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John 16 : 1 - 15 "ANOTHER INSIGHT ON THE SUBJECT OF PERSECUTION"
Day 232 – John 16
ANOTHER INSIGHT ON THE SUBJECT OF PERSECUTION
Jesus sought to strengthen His Disciples through further instruction of the Word of God. He knew that if they were properly instructed, they would be strong indeed. Another way of strengthening them was to speak about the ordeal that lay ahead of them. If they were forewarned, they would be better forearmed too! Thus He gave them yet another insight on the problem of persecution.
“They will put you out of the synagogues;
yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you
will think that he offers God service.
And these things they will do to you because
they have not known the Father nor Me.”
What an amazing insight this was! It must have been very difficult to understand that people could be both so cruel and so blind! Yet, Jesus was right when He said what He did.
BEING PUT OUT OF THE SYNAGOGUES
The Disciples were probably not that surprised by the first thought Jesus spoke. They had seen with their own eyes how the Jews did this to the man born blind. John recorded this in the following text.
“His parents answered them and said,
‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
but by what means he now sees we do not know,
or who opened his eyes we do not know.
He is of age, ask him. He will speak for himself.’
His parents said these things because they feared the Jews,
for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed
that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.”
When the Jews interrogated the man who had been healed from his blindness, they found that he was unlike his parents. He knew no fear. He was not in the least intimidated by the Jews. He stood up to them with courage that the Jews were unable to deal with.
The man did not know Jesus very well. Nevertheless, he defended Him as a Man sent from God.
“‘Since the world began it has been unheard
of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was
born blind. If this Man were not from God,
He could do nothing.’
They answered and said to Him, ‘You were
completely born in sin, and are you teaching us?’
And they cast him out.”
The man was not a Disciple of Jesus at that point of time! Nevertheless he found strength and courage to suffer the consequence of being cast out of the local synagogue! If he could do that, the Disciples should also be able to endure similar suffering, for they had been specially instructed by Jesus!
Why do people persecute others at all? Jesus gave His perspective of things, and spoke about the problem of sin. The power of sin is so great that it can cause people to be filled with hatred and thoughts of great wickedness! Jesus went on to reveal another insight. It must have been an amazing revelation to the Disciples! Let’s read the text again.
“Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you
will think that he offers God service.”
Talk about perverted thinking! How could anyone be so misguided? How could anyone be so wrong? But surely, the Disciples had seen how the Jews treated Jesus! They represented the highest religious authority in the land, and yet they were persecuting Jesus at every given opportunity! Let us ponder over why people can end up with perverted thinking. Let us just note two things Jesus raised.
1. The problem of hypocrisy
Jesus indicted the Jews for their sinful ways. The following texts taken from the Gospel of Mathew reveal why they were so perverted in their thinking.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
Matthew 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 29
Note this recurring phrase Jesus used against the scribes and Pharisees! He was indignant concerning their true spiritual state! One reason why they thought they were serving God while persecuting people was because they were “hypocrites”.
2. The problem of spiritual blindness
Jesus also rebuked the Jews for their spiritual blindness. They had no one to blame but themselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides…”
Fools and blind!”
Matthew 23:17, 19
The Jews had every privilege imaginable. They had access to education, wealth, power etc and yet they made no progress spiritually! They were not even spiritually alive to God! These problems contribute much to the problem of perverted religious thinking.