I have been abiding in the word over the summer, primarily in the Book of John. I have lingered over several small passages over the course of the summer. It has been wonderful refreshing to meet the word in this simple and quiet way. Each day with no expectation other than to let the words unfold into whatever thought or feeling that the day brings.
After a few day I began to notice my eyes lingering on specific phrases. One particular kept coming to me each and every day.
“the world” over and over again I came upon this two word repetition.
I sat down this morning and did a very simple count, I was blown away by the numbers. The phrase “the world” is used 47 times (NIV version) in the book of John. One of the things I know about God is He is a very astute teacher. He relies on some very basic teaching techniques. When there is an important point that He wants to drive home you can bet that it will be a repetitive subject matter in an effort to try to make His point very clear.
I have been looking at the various different ways the phrase “the world” has been used through out the Book of John and it is very clear to me that it is an important one for me to recognize and learn.
- To begin with we read that Jesus is the true light of the world. (John 1:9)
- He was in the world, the world was made through him, yet the world did not recognize him. (John 1:10)
- He takes the sin of the world away. (John 1:29)
- God loved the world so much that He gave his only some to save it. (John 3:16)
- The world also hates Jesus because He testifies to the evil people do. (John 7:7)
- Jesus did the will of His father, what He heard for Him He was instructed to tell the world. (John 8:26 )
- The world can not accept Him, because it is full of sin and can not see the truth of His light. (John 14:17)
- Jesus does not give as the world gives, the world bring sins and evil but Jesus bring peace. (John 14:27)
- We are told to keep in mind that if the world hates us for our faith in Jesus we are to remember that it first hated him. (John 15:16)
These are just nine of the examples of the lessons that The Word is bringing to me about how we as Christians face a difficult uphill battle to live in the world but remain not of the world.
At times it is a very slippery slope. We are faced with falsehoods that are disguised as truth almost every day. The line of morality gets blurred or pushed back a bit furthered with every generation and then before you know it our complacency is looking around and wondering how we got so far from the mark.
I think reading over and over again about all the different aspects of '”the world” and how Jesus is the light of the world, but also how “the world” is also full of sin is such a incongruent joining to two very different things.
The reality is that Jesus can not tolerate sin, but we all have sin in our lives. The saving grace comes when we recognize our wrong doing and genuinely want to turn from it. Making our confession, our sin is totally washed away by Jesus’ sacrificial blood. Confession is only the beginning, we must make a diligent effort not to return to the sin, we must set it aside in favor of the teaching and example that Christ set for us when He was in the world.
I think for me it is an ongoing almost daily process. It seems that as soon as I recognize one sinful area of my life I am confronted with another one. That’s because the world is so alluring and sin is pleasurable, sin is fun, sin is everywhere and the world wants us all to believe that everything is permissible and everything is acceptable…but it is not!
I am continuing to make my way down my 47 point list of the attributes of the world, they are as varied and as different as, well, the whole world.
But I think the reason it is mentioned 47 time means I need to be paying attention to the message.
God sent His only son, the word made flesh to live among us, to save us and to bring His light of salvation to the world.
I am going to be spending a lot more time pondering the world, 47 times…He is trying to tell me something….
Y’all check it out, count them up for yourself.