Verse of the Day Devotion: John 15:20
“Remember the word that I said to you, A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” – John 15:20
Jesus in this verse is eliminating any surprise His disciples could have when persecution comes upon them. In the two previous verses He introduces this concept to them “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18. He is telling them not to be surprised when the world comes against them, for they hated Him prior to hating them. And the reason was the message He was presenting, which the disciples will continue to declare after He is gone. The world hated Jesus because He taught a message that appeared contradictory to their beliefs. He was essentially telling them that it was the message they hated, and because He delivered it to the world, their hatred moved to Him as well. And because He is calling them to deliver this message after He is gone, they will hate them as well.
Then in the next verse, He clarifies His point. “If you were of the world, the world would love 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. If they were of the world and taught their ways, this would not be an issue. The world loves its own, and thus is a society of rebels that have turned their backs on God to pursue their own ways and desires. And these ways were contrary to what they were teaching.
Jesus’ focus was to warn the disciples that their mission would not be easy. He had told them essentially the same thing earlier. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” Matthew 10:25. It was important that this idea be fully understood, for soon they would be on their own. He was encouraging them to stay strong and not to give in and abandon their calling, Judas had already left to betray Jesus to the Jewish leadership. Therefore, this was intended for the remaining eleven. . “Jesus therefore answered, that is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him. so, when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. And after the morsel, Satan then entered him. Jesus therefore said to him, what you do, do quickly.” John 13:26-27.
However, next He states the opposite idea, that being “if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” John 15:20b. If they persecuted me (and many of them did), they will persecute you also; if they obeyed my teaching (and some of them did), they will obey yours also. After Jesus ascends, they will have the same results Jesus had. They will be doing God’s work here just as Jesus did when He was here. If those in the world rebel and deny the message Jesus gave, they will deny their presentation of the same message. And if they accept the truth of the message from Christ, then they will receive theirs as well.
And He says all this because they do not know the one who sent Him. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” John 15:21. Essentially, the peoples responses to Jesus’ disciples, whether positive or negative, are ultimately based not on who they are, but on who Jesus is. And the reason for this is because they do not know the Father who sent Jesus here. The implication in this statement is that if they had truly known God, they would have recognized the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The Jews had their own perception of who God was which was not revealed in Christ, the promised Messiah.
This is important because those of us who are saved are the disciples of Christ. And we must understand we will be persecuted for our beliefs and at times hated by those who want nothing to do with Christianity. However, this should not stop us from presenting the good news of salvation to a lost people. We should never back down from declaring the gospel, for maybe some will not accept it, but if one hears us and accepts the message and becomes a Christian, it will be worth all the persecution we have experienced. This is our purpose here, and there should be nothing that prevents us from being a witness to a lost world. Be strong and stand firm, not being intimidated by anyone. The message we have is the most important message ever presented here and will make an incredible difference here that will last for all eternity.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.