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23 - Confusion About Christ

Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”


In my undergraduate program, I had to take an accounting course (which made no sense, as I was in a Fine Arts degree track). Every day, I went to class and listened dutifully as the professor taught. About halfway through the semester, I realized that I was completely lost to the point that I might as well have not even been in the class at all. I knew I hadn’t been following well, but I would still pick up on bits and pieces here and there. No longer was that the case. From that point on, there might as well have been a sign above the classroom door reading, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”


But it was far from the professor’s fault. Every day as we sat in class, I would hear the students who were more oriented toward this type of thinking utter exclamations of realization. What resulted in only increased confusion for me was clear as crystal to those who were wired to think in accounting terms. The professor was very knowledgeable and was well-received by these students. I liked her, too – I just had no clue what she was saying.


This seems to be exactly what’s taking place when Jesus speaks. For some, His words are the source of clarity on complex spiritual topics. He speaks and their eyes are opened to the things of the kingdom of God. For others, Jesus’ words simply serve to further complicate their understanding of spiritual matters. Truly some things never change. We see the same issues even today when it comes to the teachings of Christ.


Many an individual has come to their pastor and lamented, “I just don’t understand the Bible when I read it.” Passages like this one don’t indicate that we’re out of God’s good graces by misunderstanding or being confused by Jesus’ words. This text is silent on whether those who were confused by Jesus were for Him or against Him. In fact, they’re said to believe in Him and then go on to ask about what the Christ will do when He appears. Clearly there’s some confusion!


It is good to ask questions. Let me say again: it is good to ask questions. It is good to wonder and to wrestle and to grapple with the uncertainties of Scripture. The Spirit intends for us to do this. We could have been given a Bible which encouraged the spoon-feeding of the people of God, but that’s not what we have. What we have is a book which encourages us to ask, to seek, and to knock.


The ones who are considered problematic are those who seek to end the questions. The Pharisees and the chief priests look to bring this to a close by arresting Jesus. The problem is not asking questions but suppressing them.


Encourage those around you to ask meaningful questions about Christ. The more they ask, the more they find answers. The more they find answers, the more they grow. God invites us with these words: “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). God blesses Israel – he who wrestles with God. Do not suppress the questions; instead, lead the seeker to the answers they long to find.


Lord, there are times where I myself am confused. I ask questions concerning Your reasoning for what You do or allow. I wonder at why You chose to create things as You did. Work within me to bring about greater understanding within my mind and my heart. Let me wrestle faithfully, knowing You bless those who work through confusion and uncertainty to find revelation and understanding. Make me a messenger of Christ Jesus to all those around me and let me share with them the answers You have led me to find.

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