Jesus is talking to his followers about Vine Life. It’s such an intimate relationship that fruit is produced, love is shown, and God responds to our requests, because we ask according to his will.
It’s also the relationship that causes the world to hate us, but we can handle it, because they’re just doing to us what they did to Jesus.
Jesus’ arrival on the world stage caused a stir from the very beginning. I’m not talking about the angels who were thrilled to see him and sang his praises; no, I’m talking about the birth of a baby that caused a king to instigate mass murder of all male children in that region.
That was only the beginning. Once he began his ministry, thirty years later, Jesus’ presence, his words, his miracles would cause some to go and plot how they could kill him.* They eventually succeeded, or so they thought.
Jesus spoke about the religious leaders and others in the world, when he told his disciples:
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’*
Those who have no excuse are not only the people who saw Jesus during his time on earth, but all who have come since then. His disciples went out, preaching the good news of the salvation Jesus provides. They wrote down his words and saw the message passed to others who would continue the job. Over the centuries, every continent has had witness to Christ. In our world of radio, television and internet, the spread continues.
There is no excuse.
No one has done what Christ has done. No other religion has the freely-given forgiveness, grace, and hope that is offered through Christ.
And yet, he is still rejected by many.
He was even rejected by his own people, when he walked this earth. How much more is he rejected by those who hear now but enjoy living for self and worldly pleasures?
There’s really no reason they should hate Jesus, but they do.
Why? Because he makes them acknowledge their own sinfulness, and few like to admit wrong, give up temporal pleasure, or humble themselves to the all-knowing God.
To hate Christ is to hate God. You can’t have one without the other.
It doesn’t mean people don’t try to follow a god made in their own image, but they’ll soon find out there’s only one God who can save and bring peace in this broken and sinful world.
All these are without excuse. These are hard words, but they’re not mine…they’re from Jesus. Not all parts of Vine Life are easy.
Grace and Peace
*John 15:22-25 (NIV)