John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
Truth is hard to hear. It evokes a harsh reaction from the world. The world hated Jesus without a cause because He spoke and made them aware of their sin. How much more will they hate those who Jesus chose to save from their midst. Jesus sent the Spirit of truth to help us get over ourself and bear witness about Him
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is well aware that hatred and persecution by the world is part of His identity because He has identified sin by what’s He’s said and done.
What does it say about people?
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’
Is there truth here for me?
”Likeness” to Jesus is a critical element of Christian belief. It’s difficult to read that being like Jesus may well include the hatred and persecution of the world. It’s difficult to be confronted with the reality that if they persecuted the perfect Jesus, they will also persecute me if that “likeness” begins to show. Self-protection is the last barrier the Spirit of truth has to remove so when I “bear witness” to Jesus my words reveal “a servant is not greater than [her] master,” both to the world…and to myself.