March 30, 2020
Really? I hear that a lot in people’s conversations today. It’s a one word statement of disbelief in what has just been said. It’s intended to make the other person reconsider what they just said and why they said it.
From what I can discern Jesus originated that question. Without ever using the word itself, He definitely questioned what the disciples were concerned about after He has just told them the reason He would be temporarily leaving them. We read about it in the Gospel of John chapter 16.
John 16:16-19 16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’?
Here’s a brief background. In the Upper Room, celebrating the Passover, Jesus has revealed to the disciples the redemptive plan of God. Jesus would offer Himself as the Passover Lamb for the forgiveness of sins.
Then Jesus told them that this would require Him to leave them for a short period of time, and that they would experience great sorrow. He informs them that the sorrow is only temporary because He would see them again. He had explained to them that during His time away He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in them and be His ever-abiding presence with them.
The disciples immediately began to discuss what Jesus meant by saying He was leaving, and what He meant by “a little while.” Their focus was on what they would be missing.
Then Jesus says to them, “Really?”. Well, not really, but that’s exactly what He meant when He said, “Is this what you are asking yourselves…” Really? After everything I just told you about my sacrifice for sin? After the news I gave you that I would come and dwell in you through the Holy Spirit? This is what you are focused on? You care more about how long I will be gone rather than embracing the promise that I’m not gone at all? Really?
I wonder how many times we care more about how long Jesus has been gone, rather than the fact the He’s not gone at all? Do we not understand that His Presence is in us, and He is our constant guide and companion? I wonder how many of us suffer from a lack of joy because we think it’s only possible when we get to heaven?
Jesus addressed the disciples’ wrong focus with these words. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:22) Just think, Jesus promises us that when the Holy Spirit comes, His joy can NEVER be removed from us.
Then He says this, in my words. “Don’t just sit there, start asking me for anything you need to accomplish my glory and the Father’s redemptive purpose. I will give it to you, and fill you with joy to the point of overflowing.”
Really? Overflowing joy? Sounds unlikely. But only if our focus is on what’s missing, rather than who’s already Present. If anyone is going to say “Really?” to me, let it be because I am overflowing with joy in spite of what’s going on in the world.