Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.”
It doesn’t take much theological insight to acknowledge that we don’t always understand God’s ways. It just takes an ounce of humility to admit we can’t always see what He is doing and why. The truth is, if the biggest cosmic decisions were left up to people like us, this world would be very different and almost certainly far worse. We prefer immediate results, straightforward solutions and simple explanations. God, on the other hand, works in ways we find mysterious and sees the bigger picture while we can only see to the tips of our fingers. God holds the entire universe in his powerful hands, but we still dare to question his wisdom and authority.
This other disciple named Judas asked Jesus the question we ask numerous times about countless issues in our lives and the world: Why are You doing it this way? Lord, why do You let bad people get away with things? Why do I have to wait for an answer to my prayers? Why don’t You just solve all our problems? Then there are the tough theological questions, along the same lines as the one Judas asked: Why did You wait so long to send the Savior? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why did You allow Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden? We love to ask these questions, and some of us love to pretend we know the answers to some of them. But the truth is, we usually don’t understand God’s ways. Judas asked Jesus why He didn’t just reveal himself publically to the whole world. It’s a reasonable question in some ways. Jesus could have stood on top of the Temple and called out to everyone, “I am the Messiah!” Wouldn’t that have been easier than performing all those miracles, preaching all those sermons and then still having to die on the cross? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s just agree in faith that God knows what He is doing.
The answer Jesus gave Judas may not fully satisfy us. Basically, He told the disciples to love him and do what He asked them to do. That’s our role, our proper place in the Kingdom. It isn’t really an answer to Judas’ question, though. Maybe that’s the point. Without saying it directly, Jesus is telling us that we won’t always understand God’s ways. Sometimes our whys will go unanswered in this life. Some truths may be beyond our ability or willingness to hear. Can we accept that and still keep loving Jesus, still keep obeying him, still keep sharing his love and message with the world?
Father, all Your ways are right and good. Thank You for Your perfect wisdom and for the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Teach me to understand Your truth and give me faith to trust in Your goodness. I love You and want to follow Jesus in all I do, even as I pray in His name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian