“But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.” (John 16:4)
Scripture Reading – II Timothy 1:8-14
Trusting that God has a plan is essential to being obedient disciples. No matter what we face, we can be confident that Jesus is in control of the situation. In the Great Commission, Jesus promised that His presence would be with us until the end of the age. Therefore, we can confidently face the trials that the world throws at us, because these difficulties were already known to Christ. He told us to expect them, so we are not to be surprised when they happen nor should we complain. This is all part of being obedient to the Great Commission. Jesus was obedient until death in order to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation. We, too, should expect trials as we obey the Father in bringing the gospel to the world.
Now that He was departing, the animosity directed at Jesus was being directed at His disciples. They would now suffer and be martyred as they bore witness to the Resurrection. Jesus understood the great pressure the disciples would face. While He was with them, He could direct the opposition to Himself, but now the disciples had to face the opposition alone, without Him. Jesus didn’t want them to fall away, so He told them what was going to happen, that their suffering didn’t catch God by surprise. God knew that Satan would attack the gospel messengers. It might be easy for people to look at Jesus’ death on the cross and think that God’s plan failed, but then Jesus rose from the dead. Now as the disciples are facing persecution, they might think once again that God’s plan was failing. Don’t lose heart. Jesus told us these things would happen so we might know that God has a plan and His plan will not fail.
Jesus said, “But I have said these things to you… I did not say these things to you from the beginning.” Understanding God’s timing and being patient for Him to work strengthens us during our trials. Jesus knew that there was an appropriate time to tell His disciples certain things. Even throughout the Scriptures, God reveals His plan of salvation to Israel in an incremental manner. Adam was promised that one of Eve’s descendants would crush Satan. Abraham was told that this promised Redeemer would be one of Isaac’s descendants. Moses was given the Law and the Tabernacle to teach Israel that without a sacrifice it’s impossible to approach God. God didn’t give the entire plan of salvation to Adam. Bit by bit God made it known to Israel until, in the fullness of time, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, came.
When you are undergoing difficulties and pressure because of your witness, be confident that God has a plan and it’s being implemented. Although the situation might seem grim, God is powerful and His plan will not fail. He opens prison doors and frees us from the wicked plans of evildoers. Don’t despair. Remember that Jesus told us this would happen—it’s part of the plan. Will you trust God and His timing?