Day 5: John 12:35-36
Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going. While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become children of light.” Jesus said this, then went away and hid from them.
1. Jesus is answering a question about his identity from the previous verse. We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus is communicating urgency. Then, just as now, there were many distractions from following the light. At that time, the people were caught up in their visions of a Messiah-King who would free them from foreign oppressors. Jesus is letting them know that the freedom he offers depends on believing in him. To seek freedom apart from him is to walk in darkness, and so to have no idea where you are going. Jesus then hid himself from them as a sign-act. He is doing some physical prophecy. The people he is speaking to have him now, but soon enough he will be hidden from them.
2. Jesus is the light. He enlightens those who walk in darkness so they might know where they are going. He creates children of the light from those who believe in who he says he is.
3. Just as those long ago were caught up in their visions of freedom, we have our own visions of what it means to be free. They wanted liberation from foreign rule. We, among the freest people who have ever lived, want liberation from the emotional labor of being who and what we are. Jesus’s words are as true for us as they were for the crowds: the one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. You may have heard it said that you must find your own way. This is to walk in darkness. Jesus says I am the way. We must look to him for both guidance and identity. Only then will we be children of light.
4. The adoption of those who believe as children of light points us forward to the return of Jesus as the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. Our ultimate fate is to sit at God’s feet, not as servants and worshippers, but as beloved children. The family of God is open to those who will believe in the light.