“The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.” Luke 18:34
Why wasn’t Jesus clearer? When He said that the disciples must eat His flesh, couldn’t He have explained that He meant they would one day take communion and it would be a way of remembering his sacrifice of his life? Or when He said He was going to destroy the temple and raise it up again in three days, couldn’t He have explained that He wasn’t going to tear down the building but that His body would be destroyed and then raised?
Why didn’t He explain more? Why doesn’t He explain more today?
God is much wiser than anyone. And I know I trust Him, but I can’t understand this quality of His. Because one thing about me is I value understanding. I will over-explain myself without anyone asking, and I will, what people call, “beat a dead horse” asking for clarification. The idea of Jesus allowing misunderstandings frustrates me. Didn’t He want people to understand His message?
Couldn’t He have predicted future Christians’ confusion over communion, or baptism, or priesthood? Why didn’t He talk more specifically about whether people after the disciples would be able to experience the miraculous? Why didn’t He specifically direct us in how to worship Him, or how to date or spend money or take care of our bodies?
Now, we have Christians interpreting verses differently, all believing they are right.
BUT WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT REVEALING MYSTERIES?
In Matthew 11:25, He said: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
Does this mean we are all too ‘wise’? How can we be more like little children?
One instance came to mind on how He revealed a mystery to me recently. For many years, I thought buying a house as an unmarried woman would be impossible for me, but God told me He would be my teammate in helping me have my dream of owning a house. He told me I didn’t need anyone but Him. I was previously a missionary and I then worked as an online teacher as I went to ministry school. By the time I had a more conventional job, I felt so behind financially.
But a year ago, God blessed me. I qualified to buy a house! I was amazed! But when I prayed about the details of what kind of house I would buy, He wasn’t perfectly clear. I kept hearing I would end up getting something a little different than a house loan.
What God? Like maybe a town house? Was I even hearing right?
I had a lack of clarity. But I felt His blessing to qualify for a mortgage, so I did. I took the one step. I moved into my friend’s house and was so blessed to rent month-to-month as I looked for a house (or townhouse or whatever!).
Then, I met the love of my life because he lives directly next door to the friend I moved in with. After a year of dating, we got engaged last month! Now, looking back, I wonder if the “different kind of loan” will turn out to be a construction loan to add on to my fiancé’s house (since he has one already). Or maybe it will be a loan for an apartment we rent out to others. Or maybe God blessed me to qualify for a mortgage so I’d see His might in fulfilling His promise. (I qualified on my own, just like He said!) Maybe He never intended for me to buy anything, but He told me to look for houses and move in with my friend because He knew I’d meet the one He had for me, right next door!
There are so many mysteries! But I’m so glad I planned to buy a house! And I think if He had told me everything beforehand, I would have doubted, overthought, and maybe missed it. Who knows!
MAYBE GOD HIDES THE MYSTERIES FROM THE WISE AND SHOWS THEM TO PEOPLE LIKE CHILDREN BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BE ON THE JOURNEY WITH US.
He may lead us in one direction to show us something different, but better! He reveals mysteries as we keep in step with Him. But we also, importantly, learn His character and His ways.
Perhaps, as you walk with him, a mystery in the Bible will become clear. Yes, He could have explained it more clearly in the Bible, but He wants us to be children and to walk with Him in it. He wants us to search His heart and to talk to Him and to press in. That’s the best part!
I suppose if he wanted very obedient robots, he would have spelled out every detail, but He wanted relationship. He wanted to journey with us. And He also knew the exact amount of information we needed so we would go where He was leading.
I looked at the rebuilding of the temple verses again.
“The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” John 2:18-22
The temple Jesus spoke of was His body. Only after He rose from the dead, his disciples remembered (and understood) what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.
If Jesus explained explicitly that He was going to die and then resurrect, the pharisees listening may have imprisoned him forever so He couldn’t fulfill His prophecy. He hid the truth from the ‘wise’ and it was later revealed to the people who walked with him, who were like children, and who journeyed with their savior. The child-like people didn’t understand Him immediately either, but they let Him show them as they walked with Him.
And I thank Jesus that in the mysteries, we can do the same today. We can walk with Him. We can let Him lead us step-by-step. Sometimes, he reveals the mysteries upfront, but sometimes He knows better not to. And all we can do is trust Him as He leads. He knows what He is doing.