“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:24-26)
Disciples of Jesus (aka His committed followers) are those who learn from Him. They also seek to remain close to Him in all of life, and are willing to take up the cross and deny self in the process.
It should be obvious: disciples are not above or greater than their teachers. Pastors and church leaders, by definition, are supposed to be His committed followers. We who are pastors are most certainly not above our Master and Lord Jesus. The best we can hope for is that we emulate Him and allow His life to live in us in such a way that the life we live looks like His life. This is our great goal: to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Since disciples of Jesus are not above or greater than Him, it also stands to reason that we should not expect to be treated any better than He was treated. Remember that they blasphemed Him by calling Him “Beelzebub” (the lord of the flies … a Philistine deity).
If they blasphemed Jesus in such a horrible manner, we should not be surprised if the world speaks even more evil of us as His followers. And we should also not be surprised if people who attend the churches we pastor are also antagonistic and even destructive at times. We cannot expect to be given more respect than our Lord.
The reality is that believers all over the world are being persecuted, and believers in the U.S. are being increasingly marginalized. We have been pushed aside, considered irrelevent, even dangerous. But this is precisely what Jesus said would happen.
Our response: keep living the Christian life with passion and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Keep preaching Jesus.
And DO NOT FEAR THEM. Do not fear the world, or their opinion of us. Just keep trusting God, loving people, and being known for what we are for (Jesus and His Word), rather than for what we are against.
We know we don’t belong in the margins, but let us not live as though we are actually in them.