I didn’t realize when I started preparing my posts for this week how much everything was going to overlap! As I’ve felt the intensity in Jesus’ voice rise during these last few chapters in John’s gospel, I feel like everything happening in our modern day is rising with it. Do you feel it too?
If you’ve been following my Friday Focus posts for long, you might wonder why we skip from John 14 to John 16 today. I’m playing catch up. After meditating several weeks on John 15, I felt we had to go back and pick up all these wonderfully long dialogues of Jesus with his disciples. In the midst of a global pandemic, all I wanted to do was hear his voice. So, feel free to re-read John 15 and the posts that went with that chapter before starting today’s, if you so choose.
We ended that focus on the Vine Life with the first verse of chapter sixteen. He told them all he’d shared so that they would not go astray. That’s where we pick up today. It’s important that we don’t stray from Jesus, because:
Jesus knew what he was facing, but he was very aware that the disciples were clueless as to what they would face because of their association with the rebel rabbi. That’s why these intimate moments before the cross were so crucial. He needed to lay it all out, so that later, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they would remember his words and gain strength from them.
He didn’t tell them that a time might come, or it’s a possibility that something bad may happen — No, he said, a time is coming, was sure to come, when a person who kills them will think he’s serving God.
Wow, let that sink in a bit. How would you have taken that if you’d been sitting at his feet? Was he talking about the occupying powers? No, he was talking about their own people. Religious leaders from their own community. Sure, Romans and other Gentiles would get caught up in the effort, but the main instigators would be Jews, just like them.
While we think about the hard-hearted Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus would know this in an even more intimate way, for it was prophesied in a psalm of David hundreds of years prior:
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.Psalm 41:9
Judas, thinking he was doing a service to God, led the enemies of Christ to him for thirty pieces of silver.
A time is coming…A time has come. It came for Christ.
A time is coming, and a time came for his disciples too, martyred for the cause of their Savior.
A time is coming, and a time came for Steven, Paul, and countless believers of the first century and the centuries that followed.
Does this speak to us today? Maybe not you, but if not you, who?
The world continues to be full of those who do not know the Father or Christ the Son, and they will be active in their desire to squelch the Church, the witness of Christians.
Maybe not in your town, but where?
Don’t deny the possibility that you could face such opposition. He’s warned you, after all…so, when the time comes, remember.
Grace and Peace