They Hated Me Without a Cause
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The tone of Jesus’s farewell address changes from comfort to warning as Jesus informs His disciples that the hatred the world has for Him will be transferred to the disciples. The basis for the world’s hatred of Jesus is without cause, meaning it is not due to anything He has wrongly said or done. Instead, the world’s hatred of Jesus stems from His exposure of their sinful hearts and is reflective of their ultimate hatred of God, even though many who hate Jesus and the disciples will think they are offering service to God. The disciples are being warned in advance to keep them from falling away, and once again, they are promised the presence of the Holy Spirit as they bear witness to Jesus amidst persecution. Jesus’s preparation for the disciples to face persecution by the world is good for us to hear today as we face similar opposition for being servants and disciples of Christ.
01. Jesus was hated by the world. We should, therefore, side with Him in all things, even when hatred comes our way.
02. Jesus was hated by the world without cause. We should, therefore, bear witness to Jesus without being hateful.
03. Jesus’s disciples were hated by the world yet were sustained by the Spirit of God. We should, therefore, draw strength from the Spirit and one another as we experience hatred from the world.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What does Jesus mean by “the world” in this section? Does it refer to all people on planet Earth, all who are irreligious, or all who oppose Jesus in general? How does Jesus’s use of this term point us to the fact that Jesus is different than all other religious leaders, and Christianity is different than all other religions? See John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 for further insight.
2. In what ways is your life different than that of the world’s way of life? Has your Christian witness ever caused others to persecute you? How does persecution from the world serve as assurance of our standing with Christ? See Hebrews 11 for encouragement to continue living faithfully for Christ.
3. Note the connection Jesus makes between Himself, the Father, and His Church with regard to hatred and persecution from the world. Jesus states that whoever hates Him also hates the Father (verse 23), and whoever follows Him will be hated by the world (verses 19-20). What does this verdict suggest about the world’s values? What does this verdict suggest about the importance of remaining faithful to Jesus in the midst of persecution?
4. How do the values of the world stand out in society today in areas such as social media, advertising, concepts of justice, etc.? How should the church engage society with regard to its values? Note how Jesus expects the disciples to expose the world’s values just as He did (verses 24, 27). How can followers of Jesus expose the world’s values and endure the world’s hatred without being hateful? See Matthew 5-7 for further insight.
5. What is the significance of Jesus’s reiteration of the sending of the Spirit in this passage (verses 26-27)? How does the Holy Spirit grant courage and faith to the followers of Christ? How important is it for brothers and sisters in the Lord to encourage one another in the faith? See Hebrews 13 for further insight.
For Further Reading: Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of a Christian (IVP, 1970; 2nd edition, 2013)