“Why?” John 9:1-5

Sometimes we have to take a break from our verse by verse study to address issues or experiences we are facing as a congregation or a culture and then sometimes, like today, the verse by verse study speaks directly to where we are and what many of us are feeling. Jesus had just made a statement that changed the course of His ministry and left no question or doubt about His identity. The Pharisees had asked, “Who do You make Yourself out to be?” Jesus eventually answered, “before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus carefully, and purposefully took for His own the name that God had used for Himself when He met Moses at the burning bush. God called Moses and Moses questioned God. Most of us do the same thing. We explain our discomfort and ask questions about what we don’t understand. There is nothing at all wrong with our questions, nothing, but sometimes we must be willing to get to the source of our questions. Do we ask because we don’t understand, because we want to understand, or do we ask because we are afraid, because we are unwilling or even because we are disappointed? Again, no matter the motive, there is nothing wrong with our questions, because questions always give God room to answer. Moses asked God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” This is an interesting question, it shows us how deep our anxiety can be, but it will also lead us to see how generous God is. Moses created a scenario in his mind, a possible confrontation for which there was no evidence. What I mean is this, God had never shared His name with anyone at this point, He had never introduced Himself and no one, in Biblical record had ever asked His name, so why would Moses, in His conversation with God ask, “What if they ask me Your name?” Anxiety and fear don’t use logic, they don’t use evidence, they don’t follow patterns and most of all, they don’t rely on relationship, in fact, they do the opposite, they overlook the truth of character displayed in relationship and ask questions lacking in reason. Why would they ask for God’s name when they didn’t know God’s name themselves? Why would they ask God’s name when up until that time, His name had been completely unknown and unnecessary? Again, nothing is wrong with Moses’ question, he was not wrong for asking it, but his question reveals who and what was at work in his heart, it was a question of anxiety. How did God meet Moses in that place? He didn’t rebuke him for being anxious, He didn’t tell Moses that His name was none of their business, He didn’t even tell Moses that they wouldn’t ask for His name, so don’t’ worry about it. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM . . . Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” God is so kind, so generous, so merciful and so loving, that He answers questions that didn’t need to be asked, He gives answers that soothe our hearts even if the questions might have been irrational. He stays in His character even when we feel like we are out of ours. Moses asked God a question in anxiety and God answered in love. The Pharisees asked a question in anger, doubt and pride, and Jesus answered in love. God told Moses, “tell them I AM sent you”. Jesus told the Pharisees, “I’m saying that I AM.” In today’s text, the disciples had a question that was provoked by their traditions, this morning many of us have questions that are stirred by our grief, by our loss, simply by the place from which most questions begin, by our lack of understanding. What I pray we will see and hear, above all else, is that our questions can and should always be asked and they will always be met, no matter where they come from or how they are worded, by God’s answers of love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.