"You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
And it wasn't just non-Christians. Christians were participating in it too, making apologies for uncultured, unenlightened "extremists". But what was John extreme about? He wanted to preach the gospel to one of the last unreached people groups in the world. And what? That makes us Christians uncomfortable? When did we stop believing that Jesus was the only way? When did we stop believing that we have truth that the rest of the world needs? When did we stop believing that we should be taking risks, should be uncomfortable, and should expect to be hated and persecuted for the the good news of Christ? We've bought into postmodernism. "Truth is relative. You can have your truth and I'll have mine. I won't infringe on yours if you won't infringe on mine." Lies. We have the truth. Not because we're better, not because we're good, but because of God's grace alone. Whether we are a postmodern American with 21st-century technology or an isolated tribe on a small island, without Jesus we don't have truth, we don't have life.
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)
I believe so much of this backlash, so much of our discomfort is because we've lost sight of the gospel. The gospel is not a put-together Sunday service, the gospel is not good, emotional music, the gospel is not clean. The gospel is a poor, dirty teacher walking the countrysides calling people to repent and believe the good news: that God is on their side if they would only welcome him, the gospel is blood and flesh dripping and ripped apart while God himself suffocates on a tree, and the gospel is an empty tomb without fanfare, when God said that death is not final and that he can show us a way through it, a way to life to the full, a life everlasting.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
John died breaking the law. John seems to have died in disgrace. But John died doing what is right. I have faith that I'll see him again in the resurrection.