The first question that pops into my head looking at the title of today’s post is, “Why?” Why did the people of Jesus’ day hate Him without a cause? Why also do people hate him still today?
There is certainly a common understanding among all people that Jesus did good things. He healed the sick, helped the poor, gave comfort to those suffering, cast out demons and more. So why did people hate Him both then and now?
Let’s look at some of the things this scripture has to say and what we can learn from this for this affects us too. As we saw in my last post, Jesus said that if they hated and persecuted Him they would hate and persecute us too.
They Do Not Know the Father
In these scriptures Jesus says,
” But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.”
It is because they do not know the Father, who is God over all things, that they hated Jesus and they hate those who follow Him. In 1 John 4:7-8 we see these words written,
7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
God is love and the reason that these people who hate Jesus and hate us too is that they do not know or understand the love of God.
One of the principle attitudes of the people of the world today is to “look after number one.” That is, they take care of themselves, which is based in selfishness and arrogance and neither of these is of God for they are not the attributes of love. Instead those people of the world follow the doctrine of “What’s in it for me” and are always seeking to gain an advantage over others.
But the love of God is not selfish or arrogant. Rather it is selfless and humble, seeking to serve rather than take. Just as Jesus came to serve, we are to learn to serve also so that we can be like Him.
So when Jesus says they do not know the Father who sent Him, He is saying they do not know how to love as God loves. For that matter no man does because love is not part of the nature of man. It is something we have to learn through Jesus, from God and by the working of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit who pours the love of God into our hearts as we are shown in Romans 5:5,
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
Note that this love is not part of man and is not natural in man but is received through the Holy Spirit. The love of God is outside of a man and a man cannot find it by himself because God’s love is spiritual and man is of the flesh. We must follow the way that the Lord has shown us and thus have God’s love “poured into our hearts.”
They Love the Darkness
But many people will never accept the Lord and will not find the love of God. Instead they will persecute and hate those who do because they see in the children of God a goodness that shines and exposes them for the sinners they are. Jesus exposes the sin of the world, which is the point He was making in verse 22.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.
They have no excuse because Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. That was the purpose of His death and resurrection, to bring the light of life to the world. But not to everyone. This offer is made to all who accept Jesus as their saviour, but any who choose to reject Him, and thereby reject the Father too are still in their sins. Why?
We are shown the answer to this question in John 3:18-20.
18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
They love the darkness. They love to do evil and they love to do all their deeds in the dark where they believe no-one can see them. But God sees. And God exposes their deeds as being evil for it is in Jesus that they are shown up for the sinners that they are.
In spite of His offer of life and the light of the truth, yet they continue to seek the ways of evil. They go on from bad to worse, wallowing in the muck and mire of their sins and gloating in arrogance and pride about them. Not knowing that in due course every sin will have to be paid for one way or another. Either paid for in the death of Jesus Christ if they repent and come to Him, or paid for with their own death and eternal damnation. I know what I would (and did) choose.
They Do Not Know the Truth
And how can they ever learn the ways of God when they have no knowledge of the truth? How can they ever pretend to understand love when they cannot come to the truth and find love in and through Jesus Christ? They cannot because they will not. They choose not to.
Jesus made these statements with regard to the truth and they bear remembering.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6), and,
” If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
If we want to find the way to God, both the Son and the Father, we can only come to the truth by Jesus. He is the way and in Him is both the truth and the life. There is no other way. Eastern religions, philosophy, astrology, new age teachings, humanism and anything else will not show you the way to the truth. Only Jesus Christ is the truth.
Also we see that the truth that Jesus will show you will make you free. Man is not free in this world. Man talks about freedom in terms of democracy, freedom of speech, the rights of individuals and so on, but man is not free. Man is a slave to sin. He cannot escape it through any means other then through the truth of Jesus that WILL make you free.
The people of this world speak words of freedom, but they are speaking foolishly. Look at what the apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 2:18-19,
18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.
Men are enslaved by the things that overcome them. If you are overcome by anger, wrath, malice, lust, adultery, then you are not free. If you are overcome by addictions to booze, cigarettes, drugs, television, pornography, then you are not free. If you overcome by your desire to please a partner at any cost, thenyou are not free. Anything or anyone that has you in its or their power is your master and you are its/their slave.
This is especially true of sin. All of mankind is in slavery to sin UNTIL they come to Jesus to gain freedom from it that He promised. John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world.” He will set you free when you come to Him because that is His purpose and plan so that we could be reconciled to God. The law could not do it because the law showed sin for what it was and the law binds a person up. But we see that in Jesus that bondage too is removed. Look at the words of Acts 13:38-39.
38 Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him every one that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
The law of Moses gave the people an excellent standard of life if they followed the law, but it could not take away sin. Neither could it take away the passions and desires that lead to sin: anger, envy, jealousy and the like. But in Jesus we receive the power not only to be freed from our sins, but to also have victory over the passions and desires of our human nature so that WE are in control of them rather than them controlling us. One of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is indeed, self-control.
So in all of these things, although we will be hated because Jesus is hated, and although we will be persecuted as He was persecuted, there is a better hope and purpose to our faith. The truth will lead us to eternal life while those who oppose Him will suffer eternal damnation and death. There is no escape.
In the end we can only consider and follow the words of John at the end of Revelation 22:11, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” It is every persons choice and they will be held accountable for whatever path they choose, whether to follow Christ and go into life, or to reject Him and die.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Cristi Sava)
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