A Christian who lives in the world should expect to be hated. The absence of this hate may be proof that you are not a Christian. The hate I am speaking of is the hate that Jesus spoke of in John 15. These remarks by Jesus were given at the Last Supper right before the world killed Him in the most extreme way imaginable, death by crucifixion. Those whom Jesus was speaking to in John 15 were His disciples; those who Jesus had chosen to follow Him, and whom would carry on His Work after he went back to be with His Father.
Why did the world want to kill Jesus? He cured illnesses, fed thousands, raised the dead, and never committed a sin. He sounds like a good guy to keep around. The reason the world hated Jesus is that it didn’t like what Jesus had to say. Jesus’ main message was “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The word “repent” means to turn from the ways of the world; to stop living in rebellion from God; to stop seeking satisfaction in things other than God.
This is a message that some people heard and obeyed, and others heard and hated. Those who hated this call to repent loved their sin. They didn’t want Emmanuel telling them how to live. They wanted to be their own King and make up their own rules. So what did they do, they tried to destroy Him. The rulers of that day were looking for opportunities to throw Jesus under the bus, to trick him, to get him to stumble, but once they realized that they couldn’t, the only other option was to eliminate Him. They had to put out the light that exposed their depravity.
Jesus tells his disciples to expect the same hate in their life. This is because, as His disciples, they were called to make more disciples (Matthew 28:19) and to do this, they would proclaim the same message that Jesus proclaimed, “repent and believe in the Gospel” (the Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, died in our place, and absorbed the wrath of God that we deserve. If we place our trust in his death on the cross we will be forgiven and be given reconciliation with God forever).
Of the 11 disciples (Judas not included) that heard the message at the Last Supper, ten of them were eventually murdered by the World. John, the only one that lived a ripe old age, was exiled to an island so the world wouldn’t have to hear the message of “repent and believe in the Gospel.” The apostle Paul, who took the Great Commission seriously (as we all should), received forty lashes on five different occasions, was beaten with rods three times, and stoned and left for dead. Eventually Paul was put in prison where he died. Why? Because He was a disciple of Christ who proclaimed “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Just last month, the leader of North Korea publicly executed 80 people. One of the reasons for some of their slaughter was because they owned a Bible. The list could go on and on.
The point is this; Jesus told us that hatred would come. “because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19). Therefore, we should not be surprised when the world hates Christians and the message that we proclaim, “repent and believe the Gospel.” In fact, what the World doesn’t realize is that their persecution proves the truth that we proclaim.
However, if instead of hate from the World, you tend to fit right in, then you have something to worry about. It says in James 4:4, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Therefore, if the world is embracing you, then you better check your message, or more importantly, check to see if you are a Christian.