Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life… (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Christ is plundering the kingdom of this age, taking His own away from the god of this world.“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…” (Colossians 1:13) and “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2:15).Christ is returning as victorious Lord and King of both heaven and earth. He will judge the living and the dead. Satan rages against the thought of this. The people of this world, following the lead of their “father,” set themselves against the Lord’s anointed, scheming and plotting evil (see Psalm 2). They definitely don’t want to give up their piece of the pie.
So what happens when Christ’s ambassadors are sent ahead of Him into this hostile environment proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand and that all are to repent? Yes, there will be those that are saved, but what is the majority response? Are we going to be welcomed as royal messengers? Are we prepared for the responses that are anything but positive? We need to put the misunderstandings, the uneasiness and ridicule in their proper context—in light of the gospel.
John the Baptist had a similarly difficult calling…just notch up the heat a little. Remember it was said of John that he was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” The message he was told, by God, to proclaim was to “repent!” This word applied to everyone in his generation, including a king who was living in sin with his brother’s wife. Herod had taken his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, to be his own (I guess when someone’s king or president, he believes he can do what he wants without any fear of justice). John, in his preaching, put a huge spotlight on Herod’s unlawful relationship and in the end, this cost John his life.
In the same way, when we preach the message of repentance, to one degree or another, we will find our head on a platter just like John the Baptist. Are we ready? Do we see that it is better to live one day in God’s presence doing His will than a thousand days in the company of those who will have no King ruling over them?