John 15:17-27

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 17) This is the third time in His last words to the disciples that Christ has told them to "love one another" (John 13:34, 15:12, 15:17). He had declared such strong love for them that it is right and proper for them to love one another. If we abide in Him, in His word, and in His love, we will love one another. We not only love HIM because He first loved us, but we love OTHERS because He first loved us (I John 4:19-20).

(Vs. 18) The "world" here is not only the secular, evil world but the religious world as well. The disciples had experienced the hatred of the Pharisees, the Saducees, and the Sanhedrin. He is saying that after He is gone, this hatred will be vented upon them. The disciples of Christ are hated because they are not of the world and because they belong to the One Whom the world hates. Men do not hate their gods nor the god THEY CALL "Jehovah," but they hate the living God Who is revealed in Jesus Christ and in the Word! (John 1:10-11, 5:16, 7:1, 8:59.)

(Vs. 19) Believers are IN the world but NOT OF the world (John 17:14). Believers are different from the world in character, attitude, principle, affections, and objectives. If they were like the world in these things, the world would love them; for everyone loves those who are like them. But Christ said, "I have chosen you out from among the world to know Me, to love Me, to walk in My word, to do My will; therefore, the world will hate 'you just as they hate' Me and My words" (II Tim. 3:12: Phil. 1:29). The believer's very existence, manner of life, and gospel message condemn the world.

(Vs. 20) For their further comfort under the hatred of the world, He reminds them of a saying He used before to teach them humility, self-denial, and brotherly love. "The servant is not greater than His Lord" (John 13:16). We are infinitely less deserving and lower than our Lord; so if they have persecuted Him, why should we hope to escape? "If they are inclined of the Spirit to receive My word, they will receive and keep your words, which are but My words preached by you" (Luke 10:16).

(Vs. 21) All of the hatred, persecution, and evil done to believers is "for My name's sake" or BECAUSE OF ME! "You are called by My name, and you call upon My name. You love Me, confess Me to be the Messiah and Redeemer, and preach to others My gospel of free and sovereign grace. Therefore, their hatred for me compels them to hate and persecute you. You have no cause to be ashamed, but you have cause to rejoice (Matt. 5:10-12). Ail of this the world does because they know not My Father Who sent Me" (John 8:19, 42. 54-55).

(Vs. 22) The sin Christ speaks of here is the sin of Israel and the religious Jews in rejecting the Messiah sent to them (Acts 3:25-26; John 1:11). If He had not come in His incarnation, in fulfillment of all their law and prophets, and with undeniable proof of His person, they would not be under such strong judgment for their particular sin; but He has come and they have no excuse (Isa. 53:1-3; Rom. 11:7-10).

(Vs. 23) It is a common error in this world that many pretend to know, love, and worship God while they reject and despise the Lord Jesus Christ. This is impossible! Whoever hates Him that is sent, hates also Him that sent Him. God the Father and Christ are ONE (John 10:30, 5:23). The hatred of the world is toward the Father, the Son, and all who love Him.

(Vs. 24) In Verse 22 our Lord spoke about His WORDS, which they heard and despised; now He refers to the supernatural and miraculous WORKS, which He did. Surely the hatred of these religious Jews is inexcusable. They have both seen and heard (John 5:31-40); they have had plainly revealed to them that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Their sin of unbelief is further aggravated and terrible in the light of such revelations.

(Vs. 25) This hatred and rejection was prophesied by David in Psalm 35:19 and is the means by which God fulfilled His redemptive work. The hatred of men must result in the crucifixion of Christ in order that His people may be saved (Acts 2:23, 36; Acts 4:27-28); yet the guilt rests on men, for they did what they wanted to do. Nothing in Him gave them cause for this hatred; the evil was in themselves.

(Vs. 26) "But when the Holy Spirit is come, He shall bring all My words to your remembrance; He shall take the things of Mine" (wisdom, righteousness, justification, redemption, substitution, satisfaction, eternal life) "and show them to you? He will not glorify Himself, speak of Himself, magnify His gifts, nor call attention to Himself. He shall testify of Me and He shall glorify Me! (John 16:13-15.)

(Vs. 27) The apostles and those believers who follow the apostles shall testify, witness, and preach of Christ. He speaks especially here to the eleven who had been with Him from the beginning (Acts 1:8; Heb. 2:3-4). But all of the elect love Christ and love to bear witness of Him (Acts 8:4; II Tim. 4:2).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.