If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.
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.
Jesus certainly knew and understood the hatred of the world (the world system) because He was not a part of it. Neither would His disciples be a part of their world system. Anyone who understands God’s Word is aware that in this kind of context, the world refers to whatever governmental authority, religious authority, financial authority that has established itself as THE RIGHT WAY will hate anything or anyone that stands in its way.
Early Christians were accused of all sorts of heinous behavior, including the sacrifice of babies. This has long amazed me, because the sacrifice of children was part of Baal worship way back in the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It existed long before Jesus came. And it still exists. Children are still being sacrificed to the evils of sex trafficking, as well as Satan worship. Never mind abortion.
Why does such evil exist? Because Satan is still the Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:1-3; I John 5:19; Revelation 12:9). It is when we refuse to believe that Satan exists that we give him the most power. If he doesn’t exist, then all the evil that exists in the world has to be someone’s fault, and why not blame it on Christians? They become an easy and obvious target as Satan laughs.
Jesus was giving His disciples fair warning that, as they spread His Word, they would suffer persecution. Indeed, the only one who did not die as a martyr was John, the writer of this book, and of I, II, and III John and the Book of the Revelation. They tried to kill him, but God had other plans. History tells us that he survived to a very old age, for that time and place, probably into his 90s.
Statistics tell us, as well, that the 20th century saw the most deaths of Christian martyrs than any century before it. Satan is ramping up his cherished plan of being the ruler of all things, and Christian blood will be shed around the world to make that happen.
In verse 19, Jesus explains what should be obvious: If we participate in the world’s system, whatever it may be, they will not hate us. But if we stand for Christ, for truth, for righteousness and for His Word, they will hate us.
Most American Christians have not felt the blade of persecution. It’s coming. We need to decide ahead of time whether we will stand, or give in out of fear and hopelessness. There won’t be any options: We will stand for Him, or we will be numbered against Him.
It would be very easy for me, here, to go off on prophecies of the end times. We’re seeing some of it already building to that point. But that’s for another study. Right now I need to stay focused on Jesus, and His path to the Cross.