The first thing is to describe what Christianity implies. Knowing that a Christian label is not, necessarily, sufficient in describing a Christian, is essential. Jesus did not label His followers “Christians.” The term was first used in Antioch to describe the peculiarity of believers, when compared to ordinary people, at that time.
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year, Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:25-26 NIV)
There is nothing wrong with describing Christ’s followers, as “Christians.” That term, accurately, denotes their identity. A Christian is different from worldly people, just as Jesus was different. It is wrong to expect good treatment when truly a Christian. Foreigners are commonly treated as aliens, forfeiting benefits accorded to citizens.
Jesus alluded to the “Christian” term when addressing His disciples, who could not understand the significance, before receiving the Holy Spirit. The world would not recognize them, just as the world did not recognize Jesus. Christians and ordinary people are worlds apart.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you” (John 14:23-25 NIV).
Understanding the significance of Father and Son, and establishing their home with Christians, is extremely essential. The common misunderstanding arises from the inability to distinguish differences between spiritual and physical bodies. The two are just like the light and the darkness are dichotomous.
If physical bodies need space, for existence, spiritual bodies do not need space. If physical bodies need food, for survival, spiritual bodies do not need food. If physical bodies feel cold, requiring houses to dwell in, spiritual bodies need none of those. If physical bodies feel limited by anything, spiritual bodies are not limited by anything.
Therefore, in hinting about making a home with believers, Jesus blocked nonbelievers from understanding. Any Christian is at home with God, regardless of location in this physical universe. This is why Christianity can be regarded as lonesome. Those feeling limited without other humans, denote being of this world.
The common accord among Christians is being at home with Jesus and His Father. They find companionship, living according to God’s word. They belong to God’s Household. It goes without saying, that what is in God’s mind would also be in their minds, regardless of location in space.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21 NIV).
The tie that joins believers is Love, as described by Jesus. That love causes rejoicing when persecuted or treated badly by worldly people. The reason for persecution comes from the consideration of not being of this world. Expecting rewards for doing well, denotes being of this world.
Hence, for Christians, being treated kindly does not invite celebration. The pilgrimage of Christianity invites acerbic treatment, in this world. Such persecutors comprise physical relatives or those from one’s fellowship.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV).
Accusers could use Jesus’ name, to advance persecutions. Such accusers would be convinced of doing the right thing when harassing God’s children. When taking offence, resulting from bad treatment, one forfeits being part of God’s family. The ability to rejoice and be glad under persecution denotes the only sign of being part of God’s Household.