John 16:1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.”
Jesus, speaking to His disciples as He leads them from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, explains to them the reason why He has told them all the things of the past few chapters, saying that it is to keep them from stumbling.Trying times were coming and their hopes of a conquering King Messiah would for now be dashed. Jesus would be falsely accused by the religious leaders, tried, turned on by the people of Jerusalem, and executed by Rome and buried. It was the Father’s will that Jesus first come as a Suffering Servant who would die for our sins. Some day in the future, Jesus will return as a Conquering King but for now, the disciples would soon be frightened, confused and scattered. Of course, Jesus has already told them that He would resurrect from the dead, but as is often the case with people, future hope becomes clouded by current despair.
Now, perhaps you wonder how these things of the Upper Room discourse – things Jesus spoke to them in figurative language – could keep them stumbling? Well, the key lies in the figurative or concealed nature of revelation followed by the slow unveiling of revelation through fulfillment … This keeps one looking forward to a future time when understanding will come.
1 Peter 1:6–9 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
This, coming from a man, Peter, who was a first hand witness to the ministry of Christ and the fulfillment of his mission. He’s saying that we who endure trials of faith, having not seen Christ, yet loving Him, will have a great reward of joy and honor in seeing the day when Jesus is revealed to the whole world. The guarantee of that glorious day, written in the blood of Christ and sealed by His resurrection and ascension empowers us to continue without stumbling. Knowing that the day will soon come … and every day that passes brings fulfillment all the more near through every trial of faith we experience.
Jude 24–25 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.