John 8:12 Compared With 9:5

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In these chapters the Lord is presented to us as the Light in two ways. In chapter 8 He is (and that by His own testimony) the glorious person whom man is responsible to receive and to follow, and by following whom he will get the light of life; but One whose glory he cannot see under the veil of His humiliation, if his conscience be not wrought on by the Holy Spirit. In chapter 9 we are taught the way the Lord works to reveal the glory of His person to a man's heart. In chapter viii. He is the Light presented to man, and rejected. In chapter 9 we have the illumination of a man's heart by the One who in chapter viii. was the Light in His own personal glory and title. The relation of chapter 9 to chapter 8 is that of the work to the person. Consequently in chapter 8 He says, ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου; this was part of His personal glory and title: but in chapter 9 it is φῶς εἰμὶ τοῦ κόσμου, a certain work predicated about Him, something that He came to do.
It is as if He said, “Not only am I here as the Light offered for your acceptance; if that were all, My mission would be useless, it would only bring out your hatred of the light, and your love of darkness. But it is not all. I am going to work as light in your hearts and consciences, and, by thus working, to reveal Myself to you.” Thus the Lord says, “For judgment came I into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind.” The Pharisees saw, in one sense; they prided themselves on having the truth, and on their privileges. But there was one thing they were blind to-they did not see the Son of God in that One who was presented to them in humiliation. And when they find themselves in presence of the Light (chap. 8: 1-12), they shrink from it, and retire into the outer darkness; and when He afterward testified to them of the full glory of His person as the “I am,” the only result was that they stoned Him. Thus were they which saw made blind by His presence. And so it must ever be, if we only had Christ as He is presented to us in chapter 8. For blessing to result, it is necessary that He should by the Holy Spirit carry on a definite work in heart and conscience. This is not only typified physically, but exemplified by the case of the blind man. First, as to the physical type: the Lord spits on the ground, makes clay, and puts it on the man's eyes. This in itself only intensifies, if possible, his blindness; but the moment the man washes in the pool of Siloam, all the divine efficacy of the Lord's act comes out. He gets his sight. Thus the presentation of the Lord in humiliation to man only intensifies his blindness (see the Pharisees in both chapters), unless man's conscience is wrought on by the Holy Spirit to see in the humbled Man one “sent” of God to reveal God to man; as he says afterward, “He is a prophet.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter,” &c. Next, as an example; how is it that he sees in Christ one who represents the mind of God, a prophet, whereas the Pharisees, with the same amount of evidence, reject Him? The man's conscience had been wrought on by the Holy Spirit, quite independently of the power manifested in his external cure. When the Lord put clay on his eyes, and told him to wash them, the mere natural man would have said, “You are mocking me.” But there was faith in the man; he would not have obeyed if he had not had faith. A work had taken place in his soul.
I do not wish to enter into the fuller revelation he received afterward of the person of Christ, nor of the place the Pharisees drove him to, outside the fold with the Shepherd-in reality “put forth” by the Shepherd, though apparently “cast out” (the same word, as has been remarked) by the Pharisees. My object is only. to contribute towards a comparison of the teaching of chapters 8: 12 and 9: 5; the former being “the Light” in His person, and the effect on man of its presence without the Holy Spirit's work; whereas the latter is the way the Spirit works to reveal that person to the soul. In chapter 8, “I am the Light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” With what effect? “The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest witness of thyself; thy witness is not true.” In chapter 9, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; night cometh, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am [the] light of the world.” Chapter viii. is about “the Light,” about Himself, as the Pharisees said. The subject-matter of chapter ix. is illumination in grace.