John 16:1-4 – A Warning to Not Fall Away

The reason for Jesus giving this warning is so that the disciples will not “fall away” when the persecution begins. The verb translated “fall away” in the ESV is σκανδαλίζω. The word can mean brought to a downfall, or “cause to sin.” For example, for a person on a diet, bringing a platter of their favorite dessert is likely going to cause them to sin by breaking their diet and eating the dessert. The food “trips them up” and the fall off the wagon, so to speak.

The word can also have the sense of being offended by someone or something, or to be shocked or angered by something. This may lead to sin as well, so it is sometimes difficult to decide how the word ought to be translated. But in either case, Jesus wants his disciples what they will have to face in the very near future, so that they are not shocked to the point of sin. If they were under the impression that the new few months would lead to a great deal of health and wealth for them personally, they are going to be in for a great shock!

Jesus once again predicts that the disciples will be subjected to persecution. It is clear in these verses that the Jews will be the source of this trouble.

The disciples will be put out of the synagogue. To be thrown out of a synagogue is an indication that the members of the synagogue consider you to be no longer permitted to worship God or study the scripture in that place. This may be the result of some sin, but also for a defection from the truth. We should resist the inclination to read this as “excommunication” in a medieval sense, but in a small Jewish community to be expelled from the synagogue was to be expelled from polite society!

The disciples will be killed. While execution for non-belief is not common in the Jewish world, there are some examples in the book of Acts, certainly Stephen (Acts 7) and James (Acts 12) are examples of this very things

The ones who are doing the persecution think that they are serving God. This is possibly a result of the type of zeal demonstrated by Phineas in Numbers, when he “burned with zeal” and attacked a man who was sinning with a Moabite prostitute at the tabernacle. So too did Elijah “burn with zeal” when he killed the priests of Baal in 1 Kings, or Judas Maccabees when he attached the Greeks after the desecration of the Temple.

Paul’s own persecution of Jewish believers in Jesus as messiah and savior is an illustration of this very persecution. Certainly he worked to silence those who claimed that Jesus had been the Messiah, that he had been raised from the dead and that he was coming back to judge. This is not a matter of a slight difference of opinion, for pre-Christian Paul this was an attack on the heart of Judaism and a completely false accusation against the high priest and the Sanhedrin. For Paul, his actions were exactly the right course to take in the service of God.

The sad truth is that this passage has been badly misunderstood and used as a justification for all kinds of attacks on the Jewish people for centuries at the hand of “good Christian people.” Fredrick Bruner has a stunning commentary on the abuse of Jews in World War II at the hands of people who were a part of the confessional church. It is a sad irony that while many thought they were killing Jews as part of their Christian duty, they were as guilty as those who persecuted the apostles in Acts.

This passage (nor any other in the Bible) advocates any sort of persecution of Jews (or anyone else) because they are “unbelievers.” We can disagree, slightly or completely, with another religion, but as Christians it is not our duty to respond with hate or violent repression.

32 thoughts on “John 16:1-4 – A Warning to Not Fall Away

    • Obviously it was added. You are right that it seems to have strayed from the point of the text to a rather tangential application. I claim preacher’s license at that point .

      But I do have a small list in mind of people who ought to be warned about such attacks. There was a brief Q&A after this service, in which I suggested (for example) that rather violent opposition to Mormonism from some evangelicals is not likely to win anyone to the faith.

  1. Your discussion of “cause to sin” reminds me of the Catholic concept of “near occasion of sin”, from the end of the Act of Contrition: “I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and avoid the near occasion of sin.” (In other words, to stay away from “friends” bearing desserts!)

    You and your readers might be interested in my recent post Refusing to be Scandalized, where I look at the mimetic understanding of skandalon with an emphasis on being offended/shocked/angered by something and “burning with zeal”, explained in terms of certain familiar patterns of interaction on the internet.

  2. It is sort of ironic that the disciples will be put out of the synagogue due to their belief in Jesus because Jesus basically instructs them to help others come to believe in him. Also Jesus tells the disciples they will be killed because they believe in him. Of course, the persecutors are the ones who think they are doing good by God just like Paul thought he was doing good by persecuting Christians. Humans tend to do crazy things when they strongly believe in something. Hitler strongly believed that Jews were the reason Germany lost World War I and he made so many convincing arguments that he gained the support of many people. Something to remember is that what one person believes, another person might not believe the same thing. Another thing to remember is that even if we do not believe in something another person believes, it is not our job to judge or persecute. Too often, as humans, we are quick to pass judgement before we think about what God really wants.

  3. So many people, when they face suffering of various kinds, automatically assume that God has abandoned them. The general assumption, therefore, is that God and suffering are opposed and contradict each other–that wherever the presence of God is, suffering must be absent. But God clearly states in Scripture that no matter who you are, you will experience some kind of trauma in your life. In fact, for Christians, suffering is actually more prevalent, although it is used to glorify God and strengthen the believer. Jesus, because He is aware of all of the nuances of the human heart, could see that His disciples, without a warning, would certainly struggle in their faith when tested with trials. In order to help with this, Christ issues a state of emergency: When He ascends and the Holy Spirit comes, suffering will ensue–and the people doing it will think they are justified. Having been warned of this, the hope is that the disciples will be better prepared to face tribulation.

    • I agree with your first statement of how people are quick to think that God has abandoned them when trouble arises. Even if you still think that God is with you through the trouble, thoughts can creep in making you question why He is letting it happen to you, and the reality is that we need to remember that God knows what He is doing, this is not His first rodeo. God knows what areas of our life need to be built up stronger, and it is smart that he would put us into situations to work on these areas. Our minds cannot always wrap around the idea of how God truly works with each one of us as His focus and how He wants us to be sinless. Jesus knew that the disciples would face trails that would be much harder to overcome if they were a surprise. This is especially true as the persecution would come from the Jews, who they would certainly not expect this from. I imagine a close friend of mine who is a believer persecuting me out of nowhere and how this would shock me. This is what Jesus was protecting the disciples from, He was not going to stop the Jews, but He knew that He could still help them by giving them a heads-up.

  4. Jesus sends us this warning, mostly to his disciples, about not falling away and not being tempted by sin. It is hard in a world full of sin and distractions to stay committed and to not choose the east path. We see less and less teenagers on fire for the Gospel and even adults who proclaim their faith. Kostenberger puts it lightly saying, “in our highly pluralistic, postmodern culture, it will be increasingly unpopular to proclaim the biblical message that there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved but Jesus,” (Kostenberger, 153). It is not quite a shock to hear this because even high schools, kids are being persecuted for being labeled as a Christian or different, so we tend to hide it and not speak out. This is a huge problem. Why? Because God calls us to be the salt and light of the earth. Matthew says that, “you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden,” (Matthew 5:13-14, NIV). This is where we are told to be different and to be the salt of the earth. If we are not choosing to be salt or light, then we are not proclaiming the truth to the world and what Kostenberger says about us is true. So as a follower of Christ, we need to be lights of the world and not fall to sin. We need to not fall away and to be strong as salt of the earth

  5. It is hard to imagine what it would be like if the person you had been following closely for three years turned to you and said, “Hey, the people that hate me are going to hate you. The will kick you out and try to kill some of you.” The disciples thought that Jesus would be this person to help them restore the temple, and now he said that they would be persecuted by the people they wanted to essentially get rid of to restore the temple. It must have really shocked them.
    You can understand why Jesus would want to tell them what would happen beforehand. Those are some pretty serious things that are going to happen to them, and, as Kostenberger says, “the history of the early church clearly proves the accuracy of Jesus’ predictions” (Kostenberger, 152). If anyone could warn someone they love about all of the bad things that are going to happen to them, wouldn’t they jump at that chance so they could avoid it? But Jesus does it so that they wouldn’t avoid it, but rather that they would have the strength to endure it and to pray that God would protect them.

  6. When Jesus tells the disciples the hard times they are going to face, it helps them prepare for it so that sin does not control their lives. This can be compared to anything we have to prepare for in our lives, whether that be a job interview or a test. We are often given study guides to help give us an idea of what will be on the test so that we are not shocked and confused when given the test. If Jesus had not told the what would happen to them, the shock could have made the path of sin much wider. It is important to remember that we are given a similar message when Jesus tells us that we are going to face troubles in the world (John 16:33), but He also tells us to remember that He has “overcome the world”. This is our warning that we need to take seriously, as we were given for the same reason as the disciples were by Jesus. We cannot use the excuse that we didn’t know sin was going to be hard to resist, or that becoming a Christian wasn’t going to make life “free and easy”, as Jesus was specific that this would not be the case. Just like how the Jews were the ones who were persecuting the disciples, there are going to be people in our life who will persecute us that we would not expect, and this can be the most dangerous to our faith.

  7. I don’t want to get into a salvation debate (I’m pretty sure I’m setting myself up for one by prefacing my comment with that statement) but, regardless: it absolutely breaks my heart to see “Christians” acting out in violence and hate towards others when that behavior is clearly condemned in the Bible; 1 John 4:19 tells us: “We love because he first loved us,” and I wonder if people who act out in hatred have truely encountered the unconditional love of Christ. The love of Christ is transformative: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20), so I wonder what kind of encounters the Christians seeking out and intentionally hurting others have had with God?

  8. its important to note that this passage is one that shows Jesus did not intend for his disciples to misunderstand what his goal was. he warns them of what is coming and even who it will come from. much persecution came from the Jews and while that was wrong it was expected it was predicted. however this should not be a cause for the mistreatment of Jewish indivuals as they are still God’s people. many Christians have mistreated Jews for the persecution they committed and for killing Jesus however the Jews are not to blame but rather the whole world if sin did not exist then Christ would not have needed to die so to blame the Jews for this event Is not fair as it does not allow for the blame of sin to be properly placed on all people.

  9. This is significant because nowadays Christians are always targeted because of the judgment that we give on the world. To me this isn’t an issue of salvation, to me it’s an issue of education. Christianity is meant to be full of joy and happiness, yet instead we find anger, spitefulness and judgement. We seem to think that it is our place to judge, when we all know that this is indeed a wrong way of thinking. People have such a poor view of Christians and despite our goal and purpose on this earth it is constantly seen as a disgusting trait a person can withhold. Christians that lack the knowledge and understanding that judging others is not something God intended for us to do here on earth, seem to be the ones lacking the most with this. If one would just understand that if we stopped judging other people, we wouldn’t have so many issues with them.

  10. Isn’t it ironic that those who persecuted Stephen and James (Acts 7,12) thought they were being servants of the Lord when in reality they were acting completely outside of what God wanted of them? It makes me wonder if this is something that I do in my walk with Christ. I don’t have to think too long before I remember my sinful nature and continuously act outside of what God wants from me. I think it is dangerous, though, to act outside of the will of God when we think we are being obedient. This strips away some of our humility and ability to be corrected. We need to be sure that we are continuously asking God to speak into different areas of our lives so that we might be guided in the Truth. It is only then that we will be able to have the assurance that we are acting in His will.

    I read about the way that some of the characters in the Old Testament acted in zeal and killed people. For example, when Elijah kills the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40), it makes me wonder if he is acting in God’s will. If He is, I can’t help but think that is out of character for God. God does not normally ask us to disobey Him and He is never changing. So, why would God tell us not to murder in the Ten Commandments, but then ask Elijah to kill those prophets, if He did in fact ask Him to do that?

  11. As we know as Christians and taught our whole life that when someone does or says something to offend us, we are to turn the other cheek instead of firing something right back to them. We are to be witnesses of Christ through every action that we do. But lately it seems like the church and its people have a bad rep in today’s land as we judge others for the sins that they have committed, and we seem like we are better than those who don’t attend church. How is this possible if we were taught our whole lives how to act and love in the way Christ loved? Well we are sinful people and at times I think that people think if they call others out it will then help them change their ways and turn to Christ but that is wrong, and it doesn’t help as Christians come off of judge mental. We are to love on others in the way Christ loved us and that is the only way that people will understand what true Christianity looks like. We need a lot less talk about this issue and a lot more of doing and improving on the way Christians are looked upon on this earth.

  12. As Christians, we should always be seeking God every single day regardless of what is going on around us. We cannot fall away when life gets tough or we are persecuted for our faith. The early disciples were about to go through some extreme stuff where many of them would be killed for their faith. Jesus in this chapter of John did not want his disciples to fall away when they were persecuted or even killed for their faith. He wanted to encourage them that even though it was going to get tough that he would be with them and that he wanted them to stay the course and trust him. We cannot be lukewarm Christians and expect to enter the kingdom of heaven. We must be on fire for God and not fall away from the faith regardless of what we are going through or facing. This means that we need to emulate Christ. We need to bless those who curse us and do good to those who despitefully use you as Romans 12 says. We must be devoted to Christ in every circumstance no matter what life holds for us we must trust that God is in control and has a plan for our lives.

  13. There is no doubt that Jewish people have suffered persecution. There are many counts of the apostles suffering in Acts. Many other books of the Bible reference this idea like James 1 and 2 Timothy 3:12. Christianity is a religion of opposition and we should face persecution with joy knowing that we are suffering for Christ’s sake. I believe we should face this opposition with a Romans 12 mindset. Romans 12 says we should bless those who persecute us, and not persecute them back (verse 14). We are to emulate Christ who said “forgive them” after being brutally sacrificed on the cross. Köstenberger makes mention of this, “It is impossible for anyone to claim he loves while hating Jesus or his followers” (pg. 151). It can be very hard at times, but we should just choose love.

  14. Two wrongs do not make a right in the eyes of God. When someone is working against us or harms us physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, He does not call us to seek revenge. God calls us to pray for our enemies and turn our cheek (Matthew 5:38-44). This seems backward, as our sinful human nature draws us to repay evil for evil. Jesus warns His disciples about the opposition they are about to face throughout their lives and “emphasizes that persecution is to be expected” (ESVSB, p. 2056). Though they cannot be readily prepared to face or combat this persecution, Jesus warns them so that they understand the cost of following Him and so that they do not “fall away” (Long, 2012, para. 1). If we take a moment to evaluate our life and Christian faith, we may find that we experience little to no persecution. This realization should urge us to consider how we are living for Christ. Are we avoiding opportunities to testify only because we fear persecution? Köstenberger comments on this and asks readers, “are we willing to suffer socially, economically, or otherwise for our faith” (p. 153). These are questions to consider, as we were specifically created “for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). When we do decide to walk in these good works, we should continue to do so while understanding the persecution that follows.

  15. I appreciated reading this passage where Jesus warned/encouraged His disciples. He knew of the persecution that was coming, and He wanted to communicate this to His friends so that they could be personally comforted by Him. John 16:2 mentions that people will throw them out of synagogues and even kill them in order to make a sacrifice. Verse 4 mentions Jesus’ purpose for communicating this to the disciples – when the time comes that they need encouragement to persevere through persecution, that they remember that the Lord did not want them to “fall away”. As with any part of Jesus’ ministry, He communicated to the disciples so that they could also present the Gospel and disciple others. James 1:2 says to “count it all joy, brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”. This is evidence to a believer taking this warning seriously, and encouraging others through persecution. It is not something that I typically choose to recognize, but the Jews were heavily persecuted during World War II, and Christians either aided that persecution or hardly helped people to avoid the persecution. As Christians, we are called to love God’s creation, and pray for those who may harm us (Matthew 5). There are many people from various backgrounds, cultures, and worldviews, creating a sort of tension when any kind of persecution is experienced. P. Long says in the blog post, “We can disagree, slightly or completely, with another religion, but as Christians it is not our duty to respond with hate or violent repression” (2012). As Christians face persecution, there can be a temptation to react violently or “fall away” from living godly, so this passage in John 16 can be very encouraging for those persecuted Christians.

  16. If following Jesus were easy, everyone would do it. However, the truth is that being a Christian requires making sacrifices and surrendering our sinful desires and selfish ways of living. In John 16:1-4, Jesus warns his disciples to not fall away when faced with persecution. Jesus makes it clear that following him does not promise an easy life; rather, his disciples will be hated and persecuted because the people that will persecute them hate Jesus. The easy thing to do when facing persecution is to fall away; however, when life is difficult, that is when we need to rely on God even more instead of distancing ourselves from our faith. Jesus states to his disciples that there will come a time when people will persecute them because they have not known him or the Father (John 16:3). There is not a question of whether or not they will face persecution, but rather, how they will choose to respond. Jesus encourages his disciples by saying, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:10). Jesus knows from personal experience that it is extremely difficult being persecuted, but ultimately as believers we will be blessed in our eternity in heaven. While life will be challenging at times, we can hold onto hope that one day we will spend eternity in heaven with our Creator and our Savior. Until then, when responding to persecution, we should follow Jesus’s example of showing his love to his enemies. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells his disciples to, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” When faced with persecution, it is important to remember not to fall away, but instead to lean more into God’s strength and to have hope of what is to come as a result of our surrender to him.

  17. When I was reading John 16, I can only imagine the look on the disciple’s faces when Jesus presented them with all of this information. I mean, can you imagine? One day you’re following Jesus, the guy you believe to be the Messiah, he’s performing miracles, everything generally seems to be going well, and then, he tells you he needs to die for the world and that you will be hated like he will be hated. Wow! That is a lot to take in. I know that if I were in the position of the disciples, I would be taken aback. Well, I suppose I am in the sense that I will be hated like Jesus was hated because I am a follower of Christ. Jesus wants his disciples to be prepared in the aspect of persecution (as prepared as they could be), as well as understand that their faith in him will be difficult. Long points out that, “The reason for Jesus giving this warning is so that the disciples will not “fall away” when the persecution begins” (para 1). In the same way that Jesus is saying the disciples lives will be, so are Christians today. While in America we are lucky and blessed that we are not being killed for our faith, other countries are persecuting people to death for proclaiming to follow Christ. Kostenberger states, “We will be labeled as intolerant, be mocked as narrow-minded religious bigots, or even suffer social or economic ostracism” (p.153). What Kostenberger states is very real and true; Jesus made his similar statement in John 16, and the persecution will not stop until he returns to restore everything in his glory.

  18. It is very interesting to think that some Christians believed that it was right to kill people because of differing beliefs. There are a ton of verses that show that this is the wrong way to go about things. For example, we can look to Luke 6, where Jesus talks about loving your enemies. Another example is the 10 commandments, where we are told not to murder (Exodus 20:13). These are just a few of the examples as to why killing people both in general or for believing in something that goes against what you believe in is wrong. You can certainly still disagree with them, but you should go about it in a kind and loving way. There are so many better ways of going about it. I do like though that Jesus informs and warns the disciples about the trouble that they will face so that they did not have to experience that without any warning. I also really like the wording of Jesus telling them that He does not want them to “fall away”. It can be easy or seem better at moments to just take the easy route, but holding onto the truth and what you believe takes a lot more work, but the reward is much greater.

  19. Jesus loves us enough that he gives us signs and warnings to prepare for situations that will happen, and that is why he gave the warning to his disciples. These warnings are not to harm us but instead, there to help us. In life there are situations that we go through, and some situations are more difficult than other situations and some may wonder why is the situation happening, or why does this happen to me. God never leaves us even when we think he does. When life situations get tough we start to believe that God has ignored and left us, and many tend to fall away. When a believer falls away, they become lost like the ones who do not believe. Jesus gave his disciples a clear message to not fall away because he will not physically be with them, and it can be easy to fall away when tough times come. This reminds me of work. When starting a new job or position we are being taught something. It can be easy to fall away when the person that is training us leaves and it is time to do it on our own. When the person leaves we have to be able to remember what we were taught, and if we don’t we may find it difficult and could fall away from that position.

  20. Great thoughts here. It seems to be that persecution has been a very relevant topic for our community at Grace Christian University, as it should always be. We have students from different countries who’s home towns, families, and friends are under attack and facing heavy persecution. In this passage, vs 3 really sticks out to me. “They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” How often do we pray for those who are dealing the persecution? Yes, it is very important that we surround our persecuted brothers and sisters with prayer, yet I also believe it is just important to pray for those who do not know the Father and whose hands are doing the persecuting. I believe this would be the opposite of falling away. Instead of falling into sin and “getting tripped up” once we are faced with the opposition Jesus warns us about, I wonder how different our hearts would be if we instead prayed for those who dealt the persecution. I believe Jesus’ wake up call to his disciples is to not only warn them physically but also spiritually. On another note, I love how Long states “The word can also have the sense of being offended by someone or something…This may lead to sin as well…” (par 2). This makes me think of the book “The Bait of Satan” as John Bevere writes how offense can be the enemies biggest trap. I agree with Long as he mentioned Jesus’ warning to not fall away correlates with offense as that can definitely lead to bitterness, sin, and anger. In conclusion, I know it is hard to not fall away and/or get offended – especially as we live in today’s culture as believers. I am thankful that Jesus knew what would happen and cared enough to warn us about it. This tells me, and has proven to be true in my life, that he leads us to turn to him as we face persecution, offense, and temptations to fall away.

  21. The Bible is full of illusions to the future, whether it was an Old testament prophecy, or a vision someone had. They are seen throughout the whole bible. So when Jesus talks about the future, and the persecution believers and the faithful will see, and face, it is not the surprising. God’s people have frequently faced some sort of persecution throughout the bible, so it should be expected that we see it even after. While persecution is very much a sad, and bad thing, in a twisted way, it can really show people who are truly saved, and who are just acting like it. The people who are saved, while they will be persecutor, it is a testament to their faithfulness, and dedication to Christ. Then for the people who aren’t it makes them acknowledge that. In a sense, persecution weeds out fake believers, as only dedicated people will likely remain. Another interesting effect that persecution has is that when something becomes illegal, it can create a sort of buzz around it, and make people more intrigued, and it may lead them into doing their own research on it, potentially bring them to Christ. Obviously in the Bible there are warnings about persecution, but as Christians, we shouldn’t worry, as we should never be ashamed of the gospel. We know that persecution is coming, and we can prepare, but ultimately what ever happens is meant to happen and it is all in God’s sovereign plan, and their is not anything we can do to change that.

  22. It’s interesting to me that the disciples would be thrown out of the synagogue not able to worship God from there anymore or to study scripture. I can’t even imagine all of the confusion and frustration from the disciples. As we can imagine they probably faced a lot of doubts while all this was happening. Another thing that I thought was interesting is how you mentioned that the people who were doing the persecuting and kicking the disciples out of the synagogue thought they were serving God. Jesus knew that his disciples were going to face persecution and have their faiths tested. This is why Jesus prays for them in John chapter seventeen. Jesus prays for his disciples because he knows that people are going to turn on them. I can’t even imagine the amount of confusion and distress the disciples were facing. Like you mentioned people are quick to think that God abandons them when trouble arises, I’m sure that the disciples were struggling with the same stuff. I think that something that we can take away from this is that sometimes our life is going to seem hectic, and that nothing is going right for us, or that we are struggling and instead of just praying for the things going on in our lives we should remember to pray for others as well. Another thing I think we can take away from this is no matter how hard life gets and how alone we can feel at times is to just remember that God will always be with us no matter what.

  23. In Jesus final prayer, he prays that his followers are not shocked into committing sin. Now that Jesus is no longer present physically on earth the task of evangelism has become immensely more difficulty, even deadly. Jesus has told the disciples that he would be gone and that their faith would be tested. The Jews are predicted to be the troublemakers in the future for the disciples. The Jews push the disciples out of the synagogue and essentially remove them from their society, it was a lot more than not being permitted to enter the temple. Those who persecute the disciples and believers, believe that they are following God’s will. Christianity goes directly against the heart of Judaism, and when a person is strong in their faith, they can think they are doing the right thing in their own eyes. The Saul to Paul conversion shows how he was at one point in his life working to end Christianity, because it was not what he believed, but after encountering the truth he is able to see the error of his ways. The implications behind World War II were that the Jews were killed by misguided Christians that thought they were doing right by their faith and justified in their actions. Scripture never justifies murder or violent actions of judgement. God is the only Judge.

  24. This is an interesting post as there is quite a bit of persecution, against and with Christianity. It is definitely not easy for Christians to face persecution against their faith. Especially when things get quite deadly. This is what Jesus has had the disciples be trained for, to strengthen their faith. With the persecution they will face being put out of synagogues and be killed (Long, 134). It was not only them but as well to the early church when Nero inflicted the most tortures to Christians by feeding them to the dogs, all by a false accusation of them setting fire to the city (Köstenberger, 163). It is a dedicated faith, trained by Jesus, with possible life threatening situations,

    Not only were the Christians were persecuted, but they also persecuted others ironically. Sadly this had led to a lot of the extermination of the Jews in World War II. It is quite amazing how Christians can be quite hypocritical of treating others.

  25. The way that the Disciples are treated for being followers of Christ is unreal. First of all, the disciples are kicked out of the synagogue. The result of being kicked out of the synagogue is you are “no longer permitted to worship God” (P. Long, 2012) which could be a result of sin in your life. Giving the idea that the disciples have sinned and can no longer worship God in the synagogue with everyone else. The disciples are also going to be killed. People want to get rid of the idea that Jesus is the Son of God so much they want to eliminate those who followed Him by His side. The treatment the disciples got after Jesus left is crazy wrong, just because no one wanted it to be true.

  26. In John 16 Jesus warns His disciples so that they will not “fall away” when they face the persecution The word that was translated to “fall away” means to be brought to a downfall, or “cause to sin.” The meaning can also include taking offense or to be shocked or angered by something. The meaning of the world in the way that John uses it is hard to translate. “But in either case, Jesus warns His disciples what they will have to face in the very near future, so that they are not shocked to the point of sin” (Long). Jesus again warns the disciples of the persecution that they will face, and it is clear from the text that the persecutors will be the Jews. We can see this prediction and warning come true in the book of Acts. Their persecutors think that they are serving God with their actions. They most likely think this because people in the Old Testament such as Phineas and Elijah “burned with zeal” and physically harmed someone for their sin. “Paul’s own persecution of Jewish believers in Jesus as messiah and savior is an illustration of this very persecution” (Long). He persecuted and silenced those who believed and claimed that Jesus really was the Messiah and that He had risen from the dead. Those who believed this were seen as attacking the heart of Judaism and as falsely accusing the Jewish government. Many of misinterpreted this passages as well as other parts of scripture to say that it is okay to persecute the Jews or those who are unbelievers. However, the Bible is clear that persecution is not okay. “We can disagree, slightly or completely, with another religion, but as Christians it is not our duty to respond with hate or violent repression” (Long).

  27. Many have misinterpreted this passage as well as other parts of scripture to say that it is okay to persecute the Jews or those who are unbelievers.*

  28. One of the most fascinating things to me about Jesus during the life of His ministry here on earth has to be the way He can go from a profound, perhaps encouraging truth, to a serious, more existential truth. This sort of existential truth is on full display here in John 16. When you choose to live a life fully devoted and committed to following Jesus, the persecution is coming- it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Jesus is preparing His disciples for this forthcoming persecution- and this is yet again a scenario of Jesus foretelling His disciples of something, and in this case, he is predicting that the disciples will be persecuted. And in these verses, the Jewish people will be the source of trouble. But not only will they be persecuted, but they will also be killed. I can’t imagine being one of the disciples and hearing this news, no doubt my faith would have been shaken. It would have been a moment where you would really have your faith in God tested. It is very interesting to me how this passage has been misinterpreted as an attack on Jewish people, that is something I was not aware of before. It is a reminder that we must thoroughly examine Scripture and not make any hasty conclusions or judgments.

  29. A warning to not fall away. As I read these few verses I can sense the concern and worry from Jesus. As I was reading this for myself and for the first time I felt comfort and peace. Reading what is from Jesus to the disciples I can see the message of what everything encompasses. The very purpose of this warming for the disciples is to prepare the disciples for what is about to come. As a perspective for today. It is important to see how transparent and honest he is to his disciples. It is difficult to see things so clearly today because of how sinful the world is today. But it is refreshing to know that Jesus is once again honest and trustworthy. Jesus speaks clearly in a way that we are able to understand and trust his ways. It is reassuring to read and pray upon this passage. As Christians, we can reflect upon stories like this one to help us get through our sinful actions. The temptation of the world can be strong and we will be tempted but we are found through Jesus Christ, himself. Saying this I am reminded of 1 Corintians 10:13

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