Jesus told us that the world would treat us just like they treated Him and yet we find that really hard to understand and even some of us have left the faith because of our lack of understanding in this concept.
Here we are trying to change the world, and there is at least someone who wants us to back down and leave the world just as it is.
One of the most challenging movies I have ever seen was the Gospel of John produced by Visual Bible. What made it a must to watch was that the entire video was produced and scripted word for word from the Gospel using the Today’s English Version translation, more commonly known as the Good News Bible.
This movie portrayed Jesus as one living on the edge. It is not something one gets by reading portions, and I must admit, I did not even imagine His challenging personality even when reading John as a book. As my wife and I were watching the premiere showing of this movie in Toronto at the Elgin Theatre, I had to come to understand that Jesus never looked for good will – He expected confrontation and expected resistance and challenged the status quo wherever He went.
We fail to even want to confront anyone with the Gospel for fear of rejection and most of us have taken on the “love them into the kingdom” approach because we feel that is what Jesus did. He did use that approach and love means telling the truth even when you might be rejected, it means casting out a demon when the world might be watching, it means that after healing, feeding, teaching, giving – the kind of love Jesus had shown got Him nailed to a cross. That sounds pretty confrontational.
If we expect good will because of who we are as a follower of Jesus, if we expect someone to come and thank us for all the good we are doing, if we expect people to honour us because of who we are – we are setting ourselves up to longer present the gospel and power of its message which says, repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.
Good will is not a natural outcome of the gospel. People will treat you just like they treated Jesus – that’s just the truth. So when you are sharing your faith with another person, make sure you tell them what it means to walk with Jesus and make sure you tell them how absolutely amazing it is. But do not fail to tell them how difficult that walk is and how hard it is to walk in this world as a follower of Jesus.
I remember reading about Billy Graham‘s crusade in Korea. It was his largest ever, with 1 million people in attendance. When he gave the altar call and saw the streaming of thousands of people to the front, he stopped everyone right where they were. Through his translator he told them to reconsider accepting the call to follow Jesus. He said that their families would reject them, their friends would leave them, they would have difficulty on the job, and they would be marginalized in society. He asked them to return to their seats, asking only those who could pay such a price as giving their lives to come forward. He thought that night he would stem the tide of those coming forward, instead thousands more stood up to respond to the call. They said he did this five times. Each time a greater audience of people stood and came forward.
Do not go around telling people you are a Christian. Go as a follower of Jesus and I am sure that you will find that people will know because you stand out. Pray for favour from God as you go, but go expecting no good will just because you call yourself a Christian.
- Eric Metaxas on Phoney Religion vs. Real Faith (wellspentjourney.wordpress.com)