“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.”
—John 15:18-22 (NIV)
Sometimes I feel bad about the people I know who don’t embrace the gospel, who don’t embrace the person of Jesus. More than sometimes…a lot of times actually. Well, to be honest, I’m obsessed about it. I really want to wear a sandwich board sign around my body saying, “Why don’t you people get it?!” (Oops! Did I just print that out loud?) Excuse my frustration. Let me pause for a moment and remember the words of Jesus.
He knew this would happen and warned His disciples (including you and me) about it. The above words recorded in John explain it all clearly. So it shouldn’t take us by surprise. But it does get frustrating. When you discover something so transformative (a relationship with Jesus), you want to share it. But there are people who just don’t want such a relationship. We might become tempted to think that they don’t really understand it, because if they did…surely then they’d want it.
Following Jesus comes with a cost. It causes a sharp division between the old you and the new you. Between the world and those called out of the world. So many changes…
Some people don’t want to pay the cost (as in being treated differently by people they once considered friends). They don’t want to change where they go or what they do. The world is full of glittery lights, loud music, and pleasures galore. Lots of things to keep you busy NOT thinking about issues, like God, that you can worry about later.
What the devil doesn’t want people to know is that we Christians have fun, too. Great music, deep fellowship, and a peace that the world cannot touch. We still have trials (maybe we have even more trials because we serve the Lord), but they do not weigh us down. We’ve got transcendence.
Last week I took one of those silly online personality tests called, “Which Biblical Character Are You Most Like?” I got John the Baptist. Yuck! I groaned. The guy dressed funny, ate weird food, and cornered the oddball market. Let’s not even get into how he died.
But the longer I go on This Abiding Walk, the more I can see an evangelistic bent emerging (whether I like it or not). And that sandwich board sign comment could be the modern day equivalent of John crying in the wilderness.
So, maybe from a human persepective, John the Baptist was a weird guy, but should I concern myself with human perspectives? I think the point of this blog is “No.”
God the Father and Jesus surely liked his work.
Therefore, fellow travelers, let us keep on telling the story, risking rejection and ridicule. The Father will draw those whom He will draw (John 6:44), and Jesus will not lose any that the Father gives Him (John 6:39).
Remember: The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to us who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18 ).