Why The World Hates Jesus
“but [the world] hates me because I testify concerning it that its works are evil.”
– John 7:7
Very clear, very straightforward, very telling. The world hates the true Christ (and God in Him) why? Jesus says it comes down to the fact that He testifies to the world that its works are evil. This seems to echo the same teaching in John 3:19-20 where we read:
The light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
In other words, the thing that stirs up hatred in the human soul for the light—that is, for God as He is manifest in Jesus Christ—is that the light exposes their works as evil / testifies that their works are evil. The world cannot come to Christ while holding onto its “works,” that is, its ways, its lifestyle….The world cannot come to Christ while still maintaining that what comes out of its heart is anything other than absolute wickedness deserving damnation……that is what the light of Christ reveals about us…..it reveals that our works—which flow from our heart—are evil, and that we too are therefore evil. This witness is what causes the world to hate Christ.
This is a warning to teachers of the gospel….it is a warning to all who commend Christ…..He cannot be revealed in His beauty unless we affirm with our Lord that the natural human being (ourselves included) is wicked and does evil. That is the unpopular teaching, that is the teaching that causes the unregenerate heart to seethe against the light and withdraw into the shadow.
And how does Jesus testify that our works are evil? Certainly in the synoptic gospel’s Jesus clear moral teaching is a testimony that the natural human heart is wicked…But how does He do this in John’s gospel? Well, I think simply by being the “light” He exposes our works as evil. Simply by being the one in whom we see and know our God, we are revealed as wicked…..I will just apply this to the cross briefly….
First, though this is not explicit in the fourth gospel, I think we are right in concluding that the crucified Christ is the image of what our natural hearts would do to God if given the freedom and power…..the crucified Lord is not merely the work of the Jews or the Romans….this is the work of ALL humanity….this is what ALL of our hands have done, this is what ALL of our un-regenerate hearts would see done to our God if His claims were made clear and our natural will was given the power and freedom to act…..and so the form of the crucified Lord is the supreme condemnation of our natural selves since it is the supreme instance of how far our wickedness would go……it is a glimpse of what we would do, if all inhibitions were removed (not unlike the glimpse of Bilbo as a Gollum like creature in The Fellowship of The Ring)
But secondly, Christ lifted up as the serpent is lifted up of the image of our curse….the image of the curse that has been poured out on us because of our sin (this is the case for the bronze serpent in Numbers 21….it is an image of the punishment poured out on the people b/c of their sin….and I’m applying that to the crucified Christ). Which means, the form we meet suspended on the tree is the form of OUR curse…..this is what is due to US for our rebellion, this is what is due to US for our evil works…..what Christ becomes on the cross is what we ought justly to become because of our wickedness…..And so, in this way also, the crucified Lord reveals the depths of our depravity…..reveals us to be wicked.
Lastly, at the cross we see the heart of God, the heart of Holiness, the heart of Righteousness….and what do we see? Love to God that receives damnation itself in loving obedience….and love to neighbor—indeed, to seething enemy—that endures damnation itself that they might live…….THAT is holiness. THAT is fulfilling the law….Love of God and love of neighbor to such a degree. THAT is the heart of the Holy One…..and in light of that Love, WE are condemned as loveless, we are condemned as woefully out of step with the heart of reality…..so, the Love of God in Christ at the cross is the Light of God manifest that exposes the ugliness of our own souls in light of the beauty of His…..
Christ is the Light who exposes our hearts…..He—in His person and work—bears witness that our works are evil…..and apart from Grace, this witness will kindle hatred in our hearts…..under grace, though, it humbles and brings us to a place of child-like receiving of all that God is for us in Him……may that be the case for many!