BY: Fr. Karabari Paul



‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you’

Though Jesus has been instructing His disciples to love everyone as a mark of discipleship, in the Gospel of today (John 15:18-21), He warns them that there is no assurance that they will be returned the same love. He states it clearly: ‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.’ The ‘world’ here means people who oppose God and His revelation of love. If people hated so aggressively such a loving person Jesus who went about doing good, His followers shouldn’t expect to be treated differently.

Jesus has been urging his disciples to love all those around them as a sign of their love of him. Today he warns them that there is no guarantee that they will be loved in return. If people hated such a loving person as Jesus so bitterly, his disciples cannot expect to be treated differently.

And the reason they will be hated is because they will refuse to identify themselves with the values and priorities of the secular world. They will reject greed and competitiveness, the scramble for status and power, the hatred, anger, violence and revenge which mark so many people’s lives. So that anyone who begins to live in a more committed and responsible way becomes a sign of contradiction to others; they meet with opposition and hatred from others.

Jesus makes it very clear. Being His followers means also sharing His lot, being rejected and even hated by ‘the world’ because our values are different. This does not make the suffering of feeling different and not accepted any easier. But it helps us make sense of it, doing our best to remain loyal to our calling to be followers of Jesus. We live in a world where abnormal people see people who are normal to be abnormal. If you are in the midst of people with deviant lifestyles, you become the abnormal one. A Christian is a serious sign of contradiction because the world defines its values with different canon from Christian’s. But whatever form of persecution we face in life is never new because Jesus faced them all.

Following Jesus requires sacrifice. The Bible tells us that God’s grace ‘teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’ (Titus 2:12).

Following Jesus also requires us to endure the difficulties and the persecution we may face. Living Jesus’ way means living counter-culturally. We won’t be speaking, acting or thinking like other people. We will be aiming to speak, act and think like Christ. That makes us stand out and may cause us to face hard times because of it. Paul faced a huge amount of persecution when he followed Jesus. He was beaten, stoned, imprisoned and shipwrecked. He never got all that before he came into the fold. But he rejoiced in his sufferings. And he knew that it would all be worth it. He says: ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:2). Following Jesus is always worth it. His way of life is better than any other way. He offers us life to the full (John 10:10) and He promises to be with us, strengthening us through all the trials and persecution. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God heal Nigeria, bless and protect us through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning!

Fr. Karabari Paul

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