Monday, March 18, 2013

Spiritual dullness

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 12:12-33

TO CHEW ON: "His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him." John 12:16

What 'things' is John talking about?

They are the events that played out, with Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem in fulfillment of the prophecy:
"Fear not, daughter of Zion:
Behold your king is coming.
Sitting on a donkey's colt"  - John 12:15
(alluding to Isaiah 40:9 and Zechariah 9:9).

At the time this happened, the event all by itself didn't have the big-picture significance to John that it did after Jesus was glorified. John had obviously mulled over what this all meant between its occurrence and writing it down. He had grasped how Jesus riding into Jerusalem, along with many other things, made Him the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies.

This is not the first time the disciples were dull. Repeatedly throughout the gospels we see Jesus chiding them for their lack of understanding (Matthew 15:16, 16:11; Luke 24:25; John 14:9).

What causes lack of spiritual comprehension? Could we be similarly dull? Many causes are implied in Bible verses that speak of not understanding spiritual truth:

1. An unwillingness to admit the obvious
is implied about the misplaced faith of the person worshiping an idol carved out of the same block of wood used to fuel a cooking fire - Isaiah 44:19.
2. A lack of obedience and resistance to correction - Jeremiah 7:28.
3. Rebelliousness - Ezekiel 12:2.
4. Lack of spiritual discernment - Luke 12:56.
5. Lack of spiritual sensitivity - John 8:43; Hebrews 5:11.
6. Adopting the shallow worldview of those around us - Romans 3:11.
7. Unfamiliarity with the Scripture - Matthew 22:29; John 5:39.
8. Fatigue - Matthew 26:40-45.

Before we're too hard on the disciples for not understanding what seems obvious to us now, we should put ourselves in their shoes. I'm not sure I would have grasped any more than they did.

Of course we should strive for spiritual understanding now. Something that was key to the disciples' eventual comprehension of Jesus and His significance was their familiarity with the Old Testament scriptures. We have both the Old and New Testaments to help us understand our times and God working out His plan through history. Let's take advantage of these treasure stores to become spiritually sharp.

Dear God, please sharpen my spiritual awareness as I read the Bible and match up what it says with what I see happening around me. Amen.

MORE: The Sons of Issachar model:

An obscure verse in 2 Chronicles talks about the Sons of Issachar and describes them as having "… understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do" (2 Chronicles 12:32). We can make that our prayer too—that we will understand our times and know what to do in them.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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  1. To understand our times and know what to do - this is my prayer, Violet. We are so blessed to have access to the answers we need.

  2. It's great to know that God is never surprised by any of the developments in the world or the church, isn't it?


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