Friday, March 15, 2013

John 15:22-27 From Hatred to Comfort

Last time, we looked at Christ’s very bold statement that He highlighted sin by His presence, statements, and actions.  And what we saw was interesting.  If you’ve ever gone into a city tenement basement with a flashlight, you may have seen a bunch of rats scattering from the light.  That was Christ’s effect on the sins of His time on earth.  Sinners either got away from Him or they stayed and the sins departed.  The result was that sinners had an opportunity to repair their relationship with God.  As we continue, His statements are no less bold and unique than what we looked at last time.

John 15:22-24 (KJV)  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

We closed with verse 22, last time.  I just wanted to include it as a point of reference for the next few verses.  When Jesus presence and statements shed light on our sin and sins, we lost the ability to hide our sinfulness under a cloak of man made excuses.

Verse 22 leads right into verse 23.  There are two things in play in this verse.  And we need to look at them separately.

The first is hatred.  In Matthew 6:24 the word is miseo, and the tense contrasts love and hate as hate being the absence of love, a disregard, etc.  The word, here in John 15:23, is the same, but the tense has a different result.  We’re now talking about an active hatred.  Go back to verse 22 and look at the picture I’m seeing, here.  We have mankind convinced that whatever religious and moral rules and rituals it’s devised are making them righteous.  Each and every one has conned not only those around them, but themselves, as well.  Everything seems good.  Then, along comes Jesus.  By who He is, by His actions, and by His words, He rips the veil of deception away.  And man sees how truly wretched he is.

If there were an ounce of humility in that deception, mankind would seek the path to repentance.  But it’s pride that took the hit with that revelation.  The easy next step is to hate the One who revealed man’s condition, along with a quick fix to the illusion.  Kill Jesus on the Cross.  In modern times remove references to anything that has to do with the Christian God.  Out of sight, out of mind.  And the illusion of personal righteousness goes unchallenged.

The other aspect of that verse is the oneness of the Trinity.  Whether we want to consider that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one being or if we just focus on the common thinking of the three, there is a connection among them.  It’s an unseverable unity.  So, when man hates one, he hates them all.  By hating Jesus, man hates the God he’s convinced himself that he’s serving.  A truly sad state.

Just to be sure that the point gets across, Jesus reiterates that His being here removed the illusion.  And I think the last part of verse 24 is key, “but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.”.  Man is now forced to see the contrast between his rotten state and the purity of Jesus and the Father.  You can read and study Isaiah 64:6, if you want to see how bad our condition can be.

John 15:25 (KJV)  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

The hatred is baseless, but it fulfills prophecy.  So, while it takes man further in the wrong direction, it is yet another proof of the veracity of the Word of God.

John 15:26-27 (KJV)  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

These final verses give us some compelling insights.  First there is the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  John 14:26 tells us that He comes from the Father and will teach the disciples all things.  In John 15:26, Jesus reiterates that the Comforter comes from the Father and notes that He’ll validate the reality that Jesus is who He says He is.  Finally, in John 16:7, Jesus says the Comforter won’t come until He leaves – another reason for Christ to complete the plan.

There’s also the name, Comforter or the Greek parakletos.  The Holy Spirit comforts, exhorts.  He’s an encourager, an advisor, and an advocate.  He gets us through the spiritual legal system unscathed.  He shows the disciples (and us) the Truth of what we believe.

The last verse is personal to the disciples.  They’re told they will evangelize and the reason is because they’ve been with Jesus long enough to see the reality of Who He is.  It reminds me of an argument, awhile back, that the whole crucifixion and resurrection thing was false.  The apostles died to hide the “fact” that they lied about what happened to Jesus.  The argument ignored that no one has ever been recorded as having gone through torture and death to protect a lie.  It’s just not part of human nature to do that.  When we consider the painful deaths of many of the apostles, it has to be obvious that they believed what they saw and heard.  The Holy Spirit did His job well.

I’ll suggest, here, that you go back through the previous posts on John 15, again.  As well, read the whole chapter for yourself.  This chapter in John pretty much covers what we believe and why.  If you’re a believer, let the words, through the Holy Spirit, build up your faith.  And, if you’ve not yet become a son of God (not The Son of God), let the Spirit speak to you through what I’ve been able to share and through the words of this chapter.  There’s no greater privilege and joy than to be one with God.  Let yourself be blessed.

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