What did the disciples mean when they said " you (Jesus) do not even need to have anyone ask you questions"

The context: Jesus is having conversation with his disciples on the evening of his arrest. In this passage it is Jesus who begins:

John 16: 25-30
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

What did they mean by “you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions?” They link it to Jesus speaking clearly and without figures of speech, and they now “understand.” And yet that night’s events and throughout the weekend, including Easter Sunday, they clearly did NOT understand.

So what’s with this statement? And what can we learn for ourselves…?

Hey Tim @Mohembo, good question. So usually when I read the bible I tend to read it in NKJV, closest to the KJV but slightly easier to read. In that it has it as the following:

John 16:30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

I hope that helps.
God Bless.

@Danageze This just shifts the query a little. When I look at the verse in all of Bible Gateway’s English translations (as well as the Swedish ones) I get a variety of impressions of what might be understood from the original.

For example, “no need that anyone should question you” might mean

  • nobody should doubt you
  • no body should challenge you with questions to test whether or not you in fact do know everything,
  • nobody will need to ask you for clarifications, because everything will be as plain as the nose on your face.

Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase (based on his interpretation of the intent of the orginal) writes (vs 29-30)
His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.”

When I first read the KJV and NIV I thought the disciples were thinking back to all the times they had had to ask Jesus for explanations of his parables. Now, when Jesus was talking straight and clear, they felt this would no longer be necessary - as Jesus himself in fact said “I will no longer speak figuratively to you, but plainly.” This is the sense that Peterson also seems to imply.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible uses " you have no need that any test you with any she’elah (question)"

But when reading the fuller context from say Ch 13 - 21, I wonder what John was intending to tell us here. Jesus started the evening with strongly symbolic washing of their feet, to speaking figuratively of the vine and branches, heaven having rooms for them all, and his talk of going away. John writes that they started to question one another about what he meant, and Thomas put it right out there in a blunt statement and question. Then comes more discusion and Jesus gets to the point of these verses. Suddenly, they claim all is clear "we know you know everything, … and this makes us believe that you came from God.

And within a couple of hours all was confusion and disbelief. On Easter morning none of them could really believe that he actually had risen, in spite of the very plain speaking promises he had given them several times. Perhaps they believed he came from God only in the sense that John the Baptist and all of the OT prophets also were sent by God (came from God). So that in fact, what they felt was clear in their minds, was really only clear to the extent it matched or alligned with their own pre-conceptions (i.e. what they wanted him to mean).

Is the message for us, that even when we think we know or understand, we really don’t - at not least fully? Is it a call to humility in seeking to fathom the depths of knowing Jesus the Christ, particularly as He reflects the nature of God? Is it a caution that we should not be too dogmatic in claiming to know what He reveals in the Scripture - there is far more than meets the eye, no matter how often we read it and dig into it?


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Hey Tim @Mohembo, good reflection. Here are my thoughts. So trust is the foundation of relationships right. But experience solidifies trust. They may think they understood what he said in that moment, but living through it is a complete different thing. When faced with such a atrocity, their messiah who resurrected Lazarus being put to death is a shocker. They lived with Jesus for 3 years. They have seen his “wins” more than anything and it is sooo hard not to doubt or be crushed by what just happened. Fear is powerful and paralyzes you. It separates you from your logical part of your brain, and is flight or fight. It becomes about survival. If they crucified the messiah, that man that can resurrect, then what would happen to us is what they are thinking.

Another illustration is marriage or relationships, as you live and see how loyal your wife is to you, day in and out, your trust builds and builds. Same with the apostles in Acts, when they see God, the Holy Spirit work through them healing, as an angel breaks the chains in jail etc, that just solidifies their knowledge and trust in God.

Even in my personal experience, after coming to Christ, I have had tough times where I doubted even knowing who he is. But every time it gets easier and easier.

In terms of the knowing everything in scripture or God, there are many things that we know and can go on, but ofcourse we cant know everything about God. The scripture shows us progressive revelation too. How much they know God in OT vs in NT is different. It gets more personal and personal. But it is crucial we dont come to a conclusion that says God cant be known or we cant know the scripture and thus to each as s/he desires. We have to be careful and always put things in context to interpret scripture, pray and study. Jesus told that that the Holy Spirit will guide us in his revelation.

But when we meet him in Heaven, there will be many things he will tell us. The past, present, future. I have heard one say that the time Jesus walked with the 2 disciples after his resurrection was the best sermon we wish we had heard. It the 2 disciples that didnt recognize Christ until he break bread with them. He told them how all scriptures connected and pointed to him. Cant wait for that day :wink:

I hope this helps.
God Bless.

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