John

12:20-36

The signs of the Messiah, 2:13-12:50

8. Jesus the triumphant king, 11:55-12:50

iii] Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground

Synopsis

John now records a rather unique incident where a group of Gentile "Godfearers" take the trouble to seek Jesus out. The incident occurs during the final days of Jesus' Jerusalem ministry and serves to round off his public ministry to Israel and at the same time point forward to the gathering of all peoples, Jew and Gentile, together under the cross. Philip and Andrew convey the request of the Gentiles to meet with Jesus, but Jesus responds with a rather strange statement; "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." Then, in a saying about corn and wheat, Jesus points out that both life and death applies to him and his followers. The cross looms large as Jesus calls on the Father to glorify his name. A divine response is followed by Jesus' declaration of ultimate victory.

 
Teaching

Christ's death is the necessary condition for the life of broken humanity.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 11:55-12:11.

 

ii] Structure: This dialogue discourse, Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground, presents as follows:

Greeks come to Jesus, v20-22;

Jesus' response, v23-36:

Only death leads to life, v23-26:

"anyone who loves their life will lose it,

while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

The necessity of Jesus' death, v27-30:

"it is for this very reason I came to this hour."

The significance of Christ's glorification, v31-33;

"I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

The call to choose between light and darkness, v34-36:

"believe in the light while you have the light."

 

iii] Interpretation:

Jesus has entered Jerusalem to inaugurate his eternal reign and through Philip he is approached by a group of Gentiles, possibly Godfearers. The homage of Gentiles to the messiah is indeed a subtle temptation for it suggests that the kingdom-harvest can be realized without the death of the king. Yet the truth is, the messiah must die to realize the harvest, for only by identifying with his death can the seeker find eternal life, v20-26. The cross looms large before Jesus, its cost and agony, and in that thought there is divine confirmation, v27-30. The battle is now set, the victory assured and the harvest guaranteed, v31-33. The gathered crowd has grasped the significance of Jesus' words about a dying and rising messiah, but they are still mystified. Does not the messiah abide for ever? Jesus doesn't bother debating matters of theology with the crowd for the day of judgment is at hand and so he reminds them that like a traveller at sunset they have a fading moment to find their way to safety and security - to life, v34-36.

 

iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 12:20

Victory over death, v20-36: i] Some Gentiles approach Philip to see if they can gain an audience with Jesus, v20-22. The impact of Jesus' ministry is beginning to move beyond his own countryman, such that a group of Godfearers try to get to speak with him. They obviously feel uneasy about approaching Jesus directly so they tackle one of the disciples. Philip, with a Greek name, may well be a bit more approachable, a bit less Jewish. Interestingly, Philip discusses the approach with Andrew, the only other disciple with a Greek name. There is no indication whether they get to see Jesus, but they will "see" him after his crucifixion. When he is lifted up he will draw both Jew and Gentile to himself, cf., v32.

de "now" - Transitional, introducing a new section.

EllhneV (hn hnoV) "Greeks" - There is much to commend the suggestion that they are Greek-speaking Jews, but that they are Gentile Godfearers is to be preferred. The fact that they come to Philip rather than Jesus, that Philip checks with Andrew, and that Jesus becomes quite agitated (Gentiles approaching Jesus indicates both, temptation - the gaining of the whole world without the cross, and a signification that the hour had come for his glorification [the cross]), indicates that they are Gentiles. The point John is making is that they are people of non-Jewish birth.

ek + gen. "among" - from. Here the preposition is used instead of a partitive genitive; "from among."

twn anabainontwn (anabainw) pres. part. "those who went up" - the ones going up. The participle serves as a substantive. This is often a technical term for going on pilgrimage rather than just going up from the low country to the highlands of Jerusalem.

iJna + subj. "to [worship]" - Here forming a final clause expressing purpose; "in order to worship / do obeisance."

en + dat. "at [the feast]" - Expressing space/sphere.

 
v21

oun "-" - therefore. Transitional, best left untranslated, as NIV.

proshlqon (prosercomai) aor. "came to" - approached, came to, gone to. Why did they approach Philip? Bethsaida is actually in Gaulanitis, not Galilee, so possibly it's because he is from Gentile territory, but John obviously doesn't see the connection.

filippw/ (oV) dat. "Philip" - Dative of direct object after the verb "approached."

tw/ "who [was from Bethsaida]" - Dative article in agreement with Philip.

thV GalilaiaV (a) gen. "in Galilee" - of Galilee. Partitive genitive; "Bethsaida, a village in Galilee."

hpwtwn (epwtaw) imperf. "with a request" - were asking, requesting. They approached Philip ..... and asked him saying ... "they kept asking him"

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "[we would like] to see" - [we will] to see. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "we want/will." Here in the sense of "to interview / converse with." They have already seen him, now they want to talk with him.

 
v23

ii] Jesus' discourse on the coming death and glorification of the Son of Man, v23-36. "The function of the discourse is to show the necessity of the death and exaltation of Jesus for the establishment of the saving sovereignty of God that embraces all nations", Beasley-Murray.

a) Jesus is glorified in his death, and what is true for him is true for his disciples, v23-26. The approach of the Gentiles prompts Jesus to speak of his coming death, the coming "hour". Jesus illustrates the purpose of his dying in a short illustrative / teaching parable. Although it is without explanation, it obviously refers to Jesus' lifting up from the earth to draw all people to himself, cf., v32. In the synoptic gospels, Christ's glorification is identified with his ascension and heavenly rule. For John, Christ is glorified in his crucifixion, for the cross draws lost humanity to God. Jesus' words in v25-25 seem to parallel the synoptic gospels where Jesus follows up a prediction of his death with a word on discipleship. Yet, hating life does not necessarily mean dying to the world, cf. Lk.9:24, but rather dying to self in the sense of resting in Christ for our salvation. Similarly, being where Christ is does not necessarily mean cross-bearing, cf. Lk.9:23, but rather identification with Christ in his humiliation / glorification.

autoiV dat. pro. "[Jesus replied]" - [Jesus answered saying] to them. Dative of indirect object. The participle legwn, "saying", is attendant circumstance redundant.

elhluqen hJ wJra "the hour has come" - "The time of Jesus' death has arrived." The approach of the Gentiles obviously triggers this response from Jesus. Their approach indicates that his work with Israel is complete and now he must turn toward the lost and outcast. As this ministry is not directly his, but rather a ministry of the Spirit through his disciples and the church, then it is time for him to leave - the hour has come. At a more subtle level, his response is also triggered by the temptation that he can gain the world and reign over it, apart from the cross. This is Satan's classic temptation and one that Christ had to resist until the end. For this reason, he turns away from the approach of these "Greeks" and turns toward the cross.

iJna + subj. "for" - that. Here introducing an epexegetic clause explaining / limiting the noun "hour", the hour when the Son of Man is glorified, crucified.

uiJoV tou anqrwpou "the Son of man" - Barrett suggests that John's usage of Daniel's "Son of Man", the mysterious messiah who will reign over an eternal kingdom, is slightly different to the synoptic gospels. John sees him as "the heavenly Man incarnate, whose glory is achieved in his humiliation."

doxasqh/ (doxazw) aor. pas. subj. "glorified" - For John, Christ is glorified in his crucifixion. Although rightly the reign of Christ demonstrates the divine glory, for John his reign begins on the cross when he draws lost humanity to himself, both Jew and Greek. "To be invested with glory", Cassirer.

 
v24

Jesus depicts his death / glorification as a seed sown in the ground, dying to produce a rich harvest.

uJmin dat. pro. "[I tell] you [the truth]" - [truly truly I say] to you. Dative of indirect object. Jesus often uses these words to reinforce what he is about to say.

ean mh + subj. "unless [a kernel of wheat ...... dies]" - if not [a grain of wheat ..... dies]. Introducing a negated conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, a grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die, then it remains a solitary grain."

oJ kokkoV (oV) "a seed" - the seed. Although "seed" has a definite article, the phrase is most likely representative. It is possible that the definite article is used to indicate that the seed represents Christ. Either way, Jesus is obviously illustrating his coming death.

tou sitou (oV) gen. "of wheat" - of edible grain. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "seed". "In rabbinic literature, the kernel of wheat is repeatedly used as a symbol of the eschatological resurrection of the dead", Kostenberger.

peswn (piptw) aor. part. "falls" - having fallen. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the "kernel of wheat", "which has fallen into the ground"; "that drops into the earth", Berkeley.

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative.

ean + subj. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, .... then ....." "But if it dies it brings a good harvest", Phillips.

 
v25

Verses 25 and 26 serve to explain and apply the illustration Jesus has used in v24 of his coming death and its consequential results. Verse 25, a typical wise saying, consists of two antithetical statements which make the point that the "loss of life is the condition for the emergence of new life", Ridderbos. cf. Mk.8:35.

oJ filwn pres. part. "the man who loves [his life will lose it]" - the one being fond of the life [of him loses it]. The participle serves as a substantive. The parallel in Mark 8:35 has "the person who wishes to save their life will lose it", save in the sense of keep themselves safe, preserve. John has a slightly different sense, "the person who wishes to live (love is used in the sense of live for themselves) will lose it". "The man who loves his own life will destroy it", Phillips. The "lose" is not future, "shall lose", but present continuous, losing/destroying right now. The synoptics, as well as John, use "soul" in the sense of a person's real living self as opposed to their fleshly self. The soul is not the spiritual or godward self, rather it is a person's life evidenced in their breath, their being.

kai "while" - and. Here serving as a comparative.

oJ miswn (misew) pres. part. "the man who hates" - the one hating. The participle serves as a substantive. "The person who hates their life will gain it." Morris follows the normal line of interpretation when he explains that "the man whose priorities are right has such an attitude of love for the things of God that it makes all interest in the affairs of this life appear by comparison as hatred." As with the synoptic gospels, there is little in the context to explain how this disdain for one's personal life actually works out in practice. Discipleship criteria seems the obvious fit, but when applied we immediately find ourselves in a works frame. We should, therefore, beware of literally applying what is a classic example of Jesus' use of hyperbole. He is simply making the point that the gaining of life involves the setting aside of life. Such entails reliance of Christ for eternal life, rather than self. Gaining and keeping eternal life is always by grace through faith.

en + dat. "in [this world]" - Expressing space/sphere.

fulaxei (fullassw) fut. "will keep it" - will guard, keep safe, preserve.

eiV + acc. "for [eternal life]" - to, toward [life eternal]. Expressing advantage, "for", as NIV.

 
v26

As noted above, the sense of v25-26 parallels Mark 8:34, "if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." John makes a similar point with the use of two parallel sayings / statements which are followed by a promise of the Father's honor for those who serve. It is often understood that this service is an imitation of Jesus in his suffering and death, so eg. Brown, but as noted above, it seems more likely that it is an identification in Jesus' suffering and death. By sharing in his humiliation (we follow a convicted criminal) we share in his glorification and so are honored by the Father.

ean + subj. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, [anyone serves me], then [let him follow me."

diakonh/ (diakonew) subj. "serves" - serves. What is this service to Christ? John explains that it involves following Christ.

akolouqeitw (akolouqew) imp. "must follow" - let him accompany, attend, ..... follow as a disciple. What is involved in following? Barrett says that "to serve Jesus is to follow him, and he is going to [his] death." Yet, John gives us a clue: following involves being where Christ is. Morris suggests that v25 dictates where Christ is, namely at the cross, ie. suffering. Beasley-Murray parallels the verse with the synoptic image of cross-bearing, Mark 8:34, cf. Lk.9:23, "Christ draws men to fellowship with himself, alike in suffering and in the presence of God" (cf. v26b). As already noted, a following that involves imitation seems unlikely. We are best to view our following of Christ in the terms of identification. We should note also that John has not really defined where Christ is. In reality, Christ has ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father. We sit with Christ and reign with him and in that identification with the glorified Christ, we are honoured.

kai "and" - Coordinative.

o{pou "where" - wherever. Indefinite.

kai "also" - [there] also [the servant of me will be]. Adjunctive.

ean + subj. "-" - if [anyone serve me the Father will honor him]. Introducing a conditional clause, as above.

timhsei (timaw) fut. "will honor" - The content of this honor is undefined. Surely not "may well involve suffering or even martyrdom", Kostenberger. Better "vindication", Carson; "the Father who glorifies the Son will honor those who serve the Son and give them a share in his glory", Bruce.

 
v27

b) In God's plan, the humiliation of the cross is Christ's glorification, a glorification confirmed by the Father, v27-30. Jesus is quite disturbed by the shadow of the cross now before him and so prays for this "cup" to be taken from him, yet at the same time he obediently accepts that the cross is the reason for his coming. Jesus goes on to pray that the Father be glorified. The Father responds audibly saying that he is already glorified in the revelation of Jesus' life and will be glorified in the cross. Jesus comments in v30 that the theophany (a manifestation of the divine) is more for the crowd's benefit than his. Since the theophany requires the ears to hear, few, if any, in the crowd, understand the words or identity their source.

hJ yuch (h) "heart" - the soul. "Now comes my hour of heart-break", Phillips.

tetaraktai (tarassw) perf. pas. "is troubled" - has been disturbed, troubled. Jesus is agitated, shocked, fearful, horror struck ...... at the shadow of the cross and the temptation to sidestep it, cf. Matt.26:38ff. "Went into turmoil."

kai "and" - Here probably alerting the reader to the coming question and therefore left untranslated.

eipw (legw) aor. subj. "[what] shall I say" - [what] am I to say. Deliberative subjunctive. Morris notes that the verb is important here; Jesus doesn't say "what shall I choose",

swson (sozw) aor. imp. "save" - The phrase, "save me from this hour", is best understood in the terms of Jesus musing over what he should pray. Often treated as a question, "shall I pray that the Father saves me? Certainly not ...", although best understood as his prayer; "What am I to say? Father, save me from this hour", NEB. The removal of the cup, an alternate way to the cross, is a powerful temptation, but Jesus stands his ground, turns aside the temptation, and accepts the divine purpose for which he has come - "not my will, but thine."

ek + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "away from."

alla "no" - but. Strong adversative, indicating that the "save me from this hour" is hypothetical and not directed to the Father. The same construction can be seen in "lead us not into temptation alla but deliver us from evil", ie. the leading not into temptation is hypothetical - it is not something God would actually do.

dia + acc. "it was for [this very reason]" - because of [this]. Causal. The touto, "this", is the "hour" / cross. "But no, it is for this purpose that I have come to this hour", Barclay.

 
v28

doxason (doxazw) aor. imp. "glorify" - Christ prays for the glorification of the Father. The divine answer states that the Father's name has been glorified in the revelation of Jesus' life and will be further glorified in the lifting up of His obedient servant. As Ridderbos notes, the glorification of the Father is inextricably tied to his salvation-historical purposes.

oun "then" - therefore. Resumptive, as NIV.

ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - Expressing source/origin; "out of, from"

kai .... kai "and" = both [I glorified] and [I will glorify again]. Correlative. The Father is confirming that Jesus' prayer has already been answered. The Father's name has been glorified in Jesus' ministry and will again be glorified in Jesus' salvic act on the cross.

 
v29

oun "-" - therefore. Inferential, expressing a logical conclusion.

oJ ... eJstwV (iJsthmi) perf. part. "that was there" - the one having stood there. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "crowd", as NIV.

akousaV (akouw) aor. part. "[and] heard it" - [and] having heard. The participle as above, although it may be treated as adverbial, temporal; "when they heard the sound, the people standing by said it had thundered", Moffatt.

gegonenai (ginomai) perf. inf. "it had [thundered]" - [thunder] has happened. The infinitive forms a dependent statement of direct speech expressing what the crowd said. Everybody heard something, some a voice, others a sound like thunder. Thunder expresses the power of God and is often associated with a theophany, cf. Ex.19:16.

lalalhken (lalew) perf. "[and angel] has spoken" - Some others heard words, and they concluded that it was an angel speaking with Jesus. On a number of occasions in the Old Testament the Angel of the Lord speaks with Israel's great ones, cf. Gen.21:7, 22:11, 2King.1:15. Calvin notes that the crowd's failure to recognize God's voice (some think it is thunder, others think it is an angel) is paralleled by people's response to the gospel today; "may are as cold toward the teaching as if it came only from a mortal man, and others think God's Word to be a barbarous stammering, as if it were nothing but thunder."

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - Dative of indirect object.

 
v30

di (dia) + acc. "[this voice was] for [your] benefit [not mine]" - [not] because of [me this voice has come but] because of [you]. Expressing cause/reason; "on account of, for the sake of." Most commentators note the problem posed by the Father speaking for the benefit of the crowd, but then the crowd being are unable to identify the source of the voice. It was obviously only a word for those with ears to hear, but did anyone hear? Tasker suggests that the phrase is a "Semitic way of expressing comparison" ie. "more for your sake than mine." This is quite credible and therefore, the message is for all those with ears to hear, including Jesus. So, at least Jesus understood the words, along with the source, and the apostles, if they didn't understand at this point in time, certainly came to understand.

 
v31

c) The significance of Christ's death and glorification, v31-33. In the coming of the "Greeks" Jesus is again tempted to look for another way other than the cross. He casts aside this temptation and sets his face firmly to life through death, v23-26. Still, the cross weighs heavily on him, but his path is set, v27, and to this he prays that the Father will be glorified in this "hour", which prayer the Father attests, v28-30. Jesus now explains the consequences of his glorification, v31-32, while John adds a further clarification, v33. The consequences of Christ's glorification (his crucifixion) are as follows: a) the world is judged; b) the prince of this world, the devil, is defeated; c) Christ is exalted; d) all people are provided with access to God through Christ.

nun "now [is] the time for" - now. Temporal adverb.

tou kosmou (oV) gen. "[judgment] on the world" - [judgment] of the world. Possibly "for/on the world", if the genitive is taken as verbal, objective, "now is the time that sentence is being passed upon this world", Cassirer, or adjectival, possessive, "now is the world's judgment-day", Bruce. "World" is used in the sense of "all human society in rebellion against its creator", Carson. The "world" passes judgment on Christ and carries out its sentence in his crucifixion. Yet, this sentence is overturned, Christ rises, and the world finds itself condemned in return. This eschatological judgment-day is both now and not yet.

tou kosmou (oV) gen. "[the prince] of [this] world" - [the ruler] of [this] world. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or attributive; "the prince who rules this world."

ekblhqhsetai (ekballw) fut. pas. "will be driven [out]" - will be throw out, cast out. The synoptic gospels use the image of the wicked cast into outer darkness and this may be what John has in mind. A number of commentators note that Jesus' pronouncement of judgment on the world and Satan doesn't seem to fit with the flow of the discourse. Of course, if the discourse is prompted by the temptation of another way other than the cross, a word about the tempter is not out of keeping.

 
v32

kagw "but I" - and I. As Carson notes, the same victory, the same death/exaltation, is in view, so "and I, when I am lifted up."

ean + subj. "when" - if. Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class. The majority of these conditional clauses do not indicate the fulfilment or otherwise of the condition, so it is assumed that the condition has the possibility of being fulfilled; "if, as may be the case, ....." Some, particularly where a future tense is used in the apodosis, as here, have a likelihood of being fulfilled, even fulfillment that is certain. In such a case ean virtually takes the place of oJtan, "when", as translated in the NIV here.

uJywqw (uJyow) aor. pas. subj. "I am lifted up" - The word is purposely ambiguous. In one sense Christ is lifted up ek "from (= separation) the earth as he is lifted up on the cross. So "lifted up" refers to crucifixion and death. In another sense Christ is lifted from the earth as one who is lifted up to heaven and enthroned in glory. So "lifted up" refers to Christ's glorification.

eJlkusw (eJlkuw) fut. "I will draw" - I will drag, draw to, attract. The purpose of Christ's "lifting up" (the phrase always refers to the crucifixion in this gospel) is to draw "all" to himself.

pantaV (pas, pasa, pan) adj. "all men" - all, every .... everyone. "When He says all it must be referred to the children of God, who are his flock", Calvin. Although universalism can be argued from this verse, the notion is opposed elsewhere in the gospel. If we follow Calvin the "all" inevitably means all those who seek, but of course, the "all" may be representative of all humanity, both Jew and Gentile; "he will draw to himself Gentiles as well as Jews, all without distinction", Bruce.

 
v33

shmainwn (shmainw) pres. part. "to signify" - showing, signifying, indicating, pointing out. The participle is adverbial, final, expressing the intended purpose of Jesus' words in v32; "he said this in order to show .." A technical term for the speech of someone who communicates an oracle.

poiw dat. pro. "the kind of [death]" - by what kind of [death]. The dative is instrumental.

apoqnhskein (apoqnhskw) pres. inf. "[he was going] to die" - [he was about] to die. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "he was about."

 
v34

d) In the face of coming judgment, Jesus makes a final appeal for faith - walk in the light, ie. commit to / believe in, the one who is the light of the world, v34-36. The crowd has a question, but Jesus doesn't answer it since "this is neither the time nor the audience for an extended discussion on the relation of the death and exaltation of the Son of Man to the kingdom of God and the ministry of the Paraclete-Spirit", Beasley-Murray. The issue facing the crowd is not a fine point of theology, but the judgment soon to be enacted by the Son of Man. They need to come to the light lest the darkness overtakes them. So, Jesus warns them that the time is short and that the moment for decision is quickly passing them by. If, at this moment, they fail to come to the light they will be left to walk in darkness. If they wish to be children of light, children of God, and so inherit eternity, they must receive the one who is the light of the world. And so with this call to faith, Jesus' public ministry comes to an end and he moves away from the gaze of the maddening crowd.

oun "-" - therefore. Expressing a logical conclusion; the crowd responds to Jesus' words; "so (then) the people answered", Moffatt.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - him. Dative of indirect object of apekriqh, "replied".

hJmeiV pro. "we" - Emphatic use of the pronoun.

hkousamen (akouw) aor. "have heard" - heard, taken heed of, obeyed. "Our information from the Law is that the messiah is to remain as long as time lasts", Barclay.

ek tou nomou (oV) "from the law" - out of the law. "Law" is used here not of the Law of Moses, or the books of the Law, but of scripture itself, ie. the Old Testament. Those with an understanding of scripture in the crowd question Jesus assertion that the Son of Man / Messiah will die. They affirm the immortality of the messiah from their reading of the scriptures, eg. Psalm 89:37.

oJti "that" - Here introducing a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what they have deduced from scripture.

kai pwV "so how [can you say]" - and how [do you say]. Inferential; "how then."

oJti "-" - that [it is necessary]. Again introducing a dependent statement.

uJywqhnai (uJyow) aor. pas. inf. "[must] be lifted up" - to be lifted up [is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb dei, "it is necessary."

eis ton aiwna "forever" - to/unto the age. Messiah stays with his people "for ever", although note the later works, 4 Ezra 7:28-29, where the messianic kingdom is temporary and ends with the death of the messiah.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "[Who is this Son] of Man?" - [who is this one the son] of man? The genitive is adjectival, relational. Possibly, "what sort of Son of Man (messiah) is this [that ends up dying by crucifixion]?". Another possibility is "do you really mean Messiah when you say Son of Man?", Barrett.

 
v35

oun "then" - therefore. Expressing a logical conclusion; "so then."

autoiV dat. pro. "[Jesus told] them" - [Jesus said] to them. Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "[you are] going to have [the light]" - [the light is] in [you]. Expressing space / sphere, here distributive; "among you."

mikron cronon (oV) "a little while longer" - a little time. Jesus' final appeal to the Jews is couched with urgency - the time is short. Of course, the Jews will be able to believe after the resurrection, so the sense of urgency reflects a common gospel perspective - now is the hour of decision.

peripateite (peripatew) imp. "walk" - walk about. Used in the general sense of conduct ones life. John has used the term of following Jesus and here uses it in the sense of believe / have faith in Jesus.

wJV "while [you have]" - like, as [you have]. Most translations opt for the rare temporal use of this conjunction here rather than a comparative sense; "go on your way while you have the light", Barclay.

iJna mh + subj. "before" - that not. The clause is obviously not temporal; not "before darkness overtakes you", but rather negated purpose; "so that the darkness does not overtake / master you."

katalabh/ (katalambanw) aor. subj. "overtakes" - overtake, overcome, master.

kai "-" - The conjunction here may take a causal sense; "walk in the light lest the darkness master you, because / for the person who walks in the dark has no idea where he is going", cf. Phillips. Kostenberger opts for an emphatic usage; "in fact, whoever moves about in darkness does not know where he is going."

oJ peripatwn pres. par. "the man who walks" - the one walking. The participle serves as a substantive. The person who walks in darkness (the person who doesn't put their trust in Jesus, doesn't commit to Jesus) is left in ignorance with regard the condemnation that faces them in the day of judgment.

en + dat. "in [darkness]" - Expressing space/sphere.

 
v36

eiV + acc. "[put your trust] in [the light]" - [believe] to/into [the light]. McHugh argues that "believes into" takes the sense "believes-and-trusts." Possibly, "receive the light", while there is light, so that you can see. "Believe in the light and become sons of God", Beasley-Murray.

iJna + subj. "so that [you may become]" - that [you may become]. Possibly a purpose clause, but it may well be consecutive = consequence. When we receive the light, as a consequence, we become sons of light and so do not walk in darkness, cf. 4:14. Ref. children of light, Eph. 3:8.

fwtoV (wV wtoV) gen. "[sons] of light]" - The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "light"; "children who are of the light", ie. "possessors of the nature of light and destined to enjoy the light of the divine kingdom", Beasley-Murray, or simply "those who believe in Jesus", Brown.

elalhsen (lalew) aor. "[when he had finished] speaking" - [Jesus] spoke [these things]. Often translated as a temporal clause although not indicated in the Gk.

apelqwn (apercomai) aor. part. "left" - having gone away, departed. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he was hidden; "Jesus went away and hid himself."

ekrubh (kruptw) aor. pas. "hid himself" - he was concealed, hidden. Jesus' public ministry is now ended. The light shined one last moment and is now hidden from them.

ap (apo) + gen. "from [them]" - Expressing separation; "away from."

 

John Introduction.

Exposition

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