For those of us that have grown up in the Church, we know the ‘right’ answer to Bible questions:
We say we know the right answer but we leave it there at Church in the Sunday School room and go on with our weeks unsure how to truly live out the Gospel because surely life is nothing like Sunday School so the same answers won’t apply.
This morning as I was reading the classic Sunday School story of the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6 I realized that there are times when Sunday School answers apply. When it’s time for lunch and Jesus and the disciples try to figure out how they are going to feed everyone, Jesus asks Philip where they should go to buy food. Since Philip was from a nearby town, of course he knew where to go and how much everything would cost. He told Jesus that it would be pointless to buy food because everyone would get so little and it wouldn’t be cost efficient…etc. But what stands out to me isn’t Philip’s answer, but the verse right before it.
“This He [Jesus] was saying to test him [Philip], for He Himself knew what he was intending to do.”
– John 6:6
Philip provided a great answer, but it didn’t include the mighty power of Jesus.
I wonder how often Jesus asks me questions that He is the answer to and I miss out on the full appreciation of His power because I’ve ignored the Sunday School Answer. In this situation, Jesus’ provision wasn’t the only possible solution, there was another place to buy food nearby, but He was by far the best and most beneficial solution for everyone to make the Gospel known.
My answers don’t always need to be creative and out of the box. Philip’s problem wasn’t that his answer was too logical and realistic it just didn’t include Jesus. When life presents a dilemma, what’s the answer?
Sunday school answer: JESUS
There’s such a negative connotation with Sunday School answers, Jesus is a default setting and there’s almost a hint of skepticism in the power of a simple one-word reply when applied to real life situations.
The problem with Sunday School answers isn’t that they’re too simple, but that we reserve them for Sunday School.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with responding to life with a simple and humble “Jesus, The answer is You. I can’t see how you’re going to work yet and I know it’s not about what I can do, but what You’re going to do and I can’t wait to see what it is.” It’s okay if unlike Philip, we don’t know where the nearest store is, or if simple math isn’t our thing so we’re unsure if bread will cost 200 or 250 denarii.
The problem arises when we reserve our resounding “Jesus is the right answer!” for Sunday mornings when we look our best and are surrounded by people who also know the right answers. Why do we let our “Jesus!” stay there?
When Jesus asks me what I’m going to do and waits to see how I’m going to respond to dilemmas in my life, I don’t want to wait until Sunday when I’m all dressed up and surrounded by people who think the same way I do to figure out that the answer is Jesus, that’s not usually where hard life happens anyways.
I want my response to be one of timidity and expectancy. One that gives me goosebumps because I am confident that once I put that moment in Jesus’ hands, the Lord will blow me away.
Every day, I want my answer to be Jesus.