John 15:18–16:4a: The Enemies of Jesus
The point of Jesus’ allegory of the vine in John 15:1–17 is that Jesus will produce the fruit of love in his people. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that his people will experience love from all sides. While those in the household of God must seek to love one another, the reaction of the world to Christians will not be one of love. Quite the opposite, for the world will hate Christians precisely because Christians resemble Jesus.
Jesus, though, will not leave his disciples to fend for themselves. In John 15:18–16:4a, Jesus prepares his disciples for the hatred that they will face so that they will not be surprised by the violent reaction of the world—and so that they will not give up when the hatred of the world rages at its strongest. Beyond simply telling his disciples about what dangers they face, Jesus also tells more about the help that he will give them after his departure. Here we learn that Jesus sends his Spirit to keep us from falling away.
1. Why does the world hate Christians? Does it help for Jesus to explain the hatred of the world as he does in this passage? How does this prepare us for the hatred coming toward us?
2. Why does the Holy Spirit need to bear witness about Jesus? How important does this work of bearing witness to Jesus seem to us? How does the sending of the Holy Spirit keep us from falling away from Jesus? What hope would we have if Jesus finished his work of redemption (living, dying, rising again, and ascending to the Father), gave us the Scriptures, but did not send his Holy Spirit?
3. How does the Spirit’s work of bearing witness relate to the work of the first disciples to bear witness? How does the work of the first disciples to bear witness relate to our work of bearing witness? What does it mean for us to bear witness to Jesus today?
4. What could faithfulness cost you? How do you prepare for the possible cost? What does Jesus give you to prevent you from falling away? What confidence do you have that the powers of this age have no ultimate power over you?