We did a lot of writing on Saturday. Let’s look at what is in our notebooks now. These closing verses of John 15 should comfort and prepare, but also challenge, us.
Assignment: Pray for guidance and understanding before you start studying.
- Then open Blue Letter Bible to John 15, and your notebook to the chart you created on Day 29.
Let’s remember the historical setting of this chapter. What are Jesus and the disciples doing while Jesus is speaking to them? What is going to happen before the night is over?
Look at what Jesus is doing. Even while He anticipates the injustice, the insults, the pain, the abandonment, the burden of punishment for sin He’s never committed, and a tortuous death, He is focusing on comforting His disciples. This is incredible love.
He wants to allay their fears. He wants to encourage them as he prepares them for what is ahead. He wants them to have hope. But He also wants them to be ready for the hatred they will most certainly encounter.
- Read through all the notes you have written in your chart. With a yellow pencil, highlight any mentions of Jesus and God the Father. These will often appear as the words me, I, and my. Mark in yellow any of these words that refer to Jesus and His Father.
Jesus is addressing different situations and what the disciples need to know about each one. It’s a bit like what a parent might do before leaving his child, due to travel or impending death — explaining why things are the way they are, anticipating scenarios, and preparing the child for them. “If this happens, remember this…” or “If this were the case, this would happen, but it won’t because of this…”
- We marked the words if and but last week. Let’s look first at the if phrases. Notice how Jesus’ life and our lives are inescapably intertwined. His life changes everything, and we can’t escape that, whether we abide in the Vine or not. As those in the Vine, this is immensely reassuring. Our lives are forever connected to His.
“If the world hates you (and it will), here’s what you need to remember. It hated me before it hated you.” I know what you’re suffering
“ff they persecuted me (and they did), they will persecute you, too. You should expect this to happen.”
“If they kept my word (and some did), they will keep yours, too. Be encouraged.”
What the world thinks of Jesus influences what they think of His followers.
- Now look at the but phrases you have recorded in your notebook. The word but is an important little word because it alerts us to a contrast. Something is stated, and then but introduces a fact that changes the situation. For example, “We were going to go to the store, but we ran out of time.” The fact that we ran out of time changed our plans. We didn’t go to the store.
In Scripture, but is often followed by statements about what God has done that changes everything. (If you type “but God” into Blue Letter Bible’s search box, you’ll see a few obvious examples of this.) Here’s one example:
“And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took [him] down from the tree, and laid [him] in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead.”
The words but God change everything in these two verses! Jesus died. They placed His body in a tomb. But there’s more to the story. God raised Him from the dead.
The yellow highlighting that you just did in your chart should help you see the “but Jesus” points in this passage.
“If you were of the world, here’s how the world would treat you. They would love you as their own. But you’re not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world…That’s why the world hates you.” Jesus sovereignly chooses those for His kingdom, and we will never be at home in the world anymore.
“I no longer call you servants…but I have called you friends.” Jesus ultimately decides — are we servants or friends?
But also shows us other contrasts, and again, we see Jesus in these contrasts:
“But they will hate you and persecute you because of my name, not because of who you are.”
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin — of rejecting me, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”
Jesus’ life, His Words, His miracles affect us all. We will either be branches that bear fruit, or we will be branches that are taken away and burned. We can’t escape His rule, His Word, His resurrection, and His claim on us, and that is a great comfort to those of us who abide in Him — even when the world hates us.
For your children:
Read and discuss John 15:14-21.
How did the world treat Jesus? Talk about specific ways in which Jesus was mistreated, criticized, and hated.
How did Jesus respond to the way He was treated?
How should we expect to be treated as Jesus’ followers?
How should we respond to that treatment?
- Share stories from your own experience when you were “hated” by those who hate Jesus.