Shut Up & Listen

  1. Message: Reading John 12 I was noticing all of the small details spoken in old scripture were being fulfilled by Jesus. We are only aware because the scripture mentions each one that we read. I also noticed that Jesus said and did a lot of things that the people around him didn’t understand. A lot of it was either prophetic or symbolic, but he didn’t spend too much energy trying to explain himself. He explained many things to his disciples, but to the general population he gave very vague answers. Reading it, it seems like he was covering all of the prophecies, but he didn’t expect anyone to see it or understand it at that moment. He knew they would remember the details after his death and resurrection and that would be when they would understand.
  2. Command: We don’t have to understand everything right away, we don’t have to explain everything, and we aren’t responsible for making anyone else understand.
  3. Promise: God’s word is true whether we understand it or not.
  4. Warning: We will only understand the things that we have decided in our hearts we are willing to see and hear.
  5. Application: One of my biggest weaknesses is a desire to explain or over-explain things. Sometimes they are things about life in general, and sometimes they are things about myself because I struggle with being misunderstood. I think we all do to a point, but I have always acted on that struggle by believing If I could explain well enough, I could convince people to change their perception of me or of a situation. We can certainly influence someone who wants to know what we have to say, or is interested in gaining another perspective, but we will not and cannot change the mind of someone who has already made up their mind. I believe this is what Jesus was doing here. His disciples were learning. They called him “teacher” because their hearts were open to learning from him, and therefore they understood things that the general crowd did not. The crowd was fascinated with Jesus, but they had not devoted or invested their lives to him. Jesus cared about them, but he didn’t waste his time and energy trying to get them to understand something they were not interested or invested in. He knew that later on after his death and resurrection their hearts might be open to see truth, and they would remember some of the vague things he said and did, and piece them together. As I read this I saw myself on both sides of things. As a person dying to explain away, and as a person limited in understanding. My challenge to myself is to open my heart to understand people better, and to pay attention to the people who are interested in growing with me so that I’m not trying to win someone who doesn’t want to be won, but still leave an olive branch in case they change their minds later on.

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