John 16:1-4a

[Jesus said:] “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 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. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them."

In this passage, Jesus is preparing his apostles for what will follow his departure, and his prophecy is not pleasant. He begins by saying, “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.” He’s referring to everything he said in the previous chapter about the world's hatred. He knows that the disciples will face severe challenges, and he wants to equip them so that they can stand firm in their faith.

He goes on to give specific examples of the persecution they would face. They would be put out of the synagogue, which, for a Jew at that time, was a form of social and religious ostracism. Even worse, Jesus says that the time would come when people would kill the disciples and think they were offering a service to God.

This is a chilling prophecy and one that has sadly come true throughout history. Think of the many martyrs who have given their lives for their faith in Christ. Their persecutors often thought they were doing the right thing, that they were defending their religion or their way of life. But as Jesus points out, they did these things because they did not know the Father or the Son.

We must note that Jesus is not telling his disciples these things to scare them but to prepare them. He says, "I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them." In other words, when the disciples face persecution, they can take comfort in knowing that Jesus knew it would happen and that he has equipped them to face it.

This passage reminds us that following Jesus is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright dangerous in some parts of the world. But it also reminds us that Jesus does not leave us unprepared. He gives us his Holy Spirit to strengthen and comfort us, and he gives us his word to guide and sustain us.

If you are facing persecution or hardship because of your faith, take heart. Remember that Jesus has warned us that these things would happen, but he has also promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

God bless you.

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