I’ve been reflecting today about Holy Week and the finale episode of The Bible series on the History Channel. I’ve been thinking about what the world did to Jesus. Jesus told His followers that they also would be hated and persecuted because of Him. He didn’t hint that the world might do so, but He assured them that it would do so. He also told his followers to expect, accept and embrace suffering. The Apostles were virtually all killed for following Jesus. The next 2000 years produced innumerable, Christian martyrs, including many of the first popes.
Why do so many present day Christians expect their lives to be free from suffering? Jesus said that the servant is not above the Master. The servant follows the Master. The Master suffered for speaking, indeed for being the truth in love. The Master did not suffer because He spoke things that made everyone feel good. The Master did not suffer because He pointed out how fair and free from injustice the world could be. He suffered because He testified to the sinfulness and injustice of the world. He suffered because He pointed beyond this life and our attachments to it.
I’m not suggesting that Christians need to go out and pick fights or seek out ways to suffer. But, I do believe that if we stand for truth when the world tries to feed us lies, we will not need to seek out suffering or persecution. It will come and find us. If it does not come looking for us, we’re probably not following Christ. If we receive constant applause from the world, we’re probably not following Christ.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
Christians, are we prepared to be blessed? Are we prepared to leap for joy? Christ had His resurrection. Ours is yet to come. We are still in the world. But, we are not of the world. Speak the truth in love. Then, be ready to follow the Master.