John 15:18-27 Hate Crimes Against Minority

 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 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 also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[c] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Hate Crimes Against Minority

Recently I was reading a book about privilege.  The book outlined many factors that would show privilege.  One of them was ‘Christian’.  I agreed but disagreed all at the same time.  The majority culture is loosely Christian.  The country took biblical truths and applied them to the nation.  The biblical values of Jews and Christians pervade the culture.  If we compare the values of majority culture in China with that of the West, we can see the remnants of Christian influence, even as it fades back into the morass of competing worldviews.  However, in a very real sense the West is not Christian.  There are some Christian values, but the people are hedonistic, self-serving and capitalist/consumerist.  This doesn’t look as insidious in practice as the terms would suggest.  We make decisions for the maximum pleasure.  If possible we just want everyone to be happy and in so doing we make ourselves happy.  We listen to other people spill their guts out, but we feel happy hearing them and they praise us for being patient and virtuous.  We want the freedom to indulge ourselves and spoil ourselves with all the latest gadgets and goods.

However, those who follow Jesus realise something that the majority culture is not comfortable with.  He calls us to die.  We need to die to seeking pleasure, serving self, and collecting possessions.  We are called to put everything, even family, second to knowing Jesus and living with and for him.  We read the Bible and seek to be changed by it rather than reading it and seeking to make it conform to our own agendas.  As we move away from our selfish desires we find we become good, but to be good is not to be nice.  It might be nice for a doctor to tell a patient that they will live forever, but the painful truth of their condition is the foundation for good treatment.  We all have to realise that we are loved unconditionally, in ways that Jesus has just outlined in the opening of this chapter, then we step out and deal with our own condition and reach out to people with remedies and cures.  However, today’s Christians themselves want to be accepted and so their voices are muted.  Those who do speak up and love the world enough to speak its condition are hated for their hate speech.  They are silenced and shamed in the West.  They are killed elsewhere.

May God grant us the courage to go beyond being nice to being good.  May we find courage to address the evil in our own flesh and then see clearly how others can be rescued with us.  Let us accept the humiliation and alienation with the confidence of knowing that we are eternally loved and accepted by Jesus.

Prayer

Jesus, we have been warned that authentic Christian living will lead to opposition.  Our lives and our words will be a challenge to those around us.  Help us to turn to you and to wrap our arms around you in times of alienation and pain.

Questions

  1. What has Jesus just talked about before this passage?
  2. What is soon to follow?
  3. What pain will come for the disciples?
  4. How are people alienated and ridiculed for their faith in the west?
  5. How can the church better serve Jesus in persecution?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to John 15:18-27 Hate Crimes Against Minority

  1. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus had just talked about His death and the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper, then on the way to Gethsemane He had talked about abiding in Him, the “vine.”
    2. Jesus is about to die, and He knows that the disciples will scatter.
    3. The disciples will experienced fear and despair; the man they thought was the Messiah will be killed!
    4. In the West, Christians are often seen as idiotic, stupid, emotions-based, and hateful. When we don’t take a strong stand on things, the world ridicules us as being hypocritical or no different, but when we do take a stand we are stupid, ill-informed, hateful, and bigoted.
    5. Our attitude is huge! I think that Christians often misunderstand what showing grace means; we think it means being nice to everyone and not calling out their sin, but I think that grace lived out looks more like loving confrontation, “turning the other cheek,” and praying for our enemies.

  2. Lacy says:

    1. Jesus has just talked about abiding in himself, the picture of the vine and the branches.
    2. Soon after will come the garden of Gethsemane and then the crucifixion.

  3. karas says:

    I like the idea of challenging ourselves to do what is best, or good, not just what is nice or easy. I hope to challenge my students in this way. I think one of the things God has been helping me God really does work all things for good. The hard things are actually bringing about good in the long run. It doesn’t seem like it, but difficult things help us grow closer to God. This makes me start to sort of see how a world of sin that gets redeemed could be better than a world that is “perfect” all the time, although it’s still hard to understand. It is comforting that Jesus tells us to expect difficulty and to know that He was treated the same way.

  4. sjcavitt says:

    1) Jesus had just talked about loving one another as He has loved.
    2) Jesus says that hate and persecution are to come from the world.
    3) Jesus explains that because of the disciples’ love for Him, the world will hate and persecute them.
    4) Today as believers, we are alienated and ridiculed for our faith through being considered intolerant and hateful because of our beliefs. This is so sad, because we should be known for our love!
    5) As the Church, we can better serve Jesus through passionately loving people as Jesus commanded. Through our love, unbelievers should see the fruit evident in our lives and be drawn to Jesus!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I think the best way for the church to serve Jesus in persecution is through its response. Our words and actions speak volumes to people. When we are able to love, even after someone has hurt us, the world watches. We are called to react differently. We can rejoice in our sufferings, as Paul did. For “we know that our suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5).

  6. Rachel says:

    Jesus has just talked about the vitality of abiding in Him. Soon, Jesus will be put to death, will raise, and the church will begin many long years of persecution. In the west, people are not often treated harshly for their faith, but are commonly ridiculed or treated as though their faith were foolish. This is mild persecution, if any. The church can boldly speak the truth in love.

  7. Amy McCashen says:

    Jesus has just talked about abiding in Him.
    Jesus’ death is soon to follow.
    The disciples will also be persecuted and all but one will be martyred.
    Our western persecution is nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters are enduring overseas. The main extent of our “persecution” is being picked on or called a lunatic for believing in Jesus. I would not even call it persecution in light of what is happening to other Christians across the world.
    The church needs to continue to be bold, holding fast to the truth of the Gospel and the hope we have in Christ.

  8. Beth Coale says:

    1. the sacrifices of a life of a disciple
    2. disciples will be hated
    3. it’s painful to be misunderstood and rejected
    4. made fun of (and left out of things) because of their convictions/ standards, falsely accused of things as a result of prejudice and broad generalizations
    5. maybe by not focusing so much on retaliation, making ourselves to be martyrs, and complaining about what we can’t do but just keep doing what we can do and not get all flared up and defensive. When I overhear/ see people bring up controversial stuff I don’t even get involved anymore – I’ve found maybe it’s better to just keep living for Christ (connected to the Vine like the last post talked about) and then when I can start conversations about Christ, I’m not starting on a defensive or argumentative note & they can be about more important things than side arguments

  9. Janice says:

    Jesus had just talked about abiding in Him as the true vine. Jesus’ death is soon to follow. The pain of persecution will come for the disciples. People are scorned for their faith and labeled as narrow-minded and hatefully exclusive. The church can better serve Jesus in persecution by continuing to worship Him through it.

  10. ashleypdye says:

    Jesus has just talked about what it is to abide in himself. His death is soon to follow.
    The disciples will experience the pain of separation and confusion.

  11. Jessica Lewis says:

    This is very hard truth to really absorb. Abiding in Jesus means that we must be willing to live uncomfortably a majority of the time in today’s world. So much that goes on around us is hateful towards God.

  12. Dylan says:

    1. Previous to this passage, Jesus was talking about bearing fruit by abiding in him, which is shown by loving God and one another.
    2. The Holy Spirit and persecution.
    3. The disciples will be hated and their persecutors will advertise their actions as doing good for the world.
    4. People of faith in the west are labeled as close-minded, racist and anti-intellectual. They are called old-fashioned. When I hear this, I try to remind my critics that this isn’t just my religion, it’s a way of life and not my story but God’s. This isn’t a hobby, it’s something I am constantly thinking about.
    5. The church must respond to persecution in love. What if there was a Christian talk show host on the same level of anger and disrespect as Bill Maher! This would be a tragedy for the church. Yet it would be unlikely for someone walking with God to fall into this unrepenting sinful position. Nevertheless, we are held to higher standards, thank Jesus!

  13. zacbodine says:

    (Late)
    This is one that I read but didn’t want to be the first comment and so didn’t comment and then forgot to type my responses later. I love this passage but I feel it is misused by a lot of Christians today. The world sometimes can hate you because you are a donkey and not a very nice nor loving nor understanding person who hides behind piety and masks everything you as Christian when in reality it is your own ideas and far from Christ’s commands. This passage is also an encouragement that lets us know we will experience pain. The point is that we are supposed to not be surprised that the U.S. isn’t a Christian nation. We will be unpopular and hated but because of Jesus and who he is.

  14. nataliaria says:

    This passage comes on the heels of Jesus’ discourse on the vine and the branches, which ends with an exhortation and a command for believers to love one another. In this passage, Jesus tells His followers that they will soon experience the pain of persecution, as a result of their association with Him, and resulting status as of another world.

    One of my friends here at Moody recently related a story of being excluded from a party game and becoming the butt of jokes related to the game because those who were playing recognized that the game did not sit well with Christian values. She described this as “social persecution” and I thought that to be a very accurate title. I think that this social persecution, made apparent through small remarks, subtle exclusion and mockery, is prevalent in our world and culture, and something that Christian will continue to face.

    I do not feel qualified to speak to how the persecuted church in countries besides this one might better serve God, but in my own life, when faced with the social persecution that was mentioned above, I often wonder if I do not give too much sway to the input, temptation, and even mockery of others. There’s an odd kind of paradox that I have found myself in, in which I am mocked for something that is true of my faith, and I respond with my own joke or frivolity at the expense of the faith, which does nothing to close the gap between myself and those poking fun at me, and in fact pulls my own heart further away from the Word and the Lord whom I love.

  15. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. What has Jesus just talked about before this passage?
    Being a part of his vine, abiding in his love.
    2. What is soon to follow?
    His capture for crucifixion.
    3. What pain will come for the disciples?
    Persecution because they persecuted Christ.
    4. How are people alienated and ridiculed for their faith in the west?
    They are seen as idiots who do not know how to live life to the fullest.
    5. How can the church better serve Jesus in persecution?
    Reach out to those nationally and internationally that are being persecuted. By reach out I mean maybe financially, in prayer, on words of encouragement.

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