Did you ever think that Jesus was difficult to understand? Sometimes, ok, most of the time, I read the red letters and I think to myself, “what is He talking about?” I mean, I have been going to church and Sunday school since the 1960s and learned the Bible stories on flannel boards and through Veggie Tales. I know what other people think He means, but seriously, did you ever just look at the words?
“if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
He said all of this to the Samaritan woman at the well. If I was her, I would have been thinking, “what is He talking about?”
He seems kind of cryptic to me. What is all this talk of water and spirit. I know what I learned in Sunday school, and confirmation class, and Christian dogmatics (seriously, I am a professional church worker, I should not be sitting here shaking my head like this). I know the tenets of the Christian faith and even the theology of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. But seriously, Jesus is difficult for me to understand.
This creates a problem. If Jesus is the Word, and the Word is Truth, and I want to learn more about grace and truth, I am in trouble. I feel like there is a language gap.
I have this sense that if I met Him at the well, or say, Starbucks, and I looked in His eyes, like the Samaritan woman did, I would know what he meant. But what am I thinking? The disciples walked around with him for three years and they still didn’t get it most of the time. I have seen Jesus in the Bible several times shaking his head at the disciples, thinking to Himself, “why don’t they get it?!” He even says it out loud, “I told you all this, and still you don’t understand!”
And every time he has that kind of interaction with the disciples, I think to myself, “shoot, I don’t get it either!” If he told me he was going to “knock down the temple and raise it in three days,” I would have thought he was crazy. If he said, “I am going away to prepare a place for you, yeah, I was dead, but you can see that I’m alive now, and I am going to heaven now to be with my dad, and I’ll come back for you.” I would have thought he was waiting for the little white van to show up with the straight jacket.
And yet for close to half a century, I have put my faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I am counting on His saving grace. I am a mess without Him. I need Him every minute of every day.
I don’t understand why God would create us, knowing that we would not be capable of understanding His love, His Son, His purpose. Knowing that we would daily decide that we know more than He does. Knowing that we would totally deny His grace and His truth.
I don’t understand it at all. But I believe it. I believe that God is God and I am not. I believe that Jesus came to save me. I believe that the Spirit dwells in me. I don’t understand why all this is true. But, I know that God is full of grace and truth.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.