In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Our world has experienced significant upheaval recently. Each of us as we watch—or listen to—the news sees a global society that appears to become more segmented, more self-focused, and more violent with each passing day. None of us can say for sure whether or not this is “as bad as it has ever been” (I cannot imagine the struggles that the ancients had, for instance), but it certainly seems as if that is the case. Globally speaking, things are going from bad to worse—and it seems to change every minute.
Jesus instructed his disciples to not be surprised at the way in which the world acted (and the way in which it responded to him and to them). Instead, he unequivocally stated that the world in which they lived would be a source of trial and persecution for them. It would never be a place in which they were accepted, precisely because they were his disciples.
As we watch events unfold in our world, almost 20 centuries removed from Jesus’s words to his disciples, I believe it is important for us to take note that this world will never be one in which Christ is fully accepted. It will always be a place where Jesus is marginalized, and his followers face trials and persecution. Along the way, we have the responsibility to continually live in his image—we are bound to a calling of love, service, and truth. Ultimately, this place is only a stopping-off point for us anyway. Our citizenship is elsewhere.