Copyright ©2018 Keith Holder, Rays of Light Bible Lessons. All Rights Reserved.

Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.

Jesus had just explained, as He had on many previous occasions, the commandment of brotherly love, and the true friendship that it establishes with God, and among other brethren. Just as friendships are developed from love, so enmity exists because of hatred. With this in mind we can understand this warning Jesus gave His apostles. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. They had been ordained, or chosen by Christ Jesus, to go and bring forth fruit (Vs. 16), that is to go into the world and teach His New Testament commandments to others. They were to carry out this task even though they would be teaching to crowds of Jews that were hostile to Jesus and His gospel of salvation. Most of the Jewish nation despised Jesus, refusing to accept Him as the promised Messiah. Most turned a deaf ear to His teaching in spite the compassionate miracles He performed to prove Himself to be the Savior. Although violently opposed by the "spiritual leaders" of all sects of the Jewish nation, and all the common Jews that followed them, Jesus was not deterred from His mission of teaching and establishing His plan of eternal salvation. His unrelenting determination to do so was to serve as the best possible example for His apostles to carry on and complete this God-assigned mission.

If Jesus had taught the Jewish nation what they wanted to hear, they would have loved Him. The world will accept spiritual teachers that fill "itching ears" with fables and human-designed religious creeds, but they will deny sound doctrine and turn away from the God's truths (See 2 Tim. 4:3-4). Because these apostles were chosen by Jesus, they followed and obeyed Him, and in doing so, they were separated from the world. As devoted followers, they began then, and would continue, to teach His gospel message. Because of their dedication to His cause, Jesus warned them that they, like Him, would be hated by the world. In their service to Christ and His New Testament doctrine of salvation, the apostles were to expect to be received or rejected just as He was by the Jewish leaders, as well as Jews of all social classes. In the early years of Christianity, biblical historians tell us of the martyrdom most of the apostles experienced, as well as many other teachers who devotedly served Jesus, which serves as sufficient testimony of receiving condemnation, punishment, and death similar to that of the crucified Savior.

Continuing His cautious warning to them, Jesus reminded them of the time over three years prior when they were chosen as His apostles. On that occasion He told them that the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord (Matt. 10:24). He continued to warn them of what they were to expect, and how they would be treated, because of their dedicated service to Him. In verses 27-28, Jesus told them, What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. It was a proverbial truth when Jesus told them, in the lesson text, that The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. However, all is not lost. Contrary to this rejection and persecution, Jesus told them that all men and women that have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.

But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake. Because they were His followers, believed Him to be the promised Messiah, accepted His doctrine, and taught others the same, the apostles of Jesus must expect to be treated by the Jewish nation the same as He. And here is the reason this is true: because they know not Him that sent Me. Because God's plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ was altered and compromised by the "human wisdom" of the Jewish leadership, they did not recognize it as coming from God. They knew not God because they knew not Jesus Christ as His Son. Jesus was rejected and hated for the gospel He proclaimed. Therefore, His apostles would likewise be hated because of Him.