HE TOLD US NOT TO BE SURPRISED
“They will put you out of the synagogue, in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” John 16:2
Jesus is a considerate leader. Following him holds few surprises for he tells us ahead of time what we will be facing. Unlike the many leaders who woo others to follow and then spring the unexpected, Jesus is up front. He tells us to count the cost with our eyes open. The disciples were warned that the message they held so dearly in their hearts would be received poorly, mostly by the religious people. His words were prophetic as all the disciples would be martyred except for John.
It’s disconcerting that those who professed to know God were often the real enemies of the Gospel. Satan’s agenda has been accomplished through the ages by many who claimed to be doing it in God’s name. The atrocities of holy wars throughout history, and the current atrocities in our own headlines, will continue to fill our history books.
You may not be facing death because of your faith. Not yet. However, you still may know what it feels like to be the outcast in a place of worship. You are enduring the fires of criticism and you are suffering under a label of apostasy. Those who zealously claim to be connected to God reject the tender but powerful working of God in you. Jesus gives the reason for this painful reality. He says, “These thing they will do because they have not known the Father or me.”
If your character is being assassinated and you have been called an enemy of God, may you rise out of your pit of self-doubt. Every trailblazer's faith for the Son of God will do two things. 1.) It will cause lukewarm, intellectual faith to squirm. 2.) It will also cause those who believe they know God, but don’t, to take up a sword. These are kingdom truths and we who follow the blood trail of our spiritual ancestors need to adjust our expectations and learn to separate others acceptance from God’s favor.
Your disciples are my brothers, Lord. If they were controversial, I am too. Strengthen me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Originally published Friday, 23 November 2018.