“Be in the world”, says Jesus, “but not of the world”. God began this mantra in His Law given to Moses. “Love the Lord Your God with all Your heart, mind and soul”, Jesus repeats this Law as the first and greatest commandment from God. The second greatest commandment, not suggestion, is like the first, Jesus says, “Love your neighbor”, not like the world loves but like I have loved you. Unconditionally.
Now Jesus explains in John’s next passage that this is so counter culture, that you can count on the world hating you back for loving Him with all your heart, mind and soul. Without God the world doesn’t know love because they don’t know God. Count on it, says Jesus. Shocking, but true…let’s read on…
John 15, The Message
Hated by the World
18-19 “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.
20 “When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.
21-25 “They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me. If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’
26-27 “When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.”
Jesus is giving the disciples (and us) a big dose of reality, isn’t He? Can you imagine for a moment looking in on this conversation, this teachable moment, and see the wide-eyed followers listening to Jesus talk about hate after living with him in love, watching His examples of unconditional daily love for them and others? There IS a difference between what the world says and what Jesus says to be Truth. Bear that in mind. To avoid trouble and hate, we sometimes become more compromising and worst of all, complacent , like “frogs in the kettle”, as Barna put it years ago in his essay about how we are warming up to the world’s idea of living out our lives versus what Jesus taught.
Love God. Love Others. With all that is within us. The world will hate us for that for the prince of darkness is the enemy who lurks to destroy us. But who wins in the end of our days? Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The victor over death and the grave.
“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead….” –Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for reminding us that the troubles we experience are sometimes closely related to our love for You. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that affirms and confirms Your Truth by pointing out the difference in what the world thinks and what You say. Thank you for giving us strength to overcome and be different. Thank you for going ahead of us in this battle for Truth. Every. Day. Continue to be with us. Thank you for picking us up when we fall. In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.