“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.” – John 15:18-24 (ESV)
These are the words of Jesus to the disciples as he begins to finish out his earthly ministry and continues to prepare the disciples for the ministry that they would undertake after his departure.
These words can be very important and helpful to us in today’s culture that we are facing. True followers of Christ, those who are daily undertaking the battle on the front lines can find comfort in these verses as we face the adversity that is around us. There has always been persecution of Christians worldwide, but in America we have not necessarily seen it, but we may be in for a wakeup call in the coming days due to decisions that are being made.
This should excite us as Christians, but also put us on guard…in Jesus’ own words, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Plain and simple, are we exempt from persecution? No, not at all! In fact, Jesus reveals here that part of his purpose was to come and set the example of what is right…he came so that we would not only hear, but SEE how to live. He says to us, “If I had not come to show the way, they would not have been guilty of their sin, but now they have no excuse.”
Jesus tells us not to expect an easy walk, because the world will hate us, because the world hated him. The world will not like what we stand for, how we carry ourselves, the message we bear…they will hate everything about us because of how it makes them feel…persecution comes from guilt, it comes from the guilt that is felt when someone knows what is right and sees it in someone…it makes them feel guilt for what they know is wrong and drives them to hatred.
Today, I want to encourage you with the words of Christ…to encourage you that we are not alone in this battle that we will face…one we are facing. Jesus said that we will be hated because he was hated, and that hatred is of God because he was sent from God and we, in the Great Commission, were sent by him. His comfort to us is this, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26, ESV)
The Holy Spirit will come to those who believe and accept…those who are not of the world…the world will not love you if you are not of the world…but the Helper comes so that you can boldly proclaim who you belong to…go out today and claim who you belong to!!