The Repelling and Attractive Influence of Light
John 3:20-21
For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.…

These words may have taken their form from the fact that Nicodemus came by night, and may have been a gentle rebuke, and a test for self examination. One of the saddest things in a spiritual sense is that man shrinks from the light. With a nature and position before God such as his this ought not to be. One of the most blessed things is when men welcome the light, and have nothing about them that they wish to hide (Psalm 139:28).


1. The word doeth, in relation to evil, πρασσώ, indicates —

(1) The easy and natural way in which a thing is done. So we need no self-constraint or unusual exertion to do evil. We are too readily inclined to it. It required not much temptation to lead our first parents astray; and their children have followed them with easy steps.

(2) Habit. There is a tendency in what is easy and natural to become habitual. A thing once done is not difficult to repeat, and each repeated action makes us more accustomed to it. From the little men go on to the great, and so silence the inward monitor. Evil is fine as a gossamer web at first, but at last a man is "bound with the cords of his sin."(3) The transient and worthless result is in the word. So sin's gratifications leave a sting behind, and are only "for a season." How little satisfaction had Samson or Achan in their sin.

2. The evildoer hates the light. And no wonder if that which reveals his guilt and folly humiliates and disgraces him, and threatens punishment, is feared and hated. No wonder that Ahab hated Elijah and Michaiah, that Jehoiachin destroyed the prophets' roll, that Herodias hated John, and the Pharisees Christ. Here is the explanation of every unhumbled man's distaste for the truth. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." This shows the need and blessedness of the Gospel.


1. The word doeth, here, ποιεω suggests.

(1) The exercise of resistance. The man who will do truth opposes the evil impulses of his nature. He will fight against wrong feelings. With noble superiority he contends against subtlety and deceit. See instances in Joseph, Daniel, the Three Children, and Cornelius.

(2) Decision of character. The man who does the truth has no vacillation or hesitation. He is steady, unmoved by caprice. He applies himself steadily to the course he adopts, like Moses, Samuel, Nehemiah, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea.

(3) The permanent and satisfactory result. Good is not temporary or unstable in its results. What peace and joy it imparts!

2. Doers of truth love the light. They are neither ashamed nor fearful. Let the light shine, and it will justify them, and reveal the glory of God in their truth doing. Conclusion:

1. The sentiment of a man towards the truth is an index to his character.

2. The doing of truth in every man is of God.

(G. McMichael, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

WEB: For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.

The Hatred of the Wicked to the Light of the Gospel
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