Tuesday, June 19, 2012

John 15:22-25

It’s hard to imagine someone HATING Jesus. Hate is a pretty strong word. Yet, Jesus says this is what those who reject Him do. And when you think about it, what other name causes such discomfort and controversy? If you were at a dinner party and brought up the name of any other religious leader, you would probably find at least curiosity and a willingness to hear about that leader. But when you mention the name of Jesus, most people get very uncomfortable or even offended. Jesus tells the disciples that those who have heard of Him and rejected Him hate Him and the Father both - and those people are found guilty because of it:

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates me hates my Father as well.  If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.  But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ ” (John 15:22-25)

Once someone has been introduced to the gospel, they have no excuse for rejecting Christ. In fact, Paul insists that anyone who sees all of the evidence of God in creation and still rejects God is guilty, regardless of whether or not he has heard of Jesus (this takes care of the argument, “But what about the native in Africa who has never heard about Christ?”):

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:20-23)

But the ones Jesus is talking about here in John’s gospel DID see His miracles. They saw Him feed the five thousand, heal lepers and the lame, and restore sight to the blind. They saw Him raise the dead! Yet they hated Jesus! Jesus wants His disciples to know that when they go out into all the world to preach the good news, many people will not think it’s so “good,” and will hate them and persecute them. He doesn’t want them to be surprised and, therefore, discouraged by rejection. Jesus is telling them to count the cost of following Him. There WILL be rejection and downright hostility.

This doesn’t sound like much of a pep talk! However, tomorrow we will begin the “upside” of this final lesson He’s teaching them on His way to the cross. So, don’t be discouraged if after you have committed your life to Christ that life doesn’t get easier, but even more difficult. When you align yourself with Christ you put yourself in the line of fire. The world, which currently is under the domain of the “prince of this world,” Satan, will hate you, because it hates Christ. The good news? You have the God of the universe on your side, and His Holy Spirit living within you! But that’s tomorrow’s lesson...

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