Tuesday, June 16, 2015

“Do You Now Believe?” (John 16:25-31)

““I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but 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 will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?” (John 16:25–31, ESV)

More literally Jesus told His disciples that up to this point He had been speaking to them in more figurative language or that language used to describe something that they could not or were not truly ready to see or understand on its own. Jesus had been explaining things to them in terms they could understand so that when what was soon to happen happened that they would understand. Throughout John, Jesus had made many claims concerning Himself and His relationship with the Father. Some of them were made in the third person while others were made as matters of comparison or imagery such as was seen in many of His “truly, truly” statements.

But now it was time to tell it to them straight in terms they would get. Jesus told them that the hour was coming when there would be no need to be figurative because the actual would have happened. In that day they will have direct access to God the Father because of their love for the Son and their belief that He truly was from God and that He had returned. He told them that His going away meant that He was leaving this world and returning to the Father. It was a very simple and straightforward statement, and in response His disciples said that they understood clearly what He had to say. They did not have to read between the lines. They heard that He was leaving this world and He was going to the Father. Then they added that they believed that He truly did know all things and that He was beyond question truthful.

In the face of all of the accusations and challenges from the religious leaders, Jesus disciples acknowledged that Him being from the Father brought with Him the knowledge of the Father. He could indeed be trusted. As He had told His disciples earlier that He spoke in parables because of the unbelievers, not He was speaking to them plainly because of their belief. They said that they finally got it, and in getting it they knew that He knew without any doubt who He was. They said that they knew as well that Jesus indeed was from God.

Responding to their statement of affirmation, Jesus responded, “Do you now believe?”

This is the most important question we can ever answer. In being able to answer it “yes” we are moved from judgment to full and complete forgiveness. We are moved from being spiritually darkened to being made spiritually alive with the Spirit of God dwelling and working in us. We move from a future without hope to the great and sure hope of one day being in the presence of God forever. But this is not just a question that we answer once for salvation, it is also one that we answer daily as we walk with God. Do we believe Him to be faithful? Are we trusting Him with every aspect of our lives, the lives of our loved ones, our jobs, or anything else that may weight heavy on us.

The Bible tells us that we are saved by faith. It also tells us to walk daily in that same manner.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8–10, NASB95)

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:6–9, NASB95)

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