I spent the week-end writing lectures for my course on the Fourth Gospel next Semester. I wrote 34 slides for the prologue of John from 1:1-18. While meditating on John's Gospel all week, it was timely to hear a sermon preached from John 15:25-16:4 this morning. "The world hates you because it hated me first". The sermon answered several questions in my mind. Following Christ often invites persecution even when you are as loving and as peaceful as Jesus was.
Speaking the truth carries with risks for the world does not like to hear that its works are evil. Going against the grain of culture of today is like swimming against the tide. You are labelled non-progressive, conservative or worse intolerant. Even among "believers" one is ostracised and people speak of your name as evil. "Rejoice I say to you for they did the same to the prophets of old." Very few speak frankly and truthfully - "O Lord the faithful has perished! Where can I find a righteous man?". Even as the Lord told Jeremiah: "If you can find one man in Jerusalem who speaks the truth and does righteousness I will not destroy the city". But alas there was no one, not even one man. Even as Christ came to his own but his own did not receive him." "The day will come that they will cast you out of synagogues and those who kill you will think they are doing God's service." The day will come when you will be cast out of churches and the unwelcome Christ stands outside and knocks but no one listens. They are too busy performing religious rites and pseudo-spirituality to hear Christ's voice because he is standing outside and inside the four walls of the "church" there is only Christ-less worship and a form of religion without power.