“It’s not fair!” We often hear these words from children, usually because of some perceived inequity. Christians experiencing difficulties because of their commitment to Christ may be tempted to say the same thing. We must realize that siding with God means opposing the world, and vice versa.

Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants criticizes the Jewish religious leadership. They seethe in anger and make plans to destroy Him. They could not bear to hear the truth that those who consider themselves the most righteous are often just as far from God as any unbeliever. Their plans would eventually succeed, culminating in the crucifixion of Christ.

Jesus is not the only prophet to be treated with contempt for speaking the words of God. Prophets in the Old Testament knew persecution well. The wicked Jezebel attempts to exterminate God’s spokesmen en masse (1 Kings 18:4). Jewish officials attempt to kill Jeremiah and succeed in killing one of his peers, another prophet named Uriah son of Shemiah (Jeremiah 26:20-23). The writer of Hebrews tells us that prophets suffered terrible treatment, including being flogged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, and killed by the sword (Hebrews 11:35-38). It is doubtful that many people would have responded to an advertisement for a position as prophet if it included these details in the job description.

Why were the prophets opposed so fiercely? Generally speaking, they did not show up at someone’s doorstep unless that person or persons had been very, very bad. Prophetic messages often consisted of a denouncement of sinful behavior and an exhortation to remain faithful to God. For this reason, prophets rarely received a warm reception.
Anyone communicating the Gospel message today may face unpleasant consequences. Jesus warns believers of this very thing (John 15:18-20). At the same time, there is a kind of comfort to be had in times of persecution. It can be a sign of validation, an indication that we are faithful to a message that the world despises. If we face discrimination because we take a stand for God’s Word, we stand in good company with those prophets of old who did the same.

Today, I will…reflect upon my relationships and daily activities, making sure that I am communicating the Gospel message in both word and deed to all around me.