18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause. John 15:18-25, NRSV
Chapter 15 of the Book of John has three main teachings, all of which are about relationships. The first two parts of this chapter can be summarized in the two greatest commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39, NRSV) The third relationship, the way the world will treat Jesus’ followers.
We often think that we live in a world that is different from biblical times. We often think that we have advanced so much as human beings. As human beings, we have advanced technologically, but we still treat the poor and helpless as the “other” so that we are justified in our disregard for them. When Jesus speaks of followers, He means discipleship. Remember in Jesus’ time, a disciple meant that a person followed the master or founder’s life and teachings. “It was a deliberate apprenticeship which made the fully formed disciple a living copy of the master.” In order to be a living copy of the master or founder you will have to follow Jesus’ core mission found in Luke 4:18-19, “ . . . because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
When Jesus and the disciples speak of the world, they are also talking about power structures and the powerful that control our existence and how we perceive the world. When Jesus says, “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.” (18-19) He is speaking about the Jewish religious power structure or establishment who hated him because He wanted people to be free of that system of tradition and rules that made people captive and kept them oppressed, but did not give them a true understanding of God’s love. The Jewish power structure persecuted Jesus because they knew the traditions and rules that they foisted upon the people is what kept them in power and Jesus threatened that power structure. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
Not only did Jesus threaten the religious power structure’s hold over the people, but showed these same persons in power who and what they really were. In biblical times, the religious leaders had control over every facet of Jewish life so they were very powerful. Living as a Jew was a twenty-four (24) hour way of life. Jesus’ mission as stated in Luke 4:18-19, was not only literal, but figurative also. The religious power structure way of control over the people was keeping the people blind to God’s true love. Jesus was showing them the error of their ways or telling the powerful that they were wrong. The powerful do not want to be told they are wrong. The powerful do not want to be told they are treating the poor and powerless wrongly. For them, Jesus was pointing them out and that was an uncomfortable place to be taken off their holy perches. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.” (22-24)
Jesus was also speaking of the ultimate physical rulers of the day, the Roman power structure. Like the Jewish religious power structure they treated the poor and powerless wrongly. The religious power structure of today is often like the Jewish religious power structure of Jesus’ day, it is intertwined with the governmental power structure. It (the religious power structure) perpetuates and supports the powerful and sometimes even takes on the ways of the powerful that treats the poor and powerless wrongly. Like the Jewish power structure of Jesus’ day, today’s religious power structure sometimes fails in its duty to show and give a true understanding of God’s love. When we as a true follower of Jesus sets the oppressed free, give sight to the blind, give the good news of Jesus Christ, or actually love and help the poor and powerless, then Jesus’ warning, the world may hate us will come true.
 Revised Standard Version from Biblegateway.com
 Taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciple_(Christianity)