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Son of Man 15: Opposition


Issue 506

Why do people hate? If you ask your co-workers it would not be hard to get a list of pet hatreds. Push the right buttons and frustrations will come tumbling out like cans from a drinks machine.Being the object of someone’s hatred is a very unpleasant experience. No one likes to be unpopular because it cuts to the core of your self esteem.The working week throws up a multitude of possibilities for hatred of the mild to the vitriolic kind. The scale of reasons is as wide as the variety of experiences.There is a strange phrase in the middle of John’s account of Jesus where Jesus himself says “They hated me without a reason”.

This was a dreadfully painful self description because, not only was he feeling hated, but he is feeling it is unjustified.

Hundreds of years before, words were written about this same Jesus proclaiming he was “despised and rejected”.

These are strong words and I want to invite you to pause and think about the impact they had on the young Son of Man’s daily life. Remember he was 30 when he became a public figure. As his public profile grew so did the hatred.

I suggest to you that this hatred, coupled with the despising and rejection, was a huge factor in generating in him feelings which are also described in strong words. He was called “a man of sorrows” and “familiar with pain”. Or in another way “acquainted with grief”.

Then, as now, people hated hypocrites; they hated self-centred-ness or greed. They hated cheats, liars or thieves. They hated those who hoarded dishonestly acquired wealth. They hated bullies or those who harmed them. Try looking around you and reflecting on what you hate.
As for me I get frustrated when people inflict unnecessary pain on others. I find lack of listening or social injustice irritates me. My list could be very long.

But the Son of Man would not be on it. Nor, I suggest, on most lists. He was not unjustly wealthy, self-centred or greedy. In fact he served others, healed, encouraged and strengthened. He treated all fairly and was honest, open and transparent. If you had to use one word he was “loving”.

Over the next pieces I’m going to identify the roots of hatred he experienced, but for now and this week I will give you 2 closing thoughts.

First, if they hated him they will hate his followers. That’s not my idea, he himself said so.

We, as his followers, often say we want to be more like him. Well do you want to be more like him in being hated this week? It doesn’t appeal but he has warned us not to be surprised.

Second, and vital, they hated him for no reason. Part of our calling is to give no reason for him to be hated.

Our challenge is this. Sometimes you can be hated for being a follower of Jesus and sometimes you can be hated for distorting what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Watch out for the hypocrisy which provokes hatred. Your working practices this week need to be empowered by the same Spirit that empowered the Son of Man, not driven by the spirits that generate hatred. It is counterproductive to claim to follow a loving leader but act as a bully. It is irresponsible to follow a servant but act out of selfish ambition.

Following an honest, transparent, just and courageous leader does not sit well with lying, deception, unfairness and fear. That will provoke hatred and it will have reason.

Now I have given you reasons for guilt please remember that following him is not about trying ever so hard to be like him. Following him means realising that you can’t be like him unless he does his work in you. It’s his Spirit that teaches you from the inside.

When that happens you will give no reason for him to be hated. It will still come your way and it will still hurt, but it will show you are genuine and not fake as was he.

Work well.
Geoff Shattock
John 15:18-25
“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.’[a] 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.’
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Series: Son Of Man
Module: 4
Season: -
Daily Guide: No

Tags: genuine, hate, integrity, opposition, rejection, witness

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Work well
Geoff Shattock

© Copyright 2021 Geoff Shattock

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