18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 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 keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
-John 15:18-25 (NKJV)
The words of Jesus seem to have been spoken with both simplicity and significance.
What He said to His closest followers on that final night before His death seemed to come off as touching as Lou Gehrig’s farewell in Yankee Stadium delivered by Gary Cooper in “The Pride of the Yankees.” He spoke specifically of the things to come and how His disciples should face them with the inevitable assurance of the coming of the Helper. He spoke directly, openly and candidly with these men about His departure. Yet, He spoke plainly about what these men would face without Him physically present with them.
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
He said it with significance. Persecution, in whatever form that it would show up, would surely come to the followers of Jesus. Jesus said it to them while He was still with them. That was significant. He did not want them caught off guard by the ill treatment of the world. He did not want them to be shocked or stunned by how cruel the world could be towards Him or His followers.
He had already shared the indication of the world’s past. He had already spoken of Israel’s ill treatment of the prophets. He had already shared words that had perplexed and confused in His famed Sermon on the Mount, referencing the prophets being treated to persecution prior to His coming.
Are more than the hairs of my head;
Being my enemies wrongfully;
-Psalm 69:4 (NKJV)