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Read Introduction to John

 

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

 

Now Jesus turns from referring to His friends to His enemies. Verses 18-25 show the apostles that they will be hated by the world. The world will hate them because they have a different worldview and they belong to the One who is at the core that that view. They must come to terms with the opposition they will face in the new economy. The word “hate” occurs seven times in verses 18-25.

18 “If the world hates you,

The word “world” occurs 5 times in two verses. The “world” is Satan’s system of belief. It is the worldview that runs counter to how God values and looks at life.

The “if” assumes that it is true that the world will hate Jesus’ followers (first class condition). Hatred by the world system will shortly be a reality for the apostles.

The present tense of the word “hates” indicates that hatred toward Jesus’ followers will be normative (1Jn 3:13).

you know that it hated Me [emphatic] before it hated you.

The nation Israel formally rejected Jesus as the Messiah by attributing His person and work to Satan (Mt 12:24f). They hated Him as a matter of course. The Lord was an example of how to handle persecution. His followers need to know that when they face persecution that they are in excellent company.

The word “hated” here is in the perfect tense indicating an ongoing attitude of hate toward Jesus. Pharisees were planning to kill Him while He spoke these words.

PRINCIPLE:

No Christian should be surprised at the world’s hatred of his or her beliefs.

APPLICATION:

The world hates the exclusive claims of Christ (Ac 4:12; Jn 14:6). Christians need to know that opposition to their ministry is inevitable (1 Pe 4:12). They should have no illusions about this because if they were not aware of coming persecution, they would face problems ahead. We cannot develop a naive attitude about how the world will react to our message. The more we are aggressive with the gospel the more we will be shunned. The world will not admire us for a bald presentation of the truth. If we seek popularity with the world, evangelism is not the best way to do it.

No believer should be surprised by the conflict of the Christian worldview and the Satanic worldview (1 Pe 4:12-13). The world will treat Christians in a nice way until they declare that Jesus is the only way to be acceptable to God.

To be the friend of the world is to be God’s enemy (Ja 4:4). The world loves its own (1 Jn 4:5).

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