Friday, August 03, 2018

The Vision (8.3.18): These things understood not his disciples at the first





Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 12:10-19.

These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him (John 12:16).

This an important and insightful verse. It is John’s reflection on the fact that at first the disciples (John included) did not understand the significance of everything that was happening during the final days of Christ’s earthly ministry. It was only after Christ was “glorified,” after he was raised from the dead, that these things began to make sense to them.

Notice two things in particular here:

First, it was only after Christ’s resurrection that they “remembered that these things were written of him.” It was only after the resurrection that they began to understand the Scriptures and know how to interpret them.

Second, it was only after the resurrection that they began to understand the spiritual significance of their own actions and those of others: “and that they had done these things unto him.”

This represents a key spiritual theme that is stressed throughout this Gospel: spiritual truths are often only revealed to Christ’s disciples slowly, over time (cf. John 2:18-22; 14:25-26; 20:8-9). Insight only comes through the resurrection power of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit, so that there are some things that we only begin to understand in retrospect as we look back upon them.

This means that our awareness of the circumstances of our lives, the significance of our spiritual experiences, and our knowledge of Christ, are most often not fully understood in the present moment but only with time, reflection, and prayerful meditation.

The practical message: You likely do not yet fully understand all the things that Christ is now doing in your life, but you will in due time. The encouragement: Do not despair if you are not understanding all things in the present moment.

Calvin observed: “Let us remember that it is a special favor of the Holy Spirit to instruct us in a gradual manner, that we may not be stupid in considering the work of God.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Note: The Vision devotional will be taking a summer break over the next couple of weeks. The Vision returns (God willing) on Friday, August 24.