This article was prompted by an e-mail that I received a couple of days ago from a guy who said that he was very encouraged by my words on the Home page of this site. He said that he was having troubles fitting in at work because he was different somehow, and that like me, he knew his sufferings and the lessons learned from them could hopefully help others, therefore giving him a valid purpose for existing.
I’ll get to the main point of this article in just a few, because some key factors have to be understood before we gain comfort in our situation as being “set apart” in Christ, and also elaborate a little more thoroughly on why it is not just the name of Christ alone that makes us different. Jesus actually said that we (his followers) would be hated because of his name. But, it’s actually a very popular thing to do these days… believing in and confessing Christ. So what gives? We’ll look at what Jesus actually said, and then look at the translation of what he actually meant, and then we well see more clearly why his true followers are “different.”
Let us take a look at a screenshot of what Jesus said, and how it was translated.
The first thing to notice is that there were seven words originally spoken by Jesus in Greek. The next thing to notice is that it took twenty-five words to translate it into something WE could make sense of. Why is this?
2,000 years ago, language was not nearly as advanced as it is today. This is a good thing, and a not so good thing. Today, it takes us many words to describe what one single word would describe to them. Let’s take the word LOGOS and examine it. When John 1:1 speaks of the WORD, he used the Greek word LOGOS. When we talk about Jesus being “The Word,” we use many, many words to describe what this means. 2,000 years ago, however, the word LOGOS was not something to be described, but rather, comprehended.
When the word LOGOS or GNOSIS (Greek for knowledge) was heard or spoken, the person hearing the word automatically felt a deep comprehension within his/her own soul as to what the LOGOS was. They KNEW it; they FELT it. Today, we go on and on trying to describe the “Word,” and most times, the description isn’t enough to get someone to wholly grasp or comprehend the depth of what is meant. This is why Jesus told his apostles that he had much to say to them, but they could not bear it right then, which means they could not comprehend it.
Jesus wanted to speak the “truth,” but their minds were not ready, and so it was hidden for a while, and is hidden even more so today. An expansion of consciousness and an understanding of the greater mysteries lies within, which requires meditation, contemplation, questioning (within), etc. The kingdom (all truth, mysteries, Christ) is “within.” Everything in the world now-a-days almost demands that we place our attention outward. I have OCD too, and it is a fight for me to find time just to sit in pure silence for twenty minutes or so, but it is the only thing that gives me peace from “noise overload.” I must learn to let go of the control that I “think” I must have in order for everything to be “okay.” It’s the only true spiritual battle we all face. Everything I write on this site is a lesson for myself first and foremost.
The word Jesus used for “name” was ὄνομα. The transliteration (how we pronounce it and spell it) is ónoma. This corresponds to Strongs number 3686, which gives us a “short definition” as: name, character, reputation. HELPS Word-studies elaborates more below:
3686 ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others.
So we can now see that it is not simply the NAME of Jesus that we are hated for. It is not the NAME of Jesus that causes us not to fit into the world. It is the “character” and “nature” of Christ, as stated above, that distinguishes us from all others. What characteristics are those? Well, Jesus told us with words, but most importantly, he lived the example. LOVE, Forgiveness, empathy, compassion, judge no one lest ye be judged, love everyone as you do yourself, love your enemies, and the list goes on and on. Those who confess the reputation and nature of the Christ live it everyday in their lives, and due to this, they are not of the world, and the world sees them as different.
Plead the blood of Jesus and repeat the cliches and phrases and you will be loved by the world. Bleed the blood of Jesus by living his example and you will stand out as different, maybe even a little insane, because you see the world through a different set of lenses.
One thing that should be made very clear, and this is for those who are carrying the weight of the world it seems: Jesus made it very plain that the “least among you” is the “greatest in the kingdom.” For those who are doing a quiet job of holding things in place, it may seem as if what you do doesn’t matter, or that your purpose is “small.” Remember that (along with Jesus’ words) it is those of us who are doing the quiet jobs of loving one another, giving when there is no immediate foreseen award, and making daily sacrifices that are slowly affecting and planting seeds of love and truth in each and every life that they encounter who are the true heroes.
You ARE needed, and the job you do is more important than anything that the VIP’s of this world are doing, which usually is not much more than contributing to a game that has no winners. Jesus said, “I do not receive praise from men.” Like Jesus, you are not receiving praise from men (other people in general), because it is your heart that receives the smile of God when you know HE is saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.” You are the last that will one day be first. Your presence alone touches other souls, far more than you may ever realize.
This world is tiring and wearisome, and growing more so by the day. But what would the world be without the kingdom VIP’s who go quietly about their job of earning converts through their quiet actions, provoked by nothing more than unconditional love? You, yes you…haha, are here for a reason. The guy who wrote me the e-mail told me to “stay strong in God.” I told him that his words helped me, probably more than mine did him, and that is the truth. So, because of this faithful brother, I pass this on to you.