His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” (John 16:28-32)
Self-assurance in our own abilities to both come to God and be saved or to understand all which God is doing in our lives as believers is a fool’s errand. It is a task of activity which has no hope of success.
Self-assurance refers to confidence in one’s own ability or character. As believers in Christ, we must place our confidence in God’s ability to draw us to Himself (John 6:35-66) and His never changing holy character (Isaiah 6:1-7). This was a lesson the disciples took a long time to understand. Perhaps, we as well.
The disciples correctly acknowledged that Jesus was God in that He knew all things (divine omniscience) and that He came from God the Father (divine origin). However, Jesus knew their limitations far better than they did.
Jesus predicted, hours before it actually occurred, that these very same disciples who so assuredly expressed their belief in Christ in the upper room, would soon flee from Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and at the foot of the cross. The only exceptions being the Apostle John and possibly Peter (18:15-27; 19:25-27; I Peter 2:21-25).
Robert Rothwell writes, “During most of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we see that the disciples misunderstood the nature of our Savior’s work. Even Peter, who before Christ’s resurrection understood Jesus perhaps better than did any of the other disciples, did not grasp the necessity of the atonement (Matt. 16:13–23). This failure to accept Jesus’ declarations regarding the purpose of His work betrayed their ignorance not only about Jesus but also about the Father. After all, not to see the necessity of the atonement evidences confusion about God’s holiness and what He demands to be reconciled to His creatures.”
The only one Jesus could truly rely upon was God the Father. However, how often do we humbly come to the Father for reliance instead of relying upon our own strength and understanding of life’s situations? It is easy for us to presume to know more than God does. How ironic it is for us to criticize the eleven disciples for such hubris when we often are guilty of the same sin.
May we humbly strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and resolve never to think that we have learned all which God would have us to know and understand. Our Lord’s classroom is still in session.
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!