17:14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth."
"I have given them Your word" means Jesus has given the disciples heaven's perspective. Every time Jesus demonstrated the heart of God by helping someone that the culture and religious leaders forbade, the disciples stayed with Him. When He crossed the border into Samaria and spoke to the woman who was an outcast even among her own people they stayed with Him. When He turned over the tables in the temple defying both the corruption and authority of the priesthood they stayed with Him. Day by day and act by act He was putting heaven's perspective in their hearts. Eventually it got so bad that they couldn't stay in Jerusalem because the leaders wanted Jesus dead. Still they stayed with Him.
This past week the French authorities have been conducting raids. They have been arresting not only any suspected terrorists but anyone and everyone who has connections to them. It makes sense to be hated for committing such terrible atrocities and it makes sense to speak with anyone and everyone connected to them in an effort to gain as much information as possible.
However Jesus never killed anyone. He in fact did the opposite. He brought life back to dead people. Jesus never hurt anyone. He healed sick people. Jesus never hated anyone. He brought love and hope to those alienated and cast off by their own. So why was Jesus on the most wanted list? Why was He hunted? Why were his disciples hated just by being connected with Him?
These past few days in Canada, a place of peace, freedom, openness, and multiculturalism innocent Muslims, mostly lone women have been insulted, attacked, and mistreated here on Canadian soil by fellow Canadians. Why? Guilty by association. What did these women do wrong? Nothing.
Human nature really makes me sad some days. We react without thinking. We judge without knowledge. We harm without realizing we are becoming what we proclaim to hate.
Why was Jesus so hated for being so good? Because He refused to conform to the norms that governed the culture and religion of the day. He refused to see certain people as less. He refused to allow borders, or colours, or history, or gender, or even religion to affect the value of a person. It was His non conformity that made Him hated. Nothing more and nothing less.
In a world increasingly giving in to fear and hatred prepare to suffer if you do not conform to group thinking. Keep loving no matter what. Keep treating every living soul as equal. Keep mercy and justice for all alive and well in your heart and in your actions. In two simple yet profound words: Follow Jesus.