'Look, they're going to drag you out of church, kill you, and think they're doing God a favor by doing it. And I would have told you this earlier, but decided to wait until now, when they are about to do it to me. Now, when it happens to you, I want you to remember this moment as you take your dying breath. Oh, and one more thing: I'm leaving and it's for your own good because I'll send my replacement after I leave.'
This is not exactly the pastoral comfort we hope to get in a moment like this! I can only imagine the thousand questions that Jesus' first hearers of these words must have had.
- Counselor? You think I need a Counselor?
- Execution I can handle, but they're going to think they're doing God a favor?
- They're going to HATE me? I'd prefer if everyone LIKED me!
John gives us a hint of a few of the questions they ask in v.17. Clearly, they just didn't understand. I can relate.
His final words are some of my favorite, they give me hope: In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
What kind of trouble, persecution, or challenges have come to you because you follow Jesus? I can think of some for me, but I'd like to hear from you.