“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. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’ ” (Jn 15:22-25).
If Christ had not come, the world would not be aware of their sin or the guilt their sin produced. The calamity of sin and guilt would seem like the norm for the human race. But Christ came to offer freedom from sin and guilt through His death in our place and His resurrection from the dead.
Everything that Christ spoke (“spoken to them”) and all that Christ did (“the works which no one else did”) was to draw men and women to Himself and the freedom that He offered. But the world of Christ’s day and the world of our day have for a large part rejected Him. “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (Jn 12:37).
What Christ makes clear in John 15 is that hatred directed at Jesus is hatred directed at God Himself. Recall a similar connection in John chapter 5 when Jesus was talking to the Jewish leaders. It was an occasion when they were actively seeking to kill Jesus. Jesus is speaking. “The Father has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (Jn 5:22-23).
In John chapter 5, the honor of the Father and the Son are tightly linked. Jesus is making it clear that no one can refuse the Son’s claims and still say they honor the Father. This is exactly what Jesus’ opponents were trying to do. They claimed to be followers of God, but at the same time were seeking to kill the one who claimed to be His Son. The honor of God the Father and Jesus the Son are inextricably linked.
Back to our passage above, Christ said that the world that has seen Him has seen the Father also. And by hating the Son, the world was despising the Father as well. “They have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well” (Jn 15:24). The Son and the Father are inseparable regarding our belief in them, our honor of them, or one’s hatred of them. If the people of Jesus day had recognized Jesus as the Son of God, they would have seen the Father in Him. But by rejecting the Son, they were rejecting the Father as well.
Jesus came to show the world the love of God. The world’s reaction – with the exception of His disciples and followers who were just capturing a glimpse of who He really was – was hatred all the way to a public execution. Jesus came to show them the light, but the world chose darkness. The world rejected the light and the life. The world chose darkness and death.
“In Him [Jesus] was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it” (Jn 1:4-5). We are now a light in this darkened world. May we bear witness to the light. May we reflect the light. May we be the light. And through this light bring comprehension, understanding, and hope to all men.