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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The shallow response of the disciples (John 16:29-32)

His disciples said, “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.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me (John 16:29-32).

It is clear that their response is shallow because of the way Jesus questioned it. Here we have a reminder that fine words do not always mean that the speaker is describing what he really senses. Sometimes we give answers that we think the speaker wants us to give and in so doing we attempt to cover up our ignorance or lack of experience. But the disciples could not deal with Jesus in this way. It would have been better for them to have admitted their inability to understand.

Jesus reminds them that very soon they are going to experience a difficult trial, and the trial will reveal the shallowness of their faith. This is what inevitably happens, as Jesus indicates in his parable of the sower. The proof of satisfactory faith as opposed to shallow faith is that it will remain loyal to Jesus when the difficult times come.

Yet there is also a measure of comfort here because it was true disciples who had shallow faith at this time. We know that they did not remain in such a spiritual condition, but eventually developed into possessing a satisfactory faith. And the same gracious Saviour who developed it in them will also develop it in us, that he will ensure that our faith becomes more honest and realistic.

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