John 1:10
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
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(10) In the world.—This manifestation in the flesh recalls the pre-incarnate existence during the whole history of the world, and the creative act itself. (Comp. John 1:2-3, Note). The two facts are the constant presence of the true Light, and the creation of the world by Him. The world, then, in its highest creature man, with spiritual power for seeing the true Light, ought to have recognised Him. Spirit ought to have felt and known His presence. In this would have been the exercise of its true power and its highest good. But the world was sense-bound, and lost its spiritual perception, and “knew Him not.” This verse brings back again the thought of John 1:3-5, to prepare for the deeper gloom which follows.

John 1:10-11. He was in the world — From the beginning, frequently appearing, and making known to his servants, the patriarchs and prophets, the divine will, in dreams and visions, and various other ways: and the world was made by him — As has just been shown; and the world, nevertheless, knew him not — Knew not its Maker and Preserver. He came — As the true, the often-predicted, and long-expected Messiah; unto his own Εις τα ιδια, to his own things, namely, his own land; termed, Immanuel’s land; his own city, called the holy city; his own temple, mentioned as such by Malachi 3:1 : The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly, or unexpectedly, come to his temple: but, although he answered all the characters given of the Messiah in the Old Testament, οι ιδιοι, his own people, whom he had separated from all the people upon earth, watched over, protected, delivered, and singularly favoured, in a variety of most extraordinary ways, for many ages; received him not — Because he did not countenance and gratify their carnal spirit and worldly views, by coming in that state of wealth, power, and grandeur in which they expected him to come. He came as the prophet like unto Moses, as Moses foretold he should come, (Deuteronomy 18:18, &c.,) and by his holy life, his mighty miracles, extreme sufferings, and glorious resurrection from the dead, proved to a demonstration his divine mission; yet they received him not, because his doctrine contradicted their prejudices, censured their vices, and laid a restraint upon their lusts. He came as the High-priest of their profession, and a Mediator between God and man; but, depending on their being Abraham’s seed, on the ceremony of circumcision, on the Aaronical priesthood and the expiations of their law, and, in general, on their own righteousness, they received him not in these characters. He came as a Redeemer and Saviour; but not feeling, nor even seeing, their want of the redemption and salvation which are through him, and having no desire of any such spiritual blessings, they received him not, in any such relations. He came as the King set upon God’s holy hill of Zion, Psalm 2:6; the righteous branch raised unto David, the king that was to reign and prosper, and to execute justice and judgment in the earth, Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zion’s king, that was to come to her, just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon an ass, Zechariah 9:9 : but, as his kingdom was not of this world, not earthly, but heavenly, not carnal, but spiritual, and they did not desire one of another world, they would not receive him; declaring openly, We will not have this man to reign over us.

1:6-14 John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1Pe 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.He was in the world - This refers, probably, not to his pre-existence, but to the fact that he became incarnate; that he dwelt among human beings.

And the world was made by him - This is a repetition of what is said in John 1:3. Not only "men," but all material things, were made by him. These facts are mentioned here to make what is said immediately after more striking, to wit, that men did not receive him. The proofs which he furnished that they ought to receive him were:

1. Those given while he was "in the world" - the miracles that he performed and his instructions; and,

2. The fact that the "world was made by him." It was remarkable that the world did not know or approve its own Maker.

The world knew him not - The word "knew" is sometimes used in the sense of "approving" or "loving," Psalm 1:6; Matthew 7:23. In this sense it may be used here. The world did not love or approve him, but rejected him and put him to death. Or it may mean that they did not understand or know that he was the Messiah; for had the Jews known and believed that he was the Messiah, they would not have put him to death, 1 Corinthians 2:8; "Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Yet they might have known it, and therefore they were not the less to blame.

10-13. He was in the world, &c.—The language here is nearly as wonderful as the thought. Observe its compact simplicity, its sonorousness—"the world" resounding in each of its three members—and the enigmatic form in which it is couched, startling the reader and setting his ingenuity a-working to solve the stupendous enigma of Christ ignored in His own world. "The world," in the first two clauses, plainly means the created world, into which He came, says Joh 1:9; "in it He was," says this verse. By His Incarnation, He became an inhabitant of it, and bound up with it. Yet it "was made by Him" (Joh 1:3-5). Here, then, it is merely alluded to, in contrast partly with His being in it, but still more with the reception He met with from it. "The world that knew Him not" (1Jo 3:1) is of course the intelligent world of mankind. (See on [1756]Joh 1:11,12). Taking the first two clauses as one statement, we try to apprehend it by thinking of the infant Christ conceived in the womb and born in the arms of His own creature, and of the Man Christ Jesus breathing His own air, treading His own ground, supported by substances to which He Himself gave being, and the Creator of the very men whom He came to save. But the most vivid commentary on this entire verse will be got by tracing (in His matchless history) Him of whom it speaks walking amidst all the elements of nature, the diseases of men and death itself, the secrets of the human heart, and "the rulers of the darkness of this world" in all their number, subtlety, and malignity, not only with absolute ease, as their conscious Lord, but, as we might say, with full consciousness on their part of the presence of their Maker, whose will to one and all of them was law. And this is He of whom it is added, "the world knew Him not!" He was in the world; he was in the place called the world, and amongst the men of the world; for so the term world is often taken, John 16:28 2 Peter 3:6. Christ, before he came in the flesh, was in it; filling both the heavens and the earth, and sustaining it by the word of his power, and manifesting his will to it, more immediately to Moses and to the prophets, and more mediately by Moses and by the prophets.

And the world was made by him; and the heavens and the earth, all things visible and invisible, (as was said before), were made by him.

And the world knew him not; and the men of the world took no notice of him, did not acknowledge him, believe in him, nor were subject to him; so the word knew often signifies, (according to the Hebrew idiom), John 10:14,15,27; not a bare comprehension of an object in the understanding, but suitable affections: so Matthew 7:23 1Jo 3:1. This is not to be understood of all individual persons in the world; for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and many particular persons, did in this sense know him; but the generality of the world did not. The heathens did not, (who are sometimes called the world, distinctively from the Jews, 1Jo 2:2 1 Corinthians 1:21), and most of the Jews did not, though some did.

He was in the world,.... This is to be understood, not of his incarnation; for the word was denotes past existence in the world, even all the time past from the creation of the world; and the world intends the world in general, as opposed to Judea, and the people of the Jews in the next verse; besides, the incarnation of the word is spoken of in John 1:14 as a new and distinct thing from this: but of his being in the world, when first made, and since, by his essence, by which he fills the whole world; and by his power, upholding and preserving it; and by his providence, ordering and managing all the affairs of it, and influencing and governing all things in it: he was in it as the light and life of it, giving natural life and light to creatures in it, and filling it, and them, with various blessings of goodness; and he was in the promise and type before, as well as after the Jews were distinguished from other nations, as his peculiar people; and he was frequently visible in the world, in an human form, before his incarnation, as in Eden's garden to our first parents, to Abraham, Jacob, Manoah, and his wife, and others,

And the world was made by him: so Philo the Jew often ascribes the making of the world to the Logos, or word, as before observed on John 1:3 and this regards the whole universe, and all created beings in it, and therefore cannot design the new creation: besides, if all men in the world were anew created by Christ, they would know him; for a considerable branch of the new creation lies in knowledge; whereas, in the very next clause, it is asserted, that the world knew him not; and they would also love him, and obey him, which the generality of the world do not; they would appear to be in him, and so not be condemned by him, as multitudes will. To understand this of the old creation, best suits the context, and proves the deity of Christ, and his pre-existence, as the word, and Son of God, to his incarnation,

And the world knew him not; that is, the inhabitants of the world knew him not as their Creator: nor did they acknowledge the mercies they received from him; nor did they worship, serve, and obey him, or love and fear him; nor did they, the greater part of them, know him as the Messiah, Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer. There was, at first, a general knowledge of Christ throughout the world among all the sons of Adam, after the first promise of him, and which, for a while, continued; but this, in process of time, being neglected and slighted, it was forgot, and utterly lost, as to the greater part of mankind; for the Gentiles, for many hundreds of years, as they knew not the true God, so they were without Christ, without any notion of the Messiah; and this their ignorance, as it was first their sin, became their punishment.

{q} He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

(q) The person of the Word was made manifest even at that time when the world was made.

John 1:10. What here follows is linked on to the preceding by ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, following upon εἰς τ. κόσμ. This is a fuller definition of the emphatic ἦν of John 1:9 : “It was in the world”, viz. in the person of Jesus, when John was bearing witness. There is no mention here of its continual presence in humanity (B. Crusius, Lange), nor of the “lumière innée” (Godet) of every man; see on John 1:5. The repetition of κόσμος three times, where, on the last occasion, the word has the narrower sense of the world of mankind, gives prominence to the mournful antithesis; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. p. 398].

ἦν] not pluperfect (“It had been already always in the world, but was not recognised by it”), as Herder, Tholuck, Olshausen, and Klee maintain, but like ἦν in John 1:9.

καὶ ὁ κόσμος διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγέν.] Further preparation, by way of climax, for the antithesis with reference to John 1:3. If the Light was in the world, and the world was made by it, the latter could and ought all the more to have recognised the former: it could, because it needed only not to close the inner eye against the Light, and to follow the impulse of its original necessary moral affinity with the creative Light; it ought, because the Light, shining within the world, and having even given existence to the world, could demand that recognition, the non-bestowal of which was ingratitude, originating in culpable delusion and moral obduracy. Comp. Romans 1:19 ff. We need not attach to the καί, which is simply conjunctive, either the signification although (Kuinoel, Schott), nor the force of the relative (which was made by it, Bleek).

αὐτόν] the Logos, which is identified with the Light, which is being spoken of as its possessor, according to John 1:4 ff.; αὐτοῦ was still neuter, but the antithesis passes over into the masculine, because the object which was not recognised was this very personal manifestation of the Logos.

With regard to the last καί, observe: “cum vi pronuntiandum est, ut saepe in sententiis oppositionem continentibus, ubi frustra fuere qui καίτοι requirerent,” Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 29 B. Comp. Hartung, Partikell. p. 147. Very often in John.

John 1:10. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳοὐκ ἔγνω. John 1:10-11 briefly summarise what happened when the Logos, the Light, came into the world. John has said: “The Light was coming into the world”; take now a further step, ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, and let us see what happened. Primarily rejection. The simplicity of the statement, the thrice repeated κόσμος, and the connecting of the clauses by a mere καί, deepens the pathos. The Logos is the subject, as is shown by both the second and the third clause.

Westcott thinks that the action of the Light which has been comprehensively viewed in John 1:9 is in John 1:10-11 divided into two parts. “The first part (John 1:10) gathers up the facts and issues of the manifestation of the Light as immanent. The second part (John 1:11) contains an account of the special personal manifestation of the Light to a chosen race.” That is possible; only the obvious advance from the ἐρχόμενον of John 1:9 to the ἦν of John 1:10 is thus obscured. Certainly Westcott goes too far when he says: “It is impossible to refer these words simply to the historical presence of the Word in Jesus as witnessed to by the Baptist”.

10. and the world] Note three points; (1) the close connexion obtained by repetition, as in John 1:4-5; (2) the tragic tone, as in John 1:5; (3) the climax. ‘He was in the world’ (therefore the world should have known Him); ‘and the world was His own creature’ (therefore still more it should have known Him); ‘and (yet) the world knew Him not.’ ‘And’ = ‘and yet’ is very frequent in S. John; but it is best not to put in the ‘yet;’ the simple ‘and’ is more forcible. Comp. John 1:5; John 1:11.

Note that ‘the world’ has not the same meaning in John 1:9-10. Throughout N.T. it is most important to distinguish the various meanings of ‘the world.’ It means (1) ‘the universe;’ Romans 1:20 : (2) ‘the earth;’ John 1:9; Matthew 4:8 : (3) ‘the inhabitants of the earth;’ John 1:29, John 4:42 : (4) ‘those outside the Church,’ alienated from God; John 12:31, John 14:17, and frequently. In this verse the meaning slips from (2) to (4).

knew him not] Did not acquire knowledge of its Creator; did not recognise and acknowledge Him. Comp. Acts 19:15.

John 1:10. Ἐν τῷ κόσμῷ ἦν, He was in the world) The evangelist adds this, lest any one should so understand the expression, coming into the world, as if the Light had not been previously in the world at all. Three times in this verse world is repeated; three times it is said of the human race, as in the previous verse, but not to the exclusion of the other creatures, at least in the first place.—δἰ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, was made by Him) αὐτοῦ, masculine, as presently after αὐτόν. It is referred to the sense,[16] though Φῶς is neuter. Artemonius, p. 439, 450, etc., maintains that there is meant here the dissolution of all things, which was now about to have taken place, at the time when Christ suffered, had it not been turned aside [removed] by His own sacrifice, and for that purpose he quotes the passage, Hebrews 9:26, “Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” But in that passage Ἡ ΣΥΝΤΈΛΕΙΑ ΤῶΝ ΑἸΏΝΩΝ does not mean the putting off of the end of the world on [subject to] a condition, but categorically denotes the last times of the world, as opposed to the many ages that have elapsed since the foundation of the world. If such an interpretation [as Artemonius’] holds good, Israel too might be said to be made by Moses; inasmuch as he averted its dissolution. With the same purpose in view, Artemonius, p. 455, urges the order of time in the clauses of this verse, but without reason. There is rather in it a gradation, wherein the world is urged to the acknowledgment of the Light by that [first] reason He was in the world, but more so by this [second reason] and the world was made by Him; or in other words, began to be.—καὶ, and) and yet.—ὁ κόσμος, the world) The name world in the sacred writings implies THE IMPIOUS SILLINESS [futilitatem, emptiness] OF THE HUMAN RACE. Camer. note in John 17.

[16] By the figure πρὸς τὸ σημαινόμενον.—E. and T.

Verses 10, 11. -

(c) The twofold effect of the pre-Incarnation activity in the elected nation and individuals. The highest expression of this truth was seen in the unique "coming" of which the evangelist had been the spectator and witness; but the words cannot be limited to it - they stretch back to the beginning of the creation of the world and on to the final consummation. They explain or divide the solemn theme of the previous announcement into two related proofs of the fact that the Light which illumines every man shineth in darkness, and that the darkness apprehendeth it not. Verse 10. - Of him who was evermore coming into the world, it is said, In the world he was, and the world was made (came into being) through him, and the world recognized him not. The κόσμος is a term specially used by St. John to denote the ordered whole of the universe, viewed apart from God (see Introduction). Sometimes this is emphasized by the pronoun, "This world," when it is contrasted with the higher and heavenly "order" to which the Lord's personality belonged, both before and after this manifestation in the flesh. From being thus the scene of ordered existence apart from God, it rapidly moves into the organized resistance to the will of God, and therefore it often denotes humanity taken as a whole apart from God and grace. It may be the object of the Divine love and compassion (John 3:16), while the redemption and deliverance of the world from sin is the great end of the ministry and work of Jesus (ver. 29); but throughout this gospel "the world" is the synonym of the adverse power and order of humanity, until it is illumined, regenerated, by the Spirit of God. The world here signifies humanity and its dwelling place, considered apart from the changes wrought in any part of it by grace. The three assertions concerning the world drop the imagery of light and life, and by their emphatic concatenation, without the assistance of a Greek particle, tell the tragic story of human departure from God. Thus only can the mystery of the previous verses be explained. At the very forefront of the argument of the Gospel is put a statement which concedes the strange perplexity of the rejection of the incarnate Logos. Not only does the entire narrative illustrate the awful fact, strange and inconceivable as such an idea appears when baldly stated, but the author generalizes the antipathy between the Logos and the world into a more comprehensive, damning, and yet undeniable, proposition. From the beginning, though the world came into being through the Logos, though he was in the world, in every atom of matter, in every vibration of force, in every energy of life, yet the world, notwithstanding all its power of recognizing the fact, yet the world, as concentrated in an antagonistic humanity, did not come to know him fully (ἔγνω). This is the lesson we learn from all the melancholy and tragic perversions of his glorious perfections which every heathenism and every cultus, and even every philosophy, has perpetrated. St. Paul says precisely the same thing: "The world by wisdom knew not God" (see also Romans 1:19-22, which might be taken as an inspired commentary on the whole passage). And the awful statement is still, with reference to the majority of men, true, that "the world knoweth not God, neither the Father, nor the Word, nor the Holy Ghost." John 1:10He was in the world

Not merely at His advent, but before His incarnation no less than after it. See on John 1:4, John 1:5.

Was made (ἐγένετο)

Came into being. See on John 1:3.

By Him. Or through Him (διά)

See on John 1:3.

Knew (ἔγνω)

Recognized. Though He was in the world and was its Creator, yet the world did not recognize him. This is the relation of ideas in these three clauses, but John expresses this relation after the Hebrew manner, by simply putting the three side by side, and connecting them by καὶ, and. This construction is characteristic of John. Compare John 8:20, where the point of the passage is, that though Jesus was teaching publicly, where He might easily have been seized, yet no man attempted his seizure. This is expressed by two parallel clauses with the simple copulative. "These words spake Jesus," etc., "and no man laid hands on Him."

Him (αὐτὸν)

The preceding him (αὐτοῦ) is, in itself, ambiguous as to gender. So far as its form is concerned, it might be neuter, in which case it would refer to the light, "the Word regarded as a luminous principle," as it, in John 1:5. But αὐτὸν is masculine, Him, so that the Word now appears as a person. This determines the gender of the preceding αὐτοῦ.

On the enlightened and unenlightened nature, compare the allegory in Plato's "Republic," at the beginning of Book 7, where he pictures men confined from childhood in an underground den, chained so that they can only see before them, and with no light save from a fire behind them. They mistake shadows for substance, and echoes for voices. When they are liberated and compelled to look at the light, either of the fire or of the sun, their unaccustomed eyes are pained, and they imagine that the shadows which they formerly saw are truer than the real objects which are now shown them. Finally, they will be able to see the sun, and will recognize him as the giver of the seasons and years, and the guardian of all that is in the visible world. "When the eye of the soul is turned round, the whole soul must be turned round from the world of becoming into that of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or, in other words, of the good."

Notice also the appropriateness of the two verbs joined with the neuter and the masculine pronouns. In John 1:5, with it, the Word, as a principle of light, κατέλαβεν, apprehended. Here, with Him, the Word, as a person, ἔγνω, recognized.

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