John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (NKJV]
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.” So, what is it about being expelled from the synagogue and why does it have such a stronghold on the Jews? For us, when we think about it is like someone being expelled or excommunicated from church. No one would like for that to happen, but I would say to myself, what is the big deal, that is not the end of life. I will join online, and I will still be in church. But for the Jews in those times, it meant a whole lot more. The Jewish life is centered around the Torah [the law of Moses]. The entire Jewish system – the political, the economic, and the religious systems flow from the synagogue, particularly at that time.
Before a Jew buys something from you, he must have tried all his brothers first. Jews keep their money in their community as much as they can. They trade with each other and leverage each other’s networks. But when a Jew is excommunicated from the synagogue, it means no one will trade [buy or sell] with him or her. No one will refer his or her business. His or her children will not be able to get married because no one will associate with them. Jesus was preparing His disciples in advance for what they would face in days to come. Jesus however told them not to worry because He is with them.
Think about it, in what way are we suffering for Jesus at this time and age? For some people it is a family challenge; everyone in the family is of a certain religion and only you want to be a Christian. God is encouraging you today, do not give up. Jesus is worth following! For others, it is your friends that you grew up with, doing things in certain ways. But now that you are walking with God and going to church, you are refusing to align with them, and the opposition is fierce. God is encouraging you today and He is saying, ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ It means that regardless of the cost – the social cost, the economic cost, the personal cost to us, Jesus is worth following! Jesus is worth following!
John 16:4&7 “Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer… But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” (emphasis added). Jesus did not say, ‘it is better’ even though some translations put it that way, He says it is best and that is the real word in the original. Jesus says, it is best for us that He goes so that the Holy Spirit can come. Meaning, for those of us that by God’s grace, have the presence and the person of the Holy Spirit we are better off than Peter, James, and John that had Jesus physically walk with them.
Prayer [song]: Thank You Jesus for the grace that You have given me. I could never repay but from my heart I’d like to say that I thank You. Amen!