If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18 ESV)
Hatred is such an intense thing. Even the thought of the word hate conveys so much strong meaning. It is a violent and alarming emotion.
Jesus warned his followers that hatred was count their way. It was to be expected by them. Why? Because people hated Jesus.
It is tragic, ironic, and perplexing to think that someone could hate someone that embodied love in everything they did. Yet the religious elite and power hungry hated Christ. He messed with their status quo. So they killed him.
Jesus wants us to know that people may hate us for our beliefs. We may come under attack. And thousands of believers have lost their lives over the centuries. But in the event that we do come under persecution, we enter into divine company. Because Jesus faced it first. Jesus was hated first.