Text: John 15: 18-27
Text verse: John 15:18
In the previous passage Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. The problem, however, is that this task is not that easy to carry out.
It is easy when your love is requited, but when that love is responded to with hatred and rejection, it becomes much harder to do.
Therefore, Jesus makes it clear to his disciples that they should not expect to be accepted by the world when they preach the gospel. Just as the world rejected Jesus’ words, so too will his disciples be rejected when they preach this gospel.
So, here are two kingdoms at work: The kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God. Characteristic of the world is the hatred in which it functions. It imposes its’ rule on you and if you do not listen and are submissive, you will be punished with the worst possible punishment: The world will reject you.
In contrast, the kingdom of God functions through love. Peter writes that above all things we must love one another, for love covers over much sin (1 Pet. 4: 8).
Love is the glue that binds the citizens of God together.
The reason why it is often difficult for disciples to be obedient, is the rejection we face by the world. Rejection is anyone’s greatest fear. God created us to be part of a community. Being rejected by your spouse, colleague or friend hurts.
So, how do we gain strength to stand firm despite the hatred and rejection we experience in this life? Jesus motivates his disciples with three things.
1. Remain focused on your Master.
Jesus uses the metaphor of a slave who does not think he is more important than his master. As the master is treated, so too will the slave be treated.
With this, Jesus shows his disciples that they will be hated for His sake. Our consolation lies in the fact that suffering will become a privilege for us when we see how our master truly loves us and lays down His life for us.
The world enforces its rule with hatred, but hatred arouses rebellion in the heart of man. Jesus reigns in love. The wonderful thing about love is that it awakens great loyalty in the heart of the follower. We will have that loyalty when we know Jesus’ great love for us.
2. We receive an Advocate
Intercession is given to us so that it can testify about Jesus (vs. 26). It makes us more and more aware of Christ’s glorious love and it will also make us more loyal.
The better we understand Jesus’ love, the more we will witness that love in a world that knows only hatred and rejection. Jesus’ love makes us effective disciples.
3. We are part of a wonderful community
We do not need to be afraid that people will reject us, because we are now part of the most glorious community. We have new brothers and sisters in Christ. That is why congregational gatherings are so important. We need to remember that we are part of the heavenly kingdom and God is our Father. This is who we are and who we represent in this world.
Therefore, do not let hatred force you off course. For the believer, the hatred we experience in this world should only remind us of the glorious fellowship we have in Christ.