to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 24, 2019 – Thursday
John 15:18-25 NIV
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.
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.
20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also.
21 They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.
22 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.
23 Whoever hates Me hates my Father as well.
24 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.
25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.“
The key verse for us is 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. However, the verses today began with verse eighteen because today we so often forget Jesus’ warning the world may hate the disciples and us. There were clearly times and places the disciples were not hated, but just as clearly there were times and places the disciples were indeed hated and not just by the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Today, we all too often are surprised by the world hating us when we follow Jesus. It does not matter that we do not hate them, it is the simple act of following Jesus, not belonging to the world and its standards that makes them hate us. They even often times call us haters for not following the world and accepting the world’s standards. But we are not haters. Instead often times we mourn the world and pray for those who do not know the loving grace of the Jesus and His Father.
Nonetheless, Jesus speaks plainly to this issue when He says If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. We know He was persecuted as were the disciples who were all put to death eventually, except for John who was exiled to the island of Patmos. Unlike the disciples we do not teach expecting to be obeyed, but in following Jesus His teachings are made plain in our lives and set before others as examples of how He may be obeyed. The disciples, like us, were never perfect in their obedience, but they truly sought to follow Jesus as best they could. We should do no less.
At the end of the verses for today Jesus said 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 (or “without cause” in other versions).’ Jesus is making clear the hatred for Him – and His disciples and His followers (including us) – is without reason or cause as noted in the Psalms.
Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. Psalm 35:19
Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. Psalm 69:4a
Let us continue to do our best to follow and obey what Jesus has taught us, but let us not be surprised when the world hates us for we know the world first hated the One who died for our sins.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:2)2