| This week in our daily devotions, we’re going to read the whole of John 16. This is a chapter of scripture found in what is known as the farewell discourse (John 14-17), Jesus’ last conversation and teaching to his disciples before his impending death. From reading these chapters we can see that Jesus knew what was coming but his disciples didn’t. He tries to prepare them for a time when He, the Messiah, will know longer be with them. We have the beauty of hindsight – we know how the narrative progresses and concludes – Jesus rises, Jesus wins, Jesus is Lord of Lords! As we read through these verses, this week, try and put yourselves in the disciples shoes. They’re part of something exciting and Jesus is warning them, but they don’t get it, because they can’t see into the future.
16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me.
Jesus has gathered a group of followers, many in the crowds, and then a group of 12 who give up everything to follow Him. Jesus, in the preceding chapters, has spoken about obedience, fruitfulness, the need to grow and re-iterates the necessity of this teaching.
All of this I have told you so that you will not fall away
That’s the heart of God for you and I, that we would not fall away. God wants us to grow up in Him. He wants us to follow Him no matter what, regardless of the challenges in front of our eyes…
To the disciples, he warned that persecution would be coming, even ostracisation. He warns so that when it happens they will remember Jesus. And that remembrance would bring about perseverance in their faith. As the Easter story continues, we see the first glimpse of some of these challenges and initially we see a group of disciples who were scared, and even rejected Jesus. We then see a shift at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit brings boldness to the believers, even in the face of persecution.
To us, the same challenge applies. We live in a time where Christians around the world face persecution for their faith. Increasingly, we see glimpses of challenges facing Christians in our country and context. Jesus is also clear that before he comes again there will be persecution and challenge, but his heart is that we don’t reject or run, but that we grow, bear fruit and do not fall away, that we always remember Jesus.
The future promise is so much greater than any present struggle!
Today, reflect on these verses…
God’s heart is that you grow in him.
In honest, reflection…
how are you growing in him?
Where is the fruit of your walk with Jesus?