Saturday 26 August 2017

Bible Book:

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.” (v. 18)

John 15:18-26 Saturday 26 August 2017

Psalm: Psalm 68:24-35


Surely, the last thing we need is more talk about hatred,especially hatred in the name of religion. We have a difficultpassage to reflect upon today. It seems important to remember twothings - first that the Bible generally uses "the world" in twodifferent senses. There is both the world that God created - whichGod described as good in Genesis 1 and the world, representinghuman life which has turned against God's kingdom of love andjustice. Jesus experienced 'the world' in both of these senses; theworld of creation and of the crowds where he reached out again andagain to demonstrate God's love to the weakest, the poorest andthose alienated by religion, and 'the world' in the sense ofreligious authorities and an invading empire which turned againsthim and hated him. Perhaps we need to see here not more hatred inthe name of religion, but a salutary warning that when the world isalready divided we have to be realistic about the cost of standingwith Jesus for God's love and justice. Sadly, we have to be verycareful about claiming we are being persecuted 'for Jesus' sake'.We cannot ignore the fact that Christians have been guilty ofstirring up hatred in the name of religion.

In verse 20 Jesus asked us to remember that he had said thisbefore (John 13:16), when he washed his disciple's feet andcommanded them to love each other in the same way. So perhaps weneed to ponder both images together, standing with Jesus in thecall to humble loving service and also standing with him inaccepting that serving and speaking up for love and truth may causeothers to turn against us.

To Ponder

  • In what ways might Christians seek or expect to be 'greaterthan Jesus'?
  • In what ways have you paid the price of standing with Jesusagainst 'the world'? Or in what ways might you?

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