There’s a passage in Luke’s gospel where Jesus sounds really fed up with the people he is with. He says in frustration, ‘What are they like?’
And then he goes on to answer this question, saying that they are like people who are never satisfied. They are people who are always complaining.
They are like children moaning that they played the flute but no one danced.
The people want things their own way. They want to call the tune and for others to dance to it. And they don’t want to give that role or power to anyone else.
I was reading this passage in Church the other day with a few friends and trying to make sense of it.
If you read on, Jesus then says how John the Baptist wasn’t good enough for people. How ‘he came eating no bread and drinking no wine’ and people said he had a demon. Then how Jesus himself came eating and drinking but he wasn’t good enough either. People called him a glutton and a drunkard.
It seemed that there was no pleasing them.
The thing is that the people Jesus is talking to think that they are better than him. That they know better than him.
And I asked my friends whether we aren’t like this too. Don’t we want to do things our own way? Don’t we think that we know better than Jesus?
There was a bit of a silence and then one man – who rarely says that much – simply replied, ‘Jesus knows best.’
I didn’t hear what he said that clearly, so I asked him to say it again.
And he said, ‘Jesus knows best.’
And, in that moment, it felt like this man had encapsulated the whole gospel. For, wasn’t he saying that Jesus is Lord? That the key to faith is accepting that Jesus knows best?
The expression made me think of the old saying ‘Mother knows best.’
When our mothers advise us or warn us about something, they generally know best. It’s as though they can see into our futures. And this is because they love us like no other person loves us. They love us with a complete lack of self-interest. They simply want the best for us.
And isn’t that even more the case with Jesus? Doesn’t Jesus love us with a complete lack of self-interest? Doesn’t he simply want the best for us?
Later that day, I was at a Bible study group with a few other friends and we were reading the story of the wedding at Cana in John’s gospel. And I was struck for the first time by the faith of Mary, mother of Jesus, as expressed in that story. Amid all the confusion about the wine running out and how humiliating this is for the couple and their families, Mary simply says to the stewards, ‘Do whatever Jesus tells you.’
Do whatever Jesus tells you.
Isn’t that the same as saying ‘Jesus knows best’?
To be a Christian is simply to accept that Jesus loves us and knows what is best for us. In love, he will encourage, guide, protect and rebuke us. Just like a loving mother.
So let’s trust him more. Let’s not be like children who think they know it all, who think that their mother has nothing to teach them.
Let’s live an abundant life, a life in tune with God, accepting that we don’t call the tune ourselves. That Jesus knows best – because he loves us, like no other.