not every tool in the toolbox is a hammer

Tonight, in the high school Bible reading group, we read John 16.
v.12 "I still have many things to tell you, but you can't handle them now."
Out of the 12 guys Jesus had been investing in for 3 years, one betrays him, and three leave written messages for the future of the church, Matthew, Peter, and John. The other eight guys end up dying for the faith as they spread it around the world, but they weren't the theologians of the crew. Peter and John are practically snuggled up with Jesus, but the other guys might have been acting like my group of ten students tonight. Some of them might have still been adolescents. My group tonight was very distracted , but I couldn't get upset, because they weren't any worse than Jesus's crew in John 16. By verse 17 they realize they are missing something important,
17 That stirred up a hornet's nest of questions among the disciples: "What's he talking about: 'In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me'? And, 'Because I'm on my way to the Father'? 18 What is this 'day or so'? We don't know what he's talking about." 19 Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant, so he said, "Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said, 'In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me'?
In other words, "Hold on. What did Jesus just say?" This really is a continuation of the cluelessness earlier in the night in ch. 14.
6 Jesus said, "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You've even seen him!" 8 Philip said, "Master, show us the Father; then we'll be content." 9 "You've been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don't understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, 'Where is the Father?'
Jesus is surprised at Philip's question. But I'm happy to know that Jesus's crew has kept the bar pretty low for what to expect from a small band of his followers. There could be a few theologians in my group, there might even be a future apostate, but my hope is that most of them keep the faith. One of the recurring themes in the upper discourse that I keep pointing them to is that people around them will hate Jesus without a logical reason and will turn the hate toward those of us who identify with Jesus. It won't make sense. In the beginning of ch. 16 he warns them some of us will be martyred by those who claim they are doing it for God, the ultimate of ironies. But he also promises us at the end of the chapter,
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 war is over. Jesus has won, the rest of history is details.

All Bible quotes from The Message.


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