There were ten thousand or more reasons for people to love Jesus and not one reason to hate him. The four Gospels portray him as kind, patient, long-suffering, full of tenderness, forgiving, not willing that one person should perish. He is called a shepherd, a teacher, a brother, a light in darkness, a physician, an advocate, a reconciler. Jesus gave no cause whatsoever that he should be hated by anyone.

So why did the world hate Christ, both then and now? He promised to deliver the people from their chains of darkness and set men everywhere free from all satanic power. However, what we Christians see as a holy gift of deliverance and liberty, the world sees as a form of bondage. They love their sins and have no desire to be free from them.

“You call that freedom?” the nonbeliever asks. “No, here is freedom. We can do as we please with our bodies and minds. We have no restrictions and can worship a god of our own choosing, including no god at all, if we wish.”

Simply put, the world loves the things of the world. The ungodly relish the pleasures of sin. Jesus said they prefer the darkness to the light. “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Christ tells his followers, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Jesus adds in the same passage, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (15:18). In short, if you are of Christ — if God chose you out of a worldly life to follow his Son, Jesus — you will never be loved or accepted by this world. But just as Christ said he is the light of the world, he declares us also to be the light of the world: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). May we all let our light shine brightly!