We’re told that Christ is the light of the world “that all men through him might believe” (John 1:7). Yet, we then read, “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (1:5, 11).
Unbelief has always grieved the heart of Jesus. When our Lord came to earth in the flesh, He brought incredible light into the world. And that light was meant to open the eyes of men. Yet, in spite of Jesus’ amazing show of light, Scripture speaks of incredible examples of unbelief in the very face of such light.
Perhaps no other chapter in the Bible contains as much proof of Jesus’ deity as we see in John 12. We see a man who had been raised from the dead by Jesus’ command. We see the visual fulfillment of a centuries-old prophecy known to every Israelite. And we hear a literal voice speaking from heaven.
Even after witnessing these wonders, the people had the audacity to question Jesus. “The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?” (12:34). They were saying, “You claim You’re going to be crucified. But we know the true Messiah is going to live forever.”
Then the people asked a question that absolutely stunned Jesus: “Who is this Son of man?” (12:34). Christ must have been incredulous at their blindness. In fact, He didn’t even attempt to answer the question. Instead, He warned, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you. . . . While ye have light, believe in the light” (12:35-36).
The light had shone into their darkness but their darkened minds didn’t comprehend it (see 1:12). The Greek word for comprehend means “to seize it, to lay hold of it, to possess the truth, producing life and power.” These people had been given a life-changing truth but they didn’t seize it or lay hold of it. They didn’t understand the truth of Christ, because they did not seek to possess it.
“These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (12:36). In this one verse, we find God’s attitude toward unbelief. Indeed, from cover to cover in the Bible, God never has sympathy or pity for unbelief. And the same is true in this scene. Jesus simply walked away from the unbelieving crowds. As a result, those people would leave Jerusalem in darkness because they didn’t walk in the light they’d been given.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon