15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you.

And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If 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.

We need to read these verses carefully. There are a number of potential minefields into which we may wander.

Any discussion of the concept of being chosen is fraught with danger. Chosenness can easily translate into the idea that those who consider themselves “chosen” are somehow uniquely special, set apart from the rest of humanity and appointed for a task of particular and vital importance. This trips over easily into arrogance and the attitude of entitlement that has caused grievous harm throughout Christian history.

Any understanding of chosenness that creates division and leads to violence in any form is a misunderstanding of what it means to be chosen. The word translated here as “chosen” is eklego. It is made up of two words, ek meaning out and the root word lego meaning “to speak,” or “to call”. So eklego means literally to be “called out”.

From what is Jesus calling out his disciples?

Jesus is calling his disciples out from the “world”. This does not mean leaving the human community. It does not mean retreating into superior isolation and refusing to interact with those who do not share their belief system or values. The term “world” here and frequently throughout the New Testament is used to indicate any sphere of life that is organized and operated contrary to the principles of Life. “World” means any structure that “hates” the power of love, light, goodness, truth and beauty that was embodied in the person of Jesus.

There are times in my life when I slip into the “world”. At those moments Jesus calls me to come out from the world in order that I may return to the truth and beauty that are my true nature as a child created in the image and likeness of God.

What does the “world” look like in my life?

What might I need to change in my life in order to heed Jesus’ call to come out from the “world”?