Holy Week – don’t be surprised just be strong
If the world hates you … (John 15 v18)
Where is your world?
A few days ago a friend sent me this link: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Coronavirus:-Karachi-NGO-denies-food-to-poor-Hindus-and-Christians-49699.html
The title of the link tells you what the article is about. In Karachi, Pakistan, an NGO called The Saylani Welfare International Trust are handing out aid and meals to those in need. On the 30th March as the corona virus began to increase they made the decision that only Muslims are entitled to them. The reason for this is that giving within the understanding of the five pillars is reserved only for Muslims. Christians are begging for food but to no avail. As they went into the neighbourhood with their food parcels they moved on if they found the home was Christian.
What world is Jesus referring to?
For the disciples it would be the world where they were martyred.
Andrew was crucified in Greece; Bartholomew crucified upside down in Georgia; James son of Alphaeus stoned to death in Jerusalem; James son of Zebedee beheaded in a Jerusalem prison; Peter crucified upside down in Rome; Philip crucified upside down in Hierapolis; Thomas speared to death in India. The list can go on. Each would have the words of Jesus in their mind, “I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” (16 v4)
Even for the apostle Paul in his world, “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.”
Don’t be surprised just be strong.
For Jesus, the world wasn’t the Roman world but it was the world where people thought they were God’s children in Galilee and Judea. This was the world that he was born into and lived and would lay his life down.
They see the provision miracles of water into wine and the feeding of the crowds but they miss the significance of them pointing to the great heavenly banquet that awaits us.
They see the blind man seeing but miss the fact that Jesus has come to open our self-centred eyes to others.
They see the royal official son’s healing but miss the power of the word as the Word of God.
They see the paralysed man walk again but miss the fact that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.
They see Lazarus raised to life but miss that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
The world Jesus is speaking about is your world right now, where you are. That could be with those who don’t know your God or those that do. Jesus brings that home in v2 “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.” Jesus is saying your world of spirituality and religion will contain painful experiences. The attributing to the hand of God the pain on your life who worships God is deeply hurtful. There is nothing like it. The pain is deep and it can last for years. Some don’t make it through.
Is there any comfort? Yes! Jesus says coming into your world is the Comforter! I love the Message of 15 v26 “When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me.” In your world there are times when you just need the confirming truth about Jesus: He is Risen! He is alive! He is powerful! He is Sovereign! He is with you!
Don’t be surprised just be strong.