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John; The Light and the darkness

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posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:01 PM
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“In the beginning”, according to Genesis, “God made the heavens and the earth”.
He began by speaking the command which summoned the light, and distinguishing the light from the darkness.

The opening words of John’s gospel echo the same story (ch1 vv3-5);
“In the beginning was the Word”, and all things were made “through” the Word.
The life which was in him was also “the light of men”, presenting itself to the world in this way.
This light “shines in the darkness”.
If you place a candle in a dark place, its light will begin to fade as you move into the distance. The darkness will swallow it up.
But this light is a light which the darkness cannot overcome.
In fact “the darkness” has no independent place as a character in John’s gospel.
It appears from time to time, but only as an alternative to the light.

This light was “coming into the world” (if we follow the better punctuation) to illuminate the human race in general (v9).
There were those who were willing to receive him, to “believe in his name”.
Therefore he could enable them to become the “children of God”, born by God’s will and power.

However, the light also comes as a means of judgement.
It has the effect of dividing men into two parties.
When light came into the world, there were people who came to the light, and there were people who hated the light.
If they loved and preferred the darkness, it was because their deeds were evil, and they did not want them exposed to the light of day.
Those who “do the truth” are willing to come to the light, to have their deeds examined.
But the opposite of “evil deeds” is not “good deeds”, but “deeds that are done in God”.
The presence or absence of God’s work is what makes the difference (ch3 vv19-21).

One of the features of the Feast of Tabernacles, at that time, was that lamps were lit in the Temple courtyard, to commemorate the pillar of fire which had led Israel through the wilderness.
Jesus seems to be speaking against this background when he publicly declares himself as “the light of the world”.
He gives the promise that those who follow him will not “walk in darkness”, but will have the light of life (ch8 v12).
But this promise comes with a time-limit.
Jesus is the light of the world only “as long as I am in the world” (ch9 v5).
Therefore he is obliged to press on with the work which the Father has sent him to do, “while it is day”; that is while his life remains.
“Night comes, when no-one can work”.

This leads directly into the story of the healing of the blind man (ch9).
The story demonstrates the “judging” effect of the coming of the light.
On the one hand, the blind man himself has been made to see.
There is a rapid growth in his understanding and “vision” of Christ.
This develops from “the man called Jesus” (v11), to “he is a prophet” (v17) and “he must be a man sent by God” (v33).
Finally Jesus asks him if he believes in the Son of Man, and assures him that he has seen the Son of Man, which is sufficient reason for the man to say “Lord, I believe” (vv35-38).

On the other hand, the attitude of the Pharisees becomes increasingly recalcitrant.
When they first summon the man for questioning, and debate the subject, there are voices pointing out that Jesus does not keep the sabbath.
Then they question the man’s parents. How has this healing happened? And had he really been blind, or had he been able to see all along? The parents cautiously reply that they do not know, and refer the questioners back to the man itself. They are afraid of being “un-synagogued” (APOSYNAGOGOS).
At the second interview with the former blind man, the Pharisees are telling him what answers they want him to give;
“Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner” (v24).
Their other objection to accepting Jesus is “We do not know where this man comes from” (v29). Yes, but if you would only observe his works and listen to his teaching, you could easily work out where he came from.

The problem is that they are arguing backwards from their intended conclusion (that Jesus is not from God), which is always an obstacle to good reasoning.
So they are obliged to ignore the blind man’s evidence that he had been healed by the work of Jesus, and they are obliged to ignore the soundness of his argument;
“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God will listen to him… If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” (vv31-33).
Instead, they reject him as “born in utter sin” (that is, he was born blind), and therefore unqualified to teach them anything, and they throw him out.

At the end of the chapter, Jesus draws the moral from this episode;
“For judgement I came into the world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (v39).
Some of the Pharisees, overhearing him, ask if he’s counting them in the second group.
Jesus answers their question in terms of the presence or absence of sin.
If they had really been blind, they would have had no sin.
Jesus would have healed them, their sins would have been forgiven.
But since they claim to be able to see, and since they were truly capable of seeing God at work, if only they had been willing to look, their sin would remain.

As Jesus gets closer to the end of his life, the “shortness of time” theme becomes more pressing.
When he announces his intention to return to Judaea, for the sake of Lazarus, the disciples point out his danger.
So he reminds them again of the limited number of hours in a day.
A man who walks in the day will not stumble, “because he sees the light of the world”.
If he walks in the night, he will stumble. Not just because he cannot see the light, but because “the light is not in him” (ch11 vv9-10).
Therefore, while he still can, Jesus needs to enable as many people as possible to get the light of life into them.

His final appeal to the Jews dwells on the same point;
“The light is with you a little longer”. That is, you people will soon crucify me.
“Walk while you have the light”. That is, this is almost your last chance to “believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (ch12 vv35-36).
This is the very definition of his mission;
“I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (v46)
But John observes that they are still unwilling to take the opportunity, and sees it as a fulfilment of the words of Isaiah;
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart,
Lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart,
And turn to me to heal them”.

The “light” theme is part of his appeal to the unbeliever, so it has no place in the final discourse with his disciples.
Every commentator notices that when Judas leaves them at the Last Supper, he goes out “into the night”.
The same night will soon be embracing Jesus himself, for a short time.
But as the opening chapter observed, the darkness cannot “swallow up” the light.
When Jesus meets his disciples for the last time in this gospel, it is at the dawning of a new day.




posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:17 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Bro i told you a thousands times, you cant formulate it as Dogma,( This is the "truth" ), its your theories and opinions..
You are good at writing a loooot, learn how do it properly..



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:19 PM
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a reply to: PanPiper
I can in a theology forum, like this one, designated for the discussion of theology. That's how theology works.
This is an exercise in exegesis.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:28 PM
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When I see a post like this, I'm puzzled. Did you write it yourself? If you did, why is it so poorly formatted? Can't you deal with paragraphs, line spacing, etc. better than this? If you did NOT write it yourself, where did you get it from? It seems like a very close paraphrase to a number of like-minded texts on the net. And if that is true, where is the link? I'm curious if there is any original thought in this at all, and if so, what we're expected to do with it. Do you have questions on what it means, or are you simply pontificating your beliefs? What's the point here?



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:34 PM
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Did you know that blind people do not see darkness? They see literally nothing. How can this "nothing" they "see" be conceptualized? What do you see behind you right now? Nothing, because you can only see what is ahead of you. That nothing you see behind you is the same nothing that blind people "see".

My point is is that we can see darkness, blind people cannot. What is the light that darkness cannot overcome? The light that allows you to see darkness.

That light is the image of God. It is the "light of men", what you see every waking moment of your life, the "light of the world" and "light of life". Most people look at this light but they do not see it for what it truly is.

Jesus represents you as an individual being of light that looks out at the world around you.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: schuyler
I did write it myself. If you compare it with all my other posts, you will see that the style is always the same. They are all written by the same person.

The paragraphing is a vast improvement on the page-long paragraphs I used to write in my student days.
It's an approach I've evolved for use on ATS, and I think it's the best way of managing the communication.

As for this thread, it is an exposition, and can be discussed as an exposition.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:53 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

it really is poorly formated, a couple of us are actually asking you to step up a notch, both on theological studies and not just the exegetic part on the bible..

Id be happy to recommend books so you can get a broader vision, so maybe in the future you and i can have a scientific approach to religion..



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 05:58 PM
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a reply to: PanPiper
I am not interested in anyone else's opinion of the format, which is deliberately adopted as a way of overcoming the "wall of text" problem.
Your attempt to persuade me to give up my theology does not interest me either. If you don't like threads written from a Christian viewpoint, you are allowed not to read them.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I think the formatting is fine, I could read it quite well. I feel like the shorter lines make it a bit easier to digest.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:04 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


exegetics = the science of interpretation especially of the Scriptures

I dont think you actually know what you actually are talking about the be honest..

I know that you can go around preaching like a madman where you live, where i live.. They would throw you in jail..





edit on 6-5-2016 by PanPiper because: image



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:07 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: schuyler
I did write it myself. If you compare it with all my other posts, you will see that the style is always the same. They are all written by the same person.


I'm not comparing it to your other posts. I'm comparing it to what is already on the net. For example, here's a statement from your OP:


When light came into the world, there were people who came to the light, and there were people who hated the light.
If they loved and preferred the darkness, it was because their deeds were evil, and they did not want them exposed to the light of day.


And here's a statement from the net:


Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the ... people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. ... hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed.


Which is John 3:19 from right here So you're paraphrasing, but not citing. I'm not sure there is an improvement.


The paragraphing is a vast improvement on the page-long paragraphs I used to write in my student days.
It's an approach I've evolved for use on ATS, and I think it's the best way of managing the communication.


Perhaps it is better than what you once did, but this is ungainly and makes reading it painful. When combined with the obtuseness of the text itself, it makes the attempt rather less than useful.
edit on 5/6/2016 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: PanPiper

Must suck living in a place that denies free speech.


How about we discuss the message and not the messenger or the format the message is written in? There's some good stuff in here if you're a Christian, which I know you're not but it wasn't exactly meant for you in that case.



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:12 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

I saw that he studies exegesis.. So you can actually say whatever you want, he has an issue leaving out "i believe and i think" We have freedom of speech, you are just considered as a " Disturbance to the peace "



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:13 PM
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a reply to: schuyler
Agreed, there is a lot of paraphrasing going on. That is because I'm presenting a particular aspect of what John is teaching.
If different people are paraphrasing from the same text, it's natural that the results will come out in much the same way.




edit on 6-5-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 06:15 PM
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originally posted by: PanPiper

I know that you can go around preaching like a madman where you live, where i live.. They would throw you in jail..


Well that just sounds like a terrible place, regardless of ones worldview.
edit on 6-5-2016 by slowisfast because: photo removal



posted on May, 6 2016 @ 09:41 PM
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a reply to: PanPiper

Now you are nitpicking or should I say picking nits?



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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Advance warning for those who don't like this kind of thread.
At least three more can be expected in the near future;
"The Truth and the witness"
"The trial and the judgement".
And one on the theme of believing (in John's gospel). This one has had a dozen titles in the last few weeks, and the title which it now hath is probably not the final version.



posted on May, 13 2016 @ 07:03 PM
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Matthew 6:22 The Sound Eye

22 " The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light;23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light is in you, how great is the darkness!

That wasn't " how great is the darkness?"

It was "how great is the darkness!"

Jesus calls darkness great, if it is accompanied by the light in you.

Our light, his light, can make darkness great!

That is awesome!



posted on May, 13 2016 @ 07:08 PM
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a reply to: TefarimCanin
"If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"
(That is, there is darkness where the light should be)



posted on May, 13 2016 @ 07:26 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: TefarimCanin
"If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"
(That is, there is darkness where the light should be)

No, it means the light made the darkness great. Hence the exclamation point, he is excited about this particular aspect of this teaching more so than any other part.

Because that was his mission. To bring light into the world in the form of Wisdom.

If you have Wisdom hear.



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