Jesus: The Hated One

One thing that cannot be understated from this past Sunday’s sermon (and that we should continue to emphasize and expect) is that the world hates the followers of Jesus because it hates Jesus and hates the Gospel. (If you didn’t get to catch up on that sermon, give it a listen here:

 I’d like to take a moment to pick it apart even further than I did in Sunday’s sermon because it is important for us to see that on every level of the Good News of Jesus, the world still hates him. There are two passages I’d like to explore and quickly outline. One is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. There Paul writes: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

This passage is one of the clearest passages in the Bible in terms of the Gospel being spelled out. But on every level of it, the world hates and opposes the truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus did. Look at it piece by piece:

  • “Christ Died for our Sins”: There are several implications about these five words that the world hates. “Sins” means that there is a standard of right and wrong, which is out of our control. It is a standard that is both written and judged by God Almighty. “Our sins” implies that we do wrong, and that we do it a lot. We own this wrong, and we can’t pin it on someone else. And the wrong was severe against God, to the point that he sent is Son “Christ Died FOR our sins”. He loved us that much. To believe Him is to believe that He died for your sins so that you can say with the church: “He died for OUR sins.” But the world opposes and hates such a standard and such a love.
  • “According to the Scriptures”: These four words are a threat to the world as well, because to imply that there are scriptures is to imply that there is an Author … and not just any author: an authoritative author. One who could prophesy hundreds and thousands of years before hand what his plan would be and then would bring it to pass. This means that there is a God, he has spoken clearly (so that we are without excuse for not responding to his love and his offer). It means that God has a plan, a story that he is writing. And it is a story that he will bring to completion. The world hates that we have such an author, such a book, and such a plan that is being carried out within his providence and sovereignty.
  • “He was buried”: These three words don’t get enough press, but they are a key part of the Gospel. Jesus was buried is the ground. This means that his body was dead. It wasn’t some theoretical sacrifice. He was placed in a tomb, again according to prophecy. The world hates the tomb, because it implies that what is claimed about the life and resurrection aren’t merely theoretical, they are empirical. The Tomb in which is body laid no longer has a body in it. He didn’t faint, his body wasn’t stolen, we won’t find some other grave of Jesus. But the world wishes if there was one place that Jesus actually could still be found, it would be in a tomb so it could be claimed that he is just a man and not God.
  • “He was raised on the third day”: These words the world hates because they speak of the power of God to raise himself from the dead. He has a power that no one else knows and that no other religious leader can lay claim to. Jesus is the firstborn from the dead (Rev 1:4), and he died and rose to bring his sons and daughters with him into glory. His resurrection is a conclusive proof that every other claim he made was true, and that he can be trusted.
  • “He appeared to Cephas … the twelve … the 500.” Again, these words add to the verification factor. It’s not just that these people saw him in some vision or vapor. They saw him in the flesh, they recognized him and they worshipped him. When we see testimony of multiple eyewitnesses submitted to the court, those who are open to receive evidence will receive it gladly, and those who’s minds are made up to be opposed (for selfish reasons, I might add) will respond accordingly with rejection and hatred.
  • “He appeared to me.” This may be the most offensive of all. Paul has a personal testimony of encountering and responding to the risen Christ. This is true of every one of his followers as well. Those who claim to be Christians claim that he is risen and living, and they have encountered Him as well. The world hates the one who claims “God spoke to me.” But in Jesus, that is what God has done to each of us who believe. The world will hate us for it.

If we had more time today in this article, I’d love to spend it examining in the same way Titus 2:11-14 and the Gospel truths of what Jesus is returning to do and what he is doing in his church. If you have some time, read that passage as well and ask yourself as you examine it: “What does the world hate about Jesus & his followers?”

From top to bottom, what I want you to see is that those who embrace Jesus love him fully for all that he is, and those who oppose Jesus hate him fully as well. As you embrace Jesus, take Him fully for all that he is, and rest is His love as you face whatever challenges today may hold. The world may hate us, but Jesus loves us, and that love should hold us and compel us to live in this world with that Love in mind everyday, seeking to save the lost and to bring to belief those who would believe.

Standing strong in His love with you,

Pastor Nate