Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.1 John 3:13(NASB)
The Lord Jesus was sent to earth to redeem a fallen race of sinners who were dead in trespasses and sin, and enslaved by Satan, sin, death, and hell. Sin had alienated the entire human race from God and placed every one of us under His eternal condemnation. Man was without hope in the world, walking according to the ways of this world and under the power of Satan - the prince of the power of the air whose influence permeates every aspect of life around us.
And Jesus, Who is the Son of God and God, the Son came to rescue us from and restore us back into fellowship with Himself. Jesus is the Creator of the universe Who was born into the human race to deliver us from Satan's demonic control and reclaim mankind's rightful authority over the world. He came with healing in His wings to rescue the perishing, to restore the sick, and to heal the broken-hearted. He came to reconcile man back to God and restore us into fellowship with Himself - but the astonishing thing is that He was despised and rejected by those He came to save.
When Adam disobeyed God and fell in the garden, the enemy of men's soul claimed the dominion over the earth that God had entrusted to mankind. But Jesus was sent by God to rescue humanity and reclaim rightful authority over the world, from this illegitimate ruler. No wonder Satan and his satanic world system hated the Lord Jesus when He came to earth as the promised Saviour... and as those who are His followers, we should not be surprised that the same enemy of God is the enemy of humanity who hates the race that was made in God's image - and especially the souls that have placed their eternal trust in His redeeming work on the Cross.
Jesus told us many times that we would be hated by the world and persecuted because we belonged to Him: "You will be hated by everyone because of your association with Me," he told us in the Gospels, "You will be hated by everyone because of My name." And in this verse, John restates this truth to his brethren: "Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hates you," reminding us that from the very beginning those in step with this satanic world system have hated those that trust in God's Word - citing Cain who slew his brother as an example: "Cain, who was of the evil one," John reminds them, "slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s deeds were righteous."
As Christians, we should not be surprised when we are hated by those in this satanic world system who are under the evil influence of Satan and his minions. In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus gave many examples of the world's reaction to those that are enslaved by evil, because the thoughts of their hearts are only evil continuously. Those that recognise their sinfulness, mourn over their lack of virtue, hunger after righteousness, and seek to demonstrate mercy to others, are those who are rejecting the ungodly philosophies of the world and will discover that they are hated because they are in Christ and swimming against the tide of ungodliness by challenging the status quo.
It should not be a source of surprise that we who follow Christ are despised and rejected. We should not be astonished that we are hated by the world because we do not adopt their ungodly belief system. We need to remember that throughout the history of the world, prophets of God, men of faith, and those who follow the Truth of God's Word were insulted, persecuted, hated, and rejected - just as Jesus was insulted, persecuted, hated, rejected, and even killed.
We should have pity for those that hate us because earlier in the passage, we are reminded that those that continue to be entrapped by Satan in this fallen world system do not have the spiritual capacity to know God and the love of God Who sent His Son to die to pay the price for their sin. This is because they have rejected the truth and do not know or understand the depths of the riches of His great love towards us, in that while we were sinners Christ died for US - so that we might LIVE.
Those who hate and reject us are doing so because they have rejected God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Their whole philosophy of life is in rebellion against God, for, like Cain, they have freely chosen to reject the Word of Truth and to remain under Satan's authority and enslaved by their old, fallen sinful nature which can never please the Lord. And just as they hated Christ they will also hate us... therefore none of us should be surprised if the world hates us. But their hatred of us can be translated into prayers of intercession for them that God, in His grace, would meet them at their point of need and convict them of the need of a Saviour and the salvation that He offers freely and without charge.
It is not God's will that any should perish but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. So let us not be surprised if the world hates us, but let us pray for those who are lost in their sin and at enmity with God and pray that they open their hearts to Jesus and acknowledge Him as their Saviour and Lord.
Heavenly Father, as I walk through this life toward my heavenly home, I pray that I would be a worthy ambassador for Christ, reflecting His love and truth to all I meet. Help me not to be surprised when I receive hatred from the world, knowing that the world hated Christ first, but may I rest in Your love, walk in the truth of Your Word, and finish the work You have for me on the earth before You call me home. In Jesus' name, AMEN.