When Jesus was alone with his disciples just prior to his trial and crucifixion, he addressed the hatred of the religious Jews and their leaders who were against Him.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because THEY KNOW NOT HIM THAT SENT ME. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me HATETH MY FATHER ALSO. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: BUT NOW HAVE THEY BOTH SEEN AND HATED BOTH ME AND MY FATHER. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE (John 15:18-25).
Jesus tells his disciples that they too would be rejected by the world because the world had first rejected Him.
In John 8:23 Jesus had referred to the religious Jews – those who opposed Him – as “worldly.” “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of THIS WORLD; I am not of this world.”
The rejection that Jesus endured from men, which ultimately resulted in His death, was the people’s rejection of God who had sent him. Jesus interprets the scripture, “they hated me without a cause” as hatred aimed at both he and his Father, God.
This is consistent with the words prayed by the church in Acts 4:
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD, AND HIS CHRIST. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were GATHERED TOGETHER, For TO DO whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done (Acts 4:25-28).
These words in Acts 4 are taken from Psalm 2.
The prophet Isaiah said, “He is despised and REJECTED OF MEN; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: YET WE ESTEEMED HIM STRICKEN, SMITTTEN OF GOD, AND AFFLICTED (Isaiah 53:3-4).
The phrase “we esteemed Him smitten of God and afflicted” is contextually a reference to the perception and not the reality for it was sinful men and not God who unjustly condemned Jesus and who wounded Him.
The wounds which scared His back were caused by men. The nails which pierced His hands and feet came from the condemnation of men. The crown of thorns was placed there by men. It was men who hanged Him on the tree.
For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, THEY HAVE FULFILLED THEM IN CONDEMNING HIM. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And WHEN THEY HAD FULFILLED ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD… (Acts 13:27-30).
The predetermined counsel of God was that Jesus die for our sins and this was fulfilled by what actually happened at the cross when Jesus died at the hands of sinful men.
Romans 15:3 says, “Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
Jesus was God in the flesh dying for His people. The reproaches of the people towards God; their hatred and rebellion against God were levied against Jesus and in that place he responded with forgiveness.
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
The author of Hebrews tells us to keep “looking to Jesus who ENDURED SUCH OPPOSITION FROM MEN, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (see Hebrews 12:2).
The shame Jesus endured was humiliation which came from men who hated and opposed God. The son of God was placed on public display in the most humiliating fashion wherein He was mocked and ridiculed by those who despised both He and His and Father; God.
Christ did not die under the judgment of God, nor did He suffer under the wrath of God. Jesus suffered under the unjust condemnation and wrath from men who hated Him without a cause.
Immediately following His words in John 15:18-25 Jesus says the following:
“But I will send you the Advocate —the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry (John 15:18-27).
The world hates Jesus and the world hates God who sent Him. The world will therefore hate us who belong to Him because their opposition to God. When Jesus departed and returned to the Father He did not abandon His followers as orphans. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower them in a world opposed to God.
The promised Holy Spirit gives us the power to bear witness of the truth in Jesus Christ in the midst of a very dark world. We are called to be salt and light so that the Holy Spirit may bring conviction upon sinners and draw men unto repentance.