I love to read about historical individuals who accomplished great things..think Edison, Churchill, Ten Boom, Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and then of course, biblical figures..OT and NT-Joseph, David, Abraham, Jesus, Paul, and Peter.
What do these great men and women have in common? I can think of two things at least- they stood for something, and they were hated by many.
Jesus said, "you must lose your life to gain it." Was He speaking of friends? It is a hard word, difficult to swallow. We see it in countries where Christianity is under attack. We hear about the persecuted church, and our brothers and sisters in Christ who die for their faith. But when we experience it here, from those close to us, it is somewhat of a shock. I suppose we think we don't "deserve" to be slandered, or misrepresented, shunned, or looked down upon. But again, Jesus' words.."take up your cross and follow me."
Jesus also spoke about His rejection in the Parable of the Tenants..this parable speaks of the owner of a vineyard renting his vineyard to some farmers, with a portion coming back to the owner for rent. The owner of the vineyard sent servants to gather his portion, but the tenants beat him and sent him empty handed, again, the owner of the vineyard sent another servant to gather his portion and he was also beaten and sent away empty handed, then the farmer said, " I will send my son, whom I love, perhaps they will respect him. But what happened? The owner sent his son, and they killed him ,fearing the land was to be taken from their control. I can see the drama of the parable building as Jesus looked at the ones He spoke to-the Pharisees-"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." Knowing what Jesus meant by this-claiming His Diety..they looked for a way to arrest Him.
Jesus was perfect. He did not sin but came to SAVE the people, and they denied Him, and eventually killed Him. If a perfect man, God himself can be rejected, why do we assume we are immune from this? Of course, we are not Jesus, and we sin, and are far from having perfect motives all the time! But just as the individuals I mentioned above, when we try and follow Christ, really step out of the boat and achieve something different, we will come under attack- even from friends. Take Heart, the one we follow, Christ, suffered this too. He suffered this to a much greater degree and He overcame the world. This brings me comfort.
Someone shared this quote with me this week...it says it all.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.