Best of Daily Reflections: Are There Times When You Just Don’t Get It?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.
They just didn’t get it. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples continually misunderstood him and his mission. We see this once again in Luke 22, a passage filled with irony. Jesus had just spoken of his pending death, represented in the bread and cup of the Passover (22:19-20). Then, he added that someone at the table was about to betray him (22:21). Moreover, Jesus revealed once more that his death as the Son of Man had been determined (22:22). You might have thought that the disciples would be overcome with sadness or would have asked Jesus more about what he meant. They started well enough, each wondering who among them would betray Jesus. But this conversation segued into an argument about which of them would be the greatest. Presumably, they were still thinking that Jesus was going to fulfill his messianic destiny by establishing Israel as the dominant political kingdom. They wanted powerful and glorious roles in his kingdom and bickered among themselves about their prideful desires.
It’s easy for us, in retrospect, to think of the disciples as fools. What in the world was wrong with those people? Couldn’t they understand what Jesus was saying? Didn’t they know he was about to die, and that this was an essential element of his messianic calling? Why didn’t they get it?
I must confess that I sometimes regard the disciples as dullards who mostly meant well, but were inexcusably dense when it came to Jesus’ true mission. But, then I remember that Jesus himself appointed the twelve for their special partnership with him, and that he did so after a whole night of prayer. Surely these folks had what was needed to be effective participants in Jesus’ mission, a supposition that is confirmed in Acts of the Apostles.
Moreover, I also remember how many times I just don’t get it when it comes to God and his ways. I think of dear Christian friends who have experienced painful tragedies in their lives and wonder what in the world God is doing (and not doing). I think of a world in which millions of people, including faithful disciples, are starving to death, and I fret about God’s choices. There are many times when I just don’t get it. Perhaps you can relate.
Is there good news here? Yes, I believe there is. It’s the good news of a God who calls us into his service even when we don’t get it. It’s the good news of a God who sticks with us while we are in the never-ending process of learning more about him and his ways. It’s the good news that says I don’t have to have it all figured out to follow and serve the Lord.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are there times when you just don’t get it when it comes to God and his ways? What do you do in these times? Why do you think God is sometimes so hard to understand?
PRAYER: O Lord, you know how often I am like your disciples in this story. There are so many times I just don’t get it. In fact, these times often come soon after I have basked in the pride of thinking I have you all figured out. Then you humble me, reminding me of my limitations and my reliance on your grace.
Help me, Lord, to grow in my understanding of you and your ways. Reveal more of yourself to me through your Word. Help me to learn in the community of your people. Make me attentive to the still, small voice of your Spirit.
Yet, as I come into a deeper and truer knowledge of you, may I remain humble, realizing that my very capacity for understanding is a gift from your hand. Amen.