Hated Without Cause
“But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:25).
When we think about the sin of our fallen race, we ought always to think of it in terms of deicide. Here is the essence of sin. It is the murder of God! Man, because of his hatred for his Creator, nailed the Son of God to a cross and threw a hellish party as they watched him die! That is the master crime of hell-bent humanity, the pinnacle of man’s guilt. Sin out did itself when it slew the Lord of glory who came on earth to die in the place of fallen men. Never does sin appear so exceedingly sinful as when we see it nailing the Lamb of God to the cursed tree, whom it hated without a cause!
Perfect, but Hated
Our Lord Jesus here refers us to two verses in the Psalms (Ps. 35:19; 69:4), affirming plainly that the Psalms, though written by men from their own experiences, were written by divine inspiration as prophecies of our Savior. From the time that he entered into this world, until the hour that he was hanged upon the tree, the Son of God was the constant, unceasing object of man’s cruel hatred. No human being was ever so lovely as our Savior. It would seem almost impossible not to love him. Yet, lovely, loving, and loveable as he was, — “Yea, he is altogether lovely!” — no creature ever endured such a relentless hatred. As soon as he was born, Herod sought to kill him. And that was just the beginning. All the days of his life, he was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
Without a Cause
Anyone who bothers to read history, let alone the Word of God, knows that the Lord Jesus was the object of man’s cruel hatred. But why did they hate him? They had no reason. Yet, three times we read, “They hated me without a cause.” There is nothing that can be, or ever has been, pointed to in the life of our Redeemer that was even objectionable, let alone a cause for hatred. Our Lord Jesus was perfect in his character. In his conduct, he was without flaw. His doctrine was pure and good. The law of God he upheld, obeyed, and exemplified is, in the opinion of all sane men, good. The doctrine he taught was pure doctrine. All his works were works of mercy. His kindness, sympathy, and tenderness were obvious to all.
Yet, though there was no cause for it, the Lord of Glory was hated of all men in this world, and still is. The cause of man’s hatred for Christ was and is altogether in himself. Here is the cause of man’s hatred for Christ. — “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Men hated him without a cause, because they hate God who sent him, and everything about the Lord Jesus stirred man’s hatred for God against him.
“They hated me without a cause.”
It is obvious that all men hated the Lord Jesus Christ while he walked on the earth. And it is obvious to all who know anything about human depravity and understand the teaching of Holy Scripture, that all men by nature hate him still. All men hated him then for the very same reason that he is hated now: “because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
People did not hate him because he lived more uprightly than they, but because of the gospel he preached. Their hatred against him was and is drawn forth and made manifest by the doctrine he taught.
When our Savior declared himself to be God, one with the Father and equal to the Father, they took up stones to kill him (John 10:25-33). When he exposed the evil of their hearts and the hypocrisy of their religion, they were enraged (Mark 7:20-23; Luke 16:15; John 8:40). When the Lord Jesus openly proclaimed God’s sovereignty in the exercise of his mercy and grace, they tried to murder him (Luke 4:25-32). When he preached redemption, righteousness, and salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in him alone, the multitudes who followed him for the loaves and fishes, refusing to hear such doctrine, walked away (John 6:37-40, 44-45, 47-51, 53, 61-65).
The Lord Jesus was and is hated by men because he forgave, and still forgives, sinners of their sins, freely and fully, while refusing to accept and honor their works of righteousness (Rom. 9:31-10:4). For all these things they hated him. Yet, had they believed him, the gospel he preached would have saved them (Matt. 11:25-30).
All this, our Savior tells us, came to pass that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, according to our God’s sovereign, eternal purpose of grace toward his elect. The hatred of men for the Son of God resulted in him being crucified upon the cursed tree as our Substitute, according to the purpose of God (Acts 2:23, 36; Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 8:28-30). Yet, the guilt was theirs. They did exactly what they wanted to do. Nothing in him gave them cause for their hatred. The evil was altogether in them. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”
Do you hate him, or do you love him? If you refuse to trust him, if you refuse to bow to him and believe him, your unbelief reveals your hatred for the Son of God (1 John 5:10). If you trust him, your faith in him causes you to love him. — “Unto you, therefore, which believe, he is precious.” — “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” — “We love him, because he first loved us.” Believing him, trusting him, loving him, I am confident that he loves me even as he is loved by his Father, with an everlasting love. And his love for me casts out all fear!