Jesus has been sharing some difficult things with His disciples during His final hours with them. He is also sharing some excellent promises. Today’s reading ranks with the difficult things and it is very direct. He wants to make sure His disciples are warned of what is to come and for a specific reason. He wants to prop them up with His knowledge to carry them through the difficult times to come.
Jesus knows His death is looming on the horizon but He isn’t focusing on Himself. Instead He is focusing on His disciples. He isn’t looking at their immediate needs either but their long term ones instead. Yes, they are going to face very distressing times in the next few days, but God is watching over them during this phase. Jesus knows they are safe in His hands. Jesus is instead preparing them for after He leaves them physically for the Father. When they will have to take a stand.
During these last 3 ½ years Jesus and His disciples have been enjoying relative success. People have been flocking to hear what they have to say and receive at their hands. There has been building problems with the religious leaders but nothing Jesus couldn’t handle. All that is about to change.
Jesus has told His disciples on at least three separate occasions what is going to happen right away, but they haven’t been ready to hear it. They keep sticking their fingers in their ears. More likely they keep looking around and seeing the success and assuming that it was going to continue on. Now though Jesus is plainly telling them that the way they have been being received by the people is coming to an abrupt halt. The world will no longer welcome them with open arms.
“But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you” (verse 4). We can say this was a heavenly “I told you so.” Those are the kind that are CERTAIN. Not “if” their hour comes but “when.” This is going to take place. His disciples would be put out of the synagogues. The place central to most all Jews. A place where they derived their historical, political, and cultural meaning. The synagogue was central to the Jewish people’s lives. They will also be marked for death and those carrying out that sentence upon them will think they are serving God Himself.
This is a VERY heavy revelation for the disciples. One that they were not yet ready to receive. But when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will bring Jesus’ words back to their minds. His forewarning will prove to them once again that He is exactly who He claimed to be; the Son of God. And because He was correct in this He is trustworthy in all other areas too.
Lord Jesus, You didn’t sugar coat anything for Your disciples at this point. You made sure they understood that they were facing rough times ahead. You say that we will face rough times too. I don’t have it near as hard as some of my counterparts in other countries and I am ever so grateful for that. But even here in America there are times I need to step up and take a stand for You. I don’t know if I’m even doing that right in a couple of areas. The main one is with my children and grandchildren. I believe I’m showing a consistent love for You by my actions, but on the issue of homosexuality I am silent. It touches two of the families directly. I DO NOT approve of that lifestyle but I still love the individuals caught up in it. My children know what I believe about the behavior and how I feel about the individual but do my grandchildren? Do I share my beliefs with them? They aren’t believers at this point and I’m trying my hardest to draw them to You with my love. Please Lord, show me YOUR way. Have Your way in my life and in my family’s lives.