When God sent Jesus into the world as a human, he was sending his only Son into a dangerous situation. God knew the world would reject Jesus. He knew they would whip him and beat him and crucify him. And yet, out of God’s great love for his people, he sent Jesus despite the danger.
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world… As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. (John 17:14-16, 18 ESV)
These were the words of Jesus the night he was betrayed. He was praying for his disciples because he knew they would be hated by the world. Just as Jesus entered a dangerous world for the sake of God’s people and for the purpose of glorifying the Father, so we are sent into the world at the risk of being persecuted. The gospel is dangerous. We risk losing friends, money and worldly security when we put our faith in Christ.
What is even more dangerous, however, is not putting our trust in God. We are told not to fear those who can kill the body, but to fear He who can destroy both the soul and the body (Matthew 10:28). When we put our trust in God, any fears of this world are stilled. Our hope is in the One who will give us a glorified body once this body has been destroyed. The Christ-child who we celebrate this Christmas is how we have that hope!