[Jesus said,]â€œThese things have I spoken to you, so that you wouldnâ€™t be caused to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the time comes that whoever kills you will think that he offers service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have told you these things, so that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you about them. I didnâ€™t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.â€ John 16:1-4 (WEB)
It is weirdly interesting to me what is left out of the lectionary scriptures. Lectionary scriptures are four groups of scriptures (usually an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a Gospel passage, and an epistle or letter passage) noted every week in the church year. I’m not sure if it is decided by committee or secret ballot but is whoever decides the list afraid of some verses? Do they think if pulpit preachers and teachers ignore the verses that are not on the list that the people in the pews won’t have to deal with hard questions in their lives? What alternative universe do they live in???
The lectionary last week took verses from John 15 and then picked up on John 16:5. Why leave out the four I noted here?
Jesus has just given the disciples maybe the greatest sermon. He gave what was in His heart to the ones He had hand-picked to carry the Message, His Good News. But being Who He is, He also had to tell the whole truth. The truth about what was to come. The truth about what it means to be His disciple, His follower.
All will not be perfect and wonderful to those who choose to follow Jesus. His path leads to the Cross. He told us to take up our cross and follow Him â€“ to Golgotha. Jesus’ message was not just for His then disciples. It was for all of us! Our path may very well mean we will be asked to give our life as a martyr. It at a minimum will mean giving our life to His plan; giving up our own plans that do not take the same path as His. It would be difficult to read verse 2 and not think of the Crusaders of the past or the Islamic fanatics of September 11, 2001. Both killed in the name of God.
Jesus has gone to the Father and so He gives us His words and His Spirit to remind us of His promises and the mansion that He has planned for us. Jesus knows that the road that leads to that mansion will be worse than we can imagine so He gives all that is in His heart â€“ a love that is higher and wider and deeper than we can imagine.
So if you come to scripture verses that seem difficult to absorb â€“ they are put there with so much love â€“ surely you do not want to ignore them!