John 11:10
But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
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(10) But if a man walk in the night . . .—He passes in this verse from the material to the spiritual truth. This first clause still holds of the natural night, and the danger to men who walk in it, but it holds, too, of the darkness in which men walk who do not see, as He is seeing, the light of heaven falling upon the moral path. In the second clause the moral truth is expressed with a prominence which excludes the other.

Because there is no light in him.—The light is now not that “of this world,” but that which is within man.

11:7-10 Christ never brings his people into any danger but he goes with them in it. We are apt to think ourselves zealous for the Lord, when really we are only zealous for our wealth, credit, ease, and safety; we have therefore need to try our principles. But our day shall be lengthened out, till our work is done, and our testimony finished. A man has comfort and satisfaction while in the way of his duty, as set forth by the word of God, and determined by the providence of God. Christ, wherever he went, walked in the day; and so shall we, if we follow his steps. If a man walks in the way of his heart, and according to the course of this world, if he consults his own carnal reasonings more than the will and glory of God, he falls into temptations and snares. He stumbles, because there is no light in him; for light in us is to our moral actions, that which light about us to our natural actions.Twelve hours - The Jews divided the day from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts. A similar illustration our Saviour uses in John 9:4-5. See the notes at that place.

If any man walk - If any man travels. The illustration here is taken from a traveler. The conversation was respecting a journey into Judea, and our Lord, as was his custom, took the illustration from the case before him.

He stumbleth not - He is able, having light, to make his journey safely. He sees the obstacles or dangers and can avoid them.

The light of this world - The light by which the world is illuminated that is, the light of the sun.

In the night - In darkness he is unable to see danger or obstacles, and to avoid them. His journey is unsafe and perilous, or, in other words, it is not a proper time to travel.

No light in him - He sees no light. It is dark; his eyes admit no light within him to direct his way. This description is figurative, and it is difficult to fix the meaning. Probably the intention was the following:

1. Jesus meant to say that there was an allotted or appointed time for him to live and do his Father's will, represented here by the 12 hours of the day.

2. Though his life was nearly spent, yet it was not entirely; a remnant of it was left.

3. A traveler journeyed on until night. It was as proper for him to travel the twelfth hour as any other.

4. So it was proper for Jesus to labor until the close. It was the proper time for him to work. The night of death was coming, and no work could then be done.

5. God would defend him in this until the appointed time of his death. He had nothing to fear, therefore, in Judea from the Jews, until it was the will of God that he should die. He was safe in his hand, and he went fearlessly into the midst of his foes, trusting in him. This passage teaches us that we should be diligent to the end of life: fearless of enemies when we know that God requires us to labor, and confidently committing ourselves to Him who is able to shield us, and in whose hand, if we have a conscience void of offence, we are safe.

9. Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?—(See on [1829]Joh 9:4). Our Lord's day had now reached its eleventh hour, and having till now "walked in the day," He would not mistime the remaining and more critical part of His work, which would be as fatal, He says, as omitting it altogether; for "if a man (so He speaks, putting Himself under the same great law of duty as all other men—if a man) walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." And there is a night also, wherein if men walk they will be very prone to stumble, because they are in darkness, and have no light to guide their feet. So there is a set time for all the issues of men; a time for their peace and liberty, and a time for their troubles and sufferings. God rules and governs the world. While men are in their callings and places, faithfully discharging their trust, and finishing the work which God hath given them to do, and their time is not come for their glorifying of God by suffering, they shall not stumble, nor be given up to the rage of their eagerest enemies; they are in their callings and places, and God will be light unto them: but when their working time is over, and the time of their night is come, then they will stumble; because then God withdraweth his light from them; they are not then under such a special protection of God, who hath done his work by and with them. This is as much as he had said before, John 8:20, No man laid hands on him, for his hour was not yet come; the twelve hours of his day were not all spent. This duty digested, is of infinite use to quiet the spirits of God’s people in the worst of times; every man hath his twelve hours, his day and set time, to honour God upon the stage of the world: he shall not stumble, he shall not miscarry, while those hours are spent; he shall not die, he shall not be disabled for duty, so long as God hath aught for him to do. But every man hath his night too, when he must not expect to converse in the world without stumbling.

But if a man walk in the night,.... After the sun is set, and there is no light in the air and heavens to direct him:

he stumbleth; at everything that lies in the way,

because there is no light in him; there being none from above communicated to him. So our Lord suggests, that when the time of his death was come, he should then fall a prey into the hands of his enemies, but till then he should walk safe and secure; nor had he anything to fear from them, and therefore could go into Judea again, with intrepidity and unconcern.

But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
John 11:10. On the other hand, ἐὰν δέ τιςἐν αὐτῷ, if a man prolongs his day beyond God’s appointment, he stumbles about in darkness, having lost his sole guide, the will of God. His prolonged life is no longer a day but mere night.

10. he stumbleth] Christ’s night came when His hour came (John 17:1). Then the powers of darkness prevailed (Luke 22:53) and His enemies became a stumblingblock in His path, bringing His work to a close (John 19:30). The word for ‘stumble’ means literally to ‘knock the foot against’ something.

there is no light in him] Rather, the light is not in him. This shews that the meaning has slid from the literal to the figurative. ‘The light’ in John 11:9 is the physical light in the heavens; here it is the spiritual light in the heart.

John 11:10. Ἐν αὐτῷ, in him) in him who walks by night.

Verse 10. - But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. He shuts himself off from the light of God-given opportunity, and carries no lamp in his soul. There is no necessity to suppose, in John 9:4, that the day was drawing to a close, or that in this place a natural day was dawning; but there is some probability from this phraseology that John adopted the Babylonian rather than the Roman method of computing the hours of the day. This has decided bearing on several important questions (notes, John 1:39; John 4:6, 52; John 19:14). The "twelve hours" shows, at all events, that the Jews at this time generally reckoned from sunrise to sunset. It must be remembered that the day differed considerably in length at different parts of the year, from fourteen hours to nine; but perhaps the emphatic use of the expression derives special interest from the fact that the equinox was approaching. John 11:10
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