“They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”-John 16:2
Often, the greatest resistance to the good news comes from church people. In John 16:2, Jesus warned his disciples about the religious leaders, not the pagans. It was the Jews who would cry out for his death. Why? Because the gospel is counter-cultural. Its message confronts religious and non-religious people alike. People cannot accept the message that tells them they can do nothing for their own salvation. But the Bible is clear that salvation is entirely because of his grace.
When we proclaim Jesus’s true message—that because God is gracious, all are welcome into his kingdom—we will be unpopular with some people. That is what Jesus says. When we invite pornographers, criminals, liberal (or conservative) politicians, and alcoholics, we are also inviting criticism from those who want to keep living under a system of good people and bad people.
Jesus, I want to courageously proclaim your true message, which is a message of welcome. Embolden me, for I am afraid. Let your Spirit enliven me with your message of grace. Amen.