Day 15: When I Don't See Jesus

John 16:16-19 (The Message)
“In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me.” That stirred up a hornet’s nest of questions among the disciples: “What’s he talking about: ‘In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me’? And, ‘Because I’m on my way to the Father’? What is this ‘day or so’? We don’t know what he’s talking about.” Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant, so he said, “Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me’? 

In this passage, Jesus comforts his disciples and helps them adjust their perspective from temporal to eternal. Jesus knows that in a matter of hours, he will stand trial, be crucified, and die. Though He has predicted His own death a number of times to His disciples, they are still expecting an earthly Messiah who will save them from Roman rule, and they don’t seem to understand where He could be going. 

Once Jesus explains that they will soon not see Him, the disciples are distraught. The Message translation puts it this way -- that Jesus’ statement “stirred up a hornet’s nest of questions among the disciples.” This descriptive language gives you a sense of the unease  and confusion (maybe anger) that they are experiencing. They turn to one another for answers, which shows us it is important in a community of believers to work out our faith together through study, encouragement, and of course prayer. While that community is important, we must also bring things to Jesus, who alone can give us full understanding.

We now know the end of the story and that Jesus would eventually die, resurrect, and ascend to Heaven and give us the promised Holy Spirit, but the disciples didn’t trust that word fully at the time. However, this process of losing Jesus to the cross and not seeing Him around for a time would expose their already existent places of doubts, fears, and false expectations and beliefs of Jesus. 

Like the disciples, we have all gone through trials and times of uncertainty when we are unable to see God in it. This can “stir up” or expose genuine feelings and thoughts of doubts and confusion. However, what we can learn from this text is that Jesus doesn’t stop or shame His disciples from asking questions; no, He directly addresses them with a question Himself. 

See, God is fully able to address the not so “positive” emotions of our lives and He does so fully in His love for you. He can handle our questions, complaints, and doubts. But what we learn from this passage is that He may not answer us in the ways we want or expect Him to -- but He does answer (even in the silence or with another question).

Beloved, I want to welcome you to rest in the discomfort of uncertain times because it is there that He exposes the places of the unresolved doubts, fears, and pains that have yet to receive His healing touch and truth in our lives. Be comforted today, Christ-follower, that when you don’t see Jesus, He is with you. When you are scared or lonely or discouraged, the Holy Spirit lives in you and can reveal Himself to you. Trust. Pray. Seek His face.

Prayer Prompts:
  1. Praise God today for His plan. Thank Him that when the disciples did not see Him, He was defeating sin on the cross and death through His resurrection. Pray for your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and loved ones who need to hear this message of hope and salvation. Pray that God will draw them to Himself, that they would seek to know God, believe the Scriptures, and that God would send someone (even if that’s you) to lead them to Christ. 
  2. There are times in life where God’s plan for us does not make sense in the present. Sometimes we are scared, lonely, or upset, and we can’t seem to see Jesus. Give yourself permission to “go there” and directly approach God in prayer with your questions and or concerns regarding what is or has gone on in your life. 
  3. When finished, pray that God would reveal himself to you today in the places you need Him to move. 
  4. Can you look back at times in your life where you did not see the Lord or His plan, but now in hindsight can see his Hand at work? Take the time this morning to praise God for His work. 

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