The World’s Hatred – Jn 15
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures[a]: ‘They hated me without cause.’
So, is it worth it? To be hated? To be treated with malice and contempt? I for one believe it is. You can be weak and give up, all races have losers and quitters. Paul likened this life to a race, and I stand to agree.
1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
In this race, the competition is defeat itself. Babe Ruth once said ” You can’t beat an opponent who won’t give up.” Life is tough. It’s full of tragedy and heartache. It’s tiring, it’s wearisome. Most times it is easier to throw in the the towel then it is to use it to wipe the sweat of your brow and push your way through. But I am here to tell you, the prize at the end of the race is so worth it. You aren’t just going for gold, you are going for streets made of gold.
Just as in a real race, the winner obtains a level of authority, don’t believe me? Look at men like Lance Armstrong and Dale Earnhardt Jr. They have the ability to mold and shape the world with their dreams and visions. Often, those with authority fail to use it for good, but it is there. At any time these men can call a press conference and the whole world will hear their words. They can obtain front page news by doing something great or by folly. They have authority.
In this race, Jesus promises us authority.
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
Is it worth it in this life? I think so. In other passages we are told that we have authority over unclean spirits. Combined, these verses tell me that as a follower of Christ, one who is running the race to win it, we have power over natural things like Snakes and scorpions (read Paul’s account of being bitten by a venomous snake in Acts 28). And that we have Authority over ALL the power of the enemy, and unclean spirits; the supernatural realm. Luke concludes by saying, and nothing shall hurt you.
The earthly benefits are vast. Last night my wife and I were lying in bed. She has been suffering from some unknown ailment – we are convinced it’s nothing to worry too much about, so I don’t want to sound dramatic; yet for her, it’s very uncomfortable. Doctors haven’t been able to figure it out, she gets shakes and her heart races. We prayed and nothing seemed to happen. I got up and got her gatorade, because electrolytes seem to help sometimes. I started falling back asleep and her shakes woke me up again. I did what I could to muster up the strength to speak again but this time I changed my tone. I began by praying, “Heavenly Father, I take authority over this thing.” I continued to exercise my authority over this natural sickness, and the supernatural enemy who has placed it on her. Then I thanked God for filling the emptiness with peace. Do you know what happened? It went away
instantly. I started falling asleep again, but I woke myself up and asked her if she thanked Jesus. She said, “yes”, and we both went back to sleep until morning.
You want Authority, start running to win.