READ: Psalm 142, Matthew 24, Hebrews 6
HATED BY ALL NATIONS
Jesus promises that we will be hated by all nations (Matt. 24:9). The closer we approach His second coming, the more unpopular we are going to be. It is ironic that so much mission activity has in part the motivation to be well thought of. If we represent Jesus well, we will be more and more hated. Somehow the opposite assumption has crept into missionary thinking and has negatively affected our methods. Somehow we started to think that representing Jesus will make us popular, forgetting that following Jesus must include the death of our reputation. We tend to begin ministries and projects that earn us favor and shield us from hate–a fool’s errand when favor becomes the goal. The goal must ever remain the proclamation of the gospel, and the consequence will ever be hatred by the nations. No people, small or great, appreciates being told they are sinful, damned unless they repent.
Our forecast includes tribulation, being killed, hated by all, offending many, betrayal, hatred, false prophets, and the love of many growing cold (vv. 9-12). All these are the beginning of sorrows, and there is one primary means of navigation: endurance. Jesus tells us that “he who endures to the end will be saved” (v. 13). Not only will we be hated by all, but there will be those from every people group who resist the work of God to the end and resent the return of King Jesus. When Jesus returns in power and great glory on the clouds of heaven, “ALL the tribes of the earth shall mourn” (v. 30, emphasis added). The clear reality of the last days reveals that all nations will hate missionaries and that all peoples will resent the second coming of Jesus. We cannot afford false optimism to undermine our faith by ill preparing it for suffering. Faith never denies facts, and the faith that declares every nation will hear the gospel and a church will be planted among every people is the faith that acknowledges the cost: hatred of the messengers and resentment of the King.
Into this reality the writer of Hebrews interjects a precious reminder: God’s purposes in Christ are infallible. We should not become sluggish (6:12); we should patiently endure with Abraham (v. 15); we should find strong consolation by fleeing to Jesus for refuge (v. 18); and we should hold on to hope as a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul (v. 19). Jesus gave us His oath that our labor is not in vain, and for us the oath of God is the end of all dispute (v. 16). So let us not dispute what Jesus oaths us: the gospel is going to be preached to all peoples in all the world before the end comes (Matt. 24:14). In the process all the world is going to hate us and all the world is going to resent Jesus (vv. 9, 30). The only way this ends well is if we endure suffering. So let us determine now to suffer well, to rejoice in being rejected that the called may be accepted.