34 The multitude answered him,
"We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. (Isaiah 9:7)
How do you say, ĎThe Son of Man must be lifted up?í Who is this Son of Man?"
35 Jesus therefore said to them, "Yet a little while the light is with you.
Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesnít overtake you.
He who walks in the darkness doesnít know where he is going.
36 While you have the light, believe in the light,
that you may become children of light."
Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them.
37 But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didnít believe in him,
38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke,
"Lord, who has believed our report?
To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (Is 53:1)
39 For this cause they couldnít believe, for Isaiah said again,
40 "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart,
Lest they should see with their eyes, And perceive with their heart,
And would turn, And I would heal them." (Is 6:9,10; Is 29:10; 2Cor 4:4; 2Cor 3:14; 1John 2:11)
41 Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and spoke of him. (Compare with Is 6:1)
42 Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed in him,
but because of the Pharisees they didnít confess it,
so that they wouldnít be put out of the synagogue, (John 9:22)
43 for they loved menís praise more than Godís praise.
44 Jesus cried out and said,
"Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me.
45 He who sees me sees him who sent me. (John 14:8,9)
46 I have come as a light into the world, (John 3:19-21)
that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness.
47 If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesnít believe, I donít judge him.
For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He who rejects me, and doesnít receive my sayings, has one who judges him.
The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.
49 For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me,
he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 I know that his commandment is eternal life.
The things therefore which I speak,
even as the Father has said to me, so I speak."
vs 28b-31 In God speaking from the sky we have another affirmation of the gospel. The judgment of "this world" would be accomplished on the cross in which Jesus would pay for the sins of the world. The "prince of this world" is the devil of whom he will also reference as "prince" or "ruler" in John 14:30 and John 16:11 and is also called prince in Ephesians 2:2. "cast out" is the same expression used in casting out demons. Satan would be cast out from among God's people and would no longer rule over them through the fear of death. For it is written that "14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. " Heb 2:14,15
vs 32,33 Jesus had previously said to Nicodemus, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." "Lifted up" has two connotations. As it mentions in verse 32 it can mean to literally be lifted up from the earth as in a crucifixion. And thus the crucifixion is central to the gospel message. But it also means "to be exalted". By exalting Jesus Christ we draw all kinds of people to him. For there are those such as the Jesus seminar people and other liberal theologians who acknowledge an historical Jesus to a degree and even acknowledge his being crucified, but they fail to exalt him for who he is. Such people are not drawing others to Christ.
"All" is the word "pas" which most frequently refers to "all kinds of" rather than referring universally to everyone in the world. And indeed as he has been lifted up, all kinds of people have been drawn to him.
vs 34-36a There is nothing in the Law itself concerning the Christ remaining forever, but they be just referring generally to the Old Testament. It is written in Isaiah, "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davidís throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." Is 9:7 But they did not have the whole picture and did not realize all that must take place. And so also is the case for many a Christian with short-sighted theological presumptions who dogmatically assume that such and such must be true because the Bible says it, but end up misinterpreting what the Bible is really saying.
Jesus is the light that leads us to God just as the light which comes from the sun leads us to the sun. Believing precedes becoming a child of the light. Calvinists have this backwards who presume that one must first be born of God - regenerate - before believing. But the Bible teaches that one is not even given the right to become a child of God until one believes and receives Christ, as it is written, "But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become Godís children, to those who believe in his name." John 1:12 See also Faith & Regeneration. Being a child of the light incorporates both an enlightened attitude and an elightened behavior. (Ephesian 5)
vs 36b-43 This prophecy is predictive, as prophecies should be.
It is not causative. What it means is that, having chosen out of their
free will to not believe, they were then hardened. We see this cause and
effect portrayed in Romans chapter 1, for example "Even as they refused
to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind."
once again this cause/effect relationship is contrary to Calvinism which
portrays people as mere puppets devoid of free will and upon which God
forces belief or disbelief independently of any sense of personal choice.
God reacts to people's choice, which is just. People are held responsible
for those actions of which they are in control. Else God would be unjust
and even himself reckoned guilty if he were responsible for people's sinful
actions by controlling them in a puppetlike fashion. But God's sovereign
plan is preserved in that God foreknows how people will behave. And by
incorporating such knowledge into his plan both his sovereignty and man's
free will are preserved.God utilized Satan in blinding their eyes, along with their preference for darkness.
Is 6:9,10 He said, "Go and tell this people: "íBe ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.í Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
Is 29:10 The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).
2Cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
2Cor 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
1Jo 2:11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Also we notice that the prophecy is meant to be read as "generally speaking", rather than to be taken universally. For there were those who believed to an extent and there will be others who put true faith in Christ, as Paul writes, "I ask then, Did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." Romans 11:1 But concerning these rulers who "believed", we notice that quality of their faith was rather low. Their belief was merely an opinion, not a conviction. For if it were a conviction then they would confess, as it is written, "But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, 'I believed, and therefore I spoke.' We also believe, and therefore also we speak;" 2Corinthians 4:13 But these rulers did not have that kind of faith. It is not a saving faith, for faith without its outworkings is a dead faith being in name only. And "if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom 10:9 and thus it is a confessing faith which saves. Being afraid of what other people think of you is one of the primary hinderances to developing saving faith. And thus it is the popular and those concerned for their social status that are most reluctant to come to faith in Christ.
vs 44-50 There are a multitude of people in the world of many religions who claim to believe in God. But if upon hearing the gospel they don't believe in Christ as he is portrayed in the gospels, then they really haven't been believing in God. What they've been believing in is something other than the Creator. If you really want to know what God is like, then examine Christ. Even in the Christian community there are those who view Jesus as a gentle and meek person but view God the Father as quite different, being full of wrath and terrifying as portrayed at times in the Old Testament. But the Father is just like the Son and the Son just like the Father. Always has been. Always will be. The Son is also full of wrath as we see in the book of Revelation concerning his second coming. And the Father also full of mercy.
It was not time for the judgment in terms of the final judgment in which people will be called to account for their behavior. Now was the time to provide salvation. Those who respond correctly to Jesus' words will be saved. For his words are life. "So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Rom 10:17