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John49 – hate and the advocate

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me first of you.  If you were of the world, the world was befriending its own. In fact, because you are not from the world, but I myself chose you out from the world, through this the world hates you.” (John 15: 18)
John, the first century eye-witness biographer of Jesus of Nazareth is continuing to recall the evening before his AD 30 crucifixion in Jerusalem. In one important respect he has bad news for his followers. “Hate” is a strong word. So awful is it that those who hate must cover it, try never to show it.

“Remember the word that I myself said to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep your own also. But these things - everything - they will into you through my name, because they have not discerned the one having sent me.”

Jesus indicates coming persecution for them similar to that which, for him, would see him killed within a few hours. It’s “his name” which is abhorrent to those “from the world”. Why is that? It’s because they “do not discern the one having appointed” him. They don’t (won’t?) “discern” the father or the son.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they were not having sin. In fact, right now they do not have a pretext concerning their sin. The one hating me hates my father also.” 

This refusal-to-discern of those who persecuted Jesus and those who will persecute his followers, is culpable. They now have “sin”. They would not have “sin” if he had not come into their world and spoken to them. Moreover, “they do not have a pretext” to escape sin because he has “come and spoken to them”. They have seen goodness, mercy and love-in-action. They hate him.

“If I had not done in them the works that no other one had done, they were not having sin. In fact, right now they have both discerned and hated both me and my father. But, in order that that the word having been written in their law may be fulfilled, that ‘they hated me without a reason’.

This same culpable refusal-to-discern of those who would shortly put Jesus to death is of no surprise to Jesus. Indeed, those endorsing the plan to remove him from their sight and their lives needed to know something. It’s that their unjustified rejection of him had been foretold in their own Scriptures – the Scriptures on which they based their religion and their rejection of him. 

This Jesus – and his father - knew that this hate would take place, without any cause or reason, and recorded it all beforehand in writing.

“When the attorney may come, the one I myself will send to you from the Father—the spirit of the truth, who departs out from the father—that one will testify concerning me. In fact, you also are testifying because, from the beginning, you are with me.”

The spirit of a human being is the complete living person as a whole minus the body which remains when the person dies. Each living body+spirit alive with Jesus that evening - Jesus’ disciples - is promised this new additional “spirit of truth” who would be in each one of them. Jesus had earlier spoken of this “advocate” whom he would send to them upon returning to his father. 

“Advocate” is a suitable translation of the Greek word parakletos for those who live in Jersey. A Jersey advocate is more than a barrister, Not only does a Jersey advocate plead the cause of a person in court but also advises, helps, informs and provides assurance to that person. This new-life-giving advocate, even the spirit of the LORD God above, will testify in and to them.

“I have spoken these things to you in order that you may not stumble. They will make you out-synagogued, but an hour is coming that everyone having killed you may assume to offer service to God.” 

Perhaps the main concern of Jesus about his followers is that they “may not stumble”. That’s why he has told them beforehand about their own future suffering “through his name”. Their persecutors may even “assume” (as those in AD 30 about to kill Jesus thought) that they are doing God’s will.  

"And they will do these things because they knew not the father nor even me. But I have spoken these things to you in order that, when their hour may come, you may remember that I myself said these things to you.” 

They will kill Jesus because “they do not know the father or me”. They will do the same to Jesus’ disciples. For the same reason. Despite the facts.

Sinner Syvret

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