90 Days with Jesus, Day 71: John 15:18-25: Strangers with Jesus

John 15:18-25 (Day 71, 90 Days with Jesus)

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If 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. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If 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. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

The simple fact is, Christians do not belong to the world. Therefore, the world will most likely treat us no differently than it treated Jesus. John said at the beginning of his Gospel, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Jesus was not treated very well while he was walking on the planet.

Peter said exactly the same thing:

12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

We should live then as strangers, aliens.

“That,”Jesus says, is “why the world hates you.” Why? “Because I have chosen you out of the world.” Does the world hate the Christian because the world somehow knows that we no longer belong to it? Does the world conceive of Christians as some sort of counter-movement? Does the world suspect that we are in no way involved in their schemes? Does the world suspect we are no walking lock-stock-and-barrel because we are privy to something greater? Just exactly why is the world so opposed to the Christian?It’s not difficult to see all the world opposed to Christians. If you are a Christian in the Middle East you will likely be persecuted becauseyou are a Christian. If you are a Christian in North America and hold that Genesis chapters 1-12 speak of literal history, you are likely to be persecuted and mocked for such beliefs. If you are a Christian in Europe and believe in Conservative Orthodoxy you are likely to be persecuted for your beliefs. I have documented many such instances of persecution right here at this blog. But this still doesn’t explain, fully, why exactly the world has such angst against the Christian. Take Genesis 1-12 for example: Why should all the not-Christians care if we believe those chapters speak of literal history?

Here’s why: Evangelical Theologian Disputes Creationism’s Alleged Threat to ‘Human Rights.’

For some people the Creation, as a matter of religious belief, gives a meaning to life,” stated the report. “Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist ideas within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe.”

The report, which had been reworked since it was first introduced a few months ago, also charged creationists with denying the scientific validity of the theory of evolution.

“They accuse scientists of not providing enough evidence to establish the theory of evolution as scientifically valid. On the contrary, they defend their own statements as scientific. None of this stands up to objective analysis,” the text argued. “The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.

“The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights,” added the report.

I think I know the answer: I think that the ‘world’ is genuinely afraid that if Christians had ‘too much power’ we might impose upon them a standard of morality that they are simply unwilling to concede to. I think the ‘world’ is genuinely terrified that the structures of power would be toppled if too many Christians had too much to say. The truth is, ‘creationists’ do not reject science at all. What ‘we’ reject is Darwinism and materialism. And the rejection of Darwinism in no way poses a threat to human rights or civic rights. There is simply no way this can be demonstrated in real life. This is hyperbole designed to stir up fear and anxiety among those who cannot think for themselves.

In this the world shows its true color: They hated Jesus without reason. I suspect that Jesus is saying as much about the world’s hatred of Christians today: They hate us without reason. Our desire is to live quiet, peaceful lives. And in their haste to hate Jesus, they also hate the One who sent Jesus: The Father. And in their haste to reject Jesus, and that Father, they will not consider the Christian worth much more either. Jesus said: “A student is not above his master.” So, we should expect that our normal way of going about life is this: We always have a target on our backs. People, unbelievers, are always looking for reasons to hate and unbelievers are always hating without reason. Unbelievers do not need a reason to hate: It is their make-up. Simply disagreeing with unbelievers is a reason for the unbeliever to hate.

What did Jesus say, however, was our defense: “Remember my words.” Here is what the Lord said to Joshua:

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

We must be a people of the book. We must be a people of the Word. We must be people who allow ourselves to be shaped and defined by the Word of God. It is not for no reason that Jesus says when you are faced with trials: Remember my Words. There is nothing more to it than that. We must have ourselves involved in the Word of God. It must saturate us and inform us about every step we take.

Remember His Words! Then it is certain that it will not matter at all if we belong to this world or not. What’s better: To belong to a meaningless, materialist world? Or to belong to the King?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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