18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.
Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says "you are
not of this world"? The world in Scripture refers to that
society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to his
will. The world rejected the Lord Jesus and treated him
with contempt, and his disciples can expect the same treatment.
The Lord Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are
either for him or against him, for his kingdom of light and truth
or for the kingdom of darkness and deception. The prophet Isaiah
warned that people who separate themselves from God because of
their rebellious pride and spiritual blindness would end up calling
evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
"Those who kept my word" (John 15:20)
If we want to live in the light of God's truth, how can we rightly distinguish good from evil and truth from deception? True love of God and his ways draw us to all that is lovely, truthful and good. If we truly love God then we will submit to his truth and obey his word. A friend of God cannot expect to be a friend of the world because the world is opposed to God's truth and way of righteousness.
"I chose you out of the world" (John 15:18)
Jesus' demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your intentions, actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and mind with the love and truth of God (Romans 5:5).
1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!
5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Those who suffer with Christ reign with Christ, by Cyril of Alexandria, 375-444 A.D.
"It is just as if Jesus said, 'I, the creator of the universe,
who have everything under my hand, both in heaven and on earth,
did not bridle their rage or restrain ... their inclinations.
Rather, I let each one choose their own course and permitted all
to do what they wanted. Therefore, when I was persecuted, I
endured it even though I had the power of preventing it. When you
too follow in my wake and pursue the same course I did, you also
will be persecuted. You're going to have to momentarily endure the
aversion of those who hate you without being overly troubled by
the ingratitude of those whom you benefit. This is how you attain
my glory, for those who suffer with me shall also reign with me.'"
(excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN