John 16:1 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.”
We cannot thank God enough for the transformation we are experiencing through His Word and our study in the Book of John. God is not done with us yet. If you could ask God one question right now, what will it be? Our anchor text for the next few days is John 16:1-33 [please read]. This was just a few hours to Gethsemane where Jesus was to be arrested, and He spent His time encouraging His disciples. And in John 17 Jesus spent the time praying for them, So, he started by encouraging them heavily. As they approach Gethsemane things became really tense that Jesus Himself was burdened, in fact, the scriptures say, like unto death, and he was in anguish of soul. If the Light, the One that they looked up to for encouragement was in anguish of soul then you can imagine how the others must have been feeling.
John 16:1 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.” The words you are going to read over the next few days are to strengthen you, so that you would not abandon your faith when you encounter challenges. There will be challenges, and the Word of God you have been soaking in your personal time with God, in Life Groups, and at weekly and weekend fellowship in church are to strengthen you. Jesus was telling them what will happen to them on the last day to inoculate them from stumbling. It is like when parents take their children to get flu shots, measles inoculation. Taking the jab is usually unpleasant for the children but it will help them survive that time. The truth, Jesus was telling His disciples was unpleasant, but He knew that they needed to hear it so that they would not abandon their faith.
John 16:1 “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling.” (NRSV, emphasis added). The word for stumbling highlighted in this reference is the Greek word, skandalizo. It is from this root word that the English word scandalize and scandal were derived. The stumbling, skandalizo literally means “to trip somebody over”, to make the person fall. Please read Isa. 8:14 and Rom. 9:33. Jesus did not want His disciples to stumble at this rock of offence, He did not want them to get offended or for it to become a problem for them in days to come. Jesus says, be of good cheer I have overcome the world.
John 16:2 “For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” Remember the story of the man in John 9:22 that Jesus healed, but his parents were afraid of being expelled from the synagogue. Also, in John 12:42 we saw that some of the Pharisees and religious leaders actually believed in Jesus, but they were afraid of being expelled from the synagogue. So, what is this thing about being expelled from the synagogue and why is it so strong? We will drill down on this in tomorrow’s devotional, by God’s grace.
Prayer: Father, I am depending on You to keep me from stumbling, in Jesus Name. Amen!