WHEN Saul did bad things, who was pleased?— Satan the Devil was. But the religious leaders of the Jews were too. Then when Saul became a disciple of the Great Teacher and was called Paul, those religious leaders began to hate him. So, can you see why it is hard for a disciple of Jesus to do good?—
The high priest who was named Ananias once told men to hit Paul in the face. Ananias even tried to have Paul put in prison. Paul suffered a lot when he became a disciple of Jesus. For example, bad people beat Paul and tried to kill him with big stones.
Many will try to get us to do things that displease God. So the question is, How much do you love what is good? Do you love it so much that you will do what is good even when others hate you for it? It takes courage to do that, doesn’t it?—
You may wonder, ‘Why would people hate us for doing good? Shouldn’t they be glad?’ You would think so. Often people liked Jesus for the good things he did. Once, all the people of a city gathered at the door of the house where he was staying. They came because Jesus had been healing sick people.
But sometimes people did not like what Jesus taught. Even though he always taught what was right, some showed real hatred for him because he spoke the truth. This happened one day in Nazareth, the city where Jesus grew up. He went into the synagogue, a place where Jewish people met to worship God.
There Jesus gave a fine talk from the Scriptures. The people liked it at first. They were amazed at the fine words that came out of his mouth. They could hardly believe that this was the young man who had grown up in their own city.
But then Jesus said something else. He told about times when God showed special favor to people who were not Jews. When Jesus said this, those in the synagogue became angry. Do you know why?— They thought that they were the only ones who had God’s special favor. They thought that they were better than other people. So they hated Jesus for what he said. And do you know what they tried to do to him?—
The Bible says: ‘They grabbed Jesus and rushed him outside the city. They led him to the edge of a mountain and were going to throw him over the cliff and kill him! But Jesus got away from them.’
If that happened to you, would you ever go back to talk to those people about God?— That would take courage, wouldn’t it?— Well, about a year later, Jesus did go back to Nazareth. The Bible says: “He began to teach them in their synagogue.” Jesus did not stop speaking the truth because of fear of men who had no love for God.
On another day, a sabbath, Jesus was in a place where there was a man whose hand was withered, or crippled. Jesus had power from God to heal that man. But some of the men there were trying to make trouble for Jesus. What would the Great Teacher do?— First he asked: ‘If you had a sheep that fell into a big hole on the Sabbath, would you lift it out?’
Yes, they would do that for a sheep, even on the Sabbath, the day when they were supposed to rest. So Jesus said: ‘It is even better to help a man on the Sabbath, since a man is worth more than a sheep!’ How clear it was that Jesus should help this man by healing him!
Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand. Right away it was made well. How happy that man was! But what about those other men? Were they glad?— No. They hated Jesus even more. They went out and made plans to kill him!
It is like that today. No matter what we do, we can never please everyone. So we have to decide whom we really want to please. If it is Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, then we must always do what they teach. But if we do, who will hate us? Who will make it hard for us to do what is good?—
Satan the Devil will. But who else will?— Those who have been fooled by the Devil into believing wrong things. Jesus told the religious leaders of his day: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father.”
There are many people the Devil likes. Jesus calls them “the world.” What do you think “the world” is that Jesus speaks about?— Well, let’s look at John chapter 15, verse 19, and see. There we read these words of Jesus: “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”
So the world that hates Jesus’ disciples is made up of all the people who are not his followers. Why does the world hate Jesus’ disciples?— Think about it. Who is the ruler of the world?— The Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” That wicked one is Satan the Devil.
Do you see now why it is so hard to do good?— Satan and his world make it hard. But there is another reason. Do you remember what it is?— In Chapter 23 of this book, we learned that we are all born with sin. Won’t it be wonderful when sin, the Devil, and his world are gone?—
The Bible promises: “The world is passing away.” This means that all of those who are not followers of the Great Teacher will be no more. They will not be allowed to live forever. Do you know who will live forever?— The Bible goes on to say: “He that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) Yes, only those who do good, who do “the will of God,” will live forever in God’s new world. So even if it is hard, we want to do good, don’t we?—
Let’s read together these scriptures that show why it is not easy to do what is good: Matthew 7:13, 14; Luke 13:23, 24; and Acts 14:21, 22.