Summary: This section covers persecution & hostility in the world. Jesus’ disciples would not have life easy. He says that discipleship will be a costly endeavor & whoever chooses to follow Him must be ready to experience & endure the sort of conflict He experie
JOHN 15: 18-27
SUFFERING FOR FOLLOWING JESUS
This section centers on the topic of persecution and hostility in the world. Jesus foresaw that His disciples would not have life easy. He says that discipleship will be a costly endeavor and whoever chooses to follow Him must be ready to experience and endure the sort of conflict He has experienced. [Jesus will send the Spirit, who will provide a vital function in these conflicts.]
Jesus explains this hatred of the world (15:18–21) as a continuation of the hatred He personally experienced throughout His public ministry. Jesus has been hated because as the Light, He exposes the world’s deeds (3:20) and unmasks them as evil (7:7). Because Jesus’ disciples are distinctly different than the world as a result of their faith in Jesus, they qualify for similar treatment. For the faithful Christian opposition is inevitable (CIT).
I. HATED BY THE WORLD, 18–19.
II. THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE HATRED, 20-21.
III. THE WORLD HELD GUILTY, 22–25.
The world has a sharp antagonistic disposition toward Jesus and His disciples as verse18 expresses. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
Friendship with God results in enduring the world’s hatred. Conversely, being friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4). Jesus alerted His disciples to the fact of the world’s hatred. The world here is mankind in rebellious hostility to God, because it is under Satan’s influence (Jn. 14:30). This undeserved hostility can be shocking (1 Pet. 4:12-13), but believers should remember that Jesus was hated from His birth (when Herod the Great sought to kill Him) to His death on the cross.
Note the significant contrast. Jesus’ Disciples are to noted by their love for each other. The world by it’s hatred of them.
Verse 19 proclaims that it is the choice of God that sets us apart from the world. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
God’s chose us to remove us from the way of the world (used five times in this verse) and the love of the world. The consequences of being chosen by God is that we are no longer like the world (1 Peter 4:4; Rom. 12:2). A believer, having left the kingdom of darkness and having been transferred into the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13), has a different joy, a different purpose, a different hope, and a different love. He now has direction, truth, and a standard for life. We now belong to Christ and we are becoming like Christ. Since we do not belong to the world . . . the world hates us.
II. THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE HATRED, 20-21.
In verse 20 Jesus requests His disciples to remember His earlier Word to them. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
The disciples are forewarned of the persecution which they will endure on account of Jesus and His word. Jesus had previously told His disciples that “No servant is greater than his master” (13:16; Mt. 10:24). He was referring to their need to imitate His humble service. But the principle has other applications. Christians are to identify so closely with Jesus that they share in His sufferings (they will persecute you also). Jesus bears God’s word and experiences hostility. His disciples who bear His word also will experience hostility. How one treatments the Master determines the treatment of His servants.
On the positive side, some people followed and obeyed Jesus’ teaching, so they also responded to the apostles’ message. Those who appreciate Jesus’ teaching will appreciate the teaching of those commissioned to teach by the Master [F. F. Bruce. The Gospel & Epistles of John, 313]. They will keep the “word” of Jesus’ followers only to the extent they kept Jesus’ Word [Morris, NIC, John, 679]. [In Matthew 10:40 he said, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me.”]
Verse 21 gives the root cause of the persecution of the faithful is because the world does not know God. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
The source of the world’s hatred against the disciples is their identification with Jesus. They hate Jesus because they are ignorant of God, the One who sent Him.
The world rejects the Father who is made know in Jesus Christ. They show this by rejecting Jesus. The world continues to show their rejection of the Father and the Son by rejecting those who represent Him.