18 ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world,* the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants* are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25It was to fulfil the word that is written in their law, “They hated me without a cause.”
26 ‘When the Advocate* comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
There is something about following Jesus that stands against the powers, values, and cultures of the world – Jesus says these powers, the world, has hated him and will hate his disciples, those whom he has chosen, as well, because they are no longer “of the world” or “belonging to the world.” He warns them: Being his servants, they are not greater than the Master, and the world is persecuting him – it will persecute them as well. The disciples will be persecuted on account of Jesus’ name, because the world does not know the Father, who sent the Son.
Jesus says he has come to the world, but the world has rejected him – had he not come they would have an excuse; the Father would not consider their sin. Had he not done miracles (signs) in front of them, they would have an excuse. But they have heard his words, from the Father, and they have seen the signs, and still they reject and persecute him. If they hate him, they hate the Father also. (Again, we see the close relationship of Father and Son. John’s description of this relationship, and the addition in the next paragraph, of the Spirit, led to the understanding of “Trinity” that the followers of Jesus in the early church were to develop.)
When the Spirit (the Advocate) comes to them – whom Jesus will send from the Father (again, the three are seen in close relationship, one to another) – he will “testify” on Jesus’ behalf. The Spirit is called “the Advocate” because he stands with them, gives them strength and hope when Jesus has gone. The Spirit continues to reveal God after the incarnate (bodily) Jesus has returned to God (“He will testify on my behalf.”). He continues to bring the love of God to the followers of Jesus.
Thus, Jesus tells us, through the writings of John’s Gospel, that he remains with us, in the presence of the Spirit. Any of us can know him, and can know God, through the presence of the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is the gift of Grace; his actions in our lives are what we refer to as Grace – it is the undeserved gift of God’s love in an active living presence within and around us.