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John 15:18-16:4a, The World’s Hatred

Wednesday, March 21

Truth Breeds Hatred

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Jesus told his disciples that they would soon be facing rejection and persecution because of their relationship with Jesus, and because of the things they learned from him. Primarily, others would hate them because they knew truth the others did not know, or refused to see. Sometimes truth breeds hatred.

hatred eats the souls of the hater not the hated

Sometimes the most subversive truth is truth about ourselves that we do not wish to see. This can come in the form of another person communicating with us -- a friend or co-worker that points out our faults. That truth is painful enough. Other times the truth is much harder to swallow -- a gay student whose presence shines an unwelcome light on our own self-unacknowledged sexual orientation; a female boss whose authority shines light on our own lack of professional advancement; a child with special needs whose challenges make it seem as if we as parents have done something wrong. Those truths are very difficult to accept, and often breed contempt toward the very people we could be learning from. 

Jesus challenged his disciples to be prepared for the hate that would be directed toward them. He also promised them an Advocate that would stand with them and shine light on truth. Jesus knew that truth could be a powerful ally to anyone wanting to walk in Jesus' footsteps. When our own unacknowledged truths threaten our sense of security, we can look to this Advocate as a friend, not a foe; we can see the truth as a means to growth instead of an exposure of shame (although that, too, can lead to tremendous growth!). The truth will out. And it's all ok.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 15:18-16:4a

”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’

”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

”I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them."

Earlier Event: March 20
John 15:1-17, Jesus the True Vine