“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. [John 12:35-36 ESV]
Let me be clear. When I read the word “light” used to describe God, Jesus and His work I think the word “truth.” When I read “darkness” used to describe the world, man and the work of men, I think the words “sin” and “lie.” By the very natures of truth and the lie or whatever is not truth, the two cannot mix. They must be separated.
Buddhist yin and yang believe the concept of a little truth in every lie, a little lie in every truth, a little darkness in light and a little light in darkness. This teaching cannot stand up to honest, spiritual scrutiny, but easily withstands the most thoughtful inquiry of any sinful person. It accurately describes how sin has corrupted all things, even those considered most pure. By extension, this thinking believes God is also corrupted. Even His pure light has a little speck of darkness. What we see in the world, down to the integrate philosophies and ancient religions of man, has no solid righteous foundation for eternal thinking and temporary decisions. Truth and honesty demand we transcend the thinking of the world in which we live. We cannot determine our own direction in our own strength and power.
After entering Jerusalem that last week some Gentiles ask to see Jesus. We are never told He sees them, or encourages them to come to Him. Seeing beyond the immediate future, transcending the coming history, Jesus acknowledges His death, burial and resurrection as a reality. He also forcefully states all men, even the religiously and traditionally excluded Gentiles, would be irresistibly drawn to Him. His reason for coming, to proclaim the truth, cannot be stopped even by the darkest grave. “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world –to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” [John 18:37 ESV]. Darkness cannot hold Him.
As He talks with the people about what is about to happen Jesus says something curious, even disturbing, though all His words are disturbing to the world. He tells those within hearing, especially His disciples, to walk in the light while they can. For a time is coming when they will be surrounded by darkness. Jesus commands they walk in such a way darkness cannot overtake them. For those who walk in darkness will stumble, continue to sin. Those who walk in darkness, who continue to live according to a lie, want nothing to do with light, refusing to accept truth. Living in darkness is easy. It takes no thought, causes no challenge, promises ease and pleasure and fulfillment. Promises based upon a lie deliver false, empty hope. In the end the life built upon a lie is swallowed by the lie and lost in darkness.
But what of those who pursue truth, who live in light, whose actions and attitudes and decisions come from truth? They gather up truth like one gathers wealth, or food, or anything precious in their sight and thought. They become children of light, with God’s light coming from them as much as it comes through them from the Lord.
Children are those descendent from a father and mother, who carry the DNA of the family. These children are raised and disciplined and taught to carry on the work of the family from generation to generation. They enjoy the love of their parents because they are identified with them, doing what they do, thinking as they think, emulating and copying them. Yet, all children rebel in some way against their parents just as we rebel against God. God does not disown those who are His when they rebel. He disciplines and teaches them, building into them even more light and truth. Where the temporal family fails the eternal God succeeds for where there is light there can be no darkness.
Light means truth as well as purity, and the spiritual knowledge and understanding of all truth. Those Jesus declares sons of light are those who have been taught, disciplined, raised and formed into the likeness of Jesus, who not only withstand darkness but overcome it instead of it overcoming them.
After saying these things to them (read John 12:20 to end) Jesus hides himself. Everything He does is meant to draw people to Himself. Why then would He hide? Following Jesus means seeking Him with all of your heart and all of your strength and energy. He is hidden only from those who do not wish to find Him.