How could anyone hate Jesus? Most people you ask would say they like, love, post about, or talk to Jesus all the time. Even other religions that don’t believe he’s God will usually acknowledge him as a good man, prophet, or angel. Most of the majority whether Republican, Democrat, agnostic, Muslim, and even a dash of atheist will say he’s a nice guy… So why would Jesus make the following statement:
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” –Matthew 5:11-12 ESV
Why would anyone, if the majority is “pro-Jesus”, hate you for promoting Jesus? What’s the trigger for this kind of hate?
Notice Jesus mentions the prophets… If you take any time to read about the prophets you will see that God told them to preach a message to people that didn’t want to hear it. Jeremiah got jumped by the priests and prophets in the temple (Jeremiah 26:7-8), Elijah got death threats (1 Kings 19:2), and God warned Ezekiel that preaching to the rebellious house of Israel would be like sitting in a thorn bush on a scorpions nest (Ezekiel 2:3-7). Let that sink in for those of you who want to be preachers one day…
They hated the prophets because the prophets burst their bubble. They wanted to believe that they were good people that were okay with God. The Lord would send a prophet to tell them that they were far from good and that because of their sin they were destined for the wrath of God. The prophets warned them that if they didn’t repent… God would punish them. Most of the time the prophets got rejected but some people would repent and be saved. Centuries later people would read about the prophets they would think “Wow, those righteous prophets standing for God, we never would have rejected them like that…” But that’s not true either, just see Matthew 23:29-36.
Here is what makes people hate Jesus
People want to believe the parts they like about Jesus: the gracious, kind, forgiving Jesus that served others before himself. This “Jesus at a distance” is easy to like, but what people can’t handle is the Jesus that says “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Jesus’s message tells us that we are guilty in our sin before God and that we need to repent and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord (aka King). Jesus confronts our sins when we want to pretend that they are not a big deal or ignore them all together. For someone to tell us that what we are doing is wrong and that we need to change can be very offensive. Frankly we hate it.
Kingdoms never change hands easily
We don’t like being confronted on our sin ever… and many would prefer that Jesus’ kingdom stay up in the heavens “out of sight, out of mind.” What bothers people is that Jesus is saying His kingdom is here now and that NOW you must choose to either let God rule your life or you rule your life. Will you surrender your kingdom to His kingdom? Instinctively, people will fight this in our fleshly human nature. We want to be in charge, we want to call the shots, and we want to be in control. This was the issue Jeremiah ran into with the priests. They wanted to pretend that their brand of secularized worldly nationalistic religion was perfectly fine. But when God sent a prophet it was precisely because it wasn’t fine.
The hard truth is this: We can’t punch a clock at church, post Jesus memes and go back to living our lives however we want. Our way and our sin isn’t okay, it’s killing us. Our religious games can’t cover it up. We need a Savior from our sins and ourselves. Sin racks up a debt we cannot pay and the penalty is death (Romans 6:23). So we are faced with an offensive truth and a major choice. The truth is if we are running our lives and not Jesus, it’s because He isn’t really our Lord and that means that we are living in rebellion to the King and storing up wrath with our sin. If we truly want to be saved, we have to come to the point where we surrender our throne (repentance) to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. That’s the choice we must make. Will I remain the ruler of my personal kingdom that’s destined for self-destruction or will I surrender to Jesus Christ as my King. His kingdom stands forever and He is the Lord of Life who brings salvation to all who come to Him. Come to His kingdom and have eternal life! He is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the Life! There are many who hate Jesus now that may one day find He is the love of their life.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6