John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
I was recently part of a house gathering of a visiting pastor for a church I have been ministering with, and had recently awakened to the New Covenant. This visiting pastor was going to be key note speaker at that Sunday’s meeting, and invited us over to meet with him socially before the event. The Pastor has done amazing work, and was in the midst of starting a new ministry in a foreign country, where there are some social behaviors that may appear shocking to the more religious.
One of the ladies asked the pastor, “don’t they drink beer in that country where you are planting the church?” The Pastor laughed, and made a comment that revealed his heart on the matter. He said “Ha! Only those who are not over-comers still drink alcohol.” Immediately, I smiled and thought to myself, “I guess Jesus Christ isn’t an over-comer.”
Another brother pressed the matter, and asked the Pastor if he could preach a sermon about why Jesus’ first miracle was to make wine for the wedding. Then I piped up and added in “He made it for people who were already drunk.” Then we proceeded to hear the Pastor, with a smile on his face, add a series of Christian cliches about the importance of having Jesus at your wedding, and doing whatever Jesus said, and the like, but never addressed the miracle or the topic of making alcohol for drunk people. It was a fair attempt of this preacher who was hung up on old covenant thinking to try and ignore the alcohol miracle in light of greater life principles.
Many of us try to moralize the life of Jesus Christ and his behavior more inline with what we expect rather than what the Scriptures actually say. Jesus Christ was a Friend to sinners, but we like to add in that he would go into those places to pull people out and preach at them, when that is nowhere found in Scripture. Through Jesus’ graciousness towards sinners, many were transformed, some from nothing more than an invitation to dine with them at their house (Luke 19:1-8) . There was only one group of people that Jesus moralized at, and they were a group that never left him alone, but we’ll address them in a moment.
Because of our moralistic bend on reading scriptures, we see verses talking about how the world will hate us, and we automatically assume it is the unbelievers that should despise us. We think our role is to shine light on their bad behavior in love, and it is only natural that they will hate us for it. But is that really what we see in the light of scripture and how Jesus dealt with people?
It may surprise many, as to who Jesus was referring to when he said that the World Hated Him, and the world will hate us (John 15:18). Jesus starts giving us clues as to who he is talking about in that same chapter, (John 15:20) If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you. Who was persecuting Jesus? Further (verse 22) If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. Who did Jesus come and talk to? Again, (Verse 24) If I had not done among them the works which none other man did. Who did Jesus do the Works in front of?
Ultimately, He reveals who the World is, that hated, persecuted and saw all these miracles, and we should expect the same from. John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in THEIR LAW, They hated me without a cause.
He is talking about the religious Jewish Leaders, the one group of people that Jesus moralized at.
Psalms 35:19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
In our Modern western thinking, we wrongly assume that it is the World of Unbelievers that we should be persecuted by, when in fact, Jesus points out, it is the Jewish leaders, or in our context, The Religious people we should expect persecution from. The Religious will always hate us without cause, and there is no appeasing them. Even Satan himself departed from Jesus for a season, but the religious never stop accusing, and demonizing Him. If our walk as believers does not have grace to the world of unbelievers, and persecution from the Religious, we may need to examine ourselves to see if we are really being as Christ-like as we claim to be.
John Lynch talking about God’s Grace.