LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
"'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
"Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.'" John 15:18-25 NIV.
It was time. Jesus knew that the frenzied mob were almost on Him. A few more hurried instructions to His frightened disciples before they came, and He would be ripped from their side and they would be on their own.
He needed to warn them of the chasm that existed between them and a hostile world system because of Him. They had to be very clear about whose side they were on. Their association with Him meant that they had taken a public stand for the kingdom of God and had automatically become friends of God and enemies of the state.
Jesus warned them not to be surprised by the treatment they would receive from the "world", the human system represented by its authorities that had no mind to obey God and uphold His laws and His disposition. Humankind had declared war on Him in the Garden of Eden; the battle lines were drawn and the final showdown was about to begin. There was no time now to be undecided. They were to know on whose side they stood and were to recognise the source of the hatred and enmity that was arraigned against them.
This was not about them. It was about Him. The devil had declared war on God from the beginning. Human beings were the players in this battle. God had already evicted Satan and his minions from His immediate presence because of his arrogance and rebellion. Satan had no power over the Almighty, but he was determined to do as much damage as he could to the race of humans whom God passionately loved, and to go down fighting.
The war into which all mankind had been drawn, was reaching its crescendo in Jesus, the God-man who came to earth as the last Adam. Although the world did not know or acknowledge Him, the hope of rescue lay in Him alone. If He failed, He and all mankind were doomed to eternal separation from God.
How important it was for these few men to realise that they must resolutely stand on His side no matter how the world treated them! Jesus had invested everything He had and was in them. "Because of my name" was the reason for the world's antagonism and they must know it. This was not a personal struggle, but a cosmic war and they were to stand for their King and their heavenly country, no matter what the cost.
As long as they understood the issues and the stakes, it would strengthen them resolutely to take their stand because they were not alone. Jesus was confident of the outcome because His victory was assured from before the foundation of the world. What was now being played out in history was already accomplished in eternity, hence they could have confidence in Him and in the final outcome.
Although His words seemed incomprehensible then, just like everything else He had taught them, the Holy Spirit would remind them at the appropriate moment and they would draw strength and direction from them to stand in the battle because their Master had already overcome the world.
For these men, and all who come after them, the operative word is "stand". The war has already been won; the enemy has been vanquished; the struggle is over. Just as they were to know on whose side they were then, so we too must know that we are "in" the one who won the war. Ours is not to fight but to stand, secure in Him because His fight was ours, His victory ours and the enemy is only a loser who tries to unseat us with his lies.
Whatever the enemy tries to do to us reflects right back to the Father because, what they do to us, they do to Jesus; what they do to Jesus, they do to the Father because the Father and the Son are one, and we are "in Him".
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