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.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.
The word world in this entire passage refers to the unbelieving world system of government, religion, and tradition. It is governed by Satan, the Prince of the Power of the Air, who hates God, hates the Son, hates the Holy Spirit. Why is he so filled with hatred? Because he wants it all for himself, and he knows his end is settled forever. He will have power for a short time, but his eternity is in the Lake of Fire. No escape. His goal is to take as many people with him as he can, because he hates what God loves simply because it is what God loves.
The earliest written records of what the world believed about Christians indicate that they weren’t impressed at all. Christians were accused of hating humanity (although they were a part of humanity!), of sacrificing babies and drinking their blood, of belonging to a new and evil superstition.
It has always been a part of human nature to fear and/or hate that which we do not understand. That fear dates all the way back to Cain and Abel. Cain didn’t see why his offering was any less valuable than Abel’s, although it clearly went against what God had commanded. So, in his anger, he killed his brother. Jealousy and rage often walk together.
Sometimes I think we’d like to believe we’re more civilized now, as a world community, than we’ve ever been. The fact, though, is that more Christians died for their faith in the 20th century than in any other period of history. The world system hates believers who will take a stand who won’t back down in the face of death.
The world hates us because God has chosen us, before the foundations of the world. He chose us to love Him, have fellowship with Him, and so spread the gospel to all mankind.
The warning Jesus gives His disciples here is that they will be persecuted for the very reason that He had chosen them out of the world, to be servants for Him, to reach others with the gospel.
After all, the world hated Him before they hated His followers. If the world persecuted Jesus, then surely the world would persecute His followers as well.
I’ve studied and taught a lot of history, from world history on down through the centuries. Over time, many religions have developed. Religion is created by man, not God. Religion has always fought for power, control, and position. True faith, which is from God, doesn’t worry about those things.
The concern of true believers is to obey God and serve Him.