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Persecution And Promise
by Judy Webb
"They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." (John 16:2-3)
Jesus continues to prepare his followers for the next season in their ministry – without him. He is sharing about the persecution that will be certain to arise. If they persecuted Jesus, they would do the same to His followers. Jesus wasn’t instilling fear into his followers, but wisdom and a sense of preparation. There would be no place for naivety on the road ahead of them. Paul (Saul) is a good example of the persecution yet to come (see Acts 26 and Galatians 1).
Note: Historically most Christian martyrs were targets of those from other religions or even sects within Christendom, whereas 20th century martyrs were victims of the atheistic, communistic state.
"I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:5b, 7)
Jesus is putting some icing on the cake by sharing about the gift of the Holy Spirit that He will send to these people when He (Jesus) is gone. It is telling them that he needs to leave so that this can take place. These faithful followers will soon learn the value of The Holy Spirit in their lives. This Holy Spirit will be a counselor, and advocate to help and be with them forever, and teacher. (John 14:16, 26)
"When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:8)
I have come to appreciate that still small voice that whispers to my conscience. I recognize these nudges as conviction from the Holy Spirit. His way of speaking to me when I am about the take a dangerous path or I am on the verge of making a very bad decision, has saved me so many times. Once I learned to recognize the Holy Spirit, and heed his wisdom, life became clearer.
Note: The Holy Spirit only comes to those who believe in Jesus – not to the world.
"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:13)
The Spirit draws no attention to himself but promotes the Glory of Christ. Jesus is Truth, so when we are questioning life situations we can call upon the Holy Spirit who only promotes Truth of Jesus.