“But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ ” ( John 15:25 NAS)
Jesus, knowing the hour of His crucifixion was fast approaching, sought to prepare His apostles for events and circumstances that would come upon them after His exodus from the earth.
Pulling no punches, He told them the world would persecute and hate them, just as the religious leaders of Israel had come to hate Him. The hate they would have towards Jesus was that which was without basis or cause. So the Lord quoted a verse which King David was moved by the Spirit to utter that the apostles would surely have been familiar with from the scroll of Psalms. In our Bible, this quote is found in chapter sixty-nine, verse four. It reads, “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, what I did not steal, I then have to restore.” (NAS) If you know the story of King David in the Old Testament, you know he bore the brunt of unwarranted hatred from Saul and his cronies as well as his own son Absalom and his agents. In both cases David had many enemies imbued with power by those in authority who sought to destroy him. Like most everything in the Old Testament which serves as a shadow of things concerning Christ and the church in the New Testament, David serves as a type of Jesus Christ. (Just a little FYI, portions of Psalm 69 are quoted seven times in the New Testament) The last part of verse four in the psalm seems to indicate that David’s enemies considered what he had obtained, he had secured through robbery or unjust means. Just as a robber would have to surrender the stolen goods back to the rightful owner, so David was expected to give up what they deemed wasn’t rightfully his. In the case of both Saul and Absalom they knew the character and motives of David, that His were pure and merciful where both were concerned. Yet, they hated David for being who he was and for the position God had ordained him to hold. David relinquished his rightful place as king even when he had been anointed as king through the prophet of God, Samuel. To keep the peace in Israel, he willingly surrendered his position to both Saul and Absalom….”what I did not steal, I then have to restore.” Let’s turn our attention now to Jesus Christ. Can we not see the similarity here in the plight of David and that of our Lord? Jesus came as the Great King to deliver God’s people from bondage. He was announced as the Messiah, the Deliverer, by John the Immerser and anointed by God. What had He done to provoke their ire? Healed the lame, raised the dead, made the blind to see and told the truth. Pure and merciful, intent on healing and leading the people out of darkness and into the spiritual light of liberty, He was hated by the religious leaders of His day because He exposed them for what they were, and they saw Him as nothing but a threat to their lust for power and intention to hold onto it. They acted just like their spiritual predecessor, Saul, who several times hunted down David in trying to seize him and kill Him. To them, Jesus was nothing more than a robber who had come to take away their place and their nation. (John 11:49-50) These were powerful enemies, skillful manipulators, and able to coerce the Romans into doing their dirty deed. Sadly, within a few short hours, the multitudes, akin to the hairs upon His head, would wrongfully become His enemies, being turned against Him when He didn’t meet their expectations as a physical deliverer from the chains of Roman rule. But, praise God, this was all part of His plan! What Jesus did not steal, He was more than willing to restore. Satan is the master thief who “comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy..” (John 10:10) Satan, from the beginning in the garden, has turned mankind against God by manipulating our own selfish desires to be our own ruler, to be our own God, thereby enslaving us to sin and resenting God when our sin is exposed. In so doing, Satan made us wrongfully enemies of God by our twisted perceptions. In order to restore us to God, Jesus had to give up His seat in heaven which was rightfully His, and come to earth to pay the price for sin. He didn’t steal the glory from God, we did. But praise God that Jesus was willing to give Himself up (and His position) and pay the price to bring peace and restore that relationship!