“If the world hates you, know that it hated Me first” (Jesus in John 15:18).
Commenting on this verse, J.C. Ryle says that “true Christians must expect to meet in this world – hatred and persecution.” He further added:
Facts, painful facts in every age, supply abundant proof that our Lord’s warning was not without cause. Persecution was the lot of the Apostles and their companions wherever they went. Not more than one or two of them died quietly in his bed. Persecution has been the lot of true believers throughout the eighteen centuries of history. The doings of Roman Emperors and Roman Popes, the Spanish Inquisition, the martyrdoms of Queen Mary’s reign, all tell the same story. Persecution os the lot of all really godly people at this very day. Ridicule, mockery, slander, misrepresentations still show the feeling of unconverted people against the true Christian. As it was in Paul’s day, so it is now. In public and in private, at school and at college, at home and abroad, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Mere churchmanship and outward profession are a cheap religion, of course, and cost a man nothing. But real vital Christianity will always bring with it a cross.
To know and understand these things is of the utmost importance to our comfort. Nothing is so mischevious as the habit of indulging false expectations. Let us realize that human nature never changes, that the “carnal mind is enmity against God,” and against God’s image in His people. Let us settle it in our minds that no holiness of life or consistency of conduct will ever prevent wicked people hating the servants of Christ, just as they hated their blameless Master. Let us remember these things, and then we shall not be disappointed.