Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hating Jesus Yesterday and Today

From the earliest days of Jesus' teachings to the present day there has been a great disdain in the culture for the message of Christianity. The New Testament records several scenarios where angry mobs threatened and tried to kill Jesus before it was His time. In the present culture it is not hard to see growing bitterness toward Christianity from among the culture.

The persecution of Christianity around the world, and the attempts at suppresion in America are evidence of modernity's hatred of Jesus. Most recently in the news four teenagers from SAYREVILLE, N.J. attempted to burn 27 stolen nativity figures of baby Jesus. While some of the teens confessed that it was merely out of boredome the fact that it was an image of Jesus and not Santa must indicate something. One young man simply stated, "We just wanted to see their heads burning."

While it may be generally true that the culture likes the idea of an infant, harmless baby Jesus, a good moral teacher, and a wonderfully nice guy they do not, in any sense, like the concept of a crucified Savior and a risen Lord. For one thing it means that we are all horrible wretched sinners who need to be saved and secondly it means that we are to be submissive to this great King and are accountable to Him for our lives.

This hatred for Jesus is, of course, no suprise to Christians. We know that the world hates Jesus, that even we ourselves, before God's grace entered our lives, hated Him too. The cross clearly displays this hatred of the Son of God and the message of Christianity. Yet if the burning of statues of baby Jesus represents the total depravity in the human heart, the crucifixion also represents the amazing plan of God to rectify that problem. As the apostle Peter testified, "This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it" (Acts 2:23-24). It was God's foreordained plan to "crush" His son, as the prophet Isaiah spoke, in order that He might be both just in punishing sin and yet merciful in sparing sinners.

The world has always hated Jesus, yet God, in His mercy and grace, still today offers Jesus as a payment for the sins of all men and women who repent and beleive upon Him alone for their salvation. That's the good news in a world of sin!


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