Another reason why the world rejects Christians is; we are identified with Christ.
In John 15:20 Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
Jesus calls His disciples to “remember” that they will follow in His footsteps. As followers of Jesus, we can’t expect to have an easier time than He did. When our lives truly reflect His character and calling, we will experience either rejection or acceptance from people around us.
As Paul said, we will smell either as the aroma of death or life: “…….The Good News is like a sweet smell to those who hear it. We are a sweet smell of Christ that reaches up to God. It reaches out to those who are being saved from the punishment of sin and to those who are still lost in sin. It is the smell of death to those who are lost in sin. It is the smell of life to those who are being saved from the punishment of sin. Who is able for such a work?” (2 Cor. 2:14-16 NLV).
For most people, we will be the aroma of death. The world hates those who point out sin.
Christians are and must be the essence of Christ to the world.
Nevertheless, there will always be a remnant that loves Jesus and will love us.
I want to make a quick point here that some Christians assume they are being persecuted for Christ, when in reality they are just a “sanctimonious-Christian” who invites persecution by being obnoxious, know-it-all, offensive, selfish and argumentative. We need to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to be angry (Jas 1:19).
We need to truly learn to listen and not interrupt people. We need to talk less. We must especially avoid becoming belligerent with people. Many Christians are not sensitive or respectful of others feelings and time. Therefore, we bring on a lot of our own persecution.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking about disciples who are persecuted for His name not for their ego.
Another reason why the world rejects Christians is they do not know God. In John 15:21 Jesus said, “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”
The world will persecute Christians because they do not know God.
There is a huge difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
Our persecutors do not know the one true God. They persecute us on account of their hatred of Christ. Jesus is saying, “Don’t take it personally—persecution is not your fault! Persecution is ultimately directed against Me.”
Instead of becoming angry with unbelievers, we need to pray that we would have compassion for them. Do you realize that many unbelievers have never read the Bible? Many unbelievers don’t even own a Bible.
Do you understand that many people only know the name of Jesus Christ as a curse word?
Do you know that your neighbor, classmate, and coworker may never have heard a clear presentation of the gospel?
Although the world may choose to reject Jesus, we are accountable to share Christ with them. Sadly, many Christians tend to verbally chastise unbelievers for godless living and then look the other way when believers are guilty of godless living. This is completely backwards. Unbelievers are not held to the same standard that Christians are.
The world does not want the church to judge them; the world wants the church to judge their own.
Having mentioned the world’s lack of knowledge about God, Jesus spends the next four verses explaining why the world does not know God.
In John 15:22-23 Jesus argues that the world is guilty because they have rejected His words. Jesus puts it like this: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.”
Jesus is not saying that men and women would have been innocent if He had not come or spoken to them. The world was already sinful and rebellious before He appeared in the manger at Bethlehem. Christ’s coming highlighted sin in human hearts; He pointed it out so people had less of an argument to claim ignorance.
Therefore, to reject Christ and His words brings greater condemnation. Ever since the fall of man, the world has been sinning against Light, but never had the world sinned against so much Light! The world will be robbed of its excuses when it confronts Jesus on Judgment Day.