Jesus has been talking about his death, which he knows is only a few days away. People in the crowd listening to him respond. They understand that he is talking about his death, but that confuses them. Look at John 12 verse 34,
“The crowd spoke up, ‘We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, “The Son of Man must be lifted up”? Who is this “Son of Man”?’”
The crowd knows their Old Testament prophecy. The Christ, the Messiah, long ago foretold, was supposed to reign forever. How then could Jesus claim to be the Messiah if he was going to die? Good question. Let’s see how Jesus answers them in verses 35-36.
“Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.”
Jesus doesn’t really answer the question in verse 34. Instead he says he is the light, and they should see themselves as people who are walking in darkness. They need to follow him, the light. What is so wonderful, he says, is that when people put their trust in Jesus, they are not only able to experience his light in their lives, but they become part of his family. They experience a change.
Here again we see the upside nature of the Kingdom. Like the seed that dies and multiplies, when Jesus dies, his light should be snuffed out, but it’s not. Instead his light enters and transforms all who trust in him. Through his death, therefore, his light actually grows as more and more people become sons and daughters of light. There is so much light that comes from Jesus death. His sacrifice brings so much good.
Yet there were many who had a very hard time with Jesus. Look at verses 37-43.
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”
People had so many reactions to Jesus. John quotes the ancient prophet Isaiah who said there would be negative reactions to the Messiah. Many would not believe. But as we read in verse 42, some did believe. Yet even those who did believe were afraid of putting themselves out there because if the Pharisees found out, it would be trouble. So just like those people had a choice about how they were going to react to Jesus, we have a choice. What will we do with Jesus?
Photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash
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