Disciple: Treated like Jesus
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. – John 15:18-21
What does it mean to be a disciple? This is a question we discuss frequently in the Christian world. Many answers we hear are: to love people, to obey God, to care for the widow and the orphan, to evangelize, etc. While all of these are true, they aren’t the antithesis of the Christian life. They can all be wrapped up into what it truly means to be a disciple: to be like Jesus. A disciple is someone who follows a teacher or leader, doing what they do, speaking how they speak, and thinking how they think. So to be a disciple is to be like Jesus, doing what He does, speaking how He speaks, and thinking how He thinks.
This seems pretty self-explanatory. Yet, there are often implications to being like Jesus that we do not take into account. One of the most painful and sacrificial implications of being like Jesus comes from John 15. Christ has chosen us out of the world that we were born into. We have been separated and set apart from the world and the people around us, and called to be like Jesus. Of course this brings enormous and unfathomable benefits, but the world around us notices when we are different. In the same way that the world hated Jesus, to the point of death, for being radically different, the world may hate us for being different, like Jesus.
This passage goes on to say that everything which had been done to Jesus will be done to us. If Jesus was persecuted, we will be persecuted for His namesake. All of this takes place because we are joined to Christ. We bear his reputation, whether it is perceived as good or bad. We bear his sufferings and persecution. Yet, as we bear all that is His, we must take heart, because we haven’t forgotten His Sonship to the Father and His heirship regarding the kingdom of God, both of which we also bear completely.
Action Step: Read 1 Peter 4:12-16. Does your Christlikeness set you apart from the world around you? If so, how do these verses help you to rejoice in the moments that your Christlikeness makes you feel different? If not, how do these verses challenge you to be more like Jesus?