“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22).
What on earth did the Lord mean here when He said that if He hadn’t come, the unbelieving Jews He had mentioned in the previous verse “had not sin”? Surely they had sinned, whether He had come or not!
To find out what He meant, we have to define a word that we don’t use very often, the word “cloke,” spelled cloak in our day and time. A cloak is a loose, sleeveless garment that is worn over other clothing, and about the only time that this writer hears the word even mentioned is when someone puts their coat in the cloakroom of a restaurant.
Now the thing about a cloak is that you can easily conceal something under a loose, sleeveless garment, such as a dagger. This has given rise to the expression cloak and dagger, a figure of speech that refers to espionage. For this reason, when this word is used as a verb, to cloak something means to hide it.
All of this helps us understand what the Lord meant when He said that if He hadn’t come they would not have had sin. He didn’t say “they had not sin, then I came and now they have sin.” He rather said, “They had not sin, then I came and now they have no cloak for their sin.” In other words He was saying, “Now that I’ve come, they can’t hide their sin any more,” and I believe He had a specific sin in mind, an all-encompassing one that He mentions in the next verse.
“He that hateth Me hateth My Father also” (John 15:23).
The comprehensive sin that these unbelievers were cloaking so successfully before the Lord came was hatred of the Father. Since the Law commanded the Jews to love the Father (Deut. 6:5), it was a sin to hate Him, and for centuries unbelieving Jews had cloaked their hatred for God with their religion, which provided the perfect cover. Practicing Judaism made it appear that unsaved Jews loved the Father, but as the Lord said of them: “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8 cf. Isa. 29:13).
If you are wondering how the Lord’s coming uncloaked their hatred of the Father, remember that He represented God the Father in the flesh, and so when He showed up and they hated Him, it showed they hated the Father.
But notice in our text that it wasn’t just the Lord’s coming that uncloaked their sin. He said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not sin” (John 15:22). How did His words uncloak their hatred? Well, remember, His words were the Father’s words (John 3:34; 8:26; 12:49). So when the Lord spoke the words of the Father and they hated His words, they were actually hating the Father’s words! source