John 15:18-19, “18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”
In the early verses of this chapter, Jesus talked to His disciples of the nature of His relationship to them. Towards the end, He turns to address the disciples’ relationship to the world. His relationship to His disciples was that of love and of friendship. In addressing them in vs 18, He would have them understand that the world’s relationship to them will be the opposite of His. He uses a strong word “hate” which means a deep and emotional extreme dislike. It is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust and a disposition towards hostility. Hate by biblical definition is murder at heart something we are not to have as His friends.
He said “18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you”. We have to understand that in this world, believers will not be treated any better. In fact Jesus from birth was already hated and wanted dead. This started with King Herod, Jesus presence threatened his kingdom. Throughout His earthly life there were those who truly loved Him, those who pretended to love Him, and those who out rightly hated Him with a passion. He was disliked by His family members, hated in His home town, hated for doing good on a Sabbath. Hated for hanging out with tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers. They wanted to stone Him for declaring that He is God from above. He was labeled a drunker; His miracle powers were accredited to Satan. They shouted Hosanna to Him one day, a week later they cried crucify Him. Judas Iscariot hated Him so much that he was willing to take anything to betray Him. They were willing to have one man who was a rebel, a thief and murderer released and have the sinless, humble, perfect Son of God crucified because of their hatred for Him, and the list continues. Jesus echoing words prophesied in Psalm 35:19 says in John 15:25, “they hated Me without a cause”. He went through all these and yet prayed that they would be forgiven.
If the world hated Him, be reminded it still hates Him today and His friends. In some countries predominantly in the Middle East hate Christians with a passion and are doing everything to wipe out Christians in those countries. Extreme Islamic terrorists have waged war on Christians. Recently in Egypt it was reported that Christians were murdered because of their faith. From my home country Kenya around147 were killed less than a month ago because they professed to be Christians. In Nigeria, Kenya and other parts of the world, churches have been bombed during worship services. We get newsletters telling stories of persecution in South Sudan, India in the hands of Hindus, China and other parts of the world. Here in America we hear hatred from the media, internet postings, and some leaders. Christians are labeled intolerant for standing for truth regarding sanctity of life, marriages, championing for morality, the gospel. Christians are hated for their message, even falsely accused and the reason is simple they first hated Him and His message. Believers are citizens of another country therefore they would not be loved in the present world. We are not greater than our Master who was hated yet He was not of this world neither are His friends the believers, vs. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. We take comfort that He knows what His friends are going through; He has been there and more so to the extreme.
What makes our message different? It’s the gospel of love, God is love, He demonstrated it by sending His Son to die for our sins. We love because He first loved and laid down His life. Without love we are considered murderers, 1John 3:15, “ Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”. Luke 6:27, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”. Our message is that of hope, it’s a message that calls us to go an extra mile of excellence, it’s a message of forgiveness. Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount called us blessed, “11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”, Matthew 5:11-12. Jesus also in Matthew 10:22 said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” This is a message if endurance. Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
Our blessed hope, “7 … we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh”, 2Corinthians 4:7-11. They hated Him without a cause, expect to be hated the same way, but what a friend we have in Jesus, nothing can compare…Blessings Ev