If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
The kind of hate we discussed on Monday was the kind of righteous holy hate that God has against sin, divorce, lying, and the 6 other things the Proverbs listed. On Tuesday I followed that up with looking at our hate against those things that God hates, which, mirroring our God, is also a righteous hate (hopefully).
But the world’s hate comes from a completely different fountain. It comes from satan’s river of hate, and the world not only drinks from that fountain, but is immersed and submerged in it.
For what reason does the world hate Jesus? He explained that in John 7:7b
but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.
The Gospel is a command. It is a command for repentance and to obedience to God. People are commanded to repent because, as the other part of the Gospel so clearly says, people’s works are evil and do not please God. They will be judged one day.
No one likes to be told they are sinners, evil, and judged as wanting. In fact, the reprobate mind (as the unsaved possess) cannot understand those things. Therefore they will hate the one who tells them. They hated Jesus for it, and they hated it so much they killed Him.
Gill’s Commentary: how they had expressed their hatred, not only by words, calling him a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a sinner, a Samaritan, a madman, one that had a devil, yea, Beelzebub himself, but by deeds; taking up stones to stone him more than once, leading him to the brow of an hill, in order to cast him down headlong, consulting by various means to take away his life, as Herod did in his very infancy;
And as Paul alluded to here, they will hate the Apostles and disciples for it.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16).
Stephen told the Jewish leaders the truth, and they were cut to the heart, but as Ellicott’s Commentary explains, it wasn’t a righteous anger over their own sin, it was a hatred of the one who told them.
They were cut to the heart.—Literally, were sawn through and through. The word describes a keener pang than the “pricked” of Acts 2:37, producing, not repentance, but the frenzy of furious anger.
The world has a killing hatred of Christ and His people.
Some Christians think that if we make the church friendly, those who are seeking will eventually relax into repentance. But it is not so. There is no one seeking after God, no not one, Romans 3:11 says. Therefore there are no seeker friendly churches. And secondly, the Gospel is tampered with to make it palatable to those whom people think are seeking. But the Gospel is a violent thing, it commands what doesn’t want to submit, it reveals what doesn’t want to be revealed. It judges, it forces. Any Gospel that’s changed in any aspect is no Gospel at all.
Paul said in Galatians 1:8,
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
No, we must carry the exact message the King sent to His Ambassadors, whether it’s received eagerly or in rejected in hatred.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible reminds us not to be deterred.
If the world hate you – The friendship of the world they were not to expect, but they were not to be deterred from their work by its hatred. They had seen the example of Jesus. No opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the men of power, no persecution or gibes, had deterred him from his work. Remembering this, and having his example steadily in the eye, they were to labor not less because wicked men should oppose and deride them. It is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord, Matthew 10:25.
They hated Jesus. At some point, someone will hate you (and me) for sharing the Gospel, or for witnessing with our life and deeds. And that is good, for we would be like our Master. It’s hard to slough off the world’s hatred, but this world is not our home. We are from a far country, where no hatred exists, only love and devotion to our Master.