HE HATE ME
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: They hated me without a cause.’
— John 15:18-25
1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”
— John 16:1-4, ESV
Rod Smart will not be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but his smart nickname ought to be. Smart played in three professional leagues, but it was his stint in the XFL that garnered him the most attention. That league allowed players to put nicknames instead of last names on the backs of their jerseys, so he put his, “He Hate Me.”
“He Hate Me” was a true badge of honor. The nickname made Rod think quicker, run faster, and try harder to win. It was an excellent idea, as Smart excelled in the XFL and made it to the NFL. He even played in the 2004 Super Bowl, when his Carolina Panthers lost to the New England Patriots, just like everyone else.
“He Hate Me” is the name Jesus took during the talk He had with His disciples on the way from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was the victim of a terrible hate campaign that was about to come to a cruel end. So after warmly speaking about love in the first part of His discourse, Christ discusses the cold reality of hate.
He Hate Me
The he who hates is the world, and the me the world hates is Jesus. This is ironic because Jesus is God, and God is the most loving person in all His own creation. God made the world (ref. Genesis 1:1), God loves the world (ref. John 3:16), but the world hates the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Hate is a colorful and complex word in the New Testament. It can speak of the fierce hatred of the pharisaical Jews against Jesus. It can speak of the fearful hatred of the power hungry Romans against the promised Messiah. In the face of this hate, Jesus turned the other cheek, loved and forgave. Yet they nailed Him to the tree anyway. This is what Jesus had in mind when He said He hate me.
But Jesus spoke of other hues of hatred, too. He said life is a choice of either serving God or serving yourself in this world, and one must love one and hate the other (ref. Matthew 6:24). To choose any other life other than one completely repentant, faithful, and obedient to the lordship of Christ is hatred towards Christ.
Jesus spoke plainly of sin, and said when a person loves their sin more than the light, then they hate the light (ref. John 3:20). Jesus is the light, so people who live for illicit sex, excessive wealth, and sleeping in on Sundays must hate the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus spoke hyperbolically of hate in our relationships. He said one’s love for Him must be supreme over love for any other, even spouse or parent or child, and to love anyone or anything more than Him is like hatred towards Him (ref. Luke 14:26). Of course you should love your family but it you put anyone above Jesus Christ, it is an expression of hatred toward the Lord.
To be a part of the world who hates Jesus, you don’t have to be the Judas who betrayed Him, nor the soldiers who arrested and beat Him, nor the executioner that hammered the nails through His hands and feet. You can simply be the one who is indifferent to Him, the one who lives in disobedience against Him, or the one who puts other people and things above Him. There are a lot of he’s and she’s in this world that hate the Lord Jesus Christ in these ways.
He Hate We
The world hates is you, too, if you are a genuine, born again, believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. A servant of a hated Master will be hated, too. A disciple of a hated Lord will be hated, too. A child of a hated Father will be hated, too. So we must get in the boat with Jesus and sail through a world of hate.
Christ said the world will hate Christians because of our conversion to Christianity. Salvation makes a person different (ref. John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and the world is hatefully prejudiced against this kind of difference (ref. vs. 19). Jesus made reference to the first, overarching step in an ordo salutis that changes us and makes us different from the world. It begins with election, for we are changed because we are chosen (ref. vs. 19). The metamorphosis moves from predestination, to effectual call, to irresistible grace, to limited redemption, to persevering sanctification, to exclusive glorification. There is enough in these doctrines to stir up an angry mob of atheists, religionists, and misguided Baptists anywhere in the world!
The change in salvation not only saves us from sin, it makes us hate sin. We do not hate unredeemed sinners, just unrepentant sin. But sinners who refuse to repent see repentant sinners as instruments of judgment, without Christians ever saying a word. Live holy, as God is holy, and you will be hated for it, according to Jesus.
Christ said the world will hate Christians because of our commitment to the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. Christians keep it, treasure it, read it, obey it, and yea, verily, preach it. We would love for the whole world to love it, too, but Jesus said they will not (ref. vs. 20-24). When biblical beliefs are sowed, the weeds of hatred will sprout.
Ironically, the world hates us by accusing us of hate, just because we believe the Bible. We are called all kinds of phobic names when the only fear we have is reverence for God and His word. They are biblio-phobic, fearful of the authority of God’s word, for if they were to accept it, in the words of Jesus, “They have no excuse for their sin” (ref. vs. 22). The world must come around to agree with us about sin and salvation, or hate us, and the latter is their choice, according to Jesus.
He is Everywhere
Christ and Christianity have made the world a better place. However, the world seems bitter for it. Just as the world tried to erase Christ with the cross, it is trying to erase real Christianity from the planet with politics, press, and the presence of wolves in shepherds’ clothing in the church.
Politics is the government of the people, and the people of governments have always shown a lot of hatred towards Christ and Christianity. It was the government that voted to kill Jesus and then persecuted the early Christians to the their deaths. Governments banned and then coopted Christianity and plunged it into the dark ages. Governments threatened and killed Reformers because of their beliefs about the gospel and the word of God. After a period of relative religious liberty for Christians, which included the great experiment that became the United States of America, governments has arisen once again to triumph sexual liberties over religious liberties, particularly those of Bible believing Christians, and it is only going to get worse.
The press is particularly aiding the government in this persecution of Christianity. Small town newspapers still smile on us from time to time, but in the major outlets and mainstream news, Christianity is made to look like the enemy. Fifty years ago there were over a hundred full-time Religion Editors in newspapers across the country, promoting the many positive aspects of our faith. Today there is only one. Recent columns include the proposition that Christian colleges should be banned from NCAA sports because of what the Bible teaches about gender and sex. It is only going to get worse.
Worst of all, when it comes to the world’s hatred of the church, is the world has gotten inside the church. Remember is was the Jewish religion ran by the Pharisees and Sadducees that killed the Messiah and kicked the first Christians out of the “church.” It was the Roman Catholic Church that martyred the Bible believing, Christ-following Reformers. Today many of the churches and denominations the Reformers founded are led by men and women who do not believe the Bible or the gospel, while true believers are suppressed and hounded out. It seems obvious for two millennium now, “Whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (ref. 16:2).
In my personal experience, I have witnessed more persecution from the world in the church than the church in the world. I don’t remember being hated in my hometown, at school, or in the regular jobs I worked before becoming a Pastor. I do remember being hated by church members for believing the whole Bible and being fired by one church for preaching the whole gospel. Hate hurts the most when it comes from within. With the exception of churches like ours that strive to be God-centered and Bible-oriented, it is only going to get worse, because He who hate Me is everywhere.
We Must Respond
As Jesus originally spoke these words to the disciples, He knew things that evening and the next morning were only going to get worse. As the church took flight after Pentecost, persecution and martyrdom went from bad to worse. In our day and age, the open hostility against Christianity and biblical truth is apparent and growing. It is a problem that is only going to get worse as we await the second coming of the Lord the world loves to hate. What are we going to do?
Don’t quit, wait for the Lord. This is why Jesus spoke these words (ref. 16:1). We don’t invite this hatred, we don’t enjoy the hostility or the persecution. But take Christ at His word and let these things confirms your faith, not cause you to lose your grip.
Don’t hate, love like the Lord. He may hate me, and he may hate you, but don’t hate him. Love is the only thing that can cause strife to cease and faith to flourish. Love turn some of our enemies into friends, and more than friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The USA did not start World War II. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Both were acts of aggression and hate. But while we did not start the war, we and our allies finished it, when Arkansas’ own General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945. The war against Christ and Christianity has raged for 2,000 years. Jesus did not start it. But Christ will finish it. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”