For the last several weeks I have been preaching a series on Jesus’ Temple Teachings. While teaching in the Temple, Jesus upset the Religious Leaders in Jerusalem, so much so that the Pharisees and Sadducees attacked Him in an effort to discredit Him with the people.
Attacks on Christians didn’t end with Jesus and His Twelve Disciples. Instead they’ve continued in every age.
Thinking about that this last week, I started wondering why. Why are Christians persecuted? People’s hatred of us don’t match our actions. Christians are usually upstanding citizens. They care for others – they give of their time and resources to help those in need. They are compassionate, gracious, merciful, and forgiving.
According to these attributes, it seems you would want Christians to be apart of your society, your city and your community. That, however, is not always the case. Instead in most areas Christians are hated and attacked.
Why do people attack God and His people?
I believe attacks on God and His people are motivated by self love.
The Sadducees and Pharisees questioned Jesus not as a matter of friendly debate, but because they wanted to get rid of Jesus. They didn’t like Him because Jesus challenged their actions, their beliefs, and their motivations. They wanted Him gone so they did not have to deal with Jesus’ challenge.
You see, the Pharisees loved themselves. They loved themselves more than God or anyone else. Those who love themselves put themselves first. They want what’s best for themselves. They want to do what they want to do. If someone threatens to take that away, they lash out and do everything in their power to destroy them.
How Does This Connect to Christian Persecution?
Christianity teaches we are to deny self. We are to live lives directed toward God and others. People don’t like that. They don’t like being told they aren’t to put themselves first, that they aren’t to always do what is best for them. So they lash out at Christians, persecuting them in an effort to get rid of them, so they aren’t faced with their challenge.
Question for Reflection
- Why do you believe Christians are persecuted?
Post adapted from my sermon: Self Love and the Desire of God
4 thoughts on “Why Are Christians Persecuted?”
I suspect the message that ‘you’re not good enough’ (for God without Jesus) is offensive and is why Christians should be persecuted.
Unfortunately today some ‘Christians’ are persecuted because of their hatred of different groups of people.
I agree. I think the “not good enough” idea is certainly one.
I think it important to remind the readers/listeners that Jesus gave us ample warning on this phenomenon in John 15:18-25. In short, the world hates Christians, because it hated God first. What’s worse, it hated Jesus and it will hate those who have been called out of the world by the Name of Jesus.
In the Garden, we fell for the very first temptation. In it, was an accusation against God, Gen 3:4-5 “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” The sin of believing this false accusation against God preceded the sin of breaking the one rule, not to eat of the fruit of that tree. Rebellion in the heart lead to our death. Man hates God because His presence exposes the lie we long to hold true, that we can be like God. As Christians, we have accepted our rightful place within the Law of God (sinful, deserving of wrath) but also the gift of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as payment for our sin, so that we might join Him in the resurrection. We can take no credit for any of it… we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and that faith is a free gift of God (Eph 2). The message of the Gospel is an affront to the self love you so eloquently identified. Great post, as usual. God bless.
Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed reading it and give a hearty amen to what you wrote. I particular when you said, “Man hates God because His presence exposes the lie we long to hold true, that we can be like God.” I think that is true.
Thanks again for your comment and encouragement.