I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. :) Click here to go to my disclosure policy.
Last time we were together we learned how we shouldn’t be surprised at the world’s hatred of us, today we study the first four verses of John 16.
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
Why has Jesus told the disciples all these things… about the need to love, about who he is, about the world’s hatred, about how we show our love in obedience? Why, in his final days, are these things so important to impart to the disciples?
Jesus says these things for this reason: to you to keep you from falling away. Do you see how he wants to strength their faith by reminding them of the important things. His connection to God, his connection to them, how we are connected to him and show our love in obedience, and oh…. the importance of love. These things strengthen us in hard days.
He then warns the disciples of what will happen. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. In the Jewish faith, the synagogue is an important part of life. Imagine how hard it would be to be removed from something pivotal to your life? And then, because of your faith in God, in the moving forward in faith you are kicked out of it. Not only that, to know that death might well await you. Those killing you thinking they are doing duty to God. Think on that. There are times I think about ISIA and jihadists and how they believe they kill Christians out of service to Allah, to god. To know you are dying because they are wrong in their faith. Not an easy thing that.
Stop and think about it though… they don’t really know God, they aren’t connected to him. Neither are they connected to Christ the son. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.
Jesus wants his people to know this though… for when the hour comes….he wants them to remember all that he has told them. He wants them strengthen in their faith and ready for the day when it comes. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
When I was in college I wrote a paper once about how Christians in North America need to remember that we belong to the Lord. It too easy for us to take our faith to granted and postulated that we need some type of difficulty thrown at us. My professor asked if I thought we needed some persecution? I told him, maybe. Hard times help us to remember the important things you know? They draw us back into remember God’s care and concern for us. Through our remembrance, to take our faith more seriously. I still kinda wonder if we need more of that HERE in our lives now. Something to shake the church up a bit, recalling us back to the need to love and not get caught up in the petty concerns of life. To remember that inter-connectedness of God, His Son, the Holy Spirit AND US.
At the same time… I don’t want my lad to die for his faith. I don’t particularly want to be killed, thrown in prison or whatever over my faith. Yet at the same time, God calls me to remember, to know that even though I DIE…. he will be glorified in my obedience. How important it is that I stay true to the faith. So which should be my greater prayer? To suffer persecution as a way to strengthen the church? I don’t know, I honestly don’t.
What do you think?