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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, April 1, 2007
during the observance of the Lord’s Supper
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

The world hated Christ before it hated true Christians. Dr. Gill said,

They had expressed their hatred, not only in words, calling him a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a sinner, a Samaritan, a madman, one that had a devil, yea, Beelzebub himself, but by deeds; taking up stones to stone him more than once, leading him to the [top] of an hill, in order to cast him down headlong, consulting by various means to take away his life, as Herod did in his infancy; which was done, before they shewed so much hatred toward his disciples; and…reference may be had to the original enmity between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent, mentioned [in] Genesis 3:15, as well as to these instances (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume 8, p. 70, note on John 15:18).

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

That strange hatred toward Jesus continues to this day. I read in an Associated Press news story that a man in New York City unveiled a lifesize chocolate sculpture of Jesus in the nude. Christians made so many phone calls that the ugly statue was removed yesterday, I was told when I phoned the art gallery. Bill Donohue said, “This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever. It is not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing. To choose Holy Week is astounding” (Associated Press, March 30, 2007).

No one would dare to erect a nude statue of Mohammed or Buddha in such an ugly, defamatory way. Such denigration is reserved for Jesus.

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

The Lord’s Supper pictures two things. First, it illustrates the world’s hatred toward Jesus. The bread symbolizes His Body, broken on the Cross. The cup symbolizes His Blood, which was shed there. Yes, the elements of the Lord’s Supper show forth the world’s hatred of Jesus. Christ's enemies were the human instruments through which He was tortured and killed.

But, secondly, the elements of the Lord’s Supper show forth Jesus’ love for sinful man. And this is the greater meaning. He went to the Cross out of His love for sinners, dying there to pay the penalty for man’s sin; shedding His Blood to cleanse man from his sin.

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

Yes, that is true of our Lord’s crucifixion, but it is only half of the truth. The other half, the more important part, is that He laid down His life willingly to save sinners. For Jesus said,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus shed His Blood to cleanse us from sin. In the Lord’s Supper, the bread reminds us of His death, and the cup reminds us of His Blood. The bread and the cup picture His love for sinners, and the sacrifice He made to save us.

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come” (I Corinthians 11:26).

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