The World's Hatred
John 15:18-21
If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.

Our Lord enjoined that within the Church there should prevail love and brotherhood. But at the same time he foretold that from without Christians should meet with hatred and opposition, enmity and persecution.


1. We are constrained by facts to rank with the world, in this respect, the adherents of the Jewish system. As his own countrymen were our Lord's opponents and in truth his real murderers, so were the Jews the earliest opponents of the Church of Christ. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles exhibits the hostility of the leaders of Israel to the society which was called by his Name whose crucifixion they had brought about. The Jews attempted to silence the first preachers of Christianity. And this they did under the influence of hate towards Christ himself. They regarded the new religion - for such it seemed to them - as subversive of their own, not discerning that it was the fulfillment of what was Divine in Judaism. And they hated a doctrine which, by laying stress upon the personal and spiritual elements in religion, imperiled their own rulers' authority, and the whole system of form and ceremony with which they were associated.

2. Our Lord doubtless looked forward to the time when the vessel of the Church should quit the narrow straits of Judaism, and should sail out into the open seas of the world, there to encounter fiercer storms. Then he foresaw the hatred of the world should take a more formidable, though not a more virulent, shape. In the Roman empire, Christianity, we know as matter of history, encountered fierce hostility mainly because of its exacting, exclusive claims, because of its open hostility to all that savored of idolatry, and because of its rapid, and (to the heathen) unaccountable progress. Hence the several persecutions which arose under successive emperors, verifying the predictions uttered by the Divine Founder of our faith. Hence the long roll of confessors and martyrs who sealed their testimony with their blood.

3. But it must not be overlooked that, where persecution is impossible, hatred often prevails, and manifests its presence and power in many distressing forms. There are at the present time, even in the midst of professedly Christian communities, not a few who are suffering from that hate which our Lord here foretold.


1. The world knows not God, and hence hates the Church which is in possession of this knowledge. Had the world known God, it would have recognized among Christians the tokens of the Divine presence and operation.

2. Christians are not of the world. The world loves its own, but hates that which is out of harmony with it. If Christians do not adopt the world's spirit and language and habits, this singularity and nonconformity naturally excites dislike and provokes to ill treatment.

3. It cannot but be that the world must be rebuked by the presence of the Church, confronting and reproving it. Whether by a public protest against the world's sins, or by the silent protest of a pure and upright life, Christians are bound to a course of action which will bring down upon them, now and again, the enmity and the anger of the world.

III. CONSOLATION FOR CHRISTIANS UNDER THE WORLD'S HATRED. All true comfort comes from that personal relation to the Lord Jesus upon which such stress is laid in these discourses recorded by St. John, and which is exhibited as the inspiration not only of consecrated activity but also of patient endurance.

1. The hatred which besets Christians was first directed against Christ himself.

2. The servant must expect to follow in his Master's steps, and to meet with the same treatment.

3. When Jesus says, "For my Name's sake," he presents to us a motive to patience which is divinely fortifying and persuasive. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

WEB: If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you.

The World Hating the Servants of Jesus
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