Tuesday, March 1, 2016
I really like this graphic and wish I knew it’s source. It has shown up in a number of places, and I did “capture” it from the internet without knowing the source to acknowledge. I don’t do that often. However, after watching this past year’s political eviscerations of what is or is not true, it pretty much reflects my reaction. I also feel that way about labels on Christianity. That comes from having read a couple of articles on how “the word ‘world’ does not mean ‘world.’”
May I once again remind readers that context is important, but so is a full explanation of circumstances.
John 3:16 is used as a concise, stand alone, statement of the gospel (the Good News) for mankind. Remember who made this statement? And, to whom it was made?
Nicodemus is mentioned only in John's gospel, three different occasions. The second was when Nicodemus said:
Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? (John 7:51 KJV)
The third was when Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea wound Jesus' body in linen clothes and a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, placing him in a new sepulchre. (John 19:39-42) Thus we know what he was (a Pharisee) and his standing in the community (knocked elbows with the rich and famous.) A man of means, capable and respected. Their conversation begins with Nicodemus stating a logical conclusion on his part, but Jesus’ response went much further:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:2-3 KJV)
To me, Jesus expected Nicodemus to understand that statement:
Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. (John 3:10-11 KJV)
For me, the conversation is quite understandable, even when we read “world” in John 3:16. The Greek word written is κόσμος – cosmos. Go ahead and look up the meaning and where it is used elsewhere in the New Testament. I believe it does mean the world God created along with its inhabitants.
Again, for me, verses 17 and 18 are just as much as a part of the explanation Jesus gives to Nicodemus as verse 16:
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:17-19 KJV)
Back to the graphic above – there may be differing views depending on our position and perspective, but there is one truth.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)
Take a moment to look at all of these verses in context, and in prayer. It takes more than one word or one verse to see clear meaning.