Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Friday, October 21, 2005

Special Report: Why do so many people hate even the mention of Jesus?

Ok, so I know that I’m jumping around on this and that we are supposed to be talking about prophecy and this generation next, but before we continue with the special series of Bible Prophecy and what and who the generation is who will see the return of Jesus, I want to pause and take a moment to talk about Jesus Himself. Probably two of the most asked questions I’ve heard other than “was Jesus really who He said He was?” is “Why do so many people hate (even the mention of) Jesus?” and “Why did Jesus have to die?”

Today we will cover the question of why so many people hate even the mention of Jesus or why the name or topic of Jesus makes them uncomfortable. My thanks to Back to the Bible for some of the information contained in this post today. Tomorrow we will cover the subject of why Jesus had to die. Then we will continue with the prophecy series after that.

Why does the actual name of Jesus inspire so much hatred by so many people? Just hearing the name Jesus be spoken puts so many people into a rage from 0-2 seconds flat. Why is that?

They use His name as a curse. They dishonor Him in obscene art. They denigrate His teachings, ridicule His followers and bury the story of His birth, death and resurrection under jolly elves and cuddly bunnies. Why? Why does the mere mention of Jesus' name provoke such overwhelming animosity from people today? Even if we don't often think about it, we can't really escape the fact that our modern, tolerant culture responds to Jesus with hatred and animosity.

It's really no different today than it was 2,000 years ago. Jesus faced intense opposition and hatred during His years on earth. The question to consider today is why? In John, Chapter 7, the passage reveals some pretty intense, pretty extreme hatred for Jesus in His day. Why does the world hate Jesus? Why do people in American hate Jesus? Why do people in India and Australia and England--all over the world--why do people hate Jesus so much? What is it about this teacher, this miracle worker that upsets so many people? Well, the Bible tells us the answer. We're going to look to the Bible to get some understanding and that answer today.

There was an article written a couple of years ago in Christian Reader by Joanne Hunter. She was talking about her grandchildren, and how they were talking about hating each other. Their mother was shopping with them one day, when suddenly, the two little boys became angry with one another. One said, "I hate you." The other said, "I hate you, too." The mother said, "That's not very nice, and I'm certainly not going to take you two little boys to McDonald's for lunch if you hate each other." The five-year-old quickly backed down, and he said to his brother, "I don't really hate you." But the other brother, with logic as clear as his three years could give him, responded: "Well, I still hate you, because I'm not hungry." A lot of people in the world hate, but they don't want to admit it. There are lots of people who even may attend church, but will not admit their true feelings about Jesus.

Hatred is such a strong emotion. I admit it, I have hated someone in the past couple of years. I have hated intensely and Jesus says that if you harbor hatred in your heart for someone, then it is the same as committing murder b/c in your heart you have already killed them off. Hatred is a powerfully binding thing and only by giving your hatred over to God can you ever be free of it. In fact, I only finally gave that hatred, anger and bitterness over to God this past Sunday. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next day this person tries to get back into my marriage, which is trying to be reconciled, and into the life of my husband? And there has been additional contact from this person since then. Satan uses our most powerful sore spots against us, especially when we decide that we no longer want to be bound by them and ask God for His help in dealing with them and acknowledging that we can’t do it on our own. I’m still working on the forgiveness part, but that struggle is becoming easier, even with the things that have happened this week. I know that I could not do it on my own b/c on my own, I am weak as a new born baby. The flesh is weak, but when I am walking in step with God, then I have the strength to deal with my weaknesses. The only strength that can truly deal with this emotion of hatred is the strength that God gives.

We're going to discuss today why people have such strong negative feelings about Jesus. My question that I'm asking today is this: Why does the world hate Jesus so much? John 7:7 and John 15:18-25 have the answer. John 7:7 says “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” and John 15: 18-25 says “ If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.”

When you make your break with your past because you've trusted Christ as Savior, when you've decided to live for Him, isn't it true that often your family and friends who don’t have their trust in Christ don't even understand? They can't see why you're living the way you are. They don't understand why you want to go to church, why your views change about things that you were fine with before, why you want to read the Bible and have a circle of friends who do all those things too. They think you're out of your mind.

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me," Jesus said, "because I testify of it and its works are evil." Now when He says world here, the word that he uses is the word cosmos. He's talking not so much about people, but the realm of evil. He's talking about mankind alienated from the life of God. He's talking about a world system. A system that is hostile toward God and toward good. He's talking about a world that was represented by Jerusalem's hierarchy. That's the way the world was then, and it hated Jesus then.

And you know what? The cosmos hates Jesus today. Today the cosmos is represented by men and women who are still alienated from God. The world is operated by those who despise God's moral truth. So the vast majority of the people today accept abortion, accept homosexuality, don't see anything really wrong with prostitution, adultery, all the things God morally hates. The world today is an evil world, alienated from God; the Bible says the world hates Jesus. The world is run by those who not-so-covertly are biased against Christianity.

Just take a look at TV journalists today. Bernard Goldberg came out with a book not long ago, appropriately title BIAS, talking about the bias of CBS news. He worked for CBS news. This is a Jew telling the truth about the journalistic bias against religion. Especially Christian religious beliefs.

The world is operated today by those who wish to subjugate the world to their way of life. That's why extremists can fly planes into the World Trade Center. So, why does the world hate Jesus? Why do your neighbors hate Jesus? Why do so many political leaders hate Jesus? Why do the gay and lesbian task forces of this world hate Jesus? Why do religious fanatics of all kinds hate Jesus? The answer is very simple. Jesus gave it to us in John7:7. "The world cannot hate you," He says, "but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil."

Let me give you quickly three reasons why the world hates Jesus:
Number 1--Because Jesus gives the true testimony of what this world is like. (Believe it or not what Jesus says is right.)
Number 2--Jesus demonstrates that the works of this world system are evil.
Number 3--Jesus shames this world because of His purity of life.

People hated Jesus because He showed them to be what they are. Mark Twain used to say that few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. Well, Jesus was a lot more than a good example. He said in John 15:18: "If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you.” If you belong to the world, it would love its own. But you see you cannot expect the world today to love you; because if you belong to Jesus, the world's system hates the one to whom you belong. That's why John said: "Do not marvel my brethren if the world hates you." (1 John 3:13)

So, how are you, if you are a Christian, getting along in the world today? If you find yourself getting along a little too nicely in this world, if you don't see a difference between your life and your unsaved neighbor's life or--even worse--he or she doesn't see a difference between your lives; is it because you are less like Jesus, and more like this world? Are you willing to ask yourselves some hard questions, friends? We all need to ask ourselves these questions.

Questions like: does your neighbor, family, or friends even know that you're a Christian? Have you ever told those that you work with that you're a child of God? Is there anything in your work habits, in your conversation, that marks you out as a Christian? Do you have any time in your day set aside just for the Savior? Is your life all show? Is it a display for the “religious leaders”, the people at your church, or the people in your hometown? How do you treat others who wrong you or who you have perceived to have wronged you? Is it with forgiveness or with anger and revenge and spite? Do you feel vindicated by being spiteful to someone else? Do you ever sense that you are living for God and really pleasing Him? Or do you feel more at home in the world? Does the use of God’s name or Jesus name as a swear word come easy to you? Does your conscience not tweak you when you take something from work or from someone else or when someone gives you back too much change and you keep it?

Don't be afraid to ask these tough questions and many more. If you're unhappy with the answers, if you feel empty inside, if you realize your life isn't what God wants it to be, then you need to learn more about God and how to walk with Him. There are several great resources to peruse online. Get to Know God, Need Him, Need God, Christian Answers, Answers In Genesis, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry and Focus On the Family just to name a few.

So, so far there have been three answers about why the world hates Jesus, but there is a fourth reason that goes back to Jesus' claim, when He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6a) Other religious teachers have said that their teachings lead to a higher level, but Jesus said "it's not My teaching, it's Me that brings life." And that's really what the world hates.

It is so interesting when protagonists of other religious systems, or world-views, would take any teaching of Jesus, they would like to sever that cord, somehow, between the thought and the person. They all say that 'Jesus said' then quote some line that they are in agreement with, but they will forget that very statement we hold to be true as Christians, true because it came from the very Son of God, the very source of all truth. They would like to accept some of His ideas, but it is rather unnerving to them that this is embodied in the person of Christ and Christ alone. So, Jesus was right on target when He said He was the way, the truth and the life. That truth ultimately reduces to just words, if it is not embodied or incarnated in some way.

But for the early religious leaders--the scribes, the Pharisees, others of the first century--it was really Jesus' claim to be God, or the things that He did that revealed He was God. That's what really set Him apart from others.

When you go through the Gospels, and see what it is that they wanted to stone Him for, or kill Him for--for example, in Mark's Gospel where, as soon as He identified who He was, they said that's all we need, away with this man. No doubt that the various sects and groups of that particular day clearly understood what it was He was claiming, and with that in mind, wanted to do away with Him. He says it in so many different ways: I am the way, the truth, I'm the life, I'm the door, I'm the good shepherd, I am the I am, as it were. I think it is a marvelous demonstration in His birth, life, death and resurrection that He demonstrated that the claims were indeed true.

It's a real challenge to examine our lives and make sure they reflect Christ, even though it means facing antagonism. But we have to always remember that opposition is a timed response. That means it ends. There's a period in which that opposition will stop, but being rewarded for doing what is right, doing the right thing, that's not a timed response; that's an eternal response. You and I always know we need to do the right thing, even when it comes to standing up for Jesus when the world hates Him; we need to do the right thing, and tell them about His love that brought Him to Calvary to die for them.
Tomorrow: Why did Jesus have to die?

Nic’s Personal Note: Thanks to all of you for continuing to read my blog. I know that it has changed rather drastically since I first started it, and in fact even from 3 months ago, but there have been some pretty big changes in my life within myself and I believe that God is using me and this blog to tell others about the time that is coming and about how to avoid the trouble and trials to come. Interestingly enough, my blog has increased a lot in these past few weeks. It seems that so many people are concerned about the weather and are searching for, according to the stats, how the weather relates to prophecy. Most of the hits I’ve received lately, other than those of people who are looking for the soap opera “As the World Turns”, are from people wanting answers to what is going on in the world with all the natural disasters and the diseases. These are world-wide hits and these people are spending literally hours and days reading the posts regarding prophecy. God always has a reason as to why He does something, and maybe for me it was to put me in the right place at this time to give people the answers they’re looking for. Only God knows for sure. Remember to Keep Looking Up!

1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Some good thoughts here, Nic. It's interesting that the name is even a swear word now.