Hate Me, Hate You
June 22, 2022
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you (John 15:18).
Jesus introduced to His disciples the stark reality that the Kingdom of God stands diametrically opposed to the kingdoms of the world. He revealed to them the world’s hatred for Him, and for them. But this is nothing new. (Matthew 5:10-12) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. The Apostle Paul would experience this himself. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved . . . .
Jesus openly declared that because He would suffer for the Gospel, His disciples would suffer for the Gospel as would all who name the name of Jesus as Lord. They shouldn’t be surprised by this, nor should we, but we should prepare for it. How do Christians respond to a hostile world that hates everything Jesus Christ and His Kingdom stands for? Scripture tells us that we are to be humble before the hostile, meek (not weak, but under control) before the merciless, gentle before the hateful, peaceful among the vicious (as much as possible). We are to do nothing to provoke or cause the hatred of the world to bear down upon us. But if we are faithful to the Lord, we must be prepared for the same evil treatment the prophets of God received in the Old Testament, that Jesus received, His disciples received, our forefathers in the faith received, and the many brothers and sisters who minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ are receiving today in cultures where Christianity has been outlawed.
The word ‘before’ (protos) refers more to experience than to time. Jesus assured the disciples that He had already experienced the same opposition and persecution in His ministry that they would face in their ministries. (John 10:4) And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Jesus has gone before us in all matters pertaining to the Kingdom here on earth. (Hebrews 4:15-16) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. What a comfort it is to us when facing temptation, trials, tribulations, opposition, and persecution for our faith. No one likes to be hated, but in a world dominated by Satan and his influence, it is our lot to be despised and rejected by the world we live in. Yet, to know that Jesus understands completely and fully is a blessing to the mind, heart, and spirit of every Christian who walks the path He walked. Amen.