The Upper Room Discourse 39 Rabbi Michael Weiner
John 15:20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
These words are echoing in my ears, “A servant is not greater than his master.” We want to take offense and cry (euphemistic for complain) when we are treated unfairly by our enemies. We must remember that we serve the Lord, Who was treated more unfairly than anyone in history. Why do I say that? Because He alone is perfect and without fault. Yet, He was crucified.
The entirety of the Upper Room Discourse is so dense with profound thought and teaching. Each verse is a treasure trove in itself. Isaiah 28:9a,10 To whom will He teach knowledge? … For it must be ‘precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’
This is not a savory thought, and when they were witnessing to you (whoever “they” were) they probably didn’t talk much about the persecution to come. 2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted. But (there is always a “but” isn’t there), wait! There is a promised result.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So then, rather than fear the promised persecution, we should welcome and embrace it. Yeshua is reminding us that the only way to obtain the blessing that follows persecution is to endure persecution. We live in a litigious and accusatory society, but the kingdom of God is not like that.
Luke 6:35-37 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of Elyon, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil ones. Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate to you. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Being compassionate and forgiving in the face of hate and persecution has the power to turn the world upside down, which is exactly what Yeshua did. And this, as His servants, is our assignment too. Pray that the Lord will give us the courage and strength to love our enemies. It won’t be easy, but by grace it is possible.