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John’s gospel post 70: hate

February 25, 2014

John 15: 18 – 27

From telling his disciples to love each other Jesus now starts to talk about hate. Not that it is for the disciples to hate anyone, but they themselves will be the target of hate.

For as the people of this world hated Jesus, so they will hate his followers. Jesus tells his followers that they do not belong to this world. If they did they would be popular. But when Jesus calls us he lifts us out of the world. And for that we are hated.

So firstly what does it mean to be called out of the world? Are we not to be involved in the things of this life? Are we to live a life that makes no connection with the people around us? Christians have often talked of separation in a way which suggests that they literally should have no interaction with the people of this world, with its ‘pleasures’.

And yet didn’t we read a long time ago, that God so loves the world? So how can we do different if we are to follow him? If Jesus got engaged then so should we. But something about the way he lived drew both love and hate. Admiration and derision.

Hate. You’re a follower of Jesus right? You feeling the hate?

Do people hate you or are they just puzzled by the crackpot things you believe?

Do they hate you or do they just pity you because your religion causes you to miss out on so much that life has to offer?

Do they hate you or are they indifferent to your faith, which is just irrelevant to them?

Do they hate you or do they just want you to be a bit more PC and show more tolerance?

Few of us in the west probably know what it is to be an object of hatred because we follow Jesus. In other parts of the world that can certainly be a reality.

Not that I want to go looking for trouble. People who know me know how non confrontational I am! But to what extent is my Christian life getting a reaction? Positive or negative?

There was little middle ground when people met Jesus. There is probably a lot more when they meet me.

So, where Jesus was hated so will you be.

Where Jesus was persecuted so will I be.

Where Jesus was loved so will we be.

Jesus of course had done and said so many good things. Nothing bad. And yet he was rejected. God was rejected.

It’s a tough prospect but we are not alone. The advocate, the barrister, the defence lawyer, the Holy Spirit is coming. He’s going to represent us. He’s going to speak up for us. He’ll give us the things to say.

And then Jesus’ disciples will speak.

And so will we.

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