The Journey reading for today is John 14:22-31. Here we see a classic dialogue between Jesus and a disciple. Judas (not the one who betrayed Jesus) asks a direct question and Jesus does not give a straight answer. Isn’t that frustrating?
Let’s look at this passage in two ways. First, let’s address why Jesus never gave straight answers. Then we can look at the specific non-direct response to Judas’ question.
Why does Jesus never give direct answers? Well, let me answer that by asking this (just kidding). I think Jesus never gave direct answers for two reasons. First, there aren’t direct answers when it comes to God. A direct answer implies that the object of the question is something that can be wrapped up neatly and understood completely. God, however, is not an object that can be understood, let alone explained, by the finite human intellect.
The second reason that Jesus doesn’t give direct answers is because good teachers always draw students into better questions. This is especially true with God. This is not a theology course where we study about God. Jesus invites us into a dynamic relationship with God. Every relationship worth having is one that continually grows and expands with deeper experiential knowledge of the other.
That leads us to look at Jesus’ non-direct answer to Judas’ question. Judas asked, “Why will you reveal yourself to us, but not to the world?” Jesus doesn’t answer directly. Instead, he describes how the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will dwell with those who love God and will empower them to speak about God and grow deeper into the love of God.
That is Jesus’ direct answer. This is a foreshadowing of what he will say in chapter 17. The world will know God by experiencing the love that the disciples have for one another and for the world. When Jesus’ disciples experience the mutual indwelling of all things, then God is truly revealed to the world.
Again, the message of the Gospel is not a propositional statement ABOUT God to which people can either check “yes” or “no.” The revelation of God to the world is the indwelling love of God that can only be experienced in action and continually expanded and deepened (and usually in imperfect, messy ways as we all struggle with God’s love).
May we reveal God’s love and dwell well today.