6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” John 17:6-8
“I got nothin’.” It’s a common expression. I’m out of ideas. I’m empty. I’ve heard it in movies, television, advertisements,…lots of places. If you think for a moment, you’ll know what usually comes next. One person says this, they all look at the ground in empty thought, and then one genius says, “I’ve got an idea.” We soon cut to the (car) chase and generally satisfying mayhem as our heroes speed to the just ending of the tale.
Can you imagine Jesus saying, “I got nothin’?” Imagine the panic attack the disciples would’ve had.
“Um, did I just hear Him say, He’s got nothin’? Peter, where’d we leave the boat? I think we’re gonna need it.”
Look at John’s verses above. Read carefully, and you’ll see this is a wordy version of “I got nothin’.” Everyone and everything that Jesus had came from the Father. What to say, what to do, and who to do it with. With my meager faith, if God had told me to fill the WHOLE WORLD with His good news by using a bunch of blue collar fisherman, I would have looked up past the clouds and told Him He has got to be kidding.
“I know You have a great sense of humor, so I get the joke. This is me laughing. Now where are the real troops? Seriously.”
But Jesus, having nothin’, took whatever God filled Him with and loved it. His response compared to mine? I’m guessing it was something like, “Now this is going to be interesting.” Chuckle. Smile. Then He just wades into it. Look at how well it turned out too, doing it His way.
Recall the time the priests brought a prostitute to Jesus for condemnation. Jesus stooped down and drew in the dust, keeping them waiting. Then He stood up and started talking. How many people over the centuries have longed to know what Jesus wrote in the dirt that day! Then I heard a different interpretation of this passage.
Again, recall how Jesus told his mother to hang on when she asked Him to do something about the wine running out at the wedding. He told her His time had not yet come. When it had come a short while later, the was wine a-plenty!
In both instances, the idea is that Jesus was essentially saying “I got nothin’. Just give it a few while I wait for God to say, ‘I’ve got an idea.’” The interpretation of Jesus drawing in the dirt was Him showing patience until God gave Him the words to say. At the wedding, it was another small lesson from God to be patient and wait on Him.
So what did He draw in the dirt? Don’t know, don’t care. If we were supposed to know, it’d be in the Bible somewhere. Let it go. We’d probably be disappointed anyway, if the interpretation I’ve shared with you above is accurate. We’d be so disappointed to learn He was doodling, drawing stick men, or simply writing, “I got nothin’, God. Waiting for an answer for these clowns.”
So often we can’t bring ourselves to admit we’ve got nothin’. We try to be the one who comes up with the idea. And, while I admit I don’t know of anyone who hears from God in their head or ears, we still have His Word. Even in ancient times, God didn’t talk to everyone. Not by a long shot. The Word was still being worked out and written down. Once finished with Jesus’ completion of the job of salvation, that was the end of the story. Yeah, there are prophecies to talk about end times, etc. God, so far as I know, whispers in no more ears.
But we have His inspired Word to listen to. We should read it every day. Pray about it every day. At the start of every day. So His Word is fresh in our ears all day. So God’s guiding Word is our first recourse. Not the last.
How many conversations with friends over tragedies and temptations in their lives consist of what we can think of and end with, “…and I’ll be praying for you too.” Prayer; remedy of last resort. We should do our best to remember early on that “I’ve got nothin’.” Pray a prayer, even a fleeting one in your head, to ask God to give you the remembrance and the words for your friend, relative, acquaintance…yourself! Or whomever. Do what Jesus would do. He’d start with –
“I got nothin’. God?”
What do you think? I and other readers want to know!