The World Hating the Servants of Jesus
John 15:18
If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.

Jesus speaks here of love and hate, and of no third thing lying between them, and being neither one thing nor another. What looks like indifference is only sleeping love or sleeping hate. There are those who only need sufficient stirring up in order to become devoted lovers of Jesus and his cause. And so with the stirring up of hatred to Jesus. Character and disposition must in due season come out to the full light of day. The sleeping tiger is none the less a tiger for being asleep.

I. THOSE WHO POSSIBLY MAY BE HATED. Christians may be hated because of their Christianity. Private malice is not at all in the question. Some of these disciples may have had enemies already; if not, they were very likely to have them in abundance soon. Observe how Jesus puts the thing hypothetically. Much depends on ourselves. If we are consistent, resolute, lively, energetic, perfectly uncompromising and open in our attachment to Jesus, we must make ready for hatred; but if, professing to love Jesus, we do not love him with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, the world will not trouble to hate us. It may despise us and laugh at us, but it will not hate. Why should the world hate us, if we do nothing to inconvenience it, nothing to peril its aims, its possessions, and its pleasures? This is a very astonishing thing, that the world should hate us the better we are. If our hearts are filled with the spirit of love, if we desire only the good of everybody, why should we be hated? The truth is, Jesus understands human nature far better than the shrewdest of us. He, the best that ever trod the earth, was treated as if the worst. And similar experience, in a less conspicuous way, happened to his servants, e.g. Paul at Philippi and at Ephesus. And, underlying all these illustrations, there lies one common cause for the hostility in this - that Jesus must, by the very nature of his light-bringing work, interfere with the vested interests of men in darkness.

II. THE PECULIAR DESCRIPTION OF THE HATERS. They are described compendiously as the world. They are not to be singled out in their individual capacity. Individuals are constantly passing over from the world to the side of Jesus, but the spirit of the world remains unchanged, unchangeable. And this spirit is to be dealt with indirectly for the most part. Argument, expostulation, and entreaty are not the main weapons of success. The victory that overcometh the world is mainly to be gained in our own character. Jesus wants opposition to be swallowed up in reconciliation to him and to his truth. What we want to bear up against the world's hatred is:

1. Faith. We live amidst an unbelieving world, as it were amidst east winds and north winds, and all sorts of unfavorable climatic conditions. The colder the weather is, the more must we look after everything that will keep up vital heat. When earth is dull and stubborn to us, we must refresh ourselves from heaven.

2. Courage. We must go on. So we shall find out what a poor, foundationless thing the opposition of the world is. Its first appearance is its best appearance. It may hurt the outer skin, but cannot touch the heart and citadel of life. We must needs know the worst of the world in order that we may know the best of Jesus.

3. Meekness. Faith and courage, bathed and penetrated with gentleness - this is to win the world. The world has no gentleness, unless fair-spoken craftiness be so called. Our main spirit must be that of Jesus on the cross: "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." - Y.

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
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