“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.”
This is such a powerful statement from Jesus and is worthy of much meditation. Jesus was talking to His brothers, who at that time were unbelievers. To them He says the world cannot hate, because they are of the world, but the world hated Christ because what He taught pricked peoples consciences, pulled the covers on their hidden sins and demanded that each person make a choice; to pursue death or life, sin or holiness, heaven or hell. To a world that loves sin and hates the light, Jesus is the last Person they wanted to see.
Many today have a skewed view of who Jesus is and what He really taught. People believe that He is just some fluffy, lovey- dovey guy who will allow them to live in sin with no consequences. This may be caused partially by the false teachings of some who don’t proclaim the whole counsel of God, and I believe is also due to the fact that people love their sin so much that they chose to believe in an idolatrous view of Jesus because it suits their lust, even though in their spirit they know the truth; for “the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed…” (John 3:19, 20)
Jesus told us that He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17). Saved from what I ask you? Saved from the wrath of God (John 3:36, Romans 5:9)! Saved from sin! Saved from perishing because of sin! You see, Jesus did not come and condemn us, He came and told us that we are already condemned! Unless we know we are sick we will not see a need for a doctor, and unless you and I know we are in eternal danger, we won’t care much about the fact that Jesus died to save us.
If that fact does not carry weight in your soul, if the thought of the cross does not flood gratitude into your heart and produce a life of obedience to God, then I would examine yourself to see if you really have been saved! For once you have been convicted of the evil in your own life, then the grace and forgiveness offered by God becomes sweet to your soul! “Moreover the Law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Romans 5:20)
That is why Jesus was hated, because in His great love for us He first had to show us the deep darkness of our own hearts, the lust, the pride, the arrogance, the love for money, the covetousness for others possessions, the unfaithfulness of our carnal man, the hate, the self -centeredness, and the failure in every way to keep the Fathers moral standards, so that, once we are broken of the confidence we once had in our flesh, and know that we are utterly hopeless of saving ourselves, we may look to Him, the Prince of Peace, the Author of Life, who is rich in mercy, and receive from Him that which we don’t deserve; grace upon grace. For He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we, through Him might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
So what did Jesus teach? He taught the whole truth, in love, without compromise. You see that it is the truth in its rawest form that sets us free (John 8:21, 22). That is why Jesus told us the truth about ourselves, our fallen state, and what He was going to do to redeem us. He said He only spoke what the Father told Him to, because He always sought to please the Father, not man (John 7:16; John 12:49, 50). Paul said, “For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:10). You see, when we are seeking honor from other humans we tend to water down the truth because it is offensive; we seek to sugar coat it and leave harsh things out, yet sometimes it is the harsh things that turn us to God. When you water down medicine because it is bitter, it loses some of its curing properties, and therefore you are cheating your patient of the very thing that would save their life.
Jesus spoke hard truths in John 5 and 6, and many of his disciples turned and walked with Him no more. In His own home town, His words so offended the people that they tried to throw Him off of a cliff. Along with teaching us to love one another and love God with all that we are, He also showed it by flipping tables of the crooks that were abusing His Father’s house; He rebuked Pharisees and religious leaders because they were hypocrites, mere pretenders. Jesus declared that He came to bring a sword that would divide households and loved ones. Is there a contradiction? By no means! The sword Jesus brought was the “truth” that He spoke, for the truth will either turn us to God or cut us off from Him, it forces us to take a side, it does not allow us to stay in the middle. One man might chose truth, and his wife might reject it; thus they are divided.
Therefore, let us be like Jesus, and speak only what we hear the Father say. We are not wiser than God and should never think that we must help Him by doing it our own way. Let us seek honor from God alone, which I know is very difficult, but eternally rewarding. When you stand before the throne of God on that great and terrifying Day, you will see the wonderful blessing of speaking as Jesus spoke, and doing what Jesus did.
May each of you be presented spotless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
With love, Jonathan Ball