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2.18 John -- "The World"

Jesus was very conscious of spiritual enemies in the Farewell Discourse.  He repeatedly used the term "world:"

           "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him" (Jn 14:16-17).

           Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (Jn 14:22).

           "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (Jn 14:27).

           "I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming" (Jn 14:30).

            "If 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" (Jn 15:19).

            "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it" (Jn 17:14-16).

Here is another dichotomy, on the order of the other Johanine paradigms:  light/dark, life/death, the Kingdom/the world. At first, we might think that Jesus was referring to Gentiles, Romans, pagans.  But it is clear that John (and Jesus) did not hold the traditional Jewish division of humanity into two groups -- Jews and everyone else.  This "world" has nothing to do with genealogy or racial inheritance, but with whether one believes Jesus is God's Son and follows his teaching.  Those who do so will be given the Spirit from God as a gift, to live inside them and set them apart from those who do not believe (Jn 14:16-17).  The latter group constitutes "the world," and it is ruled by Satan (Jn 12:31Jn 14:30Jn 16:11).  Jews may be a part of the world, as is clear from the following  verses:

          "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (Jn 15:20).

           The Gentiles did not persecute Jesus, until the time of his death.

          "If 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.  But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason'" (Jn 15:24-25).

          Most of Jesus' ministry occurred among the Jewish people, and there is explicit mention of "their" Law.

         "They will put you out of the synagogue" (Jn 16:2).

So we see that the opposition of the world to the Kingdom has superseded the split between Gentile and Jew.  Gentiles no longer had to feel inferior around Jews because of their ignorance of the Old Covenant and failure to follow the Law.  The new litmus test was Jesus himself, who promised:

          "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (Jn 6:37).

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