“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
I’m sure you’ve heard pastors quote this passage numerous times. I know I certainly have. In fact, I’ve heard a couple of Christians suggest that if you don’t have enemies, then you’re doing something wrong. But what does Jesus mean when He says the world will hate us Christians because of Him?
The answer you are most likely to hear is it’s because the message of the Gospel goes against the pluralistic message of the world. The world says, “All paths lead to the same destination,” but the Bible says, “there is no other name under heaven [other than Jesus] given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The world also says, “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody,” but the Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Certainly that’s why Jesus said the world will hate us, right?
Well, I think that’s part of the reason, but not the whole reason.
If we look at Matthew chapter 10 in its entirety, we see that Jesus gives the twelve disciples that warning before sending them out to spread the message of the Kingdom of God throughout Israel. And while that message does include repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:46-47), there’s also a social/political nature to the Gospel, which is:
1). Jesus is Lord, not Casar (or any other worldly emperor)
2). “Seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” (Isaiah 1:17)
3). The meek will inherit the earth, and the peacemakers will be called children of God (Matthew 5:5,9)
4). People “will beat their swords into plowshares . . . and will not train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
Now if that’s not a threatening message for the powers of this world, I don’t know what is!