John’s Gospel begins by saying Jesus is “the true light which enlightens everyone” and John the Baptist was “bearing witness to that light” (1:4-9). This is not too difficult to understand. Now, in today’s reading as our Lord’s ministry is reaching its climax, he speaks some more about light and darkness; “I have come into the world as light” he says, “so that whoever believes in me may not walk in darkness” (12:46). The light had been shining with increasing brilliance through his words and works, climaxing in the resurrection of Lazarus.
Yet, such is the tragedy of this blindness and the extremes it provokes, we now read of some who are even more determined to get rid of Jesus. He is a threat to their prestige and authority (11:47,48). In today’s chapter those with this spirit of mind even “made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were believing …” (verse 11). They were blind, despite the extreme brilliance of the “light”.
There is no halfway position in God’s eyes, either you believe or you don’t! Those who believe live and act in ways which make this obvious. God expects this. Some of those choosing darkness certainly did something to show this – and persuaded others to support them and to cry, “Crucify him”.
What did Jesus mean when he said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (verse 47). Because Jesus did not come as a condemning judge, those who were persuaded to join the darkness and cry ‘Crucify him’ were later able to repent (Acts 2:37,38); it is the outstanding example of Divine grace!
Notice the significant words with which this chapter finishes; “the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day”. The basis of the judgement “on the last day” will be the reaction each has made to “the word that I have spoken” and “which enlightens everyone”. We ignore “the word” to our own destruction, as those who stay “blind” will discover to their utter dismay “on the last day”.
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