In the American church, there are grumblings about the increasing hostility toward Christianity in our country. We are largely living in a post-Christian culture, and the hedge of protection we once enjoyed in a society modeled after Christian ethics is crumbling. But the idea of hostility toward Christians is by no means new. In fact, Jesus was talking about it before His disciples were even called “Christians”.
In the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (v22). The “Son of Man” is a clear Jewish reference to the Messiah; Jesus is speaking about Himself. We are to consider it a great blessing to be hated and excluded and reviled in the name of Jesus. He goes on in verse 23, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” In other words, there has been a long history of people hating the men and women of God. Why? Because people hate God Himself.
Romans 1 describes the world as suppressing the truth about God in unrighteousness and exchanging the truth for a lie. So, when they hear about Him from the mouths of His people, they revile His people. It’s nothing new. It may be getting worse for our generation, but it’s nothing new.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we should go out and try to be obnoxious and rude, so that we can receive the blessing of being hated. We’re also called to love. Part of loving others is sharing the bad news that they’re sinners in need of a Savior and the good news that Jesus died and rose again to save sinners. And for that, sheep, you will be hated. You will be excluded. You will be reviled. But rejoice! Your reward is great in heaven! You have Jesus Himself, for all eternity. So, love others and speak the truth with boldness and joy.
Jesus then gives the corresponding oracle of woe in verse 26, “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” If you speak of the true Jesus, you will be hated. If you are not hated, there’s a good chance you’re not speaking of the true Jesus. And that’s a problem. That’s dishonoring to God. And you might not actually be a Christian. If that’s the case, there’s only one remedy for that. Repent of your sins and trust on the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation. And get to know who He truly is in the pages of His word, the Bible. Then, be hated for His namesake, and be blessed.
- Psalm 9
- Genesis 9:20-10:32
- 1 Chronicles 10
- Luke 6:17-49