John 16.2-4 cont.
2 They will expel you from the synagogue, and the hour comes when those killing you will think they are offering to God a service.
3 And they will do these things because they have known neither the Father, nor Me.
4 But I have spoken these things to you so that when their time comes you might remember that I told you. I did not speak to you about these things from the beginning, because I was with you.
It is natural that we all want to have a life that is easy, free from poverty, filled with happiness, built around a strong and loving family. Perhaps most people strive for that throughout their life.
Jesus warns us that this is not necessarily the way of His followers. In fact He gives a realistic warning that following Him is to court the hatred of the world. Following Him may mean being ostracised from the society that we have been fond of.
Jesus told the disciples that they would be expelled from the synagogue. Previously we have seen that this would have meant more than not being allowed to enter the synagogue, it would have meant having little or no contact with any other Jews. It meant that those followers of Jesus who were businessmen would find it extremely difficult to trade with fellow Jews.
Following Jesus had and still may have a very high price. We are witnessing in our country how there are some followers of Jesus who are dismissed from their jobs, because of their faith in Jesus and adhering to His word.
Jesus warns us about these things. This is why He also said:
“If any one desires to follow Me he must deny himself and he must take up his cross, and he must follow Me” – Mark 8.34.
It is a sad thing that there are those who commit themselves to following Jesus, but when persecution comes they fall away and stop following Him. Again Jesus warned that this would happen when He told the parable of the sower.
Speaking about the seed that fell in rocky places, Jesus gave this explanations:
“but not having any root in themselves, they are short-term believers until oppression and persecutions comes, because of the word, then they fall away” – Mark 4.17.
In the Upper Room Jesus leaves His disciples with no doubt that from that point onwards they would face hardship, persecution, and even death.
There is always a right time to speak things out. This was that time for Jesus to enlighten His disciples as to what was ahead of them.
He will do the same for us, when the time is right.