The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 16 Jesus’ disciples seem finally persuaded that he is God the Son and that they will be prepared to follow him. In effect, here, they thank him for speaking to them clearly. Knowing their heart as he does, Jesus does remind them that when persecution comes against them they will depart from him, at least briefly. He, however, has overcome the world. They do not need to fear.
Christians often confess that they are ready to follow Jesus boldly, no matter what might come upon them. Theydo not fear persecution and even death. Very good! But it is very hard to find our sufficiency in Christ. When we seem to be winning at life it’s relatively easy going. We can feel safe and comfortable, free to speak, free to act. We have enough money, enough food, a pleasing career, a happy life, and it is fairly easy, when reminded of God’s ability to sustain us, to agree. Yes, things are really fine and it is related to God’s goodness.
What about when the going gets difficult? We don’t necessarily have to think of the “terrorist pointing a gun at your head and telling you to deny Christ” difficult. In my culture that is a remote enough possibility I frankly don’t have to worry about it. And I’m glad. But how about when it’s hard to be patient? How about the time when we don’t get the pay raise we wanted? What about when our project is cancelled? What about when our health is failing, our roof gets blown off in a storm, or the careless driver shows us we are badly insured? What about the time when our cultural climate shows it is really hostile toward Christianity?Are we going to trust that Jesus has overcome the world?
All the explanation in the world will do us no good. Jesus explains again, but when it actually works for his disciples is after he shows that he has overcome the world. Once he has risen from the dead, once he has ascended into heaven, once the Holy Spirit has come upon the Christians, then they see that he is indeed the Lord who has done it. We learn to trust as we practice trusting, in the easy times, and in the difficult times. May the Lord bless us with eyes to see the ways we are trusting today.
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