25 “I’ve been using figures of speech with you. The time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in such analogies. Instead, I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I’m not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. 28 I left the Father and came into the world. I tell you again: I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “See! Now you speak plainly; you aren’t using figures of speech. 30 Now we know that you know everything and you don’t need anyone to ask you. Because of this we believe you have come from God.”
31 Jesus replied, “Now you believe? 32 Look! A time is coming—and is here!—when each of you will be scattered to your own homes and you will leave me alone. I’m not really alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”
An ad for a popular communication company asks, Can you hear me now? It is a hallmark question that defines talking and understanding things plainly. Although Jesus often spoke in parables, through John 16, Jesus gives the disciples his version of speaking plainly.
This point in scripture reminds me of the climax of any drama–when the main character’s truth is finally understood. With a little sarcasm, Jesus is saying, so when I speak plainly, now I have your attention?! “Now you believe?”
The disciples even agree that because Jesus was speaking directly, they now believe him. With such directness, Jesus will tell them some hard truths: “You will be scattered to your own homes and you will leave me alone.” As Jesus’ earthly time is ending, he will return to the Father. But the journey for the disciples is just beginning, and it will not be an easy one. The earthly world is a place with much distress–then, as it is now.
In the end, the disciples will come to feel that they are the ones who are alone without their Lord. Yet, when Jesus states that “the Father is with me,” he is also reminding the disciples that they are never alone. Jesus has conquered the earthly world. It is not just that God was with Jesus because of this. It is that God is forever with each of us in both joy and despair. The disciples and all of us will find peace and comfort by our reliance on God through Jesus. May his words remind us that none of us is ever truly alone.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
What keeps you from clearly hearing Jesus’ message? Is it the distractions of life or a lack of time? Is it the difficulty of understanding the Bible? Is it an internal resistance to his words? Ponder today what might enable you to hear better.
Prayer: God of our ancestors, you have been with us all along. As you were with Jesus and the disciples, your steadfast love and presence is what we cling to. In times of strife and hardship, only you remain as the plain talk that is in our heads. Surround us with your grace, O God. Help us to hear and to know your way, today and always. Amen.