Jesus said, "I am."
"He deserves to die!"
The response of the leaders of his day is the same response Jesus gets in the world today. Hate.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has received a death sentence in Iran because of his faith in Jesus. Kirk Cameron is accused of "taking the biblical thing too far" for his views on homosexuality. Tim Tebow, who apparently offends people by praying, has his own official Hate Club. The world hates Jesus and his followers.
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." John15:18
"The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked." Proverbs 10:29
In this world we can choose to let Kirk Cameron, Tim Tebow, and Youcef Nadarkhani receive the blows. We can be like the disciple Peter who said after Jesus' arrest, "I don't know what you are talking about. I don't know this man." We can be like the women at the cross who watched from a distance. Or we can be like Joseph of Arimathea who boldly identified himself with Christ by asking for his body.
As we struggle to live by faith in this generation, we can be encouraged by the example of Noah who was not afraid to stand out in the middle of great wickedness. But like Noah, we have to be willing to build an ark when there is no rain. We have to be willing to obey God even if it's not politically correct. We have to be willing to be mocked, spit upon, and beaten. The only way we can do this is if we are sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb.11:1) We must hold unswervingly to the hope we profess and not shrink back when the world condemns us--even unto death. (Heb. 10:23)
Hatred will happen.
It is happening.
Jesus wasn't convicted to die because of any heinous crime. He never even sinned. He was arrested out of envy (Mk. 15:10) and the crowd was stirred up against him. (Mk 15:11) His charge was listed as "The King of the Jews."
What crime did Pastor Youcef commit? He believed in Jesus and the crowd was stirred up against him.
What crime did Kirk Cameron commit? He believed in Jesus and the crowd was stirred up against him.
What crime did Tim Tebow commit? He believed in Jesus and the crowd was stirred up against him.
They are accused of "taking the biblical thing too far."
How about you? Is there enough evidence to convict you of "taking the biblical thing too far"?
Will you stand firm if the crowd is stirred up against you?