Light and darkness (Jn 3:19-3:19)

“This is the judgment.

The light

Has come

Into the world.


People loved darkness

Rather than light,

Because their deeds

Were evil.”

αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ κρίσις, ὅτι τὸ φῶς ἐλήλυθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον καὶ ἠγάπησαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι μᾶλλον τὸ σκότος ἢ τὸ φῶς· ἦν γὰρ αὐτῶν πονηρὰ τὰ ἔργα.

John uniquely said that people had a choice about this condemning judgment (αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ κρίσις).  The light (ὅτι τὸ φῶς) had come into the world (ἐλήλυθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον), but these people preferred the darkness (καὶ ἠγάπησαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι μᾶλλον τὸ σκότος), rather than the light (ἢ τὸ φῶς·), because of their evil deeds (ἦν γὰρ αὐτῶν πονηρὰ τὰ ἔργα).  The theme of light and darkness was also in the prologue, chapter 1:4, where John said that the light (καὶ τὸ φῶς) shone (φαίνει) in the darkness (ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ).  The life of the Word, Jesus, God, was the light that shines brightly conquering the darkness, the moral evil.  This was the classical great struggle of good and evil between light that was good and darkness that was bad, that also can be found in the Jewish Dead Sea scrolls of the first century CE.  John, however, rightly pointed out that this darkness or evil (καὶ ἡ σκοτία) would not overcome or seize the light (αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν) of the good Word.  The reverse was true.  Light would always overcome darkness.  Here, John added a more personal touch by saying that some people actually preferred the darkness, because of their evil deeds.  Do you prefer light or darkness?

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