Why are Christians hated and persecuted in the world? It isn’t just a targeted response. It doesn’t come from logical or rational thought, it is deeper, more basic. We smell.
In the same way that different people have different tastes, food they like and dislike, we learn from scripture that the aroma of faith smells differently to believers and none believers.
Throughout the old testament, there are over 40 verses discussing the pleasing aroma of true sacrifice to God. This is a recurring theme and one that time and again points to the aroma of how Jesus smells to God. He is the ultimate sacrifice, one who laid down His life for His friends.
2 Cor 2:14-16 discusses this. When we are followers of Christ we take on His sacrifice as our own and we take on His aroma. To God we smell like Jesus. It goes out before us. It is present on us whether we open our mouth or not. It is all around us.
To fellow believers it is a pleasing aroma. It smells like home. It smells like Jesus. It smells like everything we want and desire.
But to those who have rejected Christ, we smell like their future. We smell like death.
If you have ever smelled a dead animal, you know the smell. It is repulsive and they can think of nothing but getting rid of it, hating it, getting it away from them.
The smell is not the same because the future is not the same. The smell is not the same because the “smeller” is not the same. We smell the perfume that was poured on Jesus by Mary to anoint Him, they smell death that awaits them by participating in rejecting the Lord.
Unbelievers, because they have rejected Jesus and, in so doing, rejected his followers as well. Do they dislike me or what I represent to them? If they hate Jesus, shouldn’t they hate me as well, if I’m living a life that reflects His glory?
Luke 5, it is not the healthy who need a doctor… Our place in this world is to be a servant of Jesus in aiding the spiritually sick to become well, by drinking from the well of salvation. We are constantly under attack in this endeavor because we stand out, we fight the disease of sin. I attempt to do this with children who must make their own decisions about faith in their life but currently come under the faith of their parents. I do this will co-workers and clients and vendors at work. I do this with family who do and do not believe.
The disciples then and there as well as those of us who are disciples here today. Me.
Because why would we expect to be treated better than Jesus was treated? We have less power, less authority on our own, our only real power and authority is that which we channel that belongs to Jesus. In the same way, the attacks on us are not on us, but on Jesus through us.