Friday, March 14, 2014 4:05 AM

The World

Friday, March 14, 2014 4:05 AM
Friday, March 14, 2014 4:05 AM

Jesus, the emissary from above, has come into this world (1:9–10; 3:16–17, 19; 6:14; 10:36; 11:27; 12:46; 16:28; 17:18, 21, 23; 18:37). His mission was an expression of God’s love for the world (3:16). This world is dominated by darkness and the prince of this world. The world in view is humanity. The coming of the emissary was to save, not to condemn the world (3:17; 4:42; 6:33, 51; 12:47), but condemnation is inevitable where the saving mission is rejected (9:39). The coming of the emissary is expressed in terms of the coming of the light into the world as the light of the world (3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46).

The light does not belong to the world (8:23; 17:16; 18:36) but has come to reveal the Father and his love for the world (14:31; 17:21, 23–24). His coming was to bring life to the world (6:33) by giving his life for the world (1:29; 6:51). Having entered the world and completed his mission, the emissary departs from it (13:1; 14:19; 16:28), having commissioned his disciples to continue his mission to the world (17:21, 23).

Those who are called out from the world (by the emissary) and no longer belong to it (15:19; 17:6, 11, 14, 16) are consequently hated by it, as the emissary himself was hated (15:18–19; 17:14). The mission was made possible by the coming of the Paraclete/Spirit of Truth to expose the world to the truth revealed by the light (3:19–21; 16:8).

Yet the world does not recognize the Spirit just as it did not recognize the emissary. It knows only the mission of Jesus and those who continue his mission. Only those who believe perceive the light of the world which has the power to transform those who belong to the world so that their lives are shaped by the light from above.

In John the focus moves from the world perceived as creation to the world of humanity dominated by the darkness of false loves, false values, false knowledge and to the mission to save the world. Much of this interpretation of the world is given in the words of the narrator (1:9–10; 3:16–17, 19) or other characters such as John the Baptist (1:29), the Samaritans (4:42) and the crowd (6:14) in addition to Jesus himself. Jesus, narrator and believing witnesses present a consistent view of the world, its predicament and its salvation.[1]

[1] Painter, J. (1992). World. In (J. B. Green & S. McKnight, Eds.)Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

« back