Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 28-29; John 17
13 Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy. 14 I gave your word to them and the world hated them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 15 I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth. (John 17:13-19, Common English Bible).
The late Jim Reeves sang these words, “The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Those words came to my mind as I read today’s John lesson. Jesus said in this lesson, “…the world hated them, because they don’t belong to this world…”
It seems to me we may have gotten upset about something Jesus was telling us to expect! We continue to hear throughout our country that Christians are losing more and more rights. There has been anger over not having prayer before school. There was anger when Christians lost the right to pray before a football game. We have gotten angry when Nativity scenes were forced down from public property, Bibles removed from city halls, and city councils and school boards stopped praying at the beginning of their meetings (I actually prayed at both, on the same night one hour apart in May).
These things have happened at the hands of those who are of this world. They have happened because they don’t have God’s Word. We have God’s Word. This world is not our home. And yes, the world seems to have a hate that grows stronger and stronger as time marches on.
So, why are we upset? We are citizens of another world. Jesus knew what the disciples, disciples both then and throughout history would face. We are the heirs of Roman Emperor Constantine’s moves that made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, a move many historians point to as the primary action leading to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Throughout world history events occurred where the world has shown its hatred to matters of faith and to people of faith. I am not saying we should be happy about it. But, it should not be unexpected either. It seems to me, what we should be feeling is sorrow for the world that does not know the answer to life’s real question, that meaning and purpose and eternity are found in what we know, that Jesus is the Christ who was born into this world, lived in it, died in it and rose from the dead in it that each of us might have life.
I would challenge you that as the world marches on and demonstrates its hate toward matters of faith and people of faith, instead of responding in anger and hatred, to show the love of Jesus. And, we all need to pray. We need to pray for our children and our grandchildren. For we who are senior adults or are rapidly approaching that status, we have seen what is perhaps the beginning of a more difficult time on its way than what we have experienced. We, at least many of us, will not be here to see it. Our children and grandchildren likely will be. We need to pray now that they stay strong in the faith as even now we see more and more of them walking away from the faith in which they were raised.
Stand firm but stand with a heart filled with love and compassion. Our anger will not return people to God. That will only happen as they see the light and love of God shine through from our hearts.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved