Hated, But Comforted
July 5, 2022
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).
Repeatedly the Lord warned the disciples of the hostility of the world toward the Gospel and toward those who bear witness of the Gospel. (John 15:18-25) If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'
Had Jesus not warned the disciples of the attitude of the world toward them, they would have become disillusioned and discouraged to the point of abandoning the faith. This became evident throughout the night in the upper room when Jesus pointedly told them of His being betrayed by one of them, His being arrested, tried, condemned, and crucified, their abandoning Him to this fate, and Peter’s denying Him three times. In their walk from the upper room to Gethsemane a pall of silence had gripped them. As Jesus spoke there was no discussion, no questions, no response from them. Sometimes in the heat of spiritual warfare it is best to be silent and to listen to the counsel of the Lord. (Psalm 46:10-11) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
The night that lay ahead for the disciples would present events they were not spiritually prepared for. It would include Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane, which would find the disciples abandoning Him. It would include His trials before the Jews, which would find Peter denying Him. The following morning would see Him whipped and beaten and mocked by Roman guards, tried by the Roman officials, and crucified by Roman soldiers. (Matthew 26:31) Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'" None, save John and the women, would stand with Jesus. His words to the disciples on the way to Gethsemane fell on deaf ears. Ill prepared for what lay ahead. But in the warning Jesus gave great hope. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee (Matthew 26:32). He would rise from the dead and come for them.
Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended to the Father in heaven. But one day, very soon, He will return for us. We have been warned of the hostility of the world toward the Gospel. But we have been comforted in the assurance that Jesus is coming back for us! Amen.