Jesus: You and Your Enemies (Part 3 of my series on Dealing With Enemies)

Confused or surprised that enemies are coming against you?Jesus said that his followers will have enemies in this world. His prophetic words came true for his first followers, most of whom were martyred.

It was important that Jesus warn his followers of the trials to come. He didn’t want them unprepared. Jesus wants us to count the cost of following him just as a man plans the costs of building a tower (Luke 14:28-29).

Opposition from enemies will come from many places.

  1. Jesus said the world will hate his followers. The world signifies those who are not preoccupied with the things of God, those whose affections are on the things of this world, the things we can touch, see and hear.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:18-19

  1. Even those closest to you, those who should have the most fierce love for you and protect you will turn against you. God’s natural plan for family is distorted by anger.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Matthew 10:21

For I have come to turn

“ ‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Matthew 10:35

For deeper study

Jesus echoed Micah 7 which also gives the answer to dealing with these enemies:

For a son dishonors his father,

a daughter rises up against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,

I wait for God my Savior;

my God will hear me.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!

Though I have fallen, I will rise.

Though I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be my light.

Micah 7:6-8

  1. Jesus said in summary that you will be hated by “all”, meaning many, even those in unexpected places.

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Mark 13:13

Where is the good news in this guarantee of enemies?

  1. We are like our beloved Master, Jesus, when we suffer at the hand of enemies.

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20

Suffering at the hands of enemies is a privilege. Our Master, Jesus, went through the same thing. We are blessed to be united with him and we will have to be part of his suffering because of this blessed unity. We are being conformed into the likeness of Christ and dealing with enemies is one way God uses to get us there.

  1. We are guaranteed ultimate triumph over our enemies because we have eternal life with God. Jesus elsewhere said that his apostles should not fear those who can only kill the body (Matthew 10:28) but rely on the keeper of the soul and the One who can destroy it.

…the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Mark 13:13b

Jesus brings comfort in the face of enemies by reminding his followers that those who endure the suffering that lasts for a moment, will ultimately experience the salvation of eternal life and joy in him.

Stay tuned for the next section of this discussion and we look at the ways Jesus tells us to deal with our enemies.