Judges 11-12 Luke 6:1-26
“People will hate you, shut you out, insult you, and say you are evil because you follow the Son of Man. But when they do, you will be blessed. Be full of joy at that time, because you have a great reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same things to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
Matthew described the Sermon on the Mount. Luke talks about the Sermon on the Plain after Jesus chose the disciples. I can’t help but wonder if, after teaching the disciples on the mountain, Jesus came down to the plain, the flat land around the mountain, and taught the people. This is one of those questions I’ll be able to answer in about 100 years. That being said, Jesus let those who wished to follow Him know what to expect in the future. If you wish to follow Jesus, expect to be treated like the prophets of old: you’ll be hated, insulted and called evil. BUT, you will be blessed by God. You’ll experience joy on your relationship with Him. You can expect a great reward in Heaven.
This truly is your best life if you follow Jesus. If we were to get a business consultant’s advice on how to grow the church, though, he’d probably tell us not to share this part of the message. He’d suggest making the message of Jesus popular. He’d have us focus on feeling good. He’d focus on the message of forgiveness rather than worrying about repentance. He’d tell us to talk about freedom in Christ while downplaying Paul’s comments that we’re slaves of Christ. Our message of forgiveness is rooted in the sinfulness of man. It’s a message that’s hollow if it doesn’t include repentance. The message of grace is necessary because of the depravity of man. Were it not for the fact that we’re utterly helpless in our attempts to reach God on our own because of that depravity, we’d not need God’s grace. All that is good about God and the message of salvation in Jesus Christ is rooted in the evil inclinations of mankind. We like to gloss over that part of the message because it’s not popular. When we proclaim the whole message of salvation including man’s sinfulness, people turn away and reject us – although it’s really the message of truth from God that they’re rejecting. While we should never seek the hatred nor the insults, when they come because we are true to God’s message of salvation, we should rejoice in our relationship with God. As I write this on the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we should be reminded of the price that God had to pay because of our evil nature. The message of salvation is free for us because of the great cost Jesus paid.
Lord, help me to be bold as I proclaim the message of salvation. Let me not seek popularity and the acclaim of people; let me stay true to You and Your message of love in spite of sin and grace instead of justice.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.