John 12:36
While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
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(36) While ye have light, believe in the light.—Better, as above, According as ye have the light. The words are repeated and placed in the most emphatic position in the sentence.

That ye may be the children of light.—Better, that ye may become sons of light. (Comp. for this phrase Notes on John 17:12; Luke 10:6; Luke 16:8; also Ephesians 5:8.) The thought here is the one familiar in St. John, that the believer should become like unto Him in whom he believed. Those who believed in the light should receive light, and become themselves centres whence light should radiate to others and illumine their own paths.

These things spake Jesus, and departed.—(Comp. Note on Luke 21:37.) He retired probably to Bethany.

12:34-36 The people drew false notions from the Scriptures, because they overlooked the prophecies that spoke of Christ's sufferings and death. Our Lord warned them that the light would not long continue with them, and exhorted them to walk in it, before the darkness overtook them. Those who would walk in the light must believe in it, and follow Christ's directions. But those who have not faith, cannot behold what is set forth in Jesus, lifted up on the cross, and must be strangers to its influence as made known by the Holy Spirit; they find a thousand objections to excuse their unbelief.While ye have light - This implied two things:

1. that he was the light, or was the Messiah.

2. that he was soon to be taken away by death.

In this manner he answered their question - not directly, but in a way to convey the truth to their minds, and at the same time to administer to them a useful admonition. Jesus never aroused the prejudices of men unnecessarily, yet he never shrank from declaring to them the truth in some way, however unpalatable it might be.

Believe in the light - That is, in the Messiah, who is the light of the world.

That ye may be the children ... - That ye may be the friends and followers of the Messiah. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. Compare John 8:12; Ephesians 5:8; "Now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light."

Did hide himself from them - John 8:59. He went out to Bethany, where he commonly passed the night, Luke 21:37.

36. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them—He who spake as never man spake, and immediately after words fraught with unspeakable dignity and love, had to "hide Himself" from His auditors! What then must they have been? He retired, probably to Bethany. (The parallels are: Mt 21:17; Lu 21:37). He either expounds what he meant before, by his calling to them to walk in the light, viz. believing in him who is the true and great Light of the world; or else he declares faith in him to be their duty, as well as obedience to him, which is a point our Saviour had often before pressed. While I am amongst you, and when I shall be gone from you and the light of the gospel yet stayeth behind amongst you, embrace me, and receive me as your Saviour, and yield all obedience to the prescriptions of my gospel, that ye may be the children of light: this the apostle expounds and enlargeth upon, Ephesians 5:8-11. After Christ had spoken these things in Jerusalem, he departed to Bethany, where he obscured himself from his enemies.

While ye have light, believe in the light,.... Receive the Messiah, and credit the Gospel revelation; this is an explanation of the exhortation in the preceding verse:

that ye may be the children of the light; that is, that they might appear to be such who are enlightened persons; and such are truly so, who are made light in the Lord, or who are enlightened by the Spirit of God to see their own sinfulness, impotency, and unrighteousness, and their need of Christ, and his righteousness and strength, and of salvation by him; and who are made meet, by the grace of God, to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; and which is made manifest by believing in Christ, and walking on in him, as they have received him, and by walking honestly, as in the daytime, and circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, for such walk as children of the light.

These things spake Jesus, and departed; from those Jews, as being unworthy of any further conversation with him; and from Jerusalem, very likely to Bethany, whither he frequently retired, especially at night, during the few days before the passover:

and did hide himself from them: for his safety, for he knew that they were irritated by what he said, and would seek to lay hold upon him, and deliver him to the sanhedrim; and whereas his hour was not yet fully come, there were a few more sands in the glass to run, he provided for his security, by absconding from them; and this was an emblem of his wholly removing from them, and leaving them, and their house, desolate; and it is very likely that from this time forward they saw him no more as ministering the word unto them; and also of his taking his Gospel from them in a little time, and of his hiding the things of it from them, which respected himself, and salvation by him.

While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the {g} children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

(g) That is, partakers of light.

John 12:36. In John 12:36 it becomes evident that under τὸ φῶς He refers to Himself. He urges them to yield to that light in Him which penetrates the conscience. Thus they will become υἱοὶ φωτός, see 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “children of light,” not “of the Light”. The expression is the ordinary form used by the Hebrews to indicate close connection; see Matthew 8:12; Matthew 9:15, Mark 3:17, Luke 16:8, etc. To be υἱοὶ φωτός is to be such as find their truest life in the truth, recognising and delighting in all that Christ reveals. “These words Jesus spoke and departed and was hidden from them.” His warning that the Light would not always be available for them was at once followed by its removal. Where He was hidden is not said.

36. While ye have] Here again the better reading is as ye have; and ‘light’ should be ‘the Light.’ Note the emphatic repetition so common in S. John.

that ye may be] Rather, that ye may become. Faith is only the beginning; it does not at once make us children.

children of light] No article: but in all the four preceding cases ‘light’ has the article and means Christ, the Light, as in John 1:5; John 1:7-9. The expression ‘child of’ or ‘son of’ is frequent in Hebrew poetry to indicate very close connexion as between product and producer (see on John 17:12). Thus, ‘son of peace,’ Luke 10:6; ‘children of this world,’ John 16:8; ‘sons of thunder,’ Mark 3:17. Such expressions are very frequent in the most Hebraistic of the Gospels: comp. Matthew 5:9; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 9:15; Matthew 13:38; Matthew 23:15.

and departed] Probably to Bethany, to spend the last few days before His hour came in retirement. Comp. Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11; Luke 21:37.

did hide himself] Rather, was hidden.

John 12:36. Υἱοὶ φωτός, the children of light) who remain always attached to the light, ch. John 8:35, “The servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.”—γένησθε) that ye may become [not be, as Engl. Vers.]; inasmuch as ye are not so of yourselves.—ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη. He departed and hid Himself) By this very act He intimated what would afterwards befal them [He would hide Himself from them]; Matthew 23:39, “Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

Verse 36. - But he concludes with one more glorious invitation. As, up to this moment, you have the Light, Believe in the Light; treat it as light - receive the revelation I have given you (cf. the ninth and eleventh chapters); "Work while it is called today;" "stumble not;" make no irreparable mistake. "Become " - so walk that ye may become yourselves sons of Light, illumined and luminous. This fine expression is found in Luke 16:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; and, with alteration of υἱοὶ into τέκρα, in Ephesians 5:8. This last word, public word, of Jesus, which was in part accepted by some of his hearers, as we see from ver. 42, corresponds with the Beatitudes, and sustains one at least of the main theses of the prologue: "The Life was the Light of men." These things spake Jesus, and departed, and was hidden from them. This utterance records the close of the Lord's public ministry, and therefore the solemn termination of the various scenes and discourses preserved in the synoptic narrative. The people of his love saw him no more till he appeared as a criminal in the hands' of the officers of the Sanhedrin, on his way to the Praetorium. In the silence of the home- at Bethany he probably spent the last day of his earthly ministry, which terminated in the marvelous converse at the Last Supper. "This time it was no mere cloud which obscured the sun, for to them the sun itself had set." And now, through several verses, the evangelist presents his own reflections on the cause of the strange paradoxical proceeding which led "his own" not to receive him. John 12:36
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