Aug 10, 2013

difficult lessons the disciples learned with Jesus in John


The phrase “quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur” can roughly be translated as “Whatever is received, is received according to the capacity of the receiver.” 

Here is where Jesus elaborates on this idea: “I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear [them] now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you in all truth. For he will not speak for himself, but will speak whatever he will hear. And he will proclaim to you the things that are coming.” God is gracious and he unfurls his truth in his time in a way that he knows is right for his glory and for the benefit of his children – this is what he was doing to the disciples here and what he still does for us today! The Lord is awesome and grand but also knows us well and loves us much.

1.       An extremely difficult lesson the disciples had to learn with Jesus can be found in John 6. Here, Jesus gives a very challenging command about eating his body and drinking his blood. That, in addition to some other things he said to the crowds here, caused him to go from the would-be temporal king (by way of forceful popular demand) to an outcast of sorts. This is when he asked them if they would like to leave like everybody else, and Peter gives an amazing answer in John 6:68–69:Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

2.       Another tough lesson was in John 11, the death and resuscitation of Lazarus. First of all, the friends of Jesus can still die. Secondly, Jesus does things in his own time in his own way for his own reasons. They have got to learn to deal with his agenda and not the other way around. Thirdly, he is mysterious. Delaying on purpose then speaking about the whole thing in cryptic ways and then when arriving giving rather ludicrous commands – who is this man? Lastly, even though Jesus raised a man from the dead, the Judean leaders still want to kill him – how exactly will this reformation/revolution work if these signs don’t even get them on board?

3.       Another lesson that would be hard to handle was the whole farewell discourse. One can discern the disciples are having trouble with its content by the kinds of questions they ask. Even if you put yourself in their shoes, you could see how unexpected some of the information was. Was Jesus leaving? Why? Why is he warning us about all this persecution? The questions would have been manifold.

It is no wonder that during these discussions (monologues?) that Jesus said, “I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear [them] now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you in all truth. For he will not speak for himself, but will speak whatever he will hear. And he will proclaim to you the things that are coming.” God is gentle and patient!

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