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John’s gospel post 72: War and peace

March 1, 2014

John 16: 16 – 33

Jesus talks some more.

“In a little while I’m going, but in a little while you’ll see me again.” The disciples whisper among themselves. They are confused. What’s he talking about now?

And I have to say that as I have read over these verses I find myself a little confused too.

You see Jesus has been talking about how he is going to be with his father, getting our rooms prepared and then will come back to take us there. Is that it? He’s going there and then he’s coming back. The other things Jesus says don’t seem to neatly tie in with that. I think Jesus is changing tack.

Of course he has told them too at other times, how he is going to die and on the third day come back to life. As I read the context of these verses, I believe that is the going and coming back Jesus is referring to.

In a little while, a very short time he will be gone. That will be a time of rejoicing for this world, who will say “that’s it. We’ve got rid of trouble. He’s out of the way”. For the disciple it will be grief, desolation, despair.

But then he will be back. The disciples will be overjoyed (and the world will be flummoxed).

There’s pain and then there’s joy. Jesus uses the analogy of the pain of labour. The mother will forget the pain for the joy of a new child. Of course that’s assuming the mother doesn’t say “never again!, or that the child doesn’t turn out to be an even greater pain! She might then hold it against the father for life!

The disciples’ joy will be complete. Even though we know that Jesus will then be leaving them again. Now the disciples will speak to God in Jesus’ name. With his delegated authority. “I’m not going to put a word in for you with my father. You are going to ask him yourselves. And he is going to answer”.

Jesus is delegating his authority to his followers.

“Because you have believed in me you now have a relationship with God”.

Now the disciples are happy. They believe.

As so often seems to be the case with Jesus’ disciples then and now, the moment of enlightenment, is followed by the moment of being let down with a bump. When we think we’ve really arrived Jesus shows us we are anything but the finished article.

“Oh you believe now do you? Then why is it you are all about to abandon me when I need you? You say the right things now, but when it counts you’re all going to let me down. But in spite of that the father is with me”.

A sobering moment for the disciples.

And then another lift. Jesus promises them his peace in a world where they will find trouble. But that peace comes from knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. The things that get us down he has dealt with.

So we like those first disciples will be confused, will grieve, will get it completely wrong, but amazingly in the midst of all that, can find peace, because of what Jesus has done.


From → Christianity

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