Summer Daily Devotional - John 15
To Be Loved and To Be Hated
It is a strange thing, to say the least, to be so deeply loved by someone and so deeply hated by someone else. Isn’t it?
It’s just wildly odd that you and I can invoke such starkly different feelings from different people.
You’re the same person. I’m the same person. It’s not as if our relationships drastically alter our personalities and convictions. Yet, others’ feelings or opinions or judgments of us can be day-and-night different.
Someone calls you friend; another calls you enemy. One person loves you; the other person hates you.
It’s just bizarre.
And that’s the experience for all those who remain in Jesus and walk in His commands—to be loved by One and to be hated by others.
“…you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19b).
To follow Jesus, to love like Jesus, to remain in Jesus will inevitably lead to hate, ridicule, scorn, slander, and persecution.
It is Jesus’ testimony. It is the testimony of Scripture (1 Peter). It was the testimony of the Apostles. It was the testimony of millions of Christians throughout the millennia. And it may be your testimony now.
So why all the hate?
Because the world has its own system, its own path to “salvation,” its own promise to “…love you as its own” if you would just belong to it (v.19). And, because the world hates Jesus because of who He is, what He’s done, and what He promises to do (v.23-25).
I know. This is all a bit heavy, but chin up. The reason some may call you enemy is because Jesus first calls you friend (v.15)!
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (v.9).
Read that again. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Though it’s tempting to gloss over this verse because of our familiarity with one of the fundamental tenets of the Gospel (Jn. 3:16 – “For God so loved the world…”), this is one of the most profound things Jesus ever said, in my opinion.
Here’s how I take this.
In likening God the Father’s love for Jesus with Jesus’ love for us, Jesus is telling His disciples, his followers, you and I, that He loves us infinitely.
For those who are in Jesus, as fruit-bearing branches are in the vine, may we wholeheartedly and firmly believe that Jesus loves us.
And may His love compel us to move in confidence and in the Spirit, in the face of hatred, to testify about Him (v.26ff).