John 15 starts out with the wonderfully poetic and powerful passage about the vine and the branches. This boils down to remembering your role, God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. God prunes and cares, Jesus is the primary source of live, and the branches produce fruit.
The second half of John 15 is not hit upon quite as often. Contained in these words are some hard teachings. If you are of the world, it will love you, but if you are of Jesus, the world will hate you. Jesus understood he is calling people to live against the grain of current life. It is almost as if Jesus looked around, did an assessment and decided if these people really do this, the world. society, is not going to like this.
I am all for being culturally relevant. In fact I think it is one of the top priorities of the church today. At the same time, I want nothing to do with functioning just like the world around us. The church is to function in a way that transforms culture, not comes along side of it. Jesus makes no illusions about this being easy, that is why he warns, the world will hate your because they first hated me. When we go against the grain and society pushes back we tend to whine and complain. The reality is, we should see that coming, that is the response our leader got.
Life is not all roses, it is not all easy. There are times when it will be downright hard and we will feel like no one likes us. That is just a glimpse of what our savior went through, and in that is our light and life.