Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. (1.John 5:10 NIV)
The world does not accept the divine witness about Jesus Christ. It’s children despise the divine word, that comes from heaven and do not let it penetrate their hearts and minds. They don’t comprehend, how somebody can trust this testimony let alone be convinced and enthusiastic about it.
The world does however like all that, which is in opposition to God’s divine revelation and will. If God’s kingdom makes inroads into this world by overcoming and conquering it, then the world is well aware of this and starts to fear and panic just as Herod and the entire city did when the message of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem got around to it. The world realizes the beginning of the end, its own demise and final destruction drawing near. It is already feeling the burning pangs of the fire, which are going to destroy and swallow it finally – even as it sees the first sparks fly. That is why the world and all those belonging to it are not just waiting patiently for this to happen, but rather does all in its power to not only extinguish the sparks, but also to build up its defenses and armaments to resist the divine onslaught. This battle has off course run its course. It’s not about some sparks anymore, but rather all about the last and final stand. That’s what the apostle John experienced, when he entered the mission field of Asia minor after Saint Paul’s was martyred in Rome. Now Saint John was called to step in as bishop of these vacant congregations. The pagan society persecuted these small pockets of Christians most severely like wolves let loose on a herd of sheep. It was as St. Paul had predicted, that after his passing angry and hungry wolves would fall into the Church ferociously. Misleading teachers, deniers of Christ’s divinity, masters of illusion and disseminators of false intelligence, half truths and blatant lies stood up in the congregation to distract the Christians from the revealed truth and finally to pull them away from their living Lord and savior Jesus Christ. It was in this time and temptation that Saint John, the Bishop of the 7 Churches in Asia Minor, received the divine call to lead this persecuted bunch through all the mean and treacherous assaults of evil to victory in Christ their Lord.
O Lord Jesus Christ! All the shame and slander, vice and lies, idolatry and impunity this world bears gladly and willingly. However it does not want to hear your holy word or get along with us, who follow you. Therefore together with the one, holy Christian Church in all places we call on your most holy name against your and our enemies. Preserve us in and by your holy word and keep all, who belong to you, in your trust and care. Amen.
The truth and honor, o Jesus pure it’s yours and yours alone for sure; therefore o Lord protect and keep, those, you’ve rescued from the deep. (Nikolaus Selnecker, 1530-1592)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the first Sunday after Easter: Quasimodogeniti. It is found on Pg. 170 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.