Read Luke 21
Focus on verse 17-18
Dale Carnage’s book “How to win Friends and influence People” was first published in 1936. Since then it has been reprinted and updated multiple times. Millions of copies have been sold around the world, reflecting not just that it was a well-written book, but that most people like to be liked! In all the people I have met over the years, I can’t recall a single person who claimed their goal in life was to be hated by everyone they met. On the other hand, I have met some people who inadvertently have come very close to achieving the title of being disliked by everyone they encountered.
Jesus was loved and respected by the majority of the people he met, with the exceptions of the religious leaders of His day. This is surprising considering how counter cultural and occasionally offensive some of what He taught was. Perhaps is it not so surprising that in the end the people turned on Him and delivered Him up to be crucified by the Romans. In today’s reading, we find an interesting statement by Jesus in this regard. He is warning His followers of what is to come, and what they shall expect to happen in answer to their questioning about when some of the events He spoke of would take place.
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. (v. 17-19)
The picture Jesus describes of how things will shake down that lead to His return is not a pretty one. The catastrophic level of the natural disasters as well as the human disasters that lead up to Jesus return would be frightening if it were not for the words of verse 18. “But not a hair of you head will perish.” That is quite a promise, but it comes with a caveat – “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
In other words, if we endure faithfully to the end, we have nothing to fear. At the same time, He also warns that those who follow Him will be betrayed, persecuted, imprisoned, and some might even be killed, (v. 12-16) but… those who endure will gain their lives. While this doesn’t sound like much fun, and we tend to think of it as some time in the misty future, for some of the followers of Jesus in certain parts of the world, this reality is already upon them. In parts of North Africa and the Middle East followers of Jesus are executed, enslaved, imprisoned, tortured and abused just because they claim to follow Jesus. Many others live in daily fear that they will be next, yet the number of followers of Jesus in these regions continues to grow rather than decline.