Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Real Guilt

When it's obvious.

John 15:21–25 (ESV)

But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

When Jesus says, “they would not be guilty of sin,” He’s not saying they would have led sinless lives, just that the specific sin of rejecting Him would not have been on their rap sheet.

But this sin is uniquely bad. Jesus had done among them the works that no one else did. Those works should convince anyone. Rejecting them takes real conviction.

That’s telling.


Behold! Verse 25 is another one of those purpose constructions.

Wait. What? How can the fulfillment of, “They hated me without a cause,” (from Psalm 69:4 and Psalm 35:19) be important enough to be the purpose of something this horrible?

I’m not sure there’s an answer we can comprehend, but there’s no question that this is what the verse says. It’s reminiscent of this passage from Isaiah:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
   and their ears heavy,
   and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
   and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
   and turn and be healed.”
— Isaiah 6:8–10 (ESV)

It’s all a perfect example of God’s priorities not being on our wavelength. Something’s going on in these passages that’s important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s above me.

I suppose that’s the point.

It’s above us.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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