Short Meditations in John 7: 7. Unique Hostility
Jn 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
We have recently noted the divisions that come in families because one member becomes a believer, a follower of Jesus, but that division so often comes from a sense of defensiveness or even or misunderstanding, but there is a rejection that goes deeper than this, and it is the rejection of unrighteousness.
I’m not sure how to put it really, but that is what it is. It is the rejection that comes when a person is set in their unrighteous ways and they see righteousness and the life of a righteous person in direct opposition to them, and that creates a hostility that verges on hatred.
It is a moral hostility and I believe this is what Jesus is speaking about here. It is, as we just said, a hostility that verges on hatred, if not pure hatred itself – for what else could have inspired the religious authorities to gang up, conspire against, and bring about the death of the Son of God, those who were described by the anointed apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost, as ‘wicked men’ (Acts 2:23). Let’s face it, wickedness and hatred are expressions of evil, and so those who point out wickedness, hatred, and evil, and going to get the kickback from such people.
But notice the word Jesus used, the ‘world’. No, this is not the planet that God designed but it is godless, fallen humanity. John himself would write, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 Jn 2:15,16) and “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” (1 Jn 3:13) World here refers to godless humanity, the result of the Fall.
Note also the word ‘testify’. We can testify by word and deed, and Jesus did both. Yes, he spoke about his Father in heaven and thus testified about himself, that he was and is the Son of God who had come down from heaven. He testified to goodness and righteousness in his preaching and teaching and he testified to the Father’s love in the way he healed people and (again in Peter’s words) “how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) Jesus stood out – see the response to him in Mk 1:27. No wonder he showed up the lifeless and powerless religion of the day, no wonder that generated hatred in those religious leaders.