Monday, October 28, 2013

"... the world hates you"

Jesus bearing His cross - relief
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 15:11-27

TO CHEW ON: "'If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.'" John 15:18-19.

On a Sunday a few weeks ago, militants blew themselves up outside a Christian church in Pakistan, killing 81 and injuring 140 (CTV news story). This summer Christian churches and Bible bookstores were targeted and destroyed in Egypt (CNN news story). More and more we are hearing of Christians around the world becoming victims of hatred and violence.

Hatred of Christians can also be expressed in less violent ways. Christian politicians in the west are sometimes singled out and their views characterized as dangerous. The entertainment industry has a heyday mocking people of faith. And if you are a scientist with religious conviction, watch the scientific community freeze you out!

What's going on here? Why are Christians universally hated?

[Hate - miseo is to hate, pursue with hatred, detest.
Dictionary: regard with extreme aversion, great dislike, detest, loathe, abhor.]

A short study of a few passages where Jesus talks about hate will help us understand some of the dynamics.

  • Jesus quoted scripture which showed He was aware that hatred of Him was a fulfillment of prophecy (in John 3:20, quoted passages like Psalm 35:19; 69:4; 109:3-5).
  • He said those who do evil hate the light. And who is the light (John 8:12)?
  • Another time He pointed out the reason He was hated to His unbelieving brothers:
"'The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil'" - John 7:7.
  • Taking this idea even further, Jesus said that those who hated Him also hated the Father - John 15:23.
  • In  Luke 21:17 Jesus told His followers that they would be hated because of their association with Him.
  •  In our reading, Jesus tells His followers to expect to be hated because they are not of this world  (John 15:19).

Uncomfortable words for sure for someone who wants to be liked. Yet I believe the sooner we make peace with the inevitability of the world's hatred the less the growing hostility of the world will surprise us and throw us off balance.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to be realistic about the world's aversion to You and Your claims. May its hatred draw me closer to You. Amen.

MORE: Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude

Today the church celebrates the apostles Simon and Jude.  The liturgy for the day begins with this collect:

O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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