The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 15:17-25 Jesus draws a stark contrast between the Christians and what he calls “the world.” We often place negative connotations on “the world.” While the term is frequently used in a positive sense, such as when God loves “the world” in John 3:16, here it is portrayed in a negative light. The world is placed in contrast to Christians.
Christians are to love one another. They are to value God’s commands. They are treated, in some very real ways, as Jesus himself was treated.
The implications of this treatment are very important. Jesus points out that people hated him because they rejected the word of the Father, which called them to trust him. The world rejects Christians for the same reason. It simply seems unreasonable to claim that God has a good and pleasing plan for his people, that he has chosen people, and that he separates right and wrong. It is offensive to people that God should be able to give an eternal command which would override our own agency, our own wisdom. Who does God think he is?
A large part of the problem that the world has with Christians is that Christians do tend to act as though God is God and that humans are not. We tend to hold to the moral absolutes which are revealed in Scripture. We tend to act in ways which defy the logic of a frankly fallen world.
Lord, have mercy on your people. Let the offense in this world be the offense that comes from being too like you.
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