Read John 15:18-25
In the preceding verse (Jn 15:17), Jesus reiterates to the disciples his command that they love each other. This mutual love is all the more important given Jesus’ description of their relationship to the world. John commonly uses the word “world” (_kosmos_ in Greek) to refer to the “created moral order in active rebellion against God” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1991, p. 525). How does Jesus contrast the world and the disciples? In what ways do you feel you do not belong to this world?
Jesus makes it very clear that though the world will persecute his followers, it is actually Jesus they are rejecting. What is it about Jesus that people in the 21st century do not like? Have you experienced hatred or rejection for being a Christian in your family? The classroom? Your workplace? If so, what has been your experience and how have you responded?
Jesus reminds the disciples that “no servant is greater than his master” (Jn 13:16). They are expected to serve one another, following his example, but also to accept persecution because of him – even if there is no good reason for it (vs 25). It should not take us by surprise.
Thank God for the privilege of being identified with Jesus, even when it’s difficult. Ask him to help you find ways of being in the world but not belonging to it.