25I have used examples to explain to you what I have been talking about. But the time will come when I will speak to you plainly about the Father and will no longer use examples like these. 26You will ask the Father in my name, and I won't have to ask him for you. 27God the Father loves you because you love me, and you believe I have come from him. 28I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.
29The disciples said, “Now you are speaking plainly to us! You are not using examples. 30At last we know that you understand everything, and we don't have any more questions. Now we believe you truly have come from God.”
Do you really believe me? 32The time will come and is already here when all of you will be scattered. Each of you will go back home and leave me by myself. But the Father will be with me, and I won't be alone. 33I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.
An elderly friend of mine named George used to speak in riddles. One of his favorites for us youngsters was: “what’s black and white and red all over?” He would laugh out loud when we answered everything but the word “newspaper.” He took great joy in complicating simple truth. Some of his riddles were humorous and some very serious. Some simple to understand but most of them complex, deep and in some cases could have multiple interpretations.
Jesus often spoke in parables and riddles. “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s” was one of many. We would call them stories and metaphors. These metaphors were an ingenious way for Jesus to try and help his followers understand deep and complex truths. Many of them were not well educated so Jesus had to speak to them in simple terms often painting a verbal picture for them to understand.
Jesus tells his followers that one day he will stop using metaphors and talk in plain direct terms about the Father. Looking ahead to the time after the resurrection Jesus knew that the coming Holy Spirit would enable his followers to understand biblical truths more clearly. Scripture tells us that one of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the Father.
Jesus was trying to get his followers to understand the intimate relationship that exists between him and his Father and between us and his Father because of his intense love for us and because of our relationship with him. It was as if Jesus was saying that because you love, believe in me and follow me, my Father in heaven becomes your father and through the spirit you will have direct access to him.
Father God, teach us the truths of your word and cause our minds to be able to comprehend the complexities of your kingdom.
Dr. Barry Slauenwhite is Canadian Regional Director for Best Christian Workplaces Instiute. He is also President Emeritus of Compassion Canada where he has served since 1983. Barry's advocacy for the poor has taken him to 61 countries. From his experience as a pastor and a ministry leader, he passionately works to promote holistic child development through the local church as being the most effective kingdom-building strategy available to the Christian world. Barry's latest book, Strategic Compassion, addresses the theological implications of poverty and draws a conclusion that the gospel is the most effective tool the church has to eradicate poverty.