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