We are working our way through the Fourth Gospel. And as we have seen over and over Lazarus' emphasis in this Gospel is on the deity of Yeshua. Belief in Yeshua's deity is a core doctrine of Christian theology. He's either God, or He's a liar, because Yeshua Himself claimed to be God.
In this Gospel we see Yeshua's deity in His miracles, which Lazarus calls, "signs." Lazarus picked out seven signs with the grand finale being His own resurrection in chapter 11. The number seven is a significant number to the Jews; it pictures completion, perfection. These signs were chosen by Lazarus, and they were chosen for a particular reason, these signs point to Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel and also the Son of God.
In chapter 11 we saw Yeshua's seventh and final sign of raising Lazarus from the dead. Yeshua stands at the open tomb of Lazarus and calls out, "Lazarus come out!" And the man who had been dead for four days comes out. Verifying what Yeshua had earlier said, "I am the resurrection and the life." This amazing sign causes many of the Jews to believe, and their belief causes the Jewish leaders to seek to kill Yeshua.
Then because the Jewish leadership want to kill Him, Yeshua and His disciples leave and go to the region near the wilderness. Chapter 12 tells us that six days before Passover Yeshua returns to Bethany. This is the final week of Yeshua's life. In Bethany His friends had a supper for Him and during this supper Mary in an extravagant expression of her love for her Savior, brakes an alabaster jar of pure nard valued at a years wages and poured it all over Yeshua. She did this in preparation of His burial.
In chapter 12 we see a shift in the ministry of Yeshua. Up to this point Yeshua has mostly kept veiled His identity as Messiah. Scholars call this the Messianic secret. But in this chapter some Greeks came seeking Yeshua, which caused Him to say (John 12:23), "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." Then He immediately said:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 ESV
The hour that had come was the hour of His death on the cross. He was going to be glorified through dying a sacrificial death. This is why He came, and through His death much spiritual fruit would come. He understood that He had come to die. From His birth, He had been called "Yeshua" which means: "Yahweh saves." He came to save His people from their sins. He knew that salvation was to be through His death.
Then in verses 25 and 26 He calls on believers to imitate Him by dying to self and living a sacrificial life of putting others before ourselves. Christ loved us and gave His life for us, we are also called to love others and give our lives in their service.
In the text that follows is a perfect illustration of hating ones' life in this world. Yeshua speaks of His struggle in facing death:
"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." John 12:27-28 ESV
The arrival of the Greeks in verse 20 has triggered in Yeshua's mind the recognition that His appointed hour has arrived. Because that hour encompasses the cross, He is deeply troubled.
"Now is my soul troubled"—what does He mean by "troubled"? This is the Greek word tarasso, which literally means: "to stir or agitate." It is used this way in John 5:4 of an angel stirring the water in the pool. In a figurative sense, it could be translated: "as anguish, terrified, frightened or horrified." It is a strong word. You can get the power of this word by looking at how it is used in Scripture.
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; Matthew 2:3 ESV
When Herod heard of the birth of Yeshua, who was king of the Jews he was so troubled at the thought of losing his kingship that he ordered his men to go and massacre every baby boy two and under in the area. This word is used in Matthew 14:26 for the attitude of the disciples when they see Yeshua walking on the water. Some of the translations say they were terrified. This word is used to describe Zacharias the priest when an angel came to him in Luke 1 to tell him that he and Elizabeth will have a son, and Zacharias is terrified by the angel. It is the same word used to describe the attitude of the disciples who were in the upper room the night of the resurrection (Luke 24:38) and Yeshua appears in the room and stands in their midst. It says they're terrified.
The Synoptics depict this same anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. Lazarus didn't record Yeshua's struggle with God's will in Gethsemane, as the Synoptics did. Some believe that our text is Lazarus' version of the suffering in the garden. Either way I think that His struggle in the garden is the same struggle as in our text in John:
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." Mark 14:33-34 ESV
Notice here that Yeshua was so moved, so grieved, so troubled in His soul that He said, "It almost killed Me." He was in absolute anguish, and He prayed to the Father, "that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by."
Why is Yeshua so troubled? Some say it is because of the hardness and unbelief of the Jews. That could play a small a part. Others say He is troubled because of the suffering of the cross. He was going to be executed by the Romans in one of the cruellest deaths known to man. A Jew was normally stoned to death by his own community, but Yeshua knew that a different form of death lay ahead for Him.
If you think the thing that troubled Yeshua was the physical scourging and the crucifixion, that raises a question, How can others face horrible deaths and yet remain calm, while Yeshua is terrorized? Many Christians have been tortured and put to death for their beliefs. Many of them went to their deaths very courageously — singing hymns right to the very end.
In the early part of the 2nd century, the Roman Emperor Trajan confronted Ignatius, Bishop at Antioch, about his faith in Christ. Ignatius did not shrink from his accuser, but instead said, "I have Yeshua the Christ in my heart… He was crucified for my sins." So he was taken to Rome and made a spectacle before the thousands gathered in the Coliseum. When Trajan sentenced him to be devoured by the wild beasts, Ignatius triumphantly prayed, "I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast vouchsafed thus to honour me." And then declared, "I am God's grain, to be ground between the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become a holy loaf for the Lord." The lions soon left nothing but a few gnawed bones, which his friends took and buried, knowing that he was "with Christ, which is far better" (S.M. Houghton, Sketches from Church History, 16-1).
Was Yeshua in some way weaker than many of these others who seemingly went much more courageously to their deaths? I do not believe it was physical death that Yeshua was distressed and troubled about. Yeshua was about to experience the wrath of God and to die a spiritual death. When He went to the cross, there was that humanly incomprehensible moment when He cried out (Matt. 27:46), "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" At that moment:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
As our sin bearer He was for the first time in eternity separated from the Father. Yeshua's agony, then, wasn't a result of coming face to face with the prospect of physical death, but was a result of His considering the separation from the Father's presence that was to take place on the cross; at the time when the sins of the world were to be laid upon Him, and the Father would have to hide His face, when God's wrath would be fully poured out upon Him. His trouble came not from anticipating physical suffering, but anticipating divine wrath, spiritual suffering.
"And what shall I say"?—deeply troubled, then, Yeshua asks Himself, "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour"—this sentence could be read as either a question or a prayer. The Greek text permits either translation. It seems better to see it as a prayer. This prayer is related to Gethsemane's "Take this cup from me" (Mk. 14:36). In both instances the strong adversative follows: alla, (but)—in the one case, "Yet not what I will, but what You will" (Mark 14:36), and here, But (alla), "For this purpose I have come to this hour."
"For this purpose I have come to this hour"—His sacrificial death has always remained the primary purpose of His mission into the world.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. John 10:17 ESV
Now, faced with the completion of that mission, shall He ask the Father to spare Him from it? The expected answer is No. He's not unwilling. He is totally willing.
"Father, glorify Your name"—more than deliverance from the hour of the Cross, Yeshua wanted God's glory. We could paraphrase this, "Father, glorify Your name by the death which I am about to undergo, so that I might produce eternal life for many."
The Arabic version read, "Father, glorify Thy Son", and the Ethiopic version takes in both, "Father glorify Thy name, and Thy Son." So what ever one of these versions you pick you are right because glorifying the Father's name and glorifying Yeshua are virtually the same thing.
that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. John 5:23 ESV
What glorifies the one, glorifies the other, because they are one.
"Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again"—so Yeshua prays the prayer, "Father, glorify Your name," and gets an immediate response.
"Then a voice came from heaven"—sometimes God spoke with a voice from heaven (Genesis 22:15-18). Later Jewish teachers recognized this means of God speaking, calling it a "Bath Kol", or "the daughter of the voice" (lit. 'the daughter [i.e. echo] of a voice').
There are 3 times when God the Father spoke from heaven to the Son during His ministry? At Yeshua baptism (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). On the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). Here in John 12:28, sanctioning Yeshua's self-sacrifice. In all of these cases, the purpose of the voice was to authenticate Yeshua as God's Son in a dramatic way, and in all cases, the voice had some connection with Yeshua's death.
This declaration in John is spoken in Jerusalem, at the Temple, where a large crowd is gathered. So Yeshua, the man who raised the dead, prays and immediately a voice comes from heaven. Is there anything else God could have done to convince men that Yeshua was indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world?
"I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again"—the Father had already "glorified" Himself through the Incarnation and Yeshua's ministry. He had just glorified His name in the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:4, 40), and now He will glorify it in the death and resurrection and ascension of Yeshua.
The cross showed the angels and principalities in heavenly places, along with the whole world, the unfathomable riches of the love and grace of God-His glory. The cross also displayed God's infinite holiness and justice-His glory.
Now consider this, believers, if Yeshua, in a moment of trial and sadness turns to the Father in prayer, shouldn't we follow His example when we are burdened with the trials of life? We could also use King David as an example. He continually turned to Yahweh in prayer when he was surrounded by his enemies or when he needed the comfort and reassurance of God's love. In Psalm 31 a besieged David cries out:
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! Psalms 31:1-2 ESV
Warren Wiersby said this, "In the hour of suffering and surrender, there are only two prayers we can pray, either 'Father, save me!' or 'Father, glorify Thy name!'" (Wiersbe, 1:342.).
The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." John 12:29 ESV
"The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered"—most commentators accuse this group of taking a naturalistic approach to the voice from heaven, saying that it had thundered. But in the Tanakh thunder is often the voice of God. Exodus 19, "God thundered." 2 Samuel 22:14, "The Lord thundered from heaven and uttered His voice." Job 37:5, "God thunders with His voice wondrously." You see that also in Psalm 18, Psalm 29. Job 40:9, "Can you thunder with a voice like His?" So thunder was associated with the voice of God. So this crowd could have associated this thunder with the "Bath Kol," the voice of God.
"Others said, 'An angel has spoken to him'"—whether they saw this as the voice of God thundering or as a angel speaking, this should have got their attention. Yeshua prays and heaven thunders.
Yeshua answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine. John 12:30 ESV
The voice was for their sake, to convince them that He was the Messiah, and encourage them to believe in Him, or to leave them without excuse; since not only had they seen the miracles He did, but with their ears they heard God speaking to Him.
What is interesting here is that the Jews had a rule about this. According to them, "No man is to be listened to, even though he should do as many signs and wonders as Moses, the son of Amram, unless they hear with their ears, that the Lord speaks to Him as he did to Moses" [R. Mosis Kotsensis praefat. ad Mitzvot Tora, pr. Affirm].
Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. John 12:31 ESV
"Now is the judgment of this world"—the cross would condemn and judge the world.
Judgment (krisis) is in one sense reserved for the end of the age, for the "last judgment."
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29 ESV
So there is a future judgment that's coming after the resurrection of all people—the good and the evil. And when did Mary say the resurrection would occur? At the end of the age. Resurrection, judgment and the Second Coming of Christ were synchronous events.
But Yeshua prophesy, "The future judgment of all people as happening now," because He understands it to be so certain that He can declare it as having already occurred. In a sense this is similar to a grammatical form called "prophetic perfect." A future something is so certain that it is expressed as already occurring!
"This world"—the word "world" is from the Greek word kosmos, it is used three different ways in this Gospel. It can refer to the physical world in which we live. Lazarus uses the word that way twice in:
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. John 1:10 ESV
"World" can also refer to the spiritually corrupt world system dominated by Satan. It means everything opposed to God as in the sense of John 17:14-16 in Yeshua's prayer for the apostles: "the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world." Thirdly, "world" can refer to all people, Jews and Gentiles. This is the sense in which the "world" is used in John 3:16. So what way is he using it here? He is using "world" here of the spiritually corrupt world system dominated by Satan. That is what is being judged. God was going to pass "judgment" on the world for rejecting His Son:
because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:31 ESV
The word "will" in the ESV is the Greek word mello. Whenever mello in the present active indicative is combined with an infinitive, it is consistently translated "about to." In Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek Words, on page 1038, Vine shows mello's primary meaning as: "to be about (to be or do)." Thayer's Greek Lexicon, on page 396, defines "mello" as: "to be about to do anything," and "to be on the point of doing or suffering something." The Arndt, Gingrich, Bauer Greek -English Lexicon defines "mello" as: "Be on the point of, be about to." Paul told his first century audience, the Athenians that judgment is "about to come," he says this to Timothy also:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Yeshua, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Timothy 4:1 ESV
Here "who is to" is mello. Paul again is telling his first century readers that Yeshua is about to judge the living and the dead. This was to happen at His appearing! Christ's Second Coming in AD 70 was a coming in judgment.
"Now will the ruler of this world be cast out"—"the ruler of this world" is a title for Satan. Yeshua will refer to Satan as the "ruler of this world" three times in this Gospel: here, John 14:30 and 16:11.
In an absolute sense the reference is proleptic. The coming of Yeshua's hour (his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and exaltation to the Father) marks the end of Satan's domain and brings about his defeat, even though that defeat ultimately awaited the consummation of the age in AD 70.
What Lazarus says here, "Now will the ruler of this world be cast out," is very similar to what the writer of Hebrews says in:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV
God became a man to die and free man from Satan's hold of death. So this text is saying the same things as our text in John. Christ's death defeated Satan. Now the question: How does the death of Christ defeat the power of the devil in death? And to see that, let's compare the flow of thought in verses 14-15 with verse 17:
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 ESV
Now what stands out immediately when you compare this verse with the flow of thought in verses 14 and 15 is that both of them speak of Christ having to become like us. Verse 17 says, "he had to be made like his brothers in every respect." Verse 14 says, "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things." So we know we are dealing here in verse 17 with the same basic flow of thought: in order to accomplish something, Christ had to become one of us.
But the rest of verse 17 is different from verses 14 and 15, and the differences show us how it is that Christ defeated the devil by dying for us. Verse 14 says that Christ became like us so that He could die and render powerless the one who has the power of death, the devil. Verse 17 says that Christ became like us so that He might become a High Priest to make propitiation for our sins. So, my conclusion is that Christ rendered the devil powerless in death by his High Priestly work of making a propitiation for our sins.
His death is to bear the guilt and punishment of our sins, not His own. And when our punishment falls on Him, it is taken away from us. That's what propitiation means. God's justice is satisfied. He loved us enough to put His own Son forward to absorb the punishment we deserved so that He could demonstrate that He is just as faithful in dealing with sin and merciful in dealing with sinners.
What does the writer of Hebrews mean when he says, "he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil." In order to fully understand this phrase, we must understand that the Old Covenant was a ministry of condemnation and death:
who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 2 Corinthians 3:6-8 ESV
When the Old Covenant ended, which is the "this age" of Scripture, so did Satan's power of death. The death referred to is spiritual death. What were the works of the devil? They were to separate man from God. Yeshua came to redeem man from death, to restore him to fellowship with God, to bring him back into the presence of God.
Satan was not destroyed, the Old Covenant was not done away, and salvation was not complete until Christ returned in AD 70.
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 ESV
Sometimes preachers will say if we lift up Christ, if we exalt Him, through our teaching or lives, He will draw people to Him. Well maybe, but that is not what this verse is saying.
Please remember, correct biblical interpretation depends upon context: the context of a verse in relation to the passage in which it is found, the context of the passage in relation to the book and the context of the book in relation to the Bible; "a text without a context is only a pretext."
"When I am lifted up from the earth"—the words "lifted up" here are from the Greek hupsoo, which means: "to exalt or lift up." We know he's talking about His death here because Lazarus explains that to us in the next verse:
He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. John 12:33 ESV
This verb hupsoo usually means to exalt someone (Acts 2:33), and as usual Lazarus wants us to see a double meaning. Lifting up is a wordplay: it can refer to either figurative exaltation or to literal hoisting of a body on a tree or cross. Yeshua's being lifted up on the cross, which was the ultimate in shame, resulted in His being exalted as the Savior of the world.
This is Yeshua's third reference to His "lifting up." The other 2 references are found in:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15 ESV
This is Yeshua's earliest recorded prediction of His death. It is an allusion to death by crucifixion. Moses lifted up the snake on a pole so that all who were afflicted in the camp might look and live. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up.
So Yeshua said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. John 8:28 ESV
Yeshua is saying here, "When you lift me up, when you crucify me, then you will know by the resurrection that 'I am."'
When Yeshua talks about being "lifted up" and "exalted" He may also be alluding to the prophecy in Isaiah in the fourth Servant Song, which is a prophetic vision of the suffering of Yeshua the Messiah. The notions of being "lifted up" and "glorification" come together in Isaiah 52:13:
Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. Isaiah 52:13 ESV
Here being "lifted up" refers to the exaltation of the Servant of Yahweh, though the context lays emphasis on His sufferings. In its Greek translation this verse mentions the Servant being "glorified."
"Will draw all people to myself"—Yeshua is saying that through His death, resurrection, and exhalation He will draw all people to Himself. When the Bible says that He will draw all men to Himself it speaks effectually. This word "draw" is from the Greek word helkuo. This is the same word that we saw in:
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 ESV
Here the one who draws is the Father; in John 12:32 it is the Son, but as we have seen nothing should be made of this in light of 5:19.
Helkuo means: "to draw with irresistible superiority." It is used eight times in the New Testament. To understand what it means, let's look at a few of its uses:
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) John 18:10 ESV
The word "drew" is helkuo; does "call or invite" make any sense here? Did Peter invite or call his sword to come out? No! He grabbed it, and pulled it out. What did the sword have to say about being drawn? Nothing!
But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. Acts 16:19 ESV
The word "dragged" is helkuo; does "call or invite" make any sense here? They did not invite Paul and Silas to the market place, they grabbed them and dragged them. The usage of this word makes it very clear that helkuo means: "to draw by irresistible superiority." Please take the time to look up all eight uses of helkuo in the New Testament. They all have the idea of dragging, not inviting or calling.
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 ESV
Some point to this passage as proof that if helkuo means to draw by force, then everybody must come to Yeshua. But Yeshua is not affirming that the whole world will be saved; He is affirming that all who are saved are saved in this way. The "all people" here does not refer to everybody. It means all kinds of people, Jews and Gentiles.
The "all men" here should remind us of what triggered these statements, the arrival of the Greeks, and means: "all people without distinction, Jews and Gentiles alike", not all individuals without exception. This passage is the answer to the Greeks request to "see" Yeshua. The crucified Christ will be set before the eyes of the world, Jews and Gentiles, as its Savior and Lord when He is "lifted up".
This is the implicit answer to the Greeks: the hour has come for Him to die and be exalted, and in the wake of that passion/glorification they will be able to approach Him as freely as do the children of the Old Covenant.
If there's one thing the Bible teaches it's that there is no such Doctrine as Universalism. There are men who are saved and there are men who are lost.
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." John 8:24 ESV
If you do not believe that Yeshua is Yahweh you will die in your sins.
but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. John 10:26 ESV
Not everyone is a sheep, some people are goats. And they will die in their sins.
He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. John 12:33 ESV
This is an explanatory note by Lazarus. The words "kind of death" refer in the first instance to the nature of the execution itself. In crucifixion the victim is "lifted up."
So the crowd answered him, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" John 12:34 ESV
The crowd understands that by the son of man he meant the Messiah, and that being "lifted up" was referring to His death. Their reference to "the Law" refers to Tanakh as a whole not just to the Law of Moses in the Torah. Many prophesies of the Messiah promise that He will come as prophet, priest and king who will reign forever. They may have been thinking of Psalm 89:
His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. Psalms 89:36 ESV
Many passages in the Tanakh spoke of Messiah and or His kingdom enduring "forever" (e.g., 2 Sam. 7:12-13, 16; Ps. 89:26-29, 35-37; Dan. 7:13-14). Yeshua had been speaking of His dying. How could Yeshua be the Messiah and die?
What is clear is that the Palestinian Judaism of the time expected the Messiah to be triumphant; most expected Him to be eternal. Jewish sources amply attest this (e.g. 1 Enoch 49:1; 62:14; Psalms of Solomon 17:4).
They know the Scriptures that speak of Messiah reigning for ever, but they don't understand Isaiah 53, they don't believe Isaiah 52. They don't understand Daniel 9, that He would be cut off, or Zechariah 12:10, that He would be pierced. They only see a Messiah who sets up an everlasting kingdom, and so the cross was a stumbling block to them.
So Yeshua said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. John 12:35 ESV
These are Yeshua's last words to the crowd and this is the end of His public ministry. He ends His ministry to the Jews by using the light and dark metaphor that is prevalent in this Gospel (cf. 1:4-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:1ff.).
Yeshua is speaking here of His physical presence in the world. The reference to light recalls 8:12, where Yeshua identified Himself as the Light of the world, and especially 3:19-21, where the judgment consists of the Light coming into the world and provoking a response from men, who either come to the light or shrink back into the darkness.
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." When Yeshua had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. John 12:36 ESV
The crowds are strongly urged to trust Yeshua, the Light of the World, based on what they do know of Him: Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become Sons of Light. The expression, "Sons of Light", reflects idiomatic Hebrew: a "Son of Llight" displays the ethical qualities of "light", and has become a disciple of the "light."
The title "Sons of Light" was used to distinguish the members of the Qumran community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, versus the "sons of darkness" which identified the follows of the corrupt Temple authorities in Jerusalem. (See "Dead Sea Scroll documents" 1QS 1:9; 2:16; 3:13, 20-21, 25; 4:11; 1QM 1:1).
To the Jewish people in Jerusalem to whom Yeshua spoke, the warning is a reminder that there is only a little time left for them to accept Him as their Messiah. These last recorded words of Yeshua to the world were an exhortation and a promise.
"When Yeshua had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them"—as a dramatic illustration of His theme of "the passing of the light" in verse 35, Yeshua now withdraws from the public arena and departs across the Kidron Valley to the Mt. of Olives. The "Light" has departed from the people of Jerusalem. This is the climax of the Jerusalem ministry; the rejection of Yeshua by the majority of the Jews of Jerusalem (verse 37). This event signals a conclusion to Lazarus' account of Yeshua's public ministry.