There is a strange difference between the Christianity of the first century and religious groups of the 21st. Have you noticed it?
Some religious leaders are praised when they arrive at world capitals. They receive the Nobel Prize for their “work.” They are praised and affection is heaped upon them by governments for what they do.
This doesn’t fit with what Jesus told his people in John 15:18-25. In that passage of scripture, Jesus told his disciples they should prepare to be hated by the world. That is exactly what happened.
The Jews hated Jesus’ disciples mainly because they were preaching the gospel he talked about. They didn’t want to lose adherents to Judaism and so they defended it by arresting and killing members of the church that Jesus built. Saul of Tarsus, before he became Paul the apostle, had many Christians jailed and killed (Acts 9:1-2).
The Romans hated Christians because they believed they were anarchists. The one thing that bound all Romans in every country was worship of the emperor. Christians did not participate, therefore they were attempting to overthrow the Roman empire, or so they thought.
There were others who looked upon Christians as rebels, or cannibals (for reportedly drinking blood), or even immoral because they were taught to love each other. If the world needed an excuse to hate Christians, there were plenty of those. They were not reasons, but excuses.
But, Jesus told his disciples they would be hated. He did not say they would be disliked or suspect. He said they would be hated just as he had been hated without a cause. Why?
The world hates people whose godly lives prove they are saved and the world is lost. People who have been saved by the grace of God through an obedient faith live differently than a world that hastens to do evil. Those of the world see the difference and hate children of God for trying to live righteous lives.
The world hates those who will not conform to what it considers “normal” behavior. For example, people of the world love alcohol, watching filthy movies, and hate the Bible. Christians seek to live for God and will not engage in drinking, going to filthy movies and they love the Bible. If one does not conform to the world, then by the world’s standards, that one must be a nonconformist and is hated.
Jesus made his followers a promise, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20 NASB).
Do you see the difference between the first century and the 21st?