John 16:1-11; Mark 3:13; 2:17; Luke 19:10; Matthew 13:11-12; John 6:67-69; 15:15-16,18-19; 17:14-16; Luke 9:1,2; 10:19
“But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart” (John 16:5,6). The Lord Jesus Christ was going back to the Father in heaven having accomplished His earthly ministry, calling and purpose why He came. There He would plead, pray and talk to the Father to send the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth to abide with His disciples forever. As He told them that he was going, they were sorrowful because the presence of Jesus had meant so much to these disciples. He had taught them repentance and they had repented, left their sins, evils and darkness, and came to Jesus Christ, the Saviour, Redeemer. They were saved and their lives transformed, they had eternal life. He had instructed them, and they had learnt the mysteries of the Kingdom; they had never heard anything like that before.
That such a Master was going away, their Instructor, Teacher, the Great Miracle Worker, who had chosen them to be friends, brought them to experience the reality of God being their Father, and authorised and empowered them to do the same works that He had done while with them(John 15:15-16), they were thinking what would happen to them: That was why their hearts were filled with sorrow and pain. The pain of an Absent Christ, they couldn’t stand that. They were having secrets from heaven every day that the high priests and other religious leaders at that time did not have. They were hated by the world, Pharisees and the Scribes, but they did not care because the protective power of Christ was with them (John 15:18,19; 17:14-16). They had the mark, image, superscription and favour of heaven upon them. They were thinking if they got into danger who would pray for them like Christ; they thought of their weakness, predicament, perplexity and powerlessness and were sorrowful. He was a Friend, Captain, Lord, Master, Director and everything to them. He had given them information that they did not know as well… “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). No one could give them that kind of the information.
POINT 1: THE DISCIPLES’ MISUNDERSTANDING OF AN ABSENT CHRIST
Christ was going away from them, and they misunderstood that to be a disadvantage for them so they were sorrowful. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended” (John 16:1). He was warning and revealing to them ahead of time things that would happen so they would not be disappointed and offended. The Pharisees, Scribes and the Religious people would leave their real ministry of helping the children of Israel, directing, leading them to God and reconciling the people unto God by performing the Old Testament sacrifices, and now have a new ministry of persecuting, destroying and killing the Christ’s disciples; they will be religious but will not have any reconciliation, righteousness and relationship with God. I pray that when these things happen to us we will remember all these bible studies, and the power to stand firm and focused will be in your life in Jesus Name. It would be a pity if a member, minister and worker in the church, after knowing all these things in the word of God, when persecutions, misunderstandings, slanders, oppositions, trials, temptations and troubles come, they cannot remember. You will remember.
Let us consider three areas –
Their Persecution in His Absence – John 16:1-2; Matthew 24:10-14; Luke 6:22-23,26
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake” (Luke 6:22). Because you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Saviour, Lord and Redeemer, and know that all your good works and religious activities could not save; and as you put your trust, faith and confidence in Him, the people of the world will hate you, separate you from their company and family, and even throw your name out of their midst. Don’t cry or be sorrowful, rather, rejoice. When people persecute, oppose, slander and reject you, do not give in to depression, but…“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:23). This is what it takes to be a real child of God, and a follower of Jesus Christ; you are different from the world, do not dodge your convictions and beliefs. “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26).
Their Perception of the Animosity – John 16:3,4; 15:18-21; Acts 13:50-52
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:18,19). Now Jesus wanted them to have the right perception of the animosity and hatred of the world towards them. As Christians named and associated with Him, the world would do same to them as well what it did to Him. Always remember that you are not of the world, and whatever they are doing, worshipping idols, cheating, stealing, malpractices, evils, and things not of God, you will not join them. When they persecute, you will rejoice in Jesus Name.
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