Free to Wait {#31 Days}

Coming to the right answer can take time. The questions always come easily, even the tough ones.  They nag and demand answers, preferably quick, easy ones. But if you’re asking the right questions, you should be prepared to wait.

In John’s Gospel there appears to be two key questions surrounding Jesus: Who is he? What do we do with him?

Jesus provokes the heart to ask tough questions. Ones that are drawn up from some deep and vulnerable place of the heart. There’s an impetuous nature to these questions. They seem to have a “I need to know right now” attitude.

Take for example Nicodemus.

We meet him first in John chapter three. In my opinion, he gets a bad rap because he comes to Jesus under the cloak of night. For years I’ve heard how cowardly it was for him to sneak to Jesus at night, afraid for others to see him talking with the Galilean. But the text doesn’t tell us this. It only says he came to Jesus “by night.” Maybe he was afraid of being seen, but I’ve had enough sleepless nights to know that sometimes the questions just sit bedside and nag and nag and nag; they can’t be quieted or soothed. Maybe Nicodemus came by night because his questions wouldn’t wait until morning.

Jesus let’s him ask away: How can these things be? Nicodemus honestly wrestles with questions to which only Jesus has the answers. Jesus in response explains life born of water and Spirit. The inadequacies of answers too easily settled upon. Of eternal life. Of love. Of light and darkness (John 3).

In a somewhat unsettling way, Nicodemus fades stage left. Jesus gives him the answers to his questions and even throws in a few extras, but all we get from Nicodemus is {{{crickets}}}. No test to see if Nicodemus would remember the right answers?

Forward ahead about year…Jesus has returned Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths (John 7). The questions about Jesus remain. Jesus’ brothers question the ministry strategy. They answer their own questions and tell Jesus he’s doing it all wrong. The people can’t decide if he’s a prophet, the Messiah, or a deceiver. They answer each other’s questions, with unsatisfying and fickle opinions. The Pharisees, concerned about the confusion {and threat to their control}, decide the best way to get answers is to put an end to all the questions–arrest Jesus and do away with him. You know, it’s tempting to just silence the question that seem to have answers with big ramifications. 

Everyone is all stirred up when John records this, “Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them asked, ‘Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?’ ” (John 7:50-51)Questions once directed at Jesus are now offered in his defense.

Nicodemus knows that those who give Jesus a fair hearing will discover the answers he has. He knew how long his questions held him captive to uncertainty. Even as a teacher of the law, he knew the inadequacy of questions answered without Jesus. Unlike the others, Nicodemus asked his questions directly to Jesus and waited for the answer. Maybe it was when Jesus stood in the Temple and announced himself as the fulfillment of Israel’s longing for water and Spirit (Jn. 7:37-38) that the ding-ding-ding went off in Nicodemus’ heart. The words were familiar. They were the answer to his question,  “How can these things be?Jesus was the answer. 

The Answer set Nicodemus free. Free to stand up in the light of his peer’s review. Free to be associated with the Galilean. Free to enjoy the answer to his heart’s deepest question. Jesus is sweet like that. He welcomes us, even at night, to ask our questions. He doesn’t test us on the spot. Instead, he shows up right in the middle of our life to help us know that the answer he gave will really satisfy. His answers don’t only make us sleep easier, they let us live freely. 

Coming to the right answer takes time. You have to be willing to wait for it. Don’t hurry {or worry}. It’s not that nagging question that takes you captive, it’s the refusal to let Jesus answer it. Ask. Wait. Be free. 

Be free indeed!

This month I’m participating with The Nester in her 31 Day challenge to write every day on a topic of choice. I’m writing this month on how Jesus make us free. Because without him, we’re just a hot mess of a captive. Today I’m also linking up with Word Filled Wednesday over at Internet Cafe Devotions.

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