Understanding; April 1, 2023

Matthew 20:18-19 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

I have no trouble believing that these words of Jesus simply didn’t penetrate into the disciples’ understanding at this point. It was only after the resurrection that the Holy Spirit brought them to mind and they could put them into context. (John 14:26) Every good teacher knows that framework has to be laid before more genuine learning can take place. Jesus wanted it to be on record what was going to happen so as to give the Holy Spirit something to remind them of later, but He certainly wasn’t surprised, and possibly not even disappointed, when they turned around and started jockeying around for position and status in His kingdom. From our perspective, James’ and John’s mother coming up to ask for status for her sons at this point was ironic in the extreme! However, that didn’t keep Jesus from entrusting His mother to John from the cross. (John 19:26-27) God knows our weaknesses and our failures and He loves and uses us anyway. We aren’t to berate ourselves over being slow to learn, but at the same time we are to keep seeking to learn more, and better. As I tell people all the time, God accepts us as we are, but He doesn’t leave us as we are, and neither should we. When we don’t understand things, we need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes He will give revelation, but sometimes He will simply show us what we are to do even though we don’t understand it. I think our faith grows more with the latter, even though we would generally prefer the former!

I have always liked to know and understand stuff, and God has equipped me pretty well in that area. However, I have had to learn that obedience is far more important than knowledge and understanding. The flip side of that is that I have also had to learn that just because something seems simple to me doesn’t mean someone else can understand it. When my major gifting is Teacher, I have the emotional expectation that just putting the facts out there should be sufficient, when it seldom is. My study of Coaching over the past few years has been very helpful in that understanding. I’ve got to keep remembering that any amount of human knowledge and intellect, when compared to that of God, is less than that of an ant compared to Einstein. I am to be grateful for whatever I am given, but never proud.

Father, thank You indeed for so graciously allowing Your children to discover things about the world in which You have placed us, as well as about ourselves and even about You. Help me always be open to the understanding You want to give me, and useful to You in helping others understand things as well, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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