"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it." (John 12:47)

Jesus is clarifying his mission.

His mission had nothing to do with the thesis that ecclesiastical sectarian teachers today teach: That Jesus' mission was to die on the cross for our sins.

Jesus is clearly stating that his purpose related to his words: his teachings. He used his words to teach. He stood in front of groups of people - large groups and small groups - and he spoke using words.

What did he speak about? He spoke about God. He spoke about serving the Supreme Being:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
Doing someone else's will requires first wanting to do someone else's will. We must desire to please that other person.

And where would such a desire come from? Love. Love is not a vague thing floating out there, just as God is not a vague force. The expression of love is wanting to please the person we love. And loving someone requires there to be someone to love: A person.

In other words, Jesus was teaching us that God is a person, and we will only be happy when we come to love the person of God.

And Jesus was trying to teach love for God to those who did not love God:
"I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts." (John 5:42)
We can't love someone we don't know. This means that we have to come to know who God is. We have to understand His personality. This is why Jesus prayed to God:
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
This part of Jesus' prayer to God clearly illustrates that the Supreme Being sent Jesus so that Jesus could help us come to know God.

This is tied to Jesus' statement above, "For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it."

How does Jesus' "save" the world? If we look at his statement sensibly, we can see that saving the world is being connected to not only hearing his words, but keeping his words. What does it mean to "keep" Jesus' words?

Let's consider Jesus' most powerful and important words. His most important instruction was:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
Hearing (or reading) these words is one thing. It is one thing to acknowledge that Jesus wants us to love God. But keeping these words is an entirely different matter.

Keeping Jesus' words, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." means to cherish God above all else. For those who do not know God, it means to search for God and reach out to God will all our hearts - with prayer, praise and study. And for those who have come to know God through God's representative, it means to work to please Him.

This is what Jesus meant by "saving" the world. Jesus doesn't "save" by cleansing our sins. Jesus' "saves" through his teachings - his words - that teach us how to re-establish our loving relationship with God, and return to Him.



(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian institutional influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts.)