But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.
He could not have been the only one who questioned what he had been taught about the origins of his people. Undertaken in secret, he had sought out to determine the truth. After many hours and much sweat, he believed that he had found the conclusive answer. What they had been taught all these years was wrong. They had come from another place altogether, and his research would change their collective citizenship and identity. Before revealing his findings, he decided to probe the public’s interest with casual hypothetical conversations. To his surprise, they did not go well. The people thought his ideas of their origin were absurd and fantastical. Realizing how unpopular his findings were, he decided not to reveal the truth he had discovered. His generation would pass away without realizing a great promise and legacy in which they could have shared.
As God’s representatives, our job is to change the world. That is no small task. Much of the world might welcome some changes but not this one. Our position has been and always will be unpopular. By extension, we will be unpopular. This lack of support by the world at large is evident when standing on the truth is called out as judgment, and defending Jesus Christ has been labeled offensive. As the spiritual direction of the world continues to diverge further and further away from the spiritual direction of the Church, this difference of opinion and resulting friction will increase. We will continue to be more unpopular than we have experienced or could have thought, and we must be willing to bear the scorn of the world for the sake of speaking the truth and saving souls.
When we sign up to work for God, we must be realistic with our expectations. Exploring scripture to see how the world has responded to God’s people over generations and generations will give us a glimpse into what we should expect. Scripture even goes so far as to tell us clearly what to expect as the generations continue beyond the times of that written word. Our popularity with God is really what matters, and our popularity with mankind must be placed in submission to that. It is not about who likes us or how we look in the world’s eyes. Those things are easy to ignore when we understand that the goal of that small sacrifice is the salvation of many, perhaps even a generation. Father, remove our pride so that we are not concerned with how the world sees us because of your truth.