1997-10-02 - Why?
The Cross Series, Part 11
John 15:20-16:4 - "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 "But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' 26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. 1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 "And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me. 4 "But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
We are still in the Upper Room. Jesus is speaking to the disciples after the Passover meal, during which He instituted communion with the bread and wine. He Himself knows Judas has gone to betray Him to the Sanhedrin and time is short. He must be under tremendous stress knowing that the cross is only hours away. And yet, during these last minutes the Lord has with these young men, He has spoken words of great comfort and warning. Not all the words are heard or understood, but He invested the time. The investment continues.
Do you ever wonder why the world and the system is so against Christians and Christianity? Why the mention of the fact that you are a Christian can draw such derision? Jesus explains it to his friends as they sit and those words echo down the centuries to us. "A slave is not greater than his Master …" or, if you are going to identify yourself with Me they are going treat you like I am treated. If they identified with Jesus also, they would understand what you say to them. But they do not know 'the One Who sent Me'. While 'they' represents the world, this is a staggering thought with regard to the Sanhedrin. The spiritual leadership of Israel which supposedly knows the law inside and out to the last jot and tittle, but does not know the God they are supposed to represent.
If Jesus had not come and debated with Doctors of the Law at age twelve, cleared the Court of the Gentiles (twice), issued the eight woes, answered their testing questions, healed the man with the withered hand before their eyes and others verified by many witnesses; they would have been unable to see what law actually required. The Talmud and the traditions that had built up over the years had so obscured the law that it could hardly be seen. There were 700+ rules and regulations that a person had to follow to fulfil the requirements of these traditions. Traditions do not see the heart of a man or woman. But God does. Jesus came and reestablished the Law. And these men had seen Jesus and could no longer deny that His claim to be the Son of God.
Matt 5:27-32 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 "And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 "And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce'; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus cleared away the traditions and rules that had been setup so that the Law could be followed. The Law was not meant to be able to be followed! It was supposed to show us our need to depend on God for everything.
Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
The world hated Jesus without cause. He raised Lazarus from the dead and the Sanhedrin was driven to murder both Jesus and Lazarus. But why? Could they not see the undeniable miracle? The miracle added credence to Jesus words which had called them hypocrites. Their pride was terribly wounded, but it did not die. It fueled them like a wounded animal defending itself. That pride that would not be humbled was the reason for their hatred. But their hatred was unfounded, because Jesus was showing them their need. They had to see it to know their dependence on God, and they refused to see it. We must allow Jesus to correct us, firmly at times, and remain humble to grow in Him.He has promised to correct the ones He loves.
The Holy Spirit is the Helper that Jesus is speaking of, and He always points to Jesus. Since the Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of believers, we also should be pointing others to Jesus. Jesus always points to the Father. The Master is warning His disciples, including us today, that the Spirit will confirm Christ's words to us. The warning against the persecution is stern and sobering. But do we not see powerful false teaching today? The United States has been a harbor for the church, but the battle has come to the very doorstep of the church itself. Those who name the Name of Jesus without knowing Him rail against us. They join the world calling us closed or narrow minded and hypocrites. As the age of political correctness blooms, the world will throw its support behind these false, lifeless teachers and we will see 'churches' turn their backs on God's elect. Steel yourselves and pray, that day is closer than we may think. But hold on tight to your faith, and look up. The Wedding Feast of the Lamb will be shortly after that. And the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come.".
Lord Jesus - You have graciously warned us of things that seem to be upon us. Even though those warnings are stark and severe, they are just one more milepost on the way home. Help us to be faithful in prayer for each other and for this lost and dying world. Help us to keep the standard were you set it. That standard is the milepost to the world that points to You. It takes courage to become humble. Give us the words and the strength to lead the lives that will show others the reality of You and Your love. Amen
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.