We are in Jesus’s last moments with his disciples. Today we will be remembering some of the things Jesus told the disciples (at least in the last moments with them) to face the world and spread the gospel and do the work of ministry.
This portion is important to us as it is easy to lose perspective and to forget the truths we should be tightly grabbed to.
So, let’s read the whole portion first
1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
To study this portion, I want to switch the order of our verses to make the point of what we should expect in this world first and what we should be reminded of every time as the disciples were.
They Have Not Known (John 16:2-3)
2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.
Jesus warned His disciples of coming opposition because He did not want them to be surprised and stumbled by it. Jesus knew the hearts of the pharisees, and teachers and He knew that His gospel was (and is) contrary to the norm. If Jesus was rejected by them, the disciples should expect exactly the same.
He also did not expect that His disciples would immediately leave them. They would be forced out of the synagogues because the gospel of Christ. Again, Jesus knew they would reject them, but they should endure and not stumble or get discouraged.
If you remember, Matthew 10:21-23, Jesus knew He would cause division.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Now, we can read: The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service: As people didn’t want to know Christ, therefore, to really know God, they would think that they were serving God. At the end they were serving themselves and their own idols.
The time is coming. Andthat time came quickly for the disciples, wasn’t it? Remember our very best friend Paul, known before as Saul of Tarsus? He had a little campaign against christians. He and the Jews had a sport of hunting them down. We know the story. And later the whole Roman Empire did the same with awful pictures described in the bible and history books.
In this context Jesus was talking about the Jews since then there have been many who persecute and kill the true followers of Jesus because they think God is pleased by that.
They thought they were: Offers God service
“The word Jesus uses for service is lateria, which is the normal word for the service that a priest rendered at the altar in the Temple of God and is the standard word for religious service.” (Barclay)
We cannot say anything or condemn the Jews. In fact, through most of history, most Christian martyrs were targets of those from other religions or even sects within Christendom. It is not just a one time and one people only. The history is repeated every time and everywhere there’s lacking a true knowledge of Christ.
The problem here, my friends, is the heart. We cannot serve God without knowing Him. No matter what you do, if you do something without knowing God your performing religious service and most likely, you are promoting a god that doesn’t exist and performing idolatry.
And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.
We ought to know God and love Him with all our hearts. Ignorance about God is the root cause of all human problems. We are by nature sinners and without God and an appropriate knowledge of Him we will be the same as the world.
Before even pretending to do something, our heart must be the Lord’s. The world doesn’t know God, but we as Christians, we should know Him. He wants our hearts, and the Lord wants us to know Him. He already knows us, but we can’t even think we know Him if we don’t read our bible and are not in prayer.
Remember: The world won’t change! It is time that the Christian start believing and living out the truth of the Word of God instead to this world’s truth. This world is not our HOME! That is true all the time and not just when we face adversity or circumstances that are contrary to our interests (political, financial, personal…). We must STOP trying to make the earth our heaven! The world we live in will be destroyed at the end. Our goal should be instead:
• Watching for the soon return of the Lord
• Working on our own heart and lives
• Witnessing to everyone we meet of the hope we have, taking as many people as possible with us OUT this world.
These Things (John 16:1)
Coming back to our matter here, now we can start talking about the things Jesus told them. To do so, we need to go back to the immediate passage.
But first: “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.
This word stumble we can think is just to make you trip and fall, but is wider than this:
Skandalizō: to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall. To offend. To cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.
And the form mentioned here is: Skandalon that is not a stumbling-block which might trip you up. It is used of the spring of a trap which might ‘go off’ when you were least expecting it. It us the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick, a trap, snare. Like the cartoons, remember? It can kill you.
So now, knowing that we should not stumble we need to remember Jesus’s words as the disciples did.
First if we go to chapter 15, He just told them that the world will hate them. And when we read further back, we find the same phrase:
““These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:11 NKJV
I think we should go further back then. I will start reading some verses on chapter 14. We will find part of the conversation Jesus had the disciples in the last gathering they had before Jesus’s arrest. I encourage you to read these chapters and the whole book.
– The way. The Key
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
-You Know the Father, You Know the Son
““If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”” John 14:7
-Stay in His will. Pray in His Will
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
-Obedience Over Sacrifices
““If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-18
-Keeping His Word
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:23
-The Helper, The Comforter
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
-Peace Out of This World
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” John 14:27-28
Now in chapter 15:
-Abide in Him
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:3-4
-Jesus is Our Friend
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-15
-The World Hates Jesus
““If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
-The Helper is with Us
““But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27
Having What We Need When We Need It (John 16:4)
4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
When the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them: Jesus did well to warn, because it comes as a great shock that a gospel so glorious is hated so widely. He did not tell His disciples these things at the beginning, but He certainly told them.
“During the earlier part of His ministry Jesus had spoken comparatively little to His disciples about the persecution which awaited them, because He had been in their company, and as long as He was with them the world’s hatred must inevitably be drawn to Himself.” (Tasker)
“While He was with them, they leant upon Him and could not apprehend a time of weakness and persecution.” (Dods)
They knew already and they grabbed tightly to Jesus’s words.
They were going to have to accept Christ’s words to them as true despite their own understanding and experience. Friends, life is a choice; we can not change our circumstances but we do have a choice in how we are going to react to them. We can react in panic or in peace; it’s our choice!
So often, our failure is due to our distrust of Jesus’ words to us! If we would only trust and obey His words, how much more peace would fill our day?!
Brothers and sisters, we can only grow closer to Him as we learn to trust His words through the storms of life!