Nobody likes being made fun of.
I’m a PK (Pastor’s kid). That’s the only childhood I knew. And it was great…except for classmates making fun of me for being a PK. That was tough for a kid.
I wasn’t allowed to watch or do some of the things my classmates did. Sundays—weekends in general—looked very different in my home than theirs. As a child, I nearly resented it.
But as I grew up, I realized how great my childhood was. Over time, I learned how much pain and suffering I avoided by being raised in a Christian home.
Today, I’m so very grateful for the foundation I was given. It prepared me for tribulation (trouble).
Jesus and his disciples are at the table where the Last Supper occurred. In just a few hours, Jesus would be betrayed and crucified for the payment of our sins. By this time tomorrow evening, Jesus would be dead and buried. On the precipice of that journey, Jesus continues in John 16:1-6:
Jesus was encouraging them when the season of His greatest battle was impending.
This coming hostility from the world and the presence of the Advocate (the Name Jesus was using for the Holy Spirit) would inform a subject filling a part of every letter in the New Testament: falling away.
Jesus tells them in verse 2: a time is coming when they will be excommunicated from the Jewish faith and, later, even killed. Shockingly, Jesus tells them (end of verse 2), “anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”
He assures them, though, that they would not be acting on God’s behalf. “They have not known the Father or me,” Jesus assures (verse 3).
We want to skip over these parts or pretend they don’t exist, but the truth is we will face persecution. And some will fall away from the faith: they will abandon their faith. Thus, the issue is readiness.
Jesus said in our text today in verse 4, “I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.”
Up to this point, Jesus has been able to deflect the persecution from them by absorbing it Himself. But Jesus won’t be with them (physically) for much longer. In other words: no more deflection of persecution and adversity because of Jesus’ physical presence. They would face it themselves, but they would not be alone spiritually, intellectually, or emotionally.
Earlier in the evening, both Peter and Thomas asked Jesus where He was going (John 13:36 and 14:5), yet Jesus told them, “None of you asks me, ‘where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things” (John 16:5-6).
Yes, both men used the words, but neither understood what they were asking. They were not really asking about His destination as much as they were concerned with “why.” They were filled with fear and grief because their beloved Master would be physically gone, and they were not concerned with the profound, rich truth He offered them.
Jesus knew they didn’t know. And He taught them.
He also taught them they would suffer as He did. Beloved, so will we.
Like the disciples gathered around the table, we are encouraged to not give up in the face of adversity for the sake of Christ. Instead, we are to face it with readiness knowing we are staying in the imprints of the Master Himself who set us an example. The reality is: the steps in the path of the Master is the way of the cross.
Yes, persecution will find us because the world cannot tolerate the truth of the Lord Jesus that our lives testify to. But our steadfastness in the faith of Jesus will bring more to Him than a thousand compromises to the truth of Jesus.
Stand strong, saints.