About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The World Hates The Disciples (ch. 15:18-16:4)
tells these eleven men that "if the world hates you, remember that it
hated me first." Jesus
uses the word "if" as if there might be a possibility that the
world might hate these men. Well,
the world did hate these men to the extent that most of them, if not all,
were killed as martyrs for their association with Jesus.
These men were now being told of the distinct possibility that they
would experience hatred directed to them by those in the world, which in
their case would be both the Roman world and the Jewish world.
you see the word "world" used in the New Testament it refers to
the world systems. By world
system I mean governments, business, education, religion, and anything
that does not pertain to Christian thinking.
tells us the reason why the worldís system might hate the disciples.
He says that His disciples are not part of the worldís system.
There is the
of Jesus should live differently than people of the world.
I donít believe this noticeable difference is in the way we look,
but rather in the way we act. Too
often in years past the church has told us that the difference is in how
we dress or what we look like, but this is not genuine godliness.
The character of Jesus that should be evident in our lives should
make us different than the people of the world, but it is sad to say that
is not the case in much of today's church.
verse 19 Jesus tells these men that He has "chosen them out of the
world." That is to say,
they were in the world and Jesus found them in the world and has taken
them out of the world to live with Him in His world.
We should view ourselves as people who live in a different world
than those around us.
Biblical idea that we do not belong to the world has long been forgotten
in western world Christianity. For
this reason, at least in the past, the world has not hated us.
That is in the process of change.
If you start living as Jesus wants you to live, and then be
prepared. The anti-Christ
culture in which we live will hate you and you will experience the
consequences of its hatred.
verse 20 Jesus gets specific. He
doesnít use the word "if" as He did earlier.
He reminds these men that the servant is not greater than the
master. If people hate the
master, they "will" hate the servant.
Jesus is plainly warning these men that they will be hated.
The world hated Jesus and the world will definitely hate these
Jesus goes on to say that if "they (those in the world) obeyed my
teaching, they will obey yours too."
This tells us that the disciples will teach what they have learned
from Jesus. Some people will
hear the teaching and obey because they heard it from Jesus and obeyed,
while others will not obey their teaching.
These people will hate the teachers of the gospel.
think the work of the Holy Spirit is implied in this verse.
After Jesus' return to His Father, these, and other men and women,
preached the gospel throughout the known world, in places where Jesus
never taught. So, in
this sense, "if they have received my teaching they will receive your
teaching" doesn't fit. However,
if the people who hear the gospel hear and respond to the voice of the
Holy Spirit, they will receive the teaching of these men, and our teaching
believe one reason why the world does not hate us as it hated the first
generation Christians is because we act and behave too much like the
world. If this is the case,
there would be no reason for the world to hate us because they would
perceive us to be like them.
reason why we are not so hated by the world is because in much of the
western world the gospel has had a great effect on our society and its
truths have become part of our culture.
Therefore, we are accepted by our worldly culture, but, this is
beginning to change. As
western culture moves away from Christian influence, it will turn on us and
we will begin to suffer persecution.
verse 21 Jesus tells these eleven men that the world will treat them in
this fashion because they donít know the one who sent Him.
They donít know the true God of this universe who is the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In
much of today's western world culture, those who believe in the existence
of God believe in a generic god. That
is to say, "one god fits all people."
That's not the God of the Bible.
Again, the God Christians serve is the God and Father of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Introduce this
God into the cultural conversation and sparks will certainly fly.
verse 22 Jesus says that if He "had not come and spoken to them, (the
Jews) they would not be guilty of sin, " but Jesus did speak truth to
the Jews and they consistently rejected Him.
What does this mean? The
clear message that Jesus spoke to the Jewish nation gives them no excuse.
The main sin that I believe Jesus is speaking about here is the sin of
unbelief Ė the sin of not accepting Him.
Does Jesusí word imply that if He had not come these people would
not have their sin counted against them?
I donít think so because for generations they had been rejecting
Godís prophets. Their sin
would have still been held against them.
The point to be made is that the clear word of Jesus is the last
straw. These people have
absolutely no excuse from this point on.
The Jewish nation will give account of its sin until such time when
Biblical prophecy is fulfilled the remnant of
one real sense of the word, Jesus was the ultimate prophet to Israel.
His words stood in judgment
verse 23 Jesus says that those who hate Him hates the Father as well.
The same applies today. If
those in the world around us hate Jesus, they hate the real God of this
24 is similar to the above. Jesus
says that because He has performed miracles that no one else had ever
done, these people had no excuse. If
the message Jesus spoke wasnít proof enough, then the miracles He
performed should have been proof. They
did not accept either His words or His miracles.
As a result, they have no excuse for their sins.
They will give account of their sins, both on an individual level
and a national level.
might suggest that Jesus is saying that if He had not spoken His message
or performed the miracles, then these people would have an excuse for
their sin and theyíd not be accountable for their sin.
I can understand how one could interpret this idea from Jesusí
words, but as I have said above, we need to understand these words in
context of what Jesus has said in the past.
He spoke of the Jewish leadership as being children of the devil.
He spoke about the Jews as always persecuting the prophets of old.
These people were always rejecting God in one way or another.
In light of this, they would be accountable for their sin.
The fact remains that once Jesus spoke the word and performed the
miracles, even if they thought they had an excuse, they didnít.
The rejection of Jesus was the final straw that broke their backs.
verse 25 Jesus reminds the apostles that all this is only meant to fulfill
the prophecy as written in their Law.
Hatred towards Jesus was predicted in Psalm 35:19 and 69:4.
One point to understand here is that we often see Jesus and others
referring to the Psalms as part of the Law.
The Law was in fact the first 5 books of the Old Testament, but in
a wider sense of the word the Law incorporated the whole of the Old
the words "their Law." The
word "their" emphasizes the fact that even though it was God's
Law, the Jews embraced it as "their Law".
Thus, they should embrace all of what their Law says, but they
verse 26 we see some clarification on who sends the Holy Spirit to the
believer. We noted earlier
that Jesus said that the Father would send the Spirit and that in Acts 2
Peter says the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus.
Here Jesus says that He will send the Spirit from the Father.
This must be understood in terms of the Trinity.
Jesus and the Father are one. The
Spirit comes to the believer from both.
As a matter of fact, the New Testament states that the Holy Spirit
is in fact the Spirit of Jesus.
calls the Spirit the Counselor here in verse 26.
This tells us part of the function and roll of the Holy Spirit.
He is with us to give us counsel, much like Jesus did while He was
on earth. In a practical sense
this means that when we hear things said, it is the Holy Spirit within us
that should give us the nod whether what we hear is of the Lord or not.
Beyond this, it is the Holy Spirit that leads us into truth and
gives us the understanding that we need.
the last part of verse 26 Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth.
He is truth Himself and that is why He can lead us into all truth. Remember
back in John 14:6 Jesus also says that He was the truth.
Again, we see the nature of the Trinity at work here.
Both Jesus and the Spirit are ultimate truth.
also note another roll of the Spirit from this verse and that is He tells
us all about Jesus. As Jesus spoke about His Father, so the Spirit speaks
about Jesus and not Himself. The
same should be said about us. We
speak about Jesus and not about us. If
someone consistently speaks about himself, you can be sure that he is not
speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
verse 27 Jesus gives these eleven men another command.
He says that they must testify about Him since they were with Him
from the beginning. So, both
the Holy Spirit and the apostles (us too) must speak and testify about
Jesus. It's a cooperative
venture between us and the Holy Spirit.
thing that distinguishes us from these eleven men is that they were with
Jesus from the very beginning. Their
witness about Him is special and is different than ours.
This does not make our testimony invalid.
We simply give our witness from a different perspective.
chapter 16, verse 1, Jesus gives at least one reason why He is saying
these things to these eleven men. He
says that He is telling them these things so they wonít go astray.
This tells you that it was possible for these men that Jesus had
chosen to go astray. It is
clear that each and every one of them, and us too, had their chance to do
just that. The things that
would soon happen would give these men ample opportunity to fall away.
We know that Peter forsook Jesus, but, he did not go astray, even
though he had the chance.
Jesus says in verse 2 must have been heart wrenching for these eleven men.
He has just told them that what He is saying He is saying so they
wonít go astray, or, so they wonít leave Him and their faith.
Jesus now tells them that the time is coming that they will be put
out of the synagogue. This is
a very dramatic thing for a Jew in those days.
Being put out of the synagogue meant that they were being disowned
by the Jewish community. They
would be treated as Gentile dogs. There
were many social benefits that Jews derived from being a Jew and a member
of the local synagogue, similar to our government welfare system.
This would mean that the eleven men would suffer financial and
social hardship simply because of their association with Jesus.
Jesus was warning them ahead of time so they wouldnít walk away
when this happened. This
demanded a sincere trust in Jesus.
didnít stop there. In the
second part of verse 2 Jesus says that "a time is coming when anyone
who kills you will think that he is offering a service to God."
Jesus does not say, "if anyone kills you."
He says "when anyone kills you."
Jesus is telling these men that they will be killed for their
association with Him and those who kill them will think that they are
doing Godís will. Once
again, in verse 3, Jesus says that they will do these things because they
donít know His Father or Him.
verse 4 Jesus says that He is telling these men these things now so that
when the time comes for these things to happen they will remember.
A lot of what Jesus has said in these chapters were told to the
disciples for this reason. They
were not able to understand all of what Jesus was saying, but, when the
things that Jesus said came true at some future date, and then they would
remember and understand. The
remembering process would strengthen their trust in Him.
I am sure that the Holy Spirit was a part of this remembering
then says that He didnít tell them these things earlier since He was
with them. There are various
understandings to these words. Jesus
did not feel the need to fill these men on all the negative details of
their future. In the previous
years Jesus had other things in mind that He wanted to tell His followers.
He left these hard words to the end.
Jesus was visibly with these men for a few years.
Jesus Himself deflected any animosity that was directed their way.
For the most part, the criticism was directed towards Jesus, not
His followers, but after Jesus leaves, things would change.
These men would then start being persecuted, and the way they
treated Jesus would be the way they get treated.