18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ t If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ c
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
16:1“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you,
Jesus touches on a difficult topic in these verses: the hatred experienced by His followers. He is speaking specifically of the opposition that they will endure at the hands of the same people who are opposing Him. But His words speak to all of His followers, across the centuries and around the world.
Persecution is sadly taking place in many parts of our world today. In our post-churched American culture, we occasionally experience push-back because of our faith – nothing like what our brothers and sisters in China, India and Pakistan experience – but it can still be a powerful deterrent to living our witness.
This is why the point Jesus makes here is so important. When we face opposition or rejection because of our faith, it is not we who are being rejected, but Jesus. And if Jesus is being rejected, then His Father is being rejected as well. The hatred directed at us for our faith is rooted in hatred for the triune God.
This doesn’t mean that any opposition we experience is rooted in rejection of Jesus. It could be that we are just being unkind, unwise, obnoxious, and foolish. Jesus is speaking here of disciples who are remaining connected to the vine, who are being cleansed by the Word, who are seeking to bear fruit for the kingdom. The point here is that opposition will come to His disciples even when they are doing everything “right.” In fact, opposition will come because they are doing everything He has commanded.
This leads me to pray for two things today. I pray that my witness would be winsome and Christ-glorifying, no matter how it is received. But I also pray for those who are experiencing overt persecution for their faith. I pray that Christ would strengthen them and that His Holy Spirit would lead them as they testify.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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