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.

John 15:19 (ESV)

Judas left the upper room to go to arrange the betrayal of Jesus, and in so doing provided the Lord an intimate moment to share some of the most vital truths His disciples had heard up until that moment. Beginning in John 13:31, John records these words of Jesus that continue with very few interruptions for the next FOUR chapters!  

He wanted them to know that, regardless of what they were about to experience, everything was part of His Father’s plan. The theme throughout these chapters was that His followers must continue to abide in Him by holding on to what they had seen and heard and, most importantly, by continuing to love one another. Jesus said that, once He was gone, the Holy Spirit would come to dwell within each one enabling them to persevere through the unimaginable trials that lie ahead.

Hate is a strong word. Even so, Jesus did not soft sell the intensity with which the world would oppose those who followed Him. Having studied the Bible most of my life, it made sense that He would use strong language in order to help the disciples to not be overwhelmed by the viciousness of the opposition they would face. Their faithfulness in spreading the Gospel, even in the face of certain death, is a testimony of the Holy Spirit’s power to accomplish what Jesus promised. 

But, after all, that was then, and this is now—right?

By the time this devotion is posted on Easter Sunday morning, I will have just concluded another annual sunrise service. The novelty of gathering in a cemetery in the shadow of three crosses reminds us of a tomb thousands of miles away that was empty three days after it was occupied by the Son of God. He rose to save you and me that we might follow Him in a world that STILL hates us. We’ve gone from defending the babies to the point that everything that used to be wrong is now right and right is now wrong. Like His disciples of old—we only have hope because He lives!