John 15:16-20
John 15:16 (KJB)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Chosen - Select or elect
Ordained - To set, place or put (same word used for “lay down” in verse 13)
Remain - Be permanent, endure, last, or continue
In the first part of this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ is telling His disciples that they did not choose Him but just the opposite, that He chose them. The word “chosen” means that the Lord Jesus Christ determined who His disciples were going to be. Jesus did not walk up to the disciples and say to them, “Would you like to make me your savior since I have a wonderful plan for your life?” The Lord Jesus walked up to those who were named before the foundation of the world and commanded them to follow Him.
Simon and Andrew
(Mat 4:18-19 KJV) And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. {19} And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
(Mat 9:9 KJV) And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
(John 1:43 KJV) The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
In the calling of these four disciples, we do not read anywhere where they were asked by Jesus to give Him permission to be their Lord, as we hear so often today by preachers that man has the ability to “make” Jesus their Savior. That is the height of man’s arrogance and pride to think that they have the authority to command Jesus and give Him permission to do anything. They forget that we are the clay and Jesus is the potter. Before a person is saved, they are spiritually dead and totally incapable of making any decision for Christ. Christ made the decision for His disciples and He makes the decision for us if our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
After Jesus calls His disciples, He the tells them that He ordains them to bring forth fruit. This ordination has nothing to do with the ordaining of a pastor in a church. This is the ordination given to every believer. The word “ordain” means to “appoint or place.” What Jesus is stating is that the ministry of the disciples and where they will minister will be determined by Jesus Himself. When any believer is called and chosen to salvation, they live in some part of the world and the place where they become saved is their present mission field. They have been placed there or ordained for that particular place and God may choose to move them around or send them to a different part of the world. If the Lord places no such calling on our lives, then we are to minister right where we are and we are never to think that God does not look favorably on our ministries because they are local. Souls are souls no matter what race of people we minister among.
Let us say you are born in Brooklyn but you have an interest in working with the American Indians in Arizona. If God does not open the door, then we do not open it ourselves. One of the greatest mistakes that many Christians make is that they believe that they plan their ministries but as we saw in this verse, that it is Jesus who ordains or places people where He wants them to minister. Now just a personal testimony. In the past I had applied to three different missionary organizations and was rejected by all three. So in 1996 I began to minister on the internet while simultaneously doing itinerant preaching and writing. In 2003 I became disabled so I could no longer do any preaching but I was able to continue the writing ministry on line. I am writing the commentary on this verse on September 29, 2010. From October 2009 to today, my website stats show: 556,279 unique visitors; 1,164,630 page views; and 1,916,434 hits. Could I have reached this many people in one year if I took on a missionary field which would have its limits? So we never know what God is planning for us or where He will place us in ministry. When I first became disabled I was discouraged because I had a good preaching and teaching ministry. As I look back now, could I have reached that many people in one year with a church to church ministry?
In the second half of the verse we read that Jesus speaks about the ordained disciple asking the Father for whatever is needed to perform ministry in the name of Jesus. We will receive what we ask for if it is in harmony with the will of God for the particular ministry which we have been ordained to. The principle here is that if God sends us to minister whether local or to another field, then He will supply what we need to properly do that ministry. Asking and receiving is not thinking what we need but what God knows we need.
John 15:17 (KJB)
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Here Jesus is once again emphasizing that the ministry of the disciples and every believer be bathed in sacrificial love. He has already given them examples throughout His ministry. He is making sacrificial love a command and not an option. Just like the Great Commission is not an option but a command. Sacrificial love is not something we choose to do because of our naturally selfish human nature. Many people go into marriage with the idea of what they can get from it rather than what they can do to for the other person thus strengthening that marriage.
John 15:18 (KJB)
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Hate - Detest, abhor, prefer against
Jesus now warns His disciples and all believers that there will be those in this world and it will be the overwhelming majority that will hate them. The true believer is the representative for Christ on this earth and because man in his true hatred for God, will reject the message of salvation and will choose to have religion their way and not God’s way. Man’s hatred is really against the Lord Jesus Christ because Christianity is the very exclusive way to God. (John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Man has created religions and re-created God according to their religions and will accept any religion on earth. When Jesus states and the believers teach that Jesus is the only way, the hostility in man begins to rise and that will foment persecution. The Roman Empire had ten major persecutions against Christians in the first 300 years and the Roman Catholic Church persecuted Christians during the Middle Ages and then with the birth of Communism, it too persecuted Christians and the remaining communist countries are still persecuting Christians. Jesus is telling the disciples that just as He ran into opposition, they too will experience opposition. He wants them to know that they are not the focus of the hatred of the world but the Lord Jesus Christ is. He tells them that He was hated before they were and since they represent Him, they too will be hated.
John 15:19 (KJB)
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Here Jesus gives them the reason why they will be hated by the world. First of all, if the disciples were of the world, that is, unsaved as the rest of the world is, there would be no conflict of philosophy. Those who are unsaved will adhere perfectly to the world and all it systems without any regard for the laws which God has laid down such as thou shalt not kill, nor commit adultery, etc. The world marches to its own satanic system and pays no attention to the laws of God. If the disciples were gamblers, drinkers, party people, the world will love them and will always have a place for them.
Secondly Jesus tells that that since they have been chosen out of the world and are born again unto God and righteousness, the world will hate them because they no longer partake of the system of the world and even condemn its results. So the world hates anyone who will come to them and tell them they are wrong and are on a slippery path to hell. The world hates these Christians who also tell them their religious systems are also failures. So with the Christian condemning the world’s unrighteousness and its false religions, it will breed hatred toward those in Christ. We tell the world the truth because many of us who were saved a little later in life had fallen for many of the schemes of the world and know full well their consequences are destructive, yet, we tell them the truth and they believe they are impervious to destruction, another tenet of the pride of man.
John 15:20 (KJB)
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Here Jesus is telling them plainly that if the world has the audacity to attack the Lord of the universe, those who are His disciples and followers will also be persecuted by the same mindset where ever they will be on this earth. Then there will be those who will become saved by hearing the preaching of the Gospel and Jesus tells them that there were those who kept His word and there will be those who will keep the word of the disciple and all the true believers down through history. Basically, He is arming them with the knowledge that when they go into the world to preach, there will be some who will become saved but there will be those who do not want the Gospel and will persecute the believers. Persecution is an expected enemy which every believer will face.