Friday, March 07, 2008

A Bible Question: John 15:22

I was reading through John the other night and came across a verse that gave me pause: John 15:22. It's in Jesus' last discourse to his disciples, where he has talked about the coming of the Comforter and this section in the NIV is subtitled "The World Hates the Disciples." I'll quote the section from 15:18-16:4.
18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'

26"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16

1"All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

The quote itself is verse 22: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin." Besides dealing with that as a hypothetical, the idea there is an interesting one. Jesus is obviously talking about the immediate area and people around him, Israel, does this have a wider context? Could this mean people in the past, present, and future who don't hear about Jesus? So is this a specific statement with a wider meaning or a specific statement without a wider context?

4 comments:

Cara said...

It seems to me a very general statement indicating that once a person becomes aware of something they have no excuse but to rectify the situation. He in speaking to them made them aware.

Clarissa said...

You know that the Way spread like wildfire throughout the known world. I think Jesus is speaking there of everyone exposed to His story from the resurrection on. Whether he spoke to people directly or through others' telling of his works, it is as he said. Those who have heard know their sin. That includes not telling others of the Way.

But then, there is another place in scripture that says God reveals Himself through his creation ... But exactly how much? Having been raised to believe in Him with no doubts from birth, I've never needed confirmation. I've questioned, but never really doubted.

Interesting how you ask these thought-provoking questions without sharing your own opinion ...

Phil said...

funny how that happens, huh?

The Seeking Disciple said...

Romans 1:18-32 clearly teaches that man has rejected God and God has given man over to a depraved heart. Further, Romans 1-3 establishes man's guiltiness before a holy God. No one has an excuse when it comes to final judgment. Jesus is clearly the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and He alone is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:1-6). He alone is our propitiation (1 John 2:1-2).

However, as Charles Spurgeon so wisely said, "It is not those who have never heard the gospel that I wonder about as much as why those who have heard the gospel refuse to spread it?"

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