|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:44-50 Our Lord publicly proclaimed, that every one who believed on him, as his true disciple, did not believe on him only, but on the Father who sent him. Beholding in Jesus the glory of the Father, we learn to obey, love, and trust in him. By daily looking to Him, who came a Light into the world, we are more and more freed from the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery; we learn that the command of God our Saviour is everlasting life. But the same word will seal the condemnation of all who despise it, or neglect it.
Verse 46. - The revelation of God becomes the light of the soul and the light of the world. The evangelist had said, in his prologue, "In him was life," and the Life (the eternal Logos of life) was "the Light of men." All true understanding, all purifying, gracious influence shed on human affairs, nature, or destiny, are the issue and result of the Divine Life which, under every dispensation, has wrought in humanity. Above all, "the Light that lighteth every man," namely, that which has always and which ever will radiate from the life conferred on our humanity by the Logos, the life of God in mind and conscience, "came into the world" - came, that is, in a new and more effective form, came in the radiance of a perfect human life. The evangelist has sustained his teaching by quoting the solemn words of Jesus in John 3:19; John 8:12; also John 9:5, where a special narrative of miraculous love typified both the need in which the human family, the sacred Israel, and even his own disciples, stood of light, and of the light which he could pour upon the sightless eyeballs. And now the connection of this passage is - You could not behold me if light did not stream forth from me. I have come, and am come (ἐλήλυθα, this has been and is my abiding purpose; cf. John 5:43; John 7:28) a Light into the world, and my object has been and is that whosoever believeth on me - whoso-ever sees by the inward eye that which I really am, sees how my life stands related to the Father, whosoever assents to the new revelation thus given, even over and above the "inward light" of the Logos - should not abide in the darkness which enwraps all souls; for, as said in the prologue, "the Light" (the archetypal Light) shineth upon the darkness of human nature, and the darkness comprehendeth it not." It should be especially noticed that in 2 Corinthians 4:6 St. Paul had grasped and uttered the fullness of this thought.
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I am come a light into the world,.... And even as the light of it, being the sun of righteousness, that was to arise, and now was risen, to enlighten men with the light of the living; see John 3:19;
that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness; God's elect themselves, whilst in a state of unregeneracy and unbelief, are in darkness; when Christ shines in upon them, and infuses the light of faith into them, they are no longer in darkness; the darkness is past, at least in a great measure, and the true light shines; in which they see light, see glory and grace of Christ, and the invisible realities of another world: nor do they continue in the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief; but walk in the light of truth, faith, and holiness, until the perfect day comes, when all the shadows of remaining darkness will flee away.
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