2001-10-04 - Unspoken Questions
John 16:5-6 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' 6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart." (NAS)
There are times when a question hangs unspoken. Someone you know tells you they have cancer, or AIDS or some other deadly disease, and you want to know, "How long do I have with you?". A friend confides that their marriage is in dire straights, and a thousand questions come to mind. But the question is not always that easy to utter. It catches in our throats and on our hearts. This question the Lord asks has a grip on the disciples. Jesus, knowing their hearts and minds, and probably not having to read too deeply at all, says it for them. "Where are you going?"... or how long do we have left with you?
Jesus had spoken clearly, only a minute before this, that He was going to die. The resurection had been spoken of, but it was an unknown to his followers. They could not grasp it. All they could see before them was their beloved Master being taken from them. He was supposed to be the Messiah King, and now He is leaving. The Lord had things He had to say to them. They had to be said to prepare them for the hours ahead, even though it would cause them great anguish. And so, with great compassion, they have been told.
In a way, it may have been a relief and a strain to review these things for Jesus. To take stock of an impending difficult time both reinforces the fact that it is coming, but also gets it off our chest. Nowhere here does Jesus abraid His disciples for feeling sad, or having insufficent faith. Jesus Himself was probably heavy hearted facing the task at hand. His trial in the Garden of Gethsemene, which we also approach, points to this. There is also a comfort in knowing that someone else knows what you are going through. It may have helped Jesus to tell his friends, as much as it helped prepare them.
If someone needs to tell you something, let them. Be the love of Jesus with your ears, eyes, heart and time. You may be surprised at how much it blesses you to stand with them. Likewise, if you need to pour out your heart, take a deep breath and share it with someone you trust. Knowing you are no longer alone is a tremdous assurance. It is one more way to be a little more like Jesus.
Lord Jesus - Help us to learn to help those tough questions to be asked. Give us the grace and compassion only You can supply to be there for someone. Grant us the courage and the peace to open our hearts to the friends You have given us. It is just another way the world will know that we are Your disciples, by the love that we have for one another. Amen.