they were to the disciples prior to Pentecost. Furthermore, we cannot know or appreciate the Father’s love for us apart from the working of the Holy Spirit in us. We will forever believe God is distant from us, that He only tolerates us, and we will live in fear of the Father’s judgment upon us - that He is out to get us, punish us, and make our life miserable. That is not the teaching of Scripture. (1 John 4:10,18-19) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins . . . There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. Amen.