May 23, 2016 08:39 PM EDT
John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
15:20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
15:21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
15:23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.
15:24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
15:25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'
15:26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
15:27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
There are afflictions to those who follow the Lord. True Christians are subject to persecution. Jesus told His disciples "Enter through the narrow gate" in Mathew 7: 13-14. "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Everyone wants to be praised, welcomed, and be lucky. No one wants to receive persecution or tribulation. Among the afflictions, Cross was the most miserable, painful punishment that nobody want to take.
However, there is a resurrection through the Cross. The Gospel is the Cross and the resurrection. The gospel is Evangelium which means the news of victory. Christ gained victory, and the highest point is the resurrection. Paradoxically, the indescribable love of God for the people was revealed through the Cross of shame and curse. The most brilliant love was revealed in the darkest place. When this light of love enters into us, we can gain the eternal life overcoming any sin or darkness.
For the believers, hardships promise a resurrection. There is meaningless suffering which remains just as suffering. The glory without the Cross is vain. However, suffering in Christ is a true honor. The cross is the hope and life, not death nor despair.
The Lord said "No servant is greater than his master." Those who are Christ's servant are deeply united to the life of Christ. Therefore, we receive the hardship and persecution just as the Lord received it. The world hates the Lord, so it hates us as well.
The last eighth of the Beatitudes is blessing for "those who are persecuted because of righteousness" (Matthew 5: 10-12). For the believers, even persecution is blessing. In Acts 5, the Apostles rejoiced "because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name".
Are we being hated and persecuted? Do we have any sufferings or tribulations in our lives? If so, that is because Jesus is in us. Let us remember that suffering itself is love and honor, and carry the Cross following the way of true love Jesus went through.