Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Disappointing Disciples

 “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?” (John 14:9)
Jesus is speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room.  He’s been with these men for three years.  They have been witness to miraculous healings, and profound teaching.  He has discipled them, sending them out in His power.  And all along, Jesus has revealed through His words and actions that He is the promised Messiah.
After all of that, they still sit in the upper room, confused by His words.

How would I have handled that exasperating, disappointing question?  I try to imagine being there, short hours from being tortured, killed, and torn from communion with my Father, confronted by Philip’s words.
Are you serious, Philip?!  What have you been doing the past three years?  Have you heard a word I’ve said?  Remember the blind men, the lame ones, feeding all those people, Lazarus?!  Big, big things are about to happen, and you’re telling me you still don’t get it?

But, though I read sorrow in Jesus words, He didn’t storm out of the upper room.  Instead, He used Philip’s question to talk more about His Father, and His relationship with Him.  He went on to describe the wonderful gift coming to them, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Then, He prayed.  For them, for us, for Himself. 
I think of my response to the people of El Callejon who don’t ‘get it’.  In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been confronted by this again and again. 
Women who have been coming to our Site for years but still put their confidence in the lottery or forms of witchcraft.  Teens who have grown up hearing God’s Word, who know all the ‘right’ answers, but still choose to have unprotected sex and are now pregnant.  People who come for advice, ignore it, and then return, bemoaning how mixed up their lives are.
Are you serious?  Haven’t you been listening to a word we said?!
I think of my own life, and the stupid… no, let’s call them what they are… the sinful choices I sometimes (often!) make.  The times I doubt God, the times I trust more in my own strength than in the Holy Spirit’s power, the times I've asked Jesus questions just as disappointing as Philip's.
Are these any less evidence of someone who doesn’t ‘get it’?  Sure, my behavior may appear a lot 'better', but how often are my thoughts, my words, my attitudes disappointing for one who claims Christ?
I’m thankful that Jesus didn’t throw up His hands and march out on the disciples.  I’m thankful He continued to point them to Himself, to His Father.  I’m thankful He continued to be faithful to them by being faithful to His Father’s will, all the way to His death on a cross.
I pray that as we continue to cope with the brokenness, the frustrations and disappointments of El Callejon, we, too, will seek to be faithful to God’s call on our lives.  That we will love, not in our own power, not because of what another does or does not do, but love in response to what Christ has done for us. 
Thank you Father, for continuing to love me even as I disappoint again and again.  May I remember Your love, Your patience, Your plan and purpose, in my life, and in the lives of those You have allowed me to serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment