One of the many wonderful, refreshing aspects of the personality and character of Jesus is his commitment to utter reality. As he continues to paint a very sobering portrait of the shadowy road ahead for the disciples, he demonstrates a deep sensitivity to their emotional fragility, only giving them as much as he knows they can bear to take. v12 And yet he told the truth, even though the truth was painful to bear, and he lived under no naïve illusions about the disciples either.
Jesus was totally aware that they, despite all of their experiences and victories, were still human, and humans, like sheep are gifted at going astray. His carefully chosen words are designed to warn them of coming perils ahead of time, ‘so they will not go astray.’ v1 Jesus saw through the posturing and false piety of mere religion too, knowing that a time would come when religious zealots would attack his followers and irony of ironies, believe that they were doing God a favour as they did so. v2
Jesus makes no attempt to gloss over the painful hours ahead. He was going away, and said so plainly, even though the news brought grief to the disciples. vv 5-6
Jesus is no negative pessimist, though, because he is equally real and emphatic about the help that would be available for his struggling friends in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He reminds them of the wondrous resurrection he would experience, ‘in a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’ v16
Sometimes people of “faith” try to deny their sickness or sadness, believing that to admit to them is a “negative confession” and an obstacle to faith. No such teaching exists in scripture. Rather, the pages of the Bible tell the real life, flesh and blood stories of the faithful, with their mistakes and fears and scandals unedited. True faith is realistic, it doesn’t attempt to minimize the challenges we face. On the contrary, it squares up to them and yet still affirms that God is great. Get real.
(Jeff Lucas, CWR cover to cover, Feb 2012)
How easy to we find it to be honest with God?
Mighty to save – Hillsong Worship