Scripture: Luke 21:17 Jesus says “All people will hate you because of me.”
Observation: It’s hard to believe that a man of love such as Jesus was hated. Everything he did was motivated by love for God and for people, and he never seemed to compromise his devotion to either. Jesus was hated, along with his earliest followers, because he challenged the power structures of the world. He challenged the Sadducees, who were charging exorbitant exchange rates and jacking up the prices of sacrificial animals for poor peasant Jews seeking to worship in the Jerusalem temple. He challenged the Pharisees, who were more enamored with legalism than love and put heavy burdens on people because of it. He challenged the Zealots, who tried to fight the power of Rome with the violent methods of Rome, which entailed murder. He challenged Rome, by proving that he, not Caesar, is Lord.Application: I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can get people to like me, instead of how I can get people to hate me. This makes me avoid conflicts that I should initiate, run from battles I should fight, and lean into my comfort zone instead of God’s call to courageous commitment. Today, I hope for the grace to defend the rights of the poor and needy in a way that might cause me to be hated by the power brokers of oppression. Today, I will pick fights that may leave me as the scapegoat but set others free. Today, I will do my best to resist what is comfortable and live by the courage that is inconvenient.
Prayer: Lord, help me to live the kind of life that so glorifies you and liberates the oppressed that people hate me because of it. Amen.