Understanding Jesus is not always easy but it is essential as we strive to be more like him.
Being misunderstood is one of the most frustrating events in the life of my kids. And yes, I said event. Let me tell you what it looks like when my son, Justus, is misunderstood by my wife or myself. Typically it all begins when we are in the middle of doing something, and he wants to tell us the “most important” thing in the world. We often don’t hear him the first time, which takes his anger level up a couple notches. Then, he is often very excited and occasionally has a hard time pronouncing some of his friend’s names, so now we have to try and decipher what he is saying. If we get our deciphering wrong, then the anger level goes up a couple more notches. We then try to redirect like any parent might, but he knows what is happening, which makes him start to get frustrated, angry, volatile, sad and a bunch of other emotions. It only stops when we finally understand and repeat back what he was trying to say.
This doesn’t just happen with my kids or your kids but happens with adults as well. It’s frustrating, but hopefully, we have learned some way to deal with being misunderstood in a gentle and loving way. In John 8, we find Jesus once again being misunderstood by the people that were supposed to understand him the best, the Jews and their religious leaders. Jesus had been having discussions about who he is and what he came to do on earth. The Jews, who had all the background for the messiah somehow missed what Jesus was saying and ultimately wanted to get rid of him. Before I cast a stone at these people and condemn them for their mistake, I have to realize I have missed the boat many times as well. Take my kids for example. I have all the background I should need to understand what they are trying to say, yet I sill miss it. I have heard them speak for years, yet I still miss it. What kind of parent would I be if I just dismissed them and walked away? It wouldn’t be right.
Understanding Jesus is not always easy but it is essential as we strive to be more like him. My kids just wanted to tell me that their friend had a new toy at church this morning, but Jesus wants us to know that eternity is hanging in the balance. The Jews were looking in the wrong place and it was much easier to just dismiss Jesus and get rid of him. We have to make the same choice. Do we believe what he says in verse 51, that if we obey what he says, we will never see death? Or would we rather just live our life the way we want to and be content to never understand the gift of grace that Jesus offers us? It will take some work to understand what Jesus wants for your life. Just like I have to do with my kids. I have to focus on them, listen to what they are saying and take the time on the front end to study who they are. The more we turn our eyes to Jesus and his words the clearer he will become. And hopefully, there will be fewer misunderstandings in the world.