Daily Readings & Thought for October 21st. “DO YOU NOW BELIEVE?”
We follow on from yesterday’s thoughts and the final climax of the conversation Jesus had with his disciples in the hours before his arrest – and his encouragement to them to “believe in God.” Today we have 2 of the most challenging chapters (15 & 16) in John’s Gospel. Jesus teaches them, in increasingly straightforward language, but even then, they only grasp part of what he is saying; even when they say, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” [ch.16 v.29,30]
They are feeling positive now – after being perplexed by his words “saying, ‘What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” [v.18] He tells them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” [v.20]
Can we see some parallels with our world today? Many in our world seek a ‘froth and bubble’ kind of joy, passing pleasures that need constant ‘chasing.’ It should be of real concern to us if we feel attracted to this to any degree at all – for we are in danger of going out into the night as Judas did.
However, in response to their claim to “believe” – Jesus asks, “Do you now believe?” The disciples then, in a physical sense went out into the night, but Jesus was with them – but he tells them, “also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’ [v.22]
The “night” is coming on our world – and it maybe soon – even very soon – how essential that we possess and develop to the full that ‘inner joy’ that, as Paul told the Corinthians, we are able to “let light shine out of darkness,” and, as a result, it “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” [2nd. Ch 4 v.6] This is not normal “knowledge” at all!
So our thought today is for each of us to most seriously ask ourselves, “Do I now believe?” Do I have a genuine conviction of mind that is ‘alive’ in my thinking? Our minds go back to the words of Jesus just before he told his disciples, ‘Lazarus is dead” – when he said, “if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the light is not in him.” [11 v.10] We only really believe, in the sense Jesus is talking about, when the light is in us. In these last days, we are going to need that “light” more than ever.