Scripture: Romans 12:14, Acts 6-7, Luke 4:28-30, John 15:19, Matthew 12:14, John 8:57-59, Matthew 5:44, Ephesians 3:16, John 15:15-16
Have you ever had someone dislike you because of something you've said or done? Most of us have experienced that. Have you ever had someone dislike you because of one of your friends? If you're a Christian, that has happened--or will happen someday. Why? Jesus explains.
What Does God Say?
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." (John 15:15-16, NKJV).
Jesus reminds us that as Christ-followers we are not just His servants, but we are His friends. Being a friend of Jesus is one of the privileges of being a Christian. But Jesus makes a prediction for His friends.
"The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you" (John 15:19, NLT).
What kind of prediction did Jesus make for His friends?
According to these verses, why will the world hate you?
Read the following verses and answer the questions.
Why did the Pharisees call a meeting in Matthew 12?
Who was furious with Jesus in Luke 4:28-30?
What did they do to Jesus?
What did they intend to do?
How did Jesus get away?
Who was upset with Jesus in these verses?
What did they use to express their anger?
How did Jesus get away?
After reading the above verses, what do you learn about the relationships Jesus had with others (especially the religious leaders) during the last three years of His life?
Do you understand why as a Christ-follower you will be disliked or hated even though you have done nothing to deserve it?
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Bible Teacher, clarifies: "When you live a life that pleases the Lord, you are a problem to people who don't please the Lord. So, is it any wonder, then, that the world hates you? When I say to you, 'Have a good and godly day,' I am saying to you, 'You do that, and you're going to be hated because of it.' Why? Because the world doesn't know God."
Randomly scribble any words that express how you feel when you consider that you will be hated and perhaps even persecuted someday because of your faith.
If "fear" or a similar emotion is on your list, take your list before God and tell Him how you feel. Then think about this.
How does Jesus expect you to respond to hostility and perhaps even persecution? (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14).
Who will give you the strength to respond appropriately? (Ephesians 3:16).
Are you a friend of Jesus? If so, you can expect some people to have a very negative reaction to you.
Ask the Lord to strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit and to give you the character of Christ, in particular His courage and compassion. See Acts 6 and 7 for Stephen's example.