Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Commission.16

When you are confronted 
by the world's hatred, 

remember how it hated me
 before your time. 

And when they persecute you in one place,
move on to the next. 

You will not have reached 
all the peoples of the world 
before the Messiah returns. 

If a city refuses to accept you, 
or heed your message, 
shake the dust of that city 
from your feet 
as you depart. 

In the  final day of judgment, 
it will have been better to be 
from the land of 
Sodom and Gomorrah 
than from such a place.

We have all, from birth on-wards, encountered hatred in one form or another ranging from mild annoyance to seething resentment to physical violence.  But the hatred Jesus warns of here is that unaccountable form that speaks to the nature or kind of hatred.  "Remember how it hated me..." is the lesson Jesus must teach us.

The root of all sin is rebellion to the Father.  It is antagonism--to His will, His ways, His righteousness, His Truth, His love--that energizes evil deeds and is best described by the Psalmist:

Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together against the LORD
and against his anointed one.
"Let us break their chains," they cry,
"and free ourselves from slavery to God."

"The slaves of sin rarely grumble at that slavery; it is their slavery to God they grumble at; of that alone they complain-of the painful messengers he sends to deliver them from their slavery both to sin and to himself.
They must be sons or slaves.
They cannot rid themselves of their owner. Whether they deny God, or mock him by acknowledging and not heeding him, or treat him as an arbitrary, formal monarch...taking no trouble to find out what pleases him...they are slaves, and not the less slaves that they are slaves to God; they are so thoroughly slaves, that they do not care to get out of their slavery by becoming sons and daughters, by finding the good of life where alone it can or could lie.---MacDonald, Freedom, Unspoken Sermons III
As a potent witness to the message of the Master--of repentance leading to the putting away of sin and running in childlike wonder to the arms of the Father--we must understand the nature of the hatred we encounter from the world and neither be fearfully paralyzed nor intimidated to silence by it.  How difficult to grasp that the message of love, repentance and freedom, of good deeds done in compassion and kindness would generate such hostility.

Remember the cross and keep moving!