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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter. The reading is from the Gospel of John 15:18-16:4a.

“My Lord” by Mark Jennings

The World’s Hatred – John 15:18-16:4a

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’

If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.

Whoever hates me also hates my Father.

If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.

They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.

They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.

I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.

In the above passage Jesus speaks about the hostile reaction of the world. There are parallels in the synoptic gospels predicting persecution, especially in Matthew.

  • Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. (Matthew 24:9–10)

Coming Persecutions – Matthew 10:16-25

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.

For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.

When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.

It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!

The verse

  • “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

is reflected in the following:

  • “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil.” (John 7:7)
  • “the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:17)
  • “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
  • “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13)
  • “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.” (Luke 6:22)
  • “Do not be amazed, [then,] brothers, if the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13)

The following verse

  • “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” (John 15:19)

is reflected in the following:

  • “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. (John 17:14–16)
  • “They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them.” (1 John 4:5)

The following verse

  • “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (John 15:20)

references

  • “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger* greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16)
  • “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.” (Matthew 10:24)

In the following verse

  • “And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15:21)

the phrase “on account of my name” is the idea of persecution for Jesus’ name. This is frequent in the New Testament. For John, association with Jesus’ name implies union with Jesus.

  • “They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. “(John 16:3)
  • “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end* will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
  • “Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name.” (Matthew 24:9)
  • “And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” (Acts 9:14)

Jesus’ words (spoken) and deeds (works) are the great motives of credibility.

  • “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22)
  • He said to them again, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” (John 8:21)
  • “That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” (John 9:41)

The following verse

  • “Whoever hates me also hates my Father.” (John 15:23)

is echoed in:

  • “so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:23)
  • “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)
  • “No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.” (1 John 2:23)

The phrase “they have seen and hated” in the following verse

  • “If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father” (John 15:24)

probably means that they have seen his works and still have hated. The phrase “works among them that no one else ever did” must be from

  • “Ask now of the days of old, before your time, ever since God created humankind upon the earth; ask from one end of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” (Deuteronomy 4:32–33)

The word ‘law’ in the phrase “In their law” in

  • “But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’” (John 15:25)

is as a larger concept than the Pentateuch of the Old Testament, for the reference is to

  • Do not let lying foes rejoice over me, my undeserved enemies wink knowingly. (Psalms 35:19)

or

  • More numerous than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause. Those who would destroy me are mighty, my enemies without reason. Must I now restore what I did not steal? (Psalms 69:5)

‘Their law’ reflects the argument of the church with the synagogue. See

  • Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? (John 10:34)

Here the phrase “You are gods” is a reference to the judges of Israel who, since they exercised the divine prerogative to judge were called “gods”

  • “In rendering judgment, do not consider who a person is; give ear to the lowly and to the great alike, fearing no one, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too difficult for you bring to me and I will hear it.” (Dteuteronomy 1:17)

see also

  • “his master shall bring him to God and there, at the door or doorpost, he shall pierce his ear with an awl, thus keeping him as his slave forever.” (Exodus 21:6)

besides

  • I declare: “Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you,” (Psalms 82:6)

from which the quotation is derived.

Jesus says,

  • “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” (John 15:26)

The term “Advocate” appears also in

  • And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate* to be with you always, (John 14:16)
  • The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. (John 14:26)

The ‘Advocate’ (the Paraclete) is to be sent by the Father, at the request of Jesus. Here the Spirit comes from both Jesus and the Father. In Matthew we read about the gift of the Spirit:

  • When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ( Matthew 10:19–20)

These words of Jesus about testifying

  • “And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.” (John 15:27)

are echoed in

  • just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, (Luke 1:2)

and

  • “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In the following verse

  • “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.” (John 16:2)

the word “hour” means the hour of persecution of the followers of Jesus and not Jesus’ “hour”

  • [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

Why did Jesus say, “will expel you from the synagogues”?

  • His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. (John 9:22)
  • Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue. (John 12:42)
  • “But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, “ ( Matthew 10:17)
  • “Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name” (Luke 21:12)
  • “Many times, in synagogue after synagogue, I punished them in an attempt to force them to blaspheme; I was so enraged against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities.” ( Acts 26:11)

This verse

  • “I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.” (John 16:4)

is echoed in

  • “From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.” (John 13:19
  • “And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.” (John 14:29)
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