Have you ever been in a situation – a classroom, business conference, training seminar – where you were overwhelmed? Then, in your mind at least, you simply through up your hands saying, “I cannot take any more! This is simply too much information!”
There was a point in the “training” of the disciples/apostles where Jesus said to them, “I still have more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Apparently, they were at that point of saying, enough – we cannot contain everything. That did not excuse them from the exercise of knowing and growing in their relationship to Christ, it simply indicates they were not ready for the full course.
As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to keep knowing and growing. To push ourselves to the next level of understanding so that we may be “complete in Christ.” We need to get off the “milk” and onto solid food (1Cor. 3:1 & Heb. 5:11-14).
In John 15-16 Jesus talks to the disciples about a good many things. Whether through parable or direct discourse, he stretches their mind and soul and forces them to think beyond what they already knew about the Messiah. He pushes them to a deeper understanding of their personal relationship and what is to come. He moves them from a point of confusion and leads them to a point of confession. He nudges them from their understanding of their place in the world, a place of conflict, to a point of conquest yet to come.
All of it was more than a full plate and something that challenged the disciples to the core. Nevertheless, Jesus wraps it all up as they listen to him pray what has become known as the High Priestly prayer (John 17). The key to the prayer is this – “Sanctify them in the truth; you word is truth (v.17).
“Truth” is a hard nut to crack. Often times, when reading God’s word, we look at words and think we are seeing the whole picture. But I propose, if those standing their listening to the Master had difficulty understanding what he was saying, how can we grasp it with a cursory skimming of the pages?
Followers of Christ are called to full understanding of truth. God’s word is truth. Our mission is to feed on it, not simply read it. Our task is to push ourselves to the point where we say, “I must take a break, my mind and heart cannot take any more.”
I often find myself lost in the words and not the message of scripture. I regularly realize that my reading has been superficial and not sanctifying – sucking on the milk and not cutting meat. Those are the times when I fail to move forward in my relationship to Christ. Conversely, when I read and read again, until I comprehend the magnitude of what is being said, each nuance, those are the fruitful times.
Father, sanctify me in the truth. Your word is truth. May I be found faithful taking my seat at the table.