Sunday 14 April, 2019
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Jesus promises his followers that one day (soon) all the troubles and confusion they are experiencing will be swept aside. Like a woman who has just birthed a baby and now holds the newborn for the first time, all the momentary pain is forgotten and they are carried into a new realm of joy. With this as context, Jesus proposes a radical new way to talk to God. The disciples are to use his name when asking God for what they want and it’s as good as done. Surely this is way too radical to take at face value? Jesus’s bold invitation seems to open the gates to excess or abuse. Consider: what were the disciples of Jesus likely to insert into this invitation?
* ‘overthrow the Romans’, or
* ‘give us our nation and land back’, or
* ‘re-fill the temple with God’s glory’, or
* ‘expel the foreigners from amongst our midst’
Via this shift in focus and with the confidence that Jesus is true to his word ‘Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete’ was fulfilled to the disciples just as it is fulfilled to us, today. Jesus answered their prayers and delivered on their concerns, but via the resurrection. Are not our requests basically connected to exactly the same human aches, desire for significance, place to belong, need for daily bread, need for family, an identity. Jesus will give us all that we need and more!
Jesus, thank you for hearing my prayers and thank you for allowing me to ask you directly for what I want. Thank you that you always answer, always keep your promises and satisfy my hearts desire.
Till we meet face to face, Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
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