Wednesday, October 14, 2015

John 16:23-27 comments: questions answered and understanding given

23 ¶  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Christ tells His disciples that after His resurrection their questions, of which there are many now, will not need to be answered. They will understand what He has been telling them. Throughout His time with them they had asked many questions, not all of them too bright or evidence of a good motive. But, this will all change when they see Him risen from the dead. See John 9:2; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 19:27; and John 21:21 as examples.

Our questions in life, about life, which are many throughout our life are sometimes based on selfish motives, are sometimes based on a lack of trust and faith, and often on just plain ignorance but our questions will be answered when we come face to face with Christ.

The context of the verse where Jesus says that if they ask anything in God the Father’s name that He will give it to them is in that ‘understanding after a lack of understanding’ setting. This is not about a disciple of Christ getting a vacation home on the beach, winning the lottery, or having one’s dear, late grandma coming back to life. He instructs them to ask for this understanding in His name and they will receive, so that their joy may be full.

The Bible declares that it was not uncommon for God to speak in the form of sayings, proverbs, and parables that could be dark and unintelligible to those whose heart was not in the right place or who were not ready for that particular truth yet.

The Spirit of God gave us proverbs through the physical writers of the Bible such as Solomon who gave us a Book of Proverbs although they represented only a few of what he wrote as presumably they were the ones given by inspiration of the Almighty (Job 32:8).

1Kings 4:32  And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

A proverb is a saying that means something literal, on the surface, and yet has a deeper meaning that is only given in understanding to those whom God chooses. A parable is a story that teaches something in the same way and the story may be a truthful recounting of actual, historical events that teach something as in Job’s life. See Job 27:1 & 29:1. Your life and any of its many individual scenes can be a parable. Just think of what the events of your life could have taught you about God’s will yesterday if you had been listening.

Here is the qualification to ask for understanding, to ask for these things in the context of understanding of the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God the Father loves those who love Christ and believe that He is from God. This is a fundamental truth of the Bible that must be accepted in order to be a Christian.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In this, Christianity is very exclusionary. Salvation is predicated upon belief and trust in Christ, in His righteousness and not our own, to have eternal life. It is not about church membership or ritual observance. It is about belief and trust.

This passage teaches us to ask for guidance and wisdom and understanding of God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is the promise that if we seek it faithfully He will give it abundantly. It is not about you getting your way, manipulating natural events, or avoiding some consequence of your sin or living in a fallen body in a fallen world. Do not look to this passage of Scripture for a promise that you will get something physical and tangible but for understanding and peace if God does not give that thing you desire to you, if you seek that understanding from Him.

1Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Philippians 3:9 ¶  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11  If by any means I might attain unto [understand as in Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 1:5] the resurrection of the dead. 12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect [complete in understanding as in Col. 4:12 and 2Chronicles 8:16]: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [to know, as in contrast to know in verse 10] that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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