Hated, Excluded, and Slandered
I have a deep yearning to be loved, included, and admired. I want my name to be honored and respected. When I’m falsely accused, it plunges me into deep despair. These are normal human yearnings and reactions, and this is what makes Jesus’ teaching so tough.
“Blessed are you when men hate you. When they exclude you, mock and disparage your name as evil because of your connection with the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Look! Your reward will be great in heaven because that’s exactly how your ancestors treated the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
So far in Luke Jesus is the Son of Man, the One who has the divine power to forgive sins and the authority over what to do and not to do on the Sabbath (Lk. 5:24, 6:5). For the ruling establishment Jews in the first century this was blasphemy. The Jews who chose to join Jesus faced exclusion from their people and their synagogue (cf. John. 9:34). They were viewed as joining a heretical movement led by a dangerous, evil man. Jesus makes it clear true prophets like Isaiah, Hosea, and Jeremiah were rejected and persecuted by their own people. Therefore, it should be no surprise that He and His followers face intense opposition. The incredible gift Jesus gives is joy in the midst of suffering and ultimately the eternal freedom and laughter of heaven.
LORD, one of my dear friends who ministers in Africa is weeping and grieving over the ritual murder of a child. His efforts to bring medical aid, food, and other absolute necessities face constant harassment and obstruction. And this crazy, ruthless brutality against a precious child is the last straw. Lord Jesus, I know You weep with my friend. Please also give him a touch of heaven--some of Your joy over this weekend.
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