We humans tend to believe we are the exception to the rule—whatever the rule might be. A sinner deceives himself by thinking he can sin secretly without consequences, but “do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7). God does not have to force these consequences, but they are inevitable cause-and-effect reactions.
John 15:20 introduces us to another rule of life. We are commanded with the present imperative to “continuously remember that…a slave is not greater than his master.” Likewise, God does not make unbelievers react against believers; rather, their sinful nature produces this hostile reaction. Jesus is warning us not to be disillusioned.
This verse implies that the believer is a “slave” (i.e., “one who is a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other”), and he should never expect to be treated any better than was Jesus, his Master.
Jesus had just elevated the status of the disciples from “servants” to “friends”: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:14).
The difference is that servants had to be told what “[their] master is doing”— that is, the will of God. But when they committed to know what God had revealed and to do whatever His word commanded, they became known as His friends. Now that they knew God’s will, they were accountable to fulfill it, regardless of the risks (Jn 15:18).
Remember that this conversation occurred the evening before His crucifixion: Jesus knew what was going to happen, but His disciples did not.
There would be little glory in being an apostle. Paul said, “For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death” (1 Cor 4:9). They knew what they signed up for and gladly paid the price: “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (Jn 12:24NLT). They had to die to themselves. Are you willing to do the same?
“Lord, I choose to be a friend of Yours unashamedly. I want to live in Your presence and please You more than I please myself.”