Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 7:1-13.
John 7:7: The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Notice three points here in Christ’s words to his unbelieving brethren:
First: The world cannot hate his brethren. Why? They were unconverted. The world’s wrath is not wasted on its own. Its true hostility is reserved for Christ and those who love him.
John has already given us this frank assessment of the spiritual state of Christ’s brethren: “For neither did his brethren believe him” (7:5).
Calvin notes that Christ’s experience with his brethren anticipates what will often happen in the daily experience of believers, “that the children of God suffer under greater annoyance from their nearer relations than from strangers; for they are instruments of Satan which tempt, sometimes to ambition, and sometimes to [greed], those who desire to serve God purely and faithfully.”
Second: The world hates Christ: “but me it hateth.” The world does not take a neutral stance toward Christ. It does not mildly dislike him but is filled with animus against him. And because it hates Christ, it hates those who are his own (his body). Consider Christ’s words to his disciples in John 15:19: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
Calvin says that the world (kosmos) here “denotes men who are not born again, who retain their natural disposition; and accordingly he declares that all who have not yet been regenerated by the Spirit are Christ’s adversaries.”
Third: The world’s hatred of Christ comes, because he testifies of it that its works are evil. The world hates Christ, because he exposes their sinful hearts. Consider Christ’s words in John 3:19: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Unconverted men love darkness rather than light. They love to have their sin covered up and covered over, even from their own consciences.
We should not, therefore, expect that Christ will receive universal adoration among men, nor should we expect the same. The world is hostile to Christ.
We are left to ask: With whom am I going to align myself? Who is going to be my ally? Whose opinion am I going to value?
Am I going to seek the world’s approval or Christ’s? Is my stance going to gain me the world’s friendship or its enmity?
Let the world stand against him, but we will stand with Christ.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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