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Aug 31st, 2022
By: Matthew Sink
The Gospel of John-Day 63

John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know Him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.

There is something in all of us that loves fairness and justice. Humans are born with a programmed desire for both. Listen to kids play on the playground at recess at you are certain to hear, “That’s not fair!” screamed every few minutes. Read the posts on your social media account and you are likely to see some version of that same sentiment: “That’s not fair! I deserve better! I have rights!” We have a deep need for justice – a mark of our Creator who is the very standard of justice.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the story of someone who DID NOT get what He deserved. Fairness is not found anywhere in His story. Instead, Jesus lived on this earth as the only one who has ever done right all the time, yet He received wrong. He offered healing, and He received brokenness. He gave us life, but we killed Him! Jesus got exactly what He did NOT deserve ... and He promises that those who follow Him will do the same. (Of course, He also promises that we will receive Grace ... which we also do not deserve!)

Rich Mullins, (my absolute favorite singer), once sang,

“Lord it's hard to turn the other cheek 
Hard to bless when others curse you 
Oh Lord it's hard to be a man of peace 
You know it's hard to be like Jesus”

He was right, of course. It IS hard to be like Jesus. It’s hard not to lash out against people who slander us and mock us and misrepresent us. But we must keep our eyes on what is important – living out the Gospel on this earth. Yes, that will make people uncomfortable, and they will treat is in ways that are unfair. Of course, they did the same thing to Jesus, so what did we expect?