Put Out of the Synagogue
July 8, 2022
They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me (John 16:2-3).
Those who should have been prepared to receive Jesus as the promised Messiah of God were the ones who put Him to death. The primary proponent of persecution against the Christian faith came from the religious world, the Jews, the ones who professed to be the people of God. It wasn’t until the religious leaders of the Jews began their plot to kill Jesus that the Roman Empire got involved in persecuting Christians. In fact, while many Jews came to faith in Jesus Christ through the preaching and teaching of the Apostles (Acts 2:38-41; 4:1-4), many others opposed the Christian faith and stood against the Apostles (Acts 5:17-42). They will put you out of the synagogues.
Where ‘profession of faith’ is not genuine, even those who bear the name Christian ultimately identify with the world and its attitude toward Jesus Christ. One of the leading skeptics of the authority of Scripture today, Bart Ehrman, was once an ardent follower of Jesus Christ, left evangelicalism and returned to the Episcopal Church where he remained a liberal Christian for 15 years, but later became an agnostic atheist after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering. Currently he is professor of New Testament at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Though he studied under the great New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger, he now teaches his students to question the veracity of the Bible and the authority of Jesus Christ. He is hailed as one of the great New Testament scholars of our day. Go figure.
“When the walk of the Christian condemns that of the worldly professor, when faithfulness to his Lord prevents him from doing many things which the world does, and when obedience to the Word obliges him to do many things which the world dislikes, then enmity is at once aroused and persecution follows - persecution just as bitter and real today, though its forms be changed” (Arthur Pink). Genuine biblical Christianity is not honored by the world. Worldly Christianity is. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15:18-19).
To be ‘put out of the synagogues’ is more than being excluded from a Jewish house of worship. It meant to be condemned by the Jews as a heretic or a pagan. It meant to be shunned by your people and banned from society. Today that may not mean much. In the days of Jesus it meant everything - being hated, excommunicated, loss of income, loss of family, open persecution, even death. This is what the disciples faced. It’s what many fervent Christians face in today’s world, because today’s world does not know Jesus Christ or God the Father who sent Him. But those who do know the Father and the Son are inheritors of eternal life in the Kingdom that is yet to come (John 17:3). Amen.