Jesus said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”
Tough Warnings as a Nurse
My husband, ever so lovingly, calls me “Nurse Ratched.” If you are familiar with either the book or the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest you’ll know exactly what he means. Stern, dictatorial, uncaring; being called, Nurse Ratched is not a compliment.
I’d like to think my Ratchedesque moments are born out of love and compassion. A new nurse was with me as I was interviewing a patient prior to his surgery. “Is this going to hurt?” the apprehensive patient asked. I replied, “Yes.” in a matter-of-fact tone. I then went on to explain the things we were going to do to lessen the pain and the things the patient could do to help.
After we left the patient’s room, the new nurse looked at me, wide-eyed and said, “I can’t believe you told him it was going to hurt.” My reply to her was, “It is going to hurt. We are going to cut him open and take out parts. That hurts! Lying to him doesn’t make it feel better.”
Jesus’ Warning and Promise
Jesus took this same approach with His disciples. At first read, this is not a great pep talk. Here’s my paraphrase:
Don’t worry, I’ll be back. Remain steadfast.
By the way, people are going to hate you, but it’s ok, they hated me first.
No one wants to hear this. Still it’s good to hear.
Jesus, sending the disciples out with a mission, knew nothing kills a new mission like direct opposition. Having people hate your project makes working on it difficult. It makes quitting easy.
In addition, the disciples and Jesus were friends; close friends. When you love someone, it’s easy to forget: not everyone cares for that person as much as you do. Jesus had people clamoring around Him for blessings and healing. The chants of the crowd were about to change from “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him!” The disciples needed a warning, the reception was about to change.
Jesus knew the eleven needed to hear this. Jesus knows you and I need to hear it.
Jesus is both popular and despised in our current culture. For those of us who love Him, who have come to know His goodness and love, who call Jesus friend and Lord, hearing and being around those who hate Him is difficult. It is hard to hear the slander. It is hard to listen, as His grace and mercy are misinterpreted and misrepresented. It is difficult to be laughed at, and looked at with pity from those “enlightened” ones who can “think for themselves”
Jesus was giving His followers a small dose of reality. He finished with a promise; in this world of opposition, you’ll have help. Jesus reassures them and us, the Holy Spirit will come, and come with power to comfort and encourage.
Father, I ask for loving boldness today to share Your love and message. Encourage me when I feel hated. Give me Your love for those who don’t understand.