Not of the World
John 15:17-27 ESV
Psalm 35:19, Psalm 69:4, and Psalm 109:3 (Prophecy from King David)
Isaiah 53:3 NLT
Acts 2:2-3 ESV
Remember what Jesus said in John 15:17? “These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Jesus told His own what they would face because they are His followers.
Jesus was completely honest.
He didn’t sugar-coat the issue. Jesus knew we would be persecuted and we would need His forgiveness in order to forgive.
John 15:18-20b says, “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.”
At this point Jesus’ had told the disciples several times they were to love one another. He told them love one another over and over again.
As a Mother, I remember words that I spoke to my children when they were young. There were times when they would look at me like, ‘really…again?’ But I repeated it again for a reason.
That’s what Jesus was doing.
Jesus knew after He was gone they would be persecuted. Jesus, as God would have known that leadership changes were coming in the Roman Empire that would impact the followers of Jesus.
Jesus also knew what it would take to set them apart from everyone else in the 1st Century and beyond.
Love was the key. It’s still the key today.
Jesus also knew that even though they would love the world, they would be hated and persecuted.
See, as the followers of Jesus gained a reputation for loving others, they would grow in numbers. And as they grew in numbers they would become a ‘force for good.’
The Roman Empire did not want to deal with a huge mob who followed someone other than the Roman Emperor because Rome was all about Roman power.
The followers of Jesus were not all about Roman power.
John 15:20c Jesus said, “If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” Jesus who is Omnipresent, knew that once Jesus departed this earth and ascended back to heaven His disciples would continue to carry on His message. More than that, Jesus knew that when His disciples spoke words that they heard Jesus say, those words would carry great weight.
Jesus knew Peter would speak FOR Him after Jesus was gone. In addition to that, Peter, James, and John (along with the other disciples) would travel and take Jesus’ message to many other places.
The original disciples who studied under Jesus would take His message to many who would gather to hear their words because they actually knew Jesus.
In John 15:21-25 Jesus said, “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.’
Jesus was warning His disciples that when they go to other places there will also be people who will reject their message of love they learned from Jesus. He reminded them even though He did miracles that no one else could do, there were still people who rejected Him. In rejecting Him, they rejected God who sent Him.
In John 15:25 Jesus quoted different forms of “they hated me without a cause” which is a prophecy from Psalm 35:19, Psalm 69:4, and Psalm 109:3. When you think about it, the Hebrew leaders in the 1st Century who should be fulfilling the law were the very ones who hated Jesus who was sent by God to fulfill the law.
In the Psalms David knew ONE was coming who was sent by God who would be hated for no good reason.
That brings us to Isaiah 53:3, when the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.”
Isaiah knew…he saw what Jesus would endure.
But still, He came. Jesus knew and He came anyway. I don’t know about you, but that changes me. It gets personal. Jesus suffered for me.
Jesus suffered for you. That’s how much Jesus loves you.
In addition to that, in John 15:26-27 Jesus said, “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. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
In Acts 2:2-3 when the Holy Spirit (the helper) came “like a mighty rushing wind” (Acts 2:2) and “as a fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:3) the disciples were changed. They were transformed. They witnessed the transformation.
And so, now we also bear witness. Because we read and believe and because we have seen God at work through the Spirit still today, we know.
We know. We know God is still at work today.
It’s personal. The world may hate you and call you crazy, but you know the truth.
Jesus forgave and we forgive.
You know because you have seen.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: What have You seen?
Name a time when you know God was at work in today’s world. How did that become part of YOUR faith story?
In God, Deborah