November 11, 2016
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him. John 12:16
Years ago, a church member stopped at my office for "just a little talk." During his little chat he told me he was getting a divorce. After 22 years of marriage, two children, and 18 years of house payments, he was getting a divorce. When I asked why, he summed up his unbearable home situation by saying, "My wife doesn't understand me."
When pressed for examples, he didn't get much further than she cooked his eggs too long, and she kept telling him not to leave his dirty socks and underwear on the bedroom floor. Since he was not understood, he felt perfectly right in taking up with another lady who could cook an egg.
Of course, the feeling of being misunderstood cannot be confined to the marrieds among us.
A goodly number of teens are absolutely convinced their parents have no concept of what is on their minds, in their hearts, and in their lives. When teens do have a moment of weakness and confess a problem to their parents, all too often they hear something like this: "Kid, you call that a problem? You don't know what a problem is. Why, when I was your age ...."
"You don't understand me." That's the lament of the under-appreciated, underpaid, un-promoted employee. We all know if our boss had the sense to really look at us, we would have received the promotion and benefits that went to the overrated doofus in the next cubicle.
We all want to be understood. Every one of us has a craving, a longing, a yearning for somebody, anybody, to truly, fully, completely understand us: to give us the benefit of the doubt, to put the best construction on who we are and what we say and do.
I sometimes wonder if Jesus didn't feel the same way ... about being misunderstood.
Truly, if ever a man was misunderstood, it was Jesus. Jesus was misunderstood by the crowds that followed Him; He was misunderstood by the Pharisees who considered Him a blasphemer, a heretic, and the devil incarnate, who was trying to rewrite God's Scripture and disregard His Laws. The priests of Jesus' day thought of Jesus as competition, a false prophet, guiding the people down a path of doom and destruction. It took the coming of the Holy Spirit to remove the fog of misunderstanding from the minds of His disciples.
Read through the Gospels and you will be amazed at the intensity of the misunderstanding surrounding the Savior.
This is why I pray you understand. To be your Savior from sin is why Jesus was born into this world. To be your Savior from the Law's condemnation is why He lived a perfect life. To be your Savior from the devil's temptations is why He rejected every shortcut that Satan proposed. So you might be able to stand before God, washed clean of your sin, is why innocent Jesus allowed Himself to be condemned.
So you might live forever, Jesus died.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I will never understand the love and grace which brought the Savior into this world to save me. Even so, without complete understanding, may I rejoice in the forgiveness and salvation He has won. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries