18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.
How are we living out our faith? If we are professing ourselves as Christians, claiming that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, do the people around us know it? Does our daily behavior in our homes, at work and as we interact socially, reflect Jesus to those around us? Do our neighbors and those at school know?
Unfortunately for us in the South, the Bible Belt as they call it, being a "Christian" is almost like being a member of a country club or social organization. Or many of us spend all of our time in the "Holy Huddle" and rarely step out of our comfort zone to make any significant impact on the world around us. Does the world hate you, or does it love you and call you one of their own?
Jesus was sharing the Passover celebration with his disciples, just before he would go through the agony of his betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. He was preparing them for the time ahead, when he would no longer be with them. In the words noted above, we see the guideline for whether or not we are truly his followers.
In contrast to the "country club Christian", across the world in almost every country, many Christians are undergoing "persecution" for their faith. May be it is just be ridiculed and ostracized for truly following their faith, or maybe it's being shunned by fellow workers or other family members. Worse yet, many around the world are actually being killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. They are truly losing everything they have, just to follow the way, the truth and the life God has given to us.
Why are true Christians hated? First, we point out that we all are sinners in need of a Savior. Next, we believe that Jesus Christ and his work on the cross on our behalf is the only way that we can truly be reconciled to God and forgiven for that sin. And last, as true Christians we try to point everyone we can to Jesus as Savior. We should see a hurting and dying world, that is doomed to eternal separation from God if they do not accept the truth of Jesus. We should be about the business of spreading the good news of the hope found only in Christianity.
So I ask again, how are we living out our faith? Do those that are in the world hate us? Are we impacting the lives of those in need of hope and salvation? Do we share Jesus every opportunity we get? I don't know if you have been paying attention to the state of world lately, but now is the time for us to truly make an impact for eternity.