Jesus has been talking with the disciples about the persecution they will receive for following Him.
Persecution should not offend us
When people mock us, lie about us, or dismiss us it is very easy to be offended, annoyed, or resentful. Jesus is telling us that we will face persecution so that when it comes we react in the right way. He does not want us to be offended or surprised when we are persecuted.
Persecution will likely arise from “Christians” first
Jesus tells us that persecution is going to rise from people who claim to be on God’s side. This should not surprise us! Remember it was the “Bible thumpers” of Jesus’ day that rejected Him for “breaking the Sabbath” and “blasphemy.” There are many people who profess Christ but deny Him by their works. The harshest persecution will most likely arise from “Christians.” It was Judas who betrayed Jesus. It was the Catholic “church” that murdered Protestants by the thousands. It will be the professing “Christians” that oppose us today. We will face persecution from other places, but we should not be surprised to see the religious people leading the charge against us.
Persecution comes from people who are lost
People who reject Jesus and His teachings are lost. There is no other explanation. Their hatred for true Christianity exposes their true hatred for Christ. We should simply expect that people who hate Jesus will hate His followers. We will know the true followers of Christ by their fruit. Those who profess Christ yet persecute His church show that they are merely wolves in sheep’s clothing.
We should expect persecution
Jesus is teaching us about persecution so that we would respond in love instead of resentment. Jesus knew He would be betrayed by Judas, and it was this expectation of betrayal that enabled Him to love Judas. We should not be surprised by persecution. We should instead pity and love those who rail against Jesus Christ and His followers.
Do you respond in annoyance or love when you are mocked for following Christ? Will you prepare yourself for persecution so that you can respond in love without taking offense?