Bible Reading: Mark 13:3-23
“And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:12-13)
If you think Christianity is fun and games, you are wrong. If you only expect comfort and leisure, you have signed up for the wrong thing. From the beginning, Jesus warned about the difficulties and dangers of following Him. Being a Christian means war, tribulation, and suffering.
Does this seem contradictory? Our misunderstanding comes from our neglect of the depravity of our sins.
What happened to Jesus when He came from heaven to earth? He left His glory and took on the flesh of man. He came and lived amongst sinners and rebels. His life was not comfortable for sure; heaven would have been much better. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Why was this so? Why did we, humanity, reject our God who came to visit us from heaven?
John 3:20 says, “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” We, sinners, hate the truth. So, when Christ the Truth came to us, we rejected Him. We scorned Him and esteemed Him not. We loved our darkness, sin and rebellion, and rather than submitting and honouring Christ, we put Him to death on a cross.
See the depths of our sins. When we go about our own way, we reject Christ who came. We murdered Him and put the author of Life to death. Christ came in humility, in love, proclaiming and offering the truth of salvation and repentance. It was loud and clear. Yet, we reject Him because we love our own ways of life. As Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way”.
Here is the point. Sinners hate the truth. You and I once hated the truth. The only way one can see the truth and embrace it is by the grace and loving mercy of God, who overcomes our depravity and plants faith in our hearts.
Christ came to offer the greatest truth to us, that is, the truth of forgiveness and healing from the wounds of sins by His blood and sacrifice on the cross. This is the gospel we share, and it is also the gospel hated by those in the dark.
Just as Christ came to preach hope to a world so drowned in sin, they took no notice and gave no respect; we are called to witness the Truth to the world who will hate and reject it. Why did Christ even come to such a broken generation? It was love and obedience to the Father. It was the Father’s love for mankind.
If the Holy Spirit has been gracious and opened our eyes to see Christ’s love, must we not follow in Christ’s footsteps of love to proclaim the truth to those broken and enslaved by sin around us? Must we not endure the scorn and shame out of love, waiting for the Spirit to continue to work and shape us in the process? Have we stepped up to the way of the cross?
Lord, You loved me and died for me on the cross. I scorned and rejected You. I thought my own ways were better than Yours. Please forgive me. I want to follow in the way of the cross. As You loved, teach me to love and proclaim Your truth to the world who will hate me for the truth. Help me endure to the end, in the hope of the crown of glory You prepare. Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.