Summary: Though Jesus gave trouble to his disciples, He gave them some other things to get them through the trouble. He wanted the trouble to accomplish some things in them.
Dec. 14, 2003 John 15:26-16:4, 32-33
“The gift that Jesus gave”
Did you know that there are a multitude of ways to get yourself into trouble at Christmas?
Buying the wrong gift can get you into trouble. Maybe you heard about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas. A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive vehicles." "She did," he replied. "But where am I gonna find a fake Jeep?"
Another good way to get into trouble is to have a children’s Christmas play. A children’s Sunday school class was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director.
During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the innkeeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.
Joseph answered, "We’d like to have a room for the night." Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, "Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!"
For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the inn-keeper and then said, "No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn." - And once again the play was back on track!
Most of us don’t need the extra activities of Christmas to get us into trouble. We stay in trouble all year long. Sometimes that trouble is because of us, and sometimes that trouble is because of Jesus. Last week, we saw that because of our relationship with Jesus, trouble is going to come into our lives. The world-system that we Christians try to be so much like – especially at Christmas – hates us because of what we stand for and because of who we belong to. But instead of returning hate to the people who are trapped in that world system, we are to love them. That will give us the opportunity to introduce them to the focus of Christmas – Jesus.
This morning, I will ask and answer two more questions concerning the trouble that Jesus said will come to all those who choose to stay in His company. As we deal with these questions, you will have to deal with a question that only you can answer: “Is it worth all the trouble that it will bring into my life for me to choose to stay in the presence of Jesus?”
1. Why did Jesus tell them about the trouble?
It’s not exactly a sound marketing ploy for attracting new disciples or keeping the ones you already have. Maybe Jesus should have fired his marketing team and signed a contract with the people who come up with the ads for Wal-mart, Target or M & M’s. Those marketing firms would highlight all the positive benefits of being a follower of Jesus. They would down-play the down side. They would give Jesus a chocolate coating that doesn’t melt when the heat of trouble is applied. They would have a 50% sale on following Jesus – lower the cost. Or get the first 30 days free of trouble if you sign up with Jesus for just a 2 year commitment. But Jesus didn’t use any of those gimmicks. He was after something different than just making a quick sale.
He wanted them to cling to Him even tighter
“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.” John 16:1 (NIV)
Jesus told them these things (His departure, Vine and branches, the coming troubles and the coming of the Holy Spirit) so that they would not go astray – leave, quit, get side-tracked and disillusioned.
Trouble in your life will either push you toward Jesus or it will push you away from Him.
We are going through a lot of sickness in our nation right now. It’s that time of year. When do children cling closest to their mothers? It’s when they are sick.
Jesus doesn’t want us to be the kind of people who run away when trouble comes. He wants us to be people who stay as close as we possibly can to the one who will get us through the trouble.