9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 1
11:9 Jesus replied, 2 “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks around in the daytime, he does not stumble, 3 because he sees the light of this world. 4 11:10 But if anyone walks around at night, 5 he stumbles, 6 because the light is not in him.”
12:35 Jesus replied, 7 “The light is with you for a little while longer. 8 Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. 9 The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 12:36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.” 10 When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them.
1 sn Jesus’ statement I am the light of the world connects the present account with 8:12. Here (seen more clearly than at 8:12) it is obvious what the author sees as the significance of Jesus’ statement. “Light” is not a metaphysical definition of the person of Jesus but a description of his effect on the world, forcing everyone in the world to ‘choose up sides’ for or against him (cf. 3:19-21).
2 tn Grk “Jesus answered.”
3 tn Or “he does not trip.”
4 sn What is the light of this world? On one level, of course, it refers to the sun, but the reader of John’s Gospel would recall 8:12 and understand Jesus’ symbolic reference to himself as the light of the world. There is only a limited time left (Are there not twelve hours in a day?) until the Light will be withdrawn (until Jesus returns to the Father) and the one who walks around in the dark will trip and fall (compare the departure of Judas by night in 13:30).
5 tn Grk “in the night.”
6 tn Or “he trips.”
7 tn Grk “Then Jesus said to them.”
8 tn Grk “Yet a little while the light is with you.”
9 sn The warning Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you operates on at least two different levels: (1) To the Jewish people in Jerusalem to whom Jesus spoke, the warning was a reminder that there was only a little time left for them to accept him as their Messiah. (2) To those later individuals to whom the Fourth Gospel was written, and to every person since, the words of Jesus are also a warning: There is a finite, limited time in which each individual has opportunity to respond to the Light of the world (i.e., Jesus); after that comes darkness. One’s response to the Light decisively determines one’s judgment for eternity.
10 tn The idiom “sons of light” means essentially “people characterized by light,” that is, “people of God.”
sn The expression sons of light refers to men and women to whom the truth of God has been revealed and who are therefore living according to that truth, thus, “people of God.”