John 11:27 ESV: She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world".

  1. "erchomenos" is translated here as "is coming". [Having the sense of a continuous event?].

But in John 6:14, Matt 11:3 and Luke 7:19 the same word is translated "is to come". ["to come" in the future].

  1. In the rest of John e.g. 1:9 "was coming"

                      3:19 "has come"
                      9:39 "I came"
                      12:46 "I have come"
                      18:37 "I have come"  These all refer to the past.  

What was actually said?

What does, what ever was said, mean?

4 Answers 4


In John 11:27 we have the word ἐρχόμενος (erchomenos) which is a Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Masculine Singular.

This participle is from the verb ἔρχομαι (erchomai) meaning "to come" or "to go". Thus, the last phrase of John 11:27 could be translated:

  • the One [who is] coming into the world
  • The One [who is] going into the world

Note that I have translated these in an attempt to convey something of the middle or passive voice in the verb by adding [who is].

The fact that Jesus was physically present at the time Martha said this, and that she used the present continuous tense suggests the following:

  • Martha is NOT discussing His advent/arrival in the first century in the sense of His birth that had already occured)
  • Martha is NOT referring to His second advent either as that was, and still is, future

Martha (under inspiration I believe) is clearly referring to the present and continuous growing spread of Jesus' teaching and influence; specifically, the growth of the "Kingdom of Heaven", or, "Kingdom of God", as referenced in Jesus' own teaching such as:

  • The growth of the seed, Matt 13:24, Mark 4:26
  • The growth of the mustard seed, Matt 13:31
  • The growth of yeast in dough, Matt 13:33
  • The "coming" of the Kingdom of God, Mark 1:15
  • The growth of the Kingdom of God when Jesus sent out the first missionaries, Luke 9

Jesus also alluded to this when He said "the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21. The influence of Messiah "coming into the world" is a continuing process as seen at the first Pentecost (Acts 2) and the explosive growth as recorded throughout Acts.


John 11:27
λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε· ἐγὼ πεπίστευκα ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἐρχόμενος.

New International Version
"Yes, Lord," she replied, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

New Living Translation
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

English Standard Version
She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Berean Study Bible
“Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

4 versions translate ἐρχόμενος differently. Why?

ἐρχόμενος (erchomenos)
Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2064: To come, go.

In this verse, the participle follows the article: ὁ ἐρχόμενος, which makes the the participle attributive. It works like an adjective describing the Son of God. Its translation depends on the context of the main verb of the clause:

εἶ (ei)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 2nd Person Singular

All 4 translations are justifiable to some degree. I like ESV the most. It gives a bit of ambiguity that I think was bothering Martha at the time.


This is often viewed as a "realized eschatology" which means that the "end" is already present, but we don't see it (Luke 17:20-21). John is very thin on discussion of the future of salvation and has virtually no references to a second coming.

This can be read as an interpretation of the idea that Jesus is a concept that is constantly coming into being and something that we can understand now, and continuously into the future in all subsequent now.

A possibly related concept in Buddhism is Tathagata. This is the concept of a perspective "beyond all coming and going" and can speak to the presence of the eternal at a sort of right angle to time. Eternity is not in the future, but in the present, we are just blinded to it by Sin.


What does “is coming” mean in John 11:27?

John 11:27 ESV: She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world".

The Greek word (κοσμον )" ko-smos" translated "the world" refers to the world of mankind, and in context with the conversation that Jesus had with Martha, refers to the coming of Jesus into the world at the time of his baptism. Jesus stated, " I have come as Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness." John 12:46 NASB

Compare other verses below.

John 3:19 New American Standard Bible

19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

John 6:14 New American Standard Bible

14 Therefore when the people saw the [a]sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

John 9:39 New American Standard Bible

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

John 10:36 New American Standard Bible

36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

1 John 4:9 New American Standard Bible

9 By this the love of God was manifested [a]in us, that God has sent His [b]only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

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