It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Matthew 10:25

It’s getting hard to convince people that we are just another (safe) religious group.  Sooner or later they will hear something nasty that has been said about us, and then we get the obvious question: "Why did they say that about you?"

The reason we receive unwarranted opposition is because of our decision to follow Jesus.  

Of course, we need to be sure we have not done something to actually deserve opposition before we can claim to be suffering directly because of our commitment to Jesus.  Nevertheless, Jesus was clear about it.  While there are other reasons for being persecuted besides the fact that we are following him, if we do follow Jesus, he himself guarantees that it will bring persecution.

If you’ve read much on this web site, you know that we have decided to follow Jesus, and that we are doing so in a way that is rarely even thought about in all those churches who claim to be doing the same thing.  We have taken his teachings and tried to practice them in our daily lives. It's not just theology, religious rituals, wishful thinking, and emotional experiences.  It's about obedience to the actual teachings of Jesus... being willing to lay our lives down daily in service to God and others; forsaking all that we own; taking no thought for food or clothing; ceasing to labour for the meat that perishes; going into all the world to preach this good news of faith, hope, and love; and teaching others to observe whatever he has commanded us to do.

It infuriates people in a way that goes beyond anything we have actually done to deserve it.  Even relatives have denounced us as evil.  

While some say, “You must have done something to get people so upset," I just think to myself, "If they can't see it, would it really do any good to tell them the obvious?"  The opposition one receives for obeying Jesus is simply incomprehensible to those who have never tried obeying him.  But more than that, it infuriates them just to hear about it.  All the world hates a martyr.  And no one considers that the critics may actually be saying such things because we did something good.

If nice respectable people convince themselves that they would be doing God a service by having us incarcerated or incinerated, then who would believe that it's really because we are servants of Christ that they have reached this conclusion?

We have taken Christianity out of the dusty old textbooks and decided to actually live it, and that is seriously dangerous. Jesus was called a devil because of the things that he said and did.  His opponents convinced themselves that he was going to destroy their Temple, overthrow the government, and trash their religion.  He was the spotless Son of God, yet they had the audacity to say that he was demon-possessed.  Even when he was healing people, there were those who were saying that he did it with help from the devil himself.

The average church goer, with their obsessions about respectability and orthodoxy, could not even begin to grasp how the goodness of Jesus would result in the worst possible accusations being levelled against him.  After all, they go to church; they say their prayers; they read the Bible, and no one is calling for their execution.  But how much does any of that -- religious as it may sound -- actually resemble the life and teachings of Jesus? Until we learn to accept that "All who would choose to live godly lives in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," (2 Timothy 3:12 ) we will be ever running away from the very things that would draw us closer to the Jesus of the Bible.  

We are a movement of people who have decided to really follow Jesus (as in obey what he taught), and we accept that there are going to be serious obstacles thrown in our way.  Are we going to turn back?  Or are we going to accept fanatical opposition as part and parcel of what our Master promised?

I think this message will need to be repeated over and over in the years ahead.  We are heading toward what the Bible calls the worst period in the history of the Planet... a time when persecution will reach unprecedented proportions.  It's going to get worse before it gets better.  

While they rejoice at their apparent successes, Jesus tells us to rejoice that it is all part of his bigger Plan.  The more we can accept that this is going to happen, the less distracted we will become as we seek to faithfully labour for God in a world that has gone horribly astray.

*For more information related to this article, please check out the following video: The Worst Channel on YouTube