The World Hates You
Read John 15:18-25 (ESV)
“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. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”
Why do you think the world hates Jesus and His followers? What would we have to do in order for the world to love us?
I once saw a video of a pro-life abortion protestor being verbally attacked by a pro-choice woman on a college campus. Her arguments weren’t necessarily unique or memorable but what made her diatribe stick in my brain was that she yelled, “The world hates you!” repeatedly in his face. She didn’t say “I disagree with you on this issue.” She didn’t give well-thought out reasons for her stance. Instead, she vehemently proclaimed that “the world” hated this young person and all other pro-life supporters.
The incident reminds me of Jesus’ words in today’s passage, but Jesus wasn’t addressing the abortion issue or modern politics. He was warning His disciples that the world isn’t going to love their message. He told them to prepare to be hated and persecuted. The world hated Him, so it will hate His followers as well. As the saying goes, the world will “shoot the messengers.”
But why? Why did the world hate Jesus, an innocent man, so much? Why does the world still hate Jesus’ followers today? Because they love their sin. They love their sin and they don’t want anyone interfering with their ability to do what they want to do. They don’t want to be called out for wrongdoing. In fact, making someone feel as though they are wrong for what they think or feel or how they choose to behave is a great “sin” in our society.
Remember that Cain killed Abel because Abel’s sacrifice pleased God (Genesis 4:8). Think about that. He killed Abel solely because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God and Cain’s was not. Those of us who are in Christ, are accepted by God but those who are not in Christ are rejected by Him so they are angry at God and angry at us. But God’s response to Cain would apply to the world as well. “The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it (Genesis 4:6-7).
Why is the world so angry? If they accepted Christ and submitted to His teaching, wouldn’t they also be accepted? Of course! “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Sadly, many will not call out to the Lord for salvation. “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20).
Friends, do not be surprised if you are hated without just cause. If we want the world to love and accept us, we’ll have to compromise the truth of God’s Word! We can’t please God and men (Galatians 1:10). Do not be surprised if you miss out on opportunities or lose relationships because of your relationship with Jesus Christ. We have been warned. But we have also been encouraged that He is worth it!
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:9-13). Don’t let your love for Jesus grow cold because this temporary world is hostile towards you on His account. Stand firm. Endure until the end. He is worth it.
Lord, I confess that the hatred of the world often breaks my heart and even scares me sometimes. I do not want to suffer persecution. However, Your will be done. Strengthen my resolve and encourage my heart to stand firm and endure until the end. You are worth it. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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