Bible Society of South Africa

Why all the hurt in this world? – 17 April 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

1“I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. 2You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when anyone who kills you will think that by doing this he is serving God. 3People will do these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me. 4But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember that I told you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you.

John 16:1-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

We all want to hear that our future will be bright, because we follow in Christ’s footsteps as his disciples. We believe that his wounds have brought us healing (Isaiah 53:5). We believe that God will provide for every need we may encounter, when we are serving him (2 Peter 1:3). All these verses are true. However, God’s children still encounter difficult times in this world. If we consider Jesus’ words carefully, he never promised us an easy life when we follow him. He said that the gate to heaven is small and the path there narrow (Matthew 7:14). He warned that whoever wished to follow him should be willing to take up their own cross, forsake their own life, to walk in his footsteps (Matthew 16:24).

Jesus has also prepared the future church for difficult times as the end of time approaches. People will kill other people in the name of religion, thinking that their killings will honour God. History has proven this tendency; it is still happening today. People of faith are willing to kill other people who do not believe exactly the same as themselves. However, Jesus warns that killers don’t know the heart of the Father or him, as the Saviour of mankind. The Father has sent the Son from a position of love, to come and save this world (John 3:16; 15:9). The heart of the gospel is the message of God’s love for mankind, as it became flesh in Christ. There is no reason to kill another human being in the name of God! We stand ashamed of some of the cruel things that happened in church history, like the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Jesus’ message does not include killing and violence. He came to offer the world a new way of life, a life filled with love in relationship to a loving, graceful God.

Jesus warns that persecution and difficult times in a believer’s life is not unexpected. The world has persecuted him before us; we follow his lead. We cannot expect to be treated differently than he was. But this encourages us to reach out to the people around us with even more love and kindness, to share the light and love of Christ that they so desperately need.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, every one of us has already experienced pain in our journey by following in your footsteps. Help me to never react with anger and violence, but help me to share your message of hope and love by example. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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