Friday, February 27, 2009

John 15:18-25

So I thought I would start a new feature on Fridays when I talk about faith issues: troubling Bible verses. Of course, this opens a whole can of worms and even issues within the Old Testament, but we won't get into that now.

So here's the passage for today, John 15:18-25
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.'
I bolded the passage that I'm really thinking about here, which would seem to indicate that those who opposed Jesus would not be guilty of sin if he hadn't come. So, here's the question I get out of this: If someone never hears the name of Jesus, are they not guilty of sin? And would that correlate to a legal term where being "not guilty" is NOT the same as being "innocent"?

Just some random thoughts that I'm curious to hear others' perspectives on too.


john alan turner said...

I don't think it's a one-to-one equation between the Jewish people staring Jesus in the face and rejecting him and people today who have never heard him.

Jesus, in context is talking about the former. Thus, any speculation we make on the latter is just that: speculation.

Oh, and Jesus isn't saying that they would have been sinless. But there is a difference between "material sin" (doing less than the perfect will of God) and "formal sin" which is a deliberate action in direct opposition to what you know the revealed will of God to be.

Their sin is not a one time action that can be over and done with. Their sin is continual and damning.

Keith Brenton said...

I wonder, too, if the verse in question means that the ones spoken to could not have seen themselves as guilty until Jesus pointed out what they were doing was wrong - was, in fact, sin.

I'm thinking about Corban. Or pulling an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath, but condemning the picking of grain to feed one's self. Or swearing by the temple, but condemning oaths made by the gold of the temple. Or tithing tiny amounts of herbs while denying justice and mercy to the oppressed.

They felt these things were okay; permissible because of the detailed legal structures they had been taught and were creating. They completely missed the heart of God in the law He gave them.

They could not see them as wrong until Someone pointed it out.

Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

It makes me wonder, too. It seems there is a greater guilt when you know the truth, you see the signs, and you still refuse to believe. John 19:11 talks about the one who delivers Jesus up has the "greater sin." Or how about 2 Peter 2:20-21? And the verse that says to whom much is given, much is required. Yeah, there seems to be an indication that if you know a lot, you better act on it. That's a yikes for me.

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