“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you…If they persecuted me, the will also persecute you.” John 15:18-20.
In the past weeks and months, a combination of controversial hot-button issues led a few gregarious politicians to boldly declare that society is “at war with Christianity,” as though this so-called “war” has just begun. If these politicians had paid attention to the last 2000 years of recorded history, or if they took the time to check the Bible to see what Christ has to say, they would realize that this conflict is not new, nor is it unique to America. This conflict has been raging since the moment Christ was born.
After following the Star of Bethlehem all the way to Jerusalem, the Magi first went to King Herod and ask, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him!” Herod, who was at that time the king of Judea, did not want to give up his throne to another king, so he ordered that all males under two years of age to be killed. Thousands of innocent babies were killed because of Herod’s greed and thirst for power. But Mary, Joseph, and the infant Christ fled to Egypt and avoided the slaughter.
Numerous other times, when Christ was a man, those in the religious establishment would be offended or infuriated by the things that Christ taught, and would try to incite others to harm Him. One time they tried to push Christ off a cliff, another time the Pharisees picked up stones and nearly stoned Christ. In each case, Christ either diffused the situation Himself, or the Pharisees began to fear for their own safety, since there were many people following Christ.
Christ does not beat around the bush; He is very frank in telling us that we should expect the same treatment. Being a follower of Christ has never been the popular thing to do, nor will it ever be. The world will always oppose us, and we should always be prepared for that. But the fact that the world opposes us should not discourage us, rather it should encourage us. Opposition from the world means that we are doing our job, that we are truly following Christ. We have nothing to fear from this world. Christ has already defeated the world, death, and the grave. Christ will be with us throughout any trial or persecution we endure. He will be with us to the end. It does not matter what the world does to us; they can feed us to lions, light us on fire, crucify us, stone us, or do any other sort of terrible things to us, but Christ will be with us. Death is nothing to be feared, it is merely the vehicle that transports us to be with Him in paradise. Though this conflict between Christ and the world is not new, it has already been won. Christ remains forever victorious. We have nothing to fear for Christ is with us.