“I am sending you out like sheep into wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles . . . . And you will be hated by all because of my name.” (Matthew 10:16-18, 22). “They will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name” (Matthew 24:9).
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go” (There’s Within My Heart a Melody, UMH 380).
And he says, “You will be hated by all because of my name.”……Sweetest name I know, right?
Shall I continue? Are you up for this? If not, you have my permission to stop reading and pick up a copy of “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen.
Still reading? Did you hear what Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me?” Okay, I warned you. The apostle Paul says to Timothy, “All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Rather than thanking God for the privilege of living in a free country where they do not suffer, the early Christians thanked God for the honor of suffering for his sake. “They rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:41).
Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). A cross-centered gospel requires cross-carrying messengers. If it doesn’t cost you anything to follow Jesus, you may want to check to see who it is you are following.