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Jesus and His apostles were people who were very liked by many, but hated by a lot of people as well. Why was it they were hated by many? It wasn’t because they were unlikable people. It wasn’t because they were mean or rude. It wasn’t because Jesus and the Apostles didn’t care about people. They were hated by many because they told the truth and many people do not want to hear the truth.
I find it interesting that you never see Jesus just seeking approval of man in the Bible. While Jesus did many miracles that were very popular with the people such as healing the sick (Matthew 9:35) each and every miracle was for a purpose. Jesus did not do these miracles simply to gain approval of those around Him. That however does not mean that there were not some who liked Jesus. People in the Bible always seemed to either have a love or hate relationship with Jesus. From a child Jesus grew in favor with many people (Luke 2:52) yet at the same time others grew to hate Jesus.
We know that Jesus lived a perfect life, therefore everything He did was righteous and correct. There were times that He spoke gently to those around Him and times that He spoke very harshly. There were times when even His disciples quit following Him (John 6:66-69) and other times when great multitudes followed Him (Matthew 8:1). Yet one thing that remained consistent in Jesus’ life was His stand for truth. Jesus didn’t back down from truth regardless of who was in His presence. Jesus presented truth just the same in the presence of the lowliest peasant to the highest Jewish leaders. From the children who loved Him to the Roman rulers. Jesus presented truth with love and without apology. Jesus presented this truth knowing that He was the only one who could do so and that the world was lost without His willingness to do so.
Can you imagine how different Jesus would have been if He had tried to seek the approval of man while on earth? Jesus could have changed His message and He would have been the most popular person ever. Almost everyone would have approved of Him. Yet had Jesus changed His message ANY to gain approval of men He would have lost His approval of God.
Who’s approval are we looking for in life? Are we looking for man’s approval? If so that approval is achievable if we are willing to compromise. Yet if we are seeking God’s approval, the only way to do so is to stand firmly for truth and never compromise. Doing so will leave us hated by some and loved by others. Standing for truth will make us unpopular by those who despise truth and want to crush truth. Yet it is truth that will set the world free (John 8:32). It is truth that brings salvation. It is truth that leads to eternal life. Anything but truth, and any compromise of truth will lead to eternal punishment. We as Christians must give up trying to seek the approval of man and simply teach the truth in a way it can be understood. We as Christians must realize that when we speak the truth, some will love it and some will hate it. Yet when we speak the truth, we are right with God, and we are leading others to Him as well.