Sunday, May 31, 2009

John 16

Translating a little here: Look at John 16:1-4 You could talk about persecution and believers being kicked out of their churches for loving God, but the verse I find most interesting is verse 3 referring to those who would kick the disciples out of the synagogue: "They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." Isn't that part of the teacher's task - To equip people to recognize "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" according to the scriptures? (And to stand in awe of - or hit the floor face down in awe of- the mystery of all that we will never understand about God?)

There's a lot to see in verses 5-11 but one of the simpler elements is the fact that people grieved over losing someone -Jesus. But Jesus told them he had to go away so the Counselor can come and the Counselor has a different job to do. Not better. Different. The Spirit of God had a different role to play than Christ the Son. The Son had a different role to play than God the Father. One God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are times in our lives when we grieve over a loss but that person had a role to play in our life. If someone new wanders into that space, he or she will have a different job, play a different role, come at a different time, accomplish different things. Not to downplay what Jesus was saying about Himself and the Holy Spirit but lest we forget, Jesus did come as a man and the people around Him were experiencing very real emotions. They were losing a teacher and a friend. I'm not sure that the fact that He was God really sunk in until later. Liken it to the time when people come into your life and are big as God to you - idolatry, yes, which may be why the religious authorities protested - but Jesus actually was God - is God.

Here is an activity for kids from 16:13. Set up an activity where each child can only say what they hear someone tell them.

Or what if someone came from a very wealthy person and said, "everything my boss owns is yours?" Can you tie that into John 16? Nice potential for imaginary play here.

I was thinking that these aren't concepts for little people. These are concepts for older kids. We've talked about "concrete" over the last 4 years so I thought this passage was interesting. At the end of the chapter it says, "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. . ." (vs 25-30 - passages to ponder) . From figurative to plain talk is the opposite of what we do with kids.

And there are some interesting grown-up to child elements here where Jesus is interacting with His followers:

(4)I've told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

(5) I'm going back to the person who sent me to you, but none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' (6) You're sad about the things I'm telling you. (7) But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (8) When he comes, he will . . .[do the things Jesus says He will do]

(12) "I have lots more to say to you, more than you can bear now. (13) But when he. . . comes, he will guide you into all truth . . . little by little he will take from what is mine and make it known to you. . .

(16) "In a little while you won't see me anymore, and then after a little while you will . . ."

The disciples didn't understand. They said, "What does he mean? What is he saying?" Jesus was going to die. He knew he was going to die. He also knew that his dying wouldn't be the end. It would feel like that to the disciples but it wouldn't be the end. Do you know kids in that situation?

If you keep reading vs 17-22 do you hear the voice of a teacher comforting his students? Do you hear the voice of a grown-up speaking to children? Do you hear the voice of a shepherd speaking to his flock? There is so much in this chapter. Jesus says,"I'm leaving, but we will do everything in our power, (as in power of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, lol!) to make sure you're taken care of."

Random food for thought.

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