John 12:27-36 Sons of Light

 “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. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgement of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus 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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Sons of Light

Jesus reveals more of himself in this passage.  He emphasizes that he is the Son of Man.  Jesus’ identity s still rapped in mystery, but it is not a weak and pathetic mystery.  There is power in the events leading up to Jesus’ death.  He has purpose and a will of iron.  This is not a pathetic man who is going to be entrapped.  This is a powerful man who is going to surrender himself.

A time of decision is upon the people around Jesus.  They must decide if Jesus is the one they will follow.  He is the light and surrender to Jesus will lead to a new kind of life.  This life is one where we do not embrace dark deeds.  We become children of righteousness.  Self-righteousness is dark and keeps its true self hidden.  It is a righteous living that exposes darkness to light on a daily basis.  It is painful and open, but it is beautiful and alive.


Jesus, you have bought for us a life of light.  Help us to live a disciplined life of joy and risk and wonder.  Help us to live in the presence of the light because we were born in darkness.


  1. Did those who thought it thundered not hear God’s voice?
  2. What is the connection between the voice from heaven and living in the light?
  3. Where does the one who walks in darkness think he or she is going?
  4. Is you life being lived in the light right now?
  5. How can God encourage you to a disciplined life lived in the light?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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17 Responses to John 12:27-36 Sons of Light

  1. sjcavitt says:

    1) It doesn’t seem as if they heard His voice.
    2) When a person is living in the light, then they can hear God’s voice.
    3) Jesus says that whoever walks in the darkness does not know where they are going.
    4) Yes, I believe that I am living in the light of Christ although I daily make mistakes in my walk with the Lord.
    5) He can encourage me through giving me strength to walk in His light.

  2. missmichelley says:

    Reblogged this on beauty in the broken sacrifice and commented:
    Words of wisdom from one of my very favorite Moody profs.

  3. Dominic shortridge says:

    3. Someone who is walking in darkness claims self-righteousness most likely and thinks they are destined for heaven.
    4. Once a life is willfully submitted to Jesus you are walking in the light. Additionally, one must continue to seek the light in hopes of continued guidance by him. This is something that I strive for in my life.
    5. God can encourage me to live a disciplined life by placing people around me who can say “no”, and are disciplined in denying their flesh the satisfaction of controlling their entire self. Through my life God has done that and I have been in awe and appreciation of those me. And women in my life.

  4. Lacy says:

    1. I’m sure they heard God’s voice as well, but were eager to explain it away, because to admit to themselves that they heard it would be to admit that Jesus’ relationship with God was what he claimed it was.
    2. Those who refused to accept it as the voice of God were already choosing the darkness.
    3. That depends on the person, I think. They think they are going wherever they want to go, essentially, because they think they are the commanders of their own lives.
    4. There are still corners of my life where I struggle to be in submission to God, but over the past years I have clearly seen him leading me more and more into the light.
    5. I think it happens as he teaches me more and more about who he is and brings me into a closer relationship with himself.

  5. Kathleen says:

    I believe the people heard God’s voice. Jesus said that the voice came for the people’s sake, not for his. This could be seen as further confirmation of Jesus’ authority. Those who do not understand the voice will not be walking in light but rather darkness. I strive to walk in the light but there are always areas in my life that need improvement. I believe I am in the light in the sense that I am not spiritually blind like some in the passage above. I think as my time as a Christian grows and I become more and more like Christ, I am walking more in the light. One way God teaches me what it looks like to live in the light is through people he places in my life. It is encouraging to see others around me walking in the light.

  6. Mary says:

    This will be a long one again, so here is a Part 1 of 2:

    I was reading 2 Corinthians this morning and now while I am about to post my reflections on it, I am seeing how it parallels this passage in the several ways:

    1) Through the persecution and death that Jesus suffers in his physical weakness, God’s strength/power is manifested and results in life for those who believe; likewise, Paul boasts in the suffering and persecution he experiences in his physical weakness because God’s power is shown through it and results in spiritual growth and thanksgiving to God
    2) The crowd was inquiring how the Son of Man was to be lifted up, a fulfillment of the law, if he was supposed to live forever as revealed in the law; likewise Paul compares the glory of the law to that of Christ; the glory of the law was fading and was a shadow of things to come which were hidden by a veil, but the glory of Christ remains forever, and he fulfills the law
    3) Christ is the light, and when we believe in Him we become sons of light; likewise Paul says when turn toward God in faith in Christ, the veil is removed and we reflect his glory and become that light in the darkness of the world.

    Here are the other things I noted while reading:

    Spiritual Warfare:
    – Proverbs 2 – treasure the Word and store it in your heart, seek understanding as treasure and you will grow in knowledge of the Lord; He is a shield to the righteous, guarding their paths, watching other them, and delivering them from the path of evil.
    – 1 Pet.5 – humility means trusting Him to bear our burden, casting our cares on Him; be watchful because the enemy prowls around seeking to devour; after you have suffered a little while, God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
    – 2 Cor. 10:3-5 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”
    – 2 Cor. 11:13-15 – Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and so do false teachers.

    2 Cor. 3:4-18 – Moses was a minister of the old covenant, the letter of the law, which brings death/condemnation (for it could not save, but revealed their sin and God’s righteousness) and came in glory which faded and could not be looked upon; we are ministers of the new covenant of the Spirit of Christ, which brings life/righteousness (to all who believe in Christ) and came in surpassing glory which lasts and which we reflect, and the Spirit transforms us into His likeness with ever increasing glory. This gospel is veiled to the minds of unbelievers who are perishing; they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    (See tomorrow’s post for Part 2, if you like.)

  7. Beth Coale says:

    1.maybe the thunder was a part of the message? they may not have received the whole thing, but they received that part of it (like the way night coming early when Christ died sent a message… I think)
    2. maybe those living in the light were in a position to hear from God more clearly
    3. They probably don’t really care where they are going – walking in the darkness is more about living in the moment.
    4.Yes, I am trying to live for God & resting in His promises
    5. I can do that by continuously choosing not to waste time doing unproductive, unhelpful things & keep challenging myself to “be all there” (like Jim Elliot talks about) where I am & do the tasks God has given me well. God could encourage me in this by helping me physically, it’s hard to do well at things & be cheerful when you have lots of headaches all the time. =(

  8. Janice says:

    1. Maybe the people heard God’s voice as thunder and could not decipher the words.
    2. The voice that thundered was telling them how to live in the light by following Jesus, the Light.
    3. The one who walks in darkness believes he is walking toward the light.
    4. Yes, my life is being lived in the light as He continues to shine in and through me, showing me where I need Him to forgive me.
    5. God encourages me to live a disciplined life in the light by growing my love for the Light..

  9. karas says:

    It’s interesting that they all heard but not all understood. It reminds me of when Jesus says he who has ears to hear, let him hear. I think in our sin we blind ourselves from a lot of what God reveals. It’s like Romans (3?) where the nations are condemned for ignoring the truth. I am trying to walk in the light among darkness. Not so much here at Moody as much as back home. NYC is a very dark place in a lot of ways, but Jesus’ light is so great, it can overpower any darkness, and that is what I want to spread as I return. Can hardly wait 🙂

  10. Austin Brose says:

    Some people were not in tune to Gods voice, they did not want to hear His voice. While those who wanted to hear God and genuinely desired Him knew that the voice was divine. When one lives in the light they are able to hear God’s voice more clearly and be able to discern it from other worldly excuses. The one living in the darkness thinks that he/she is walking by his/her own light, thinking that they are going to whatever is most fulfilling. My life is not entirely being lived in the light right now, I am aware of it and use it for selfish reasons. But to live in it, means to be constantly aware and guided by it. God can encourage me to live in the light more by reminding me constantly to trust him, even when I dont want to!

  11. Rachel says:

    In a world filled with darkness, it is difficult to see the light. I don’t think those who heard the thunder heard God’s voice. The one who walks in darkness does not know where they are going, but they can only assume they are walking in the best path. Right now, my life is seeking the light. I am making steps toward the light and walking out of darkness. God can encourage me to live in the light by showing me consistently that he is with me, no matter what.

  12. ashleypdye says:

    I love this verse: “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. 28 Father, glorify your name.” I was just talking with a friend about how when we are in the midst of trials, our natural response seems to flee. My prayer is that this cup would be taken from me…but often, God wants us to “come to the hour” and experience his presence in the hour of trouble.

  13. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. Did those who thought it thundered not hear God’s voice?
    I believe no. They only heard a loud, muffled roar from the sky.
    2. What is the connection between the voice from heaven and living in the light?
    Truth. The voice from heaven is God’s voice, truth. The light is often a symbol for truth.
    3. Where does the one who walks in darkness think he or she is going?
    They don’t know.
    4. Is you life being lived in the light right now?
    Unfortunately, I feel that my life is being shrouded in darkness. Images of dark things and horrible situations are often in my head. Yet, I fight every day to live in light of the promises we have in Christ.
    5. How can God encourage you to a disciplined life lived in the light?
    Show me, remind me of Christ. Because of his life and his death in the cross, I can live in the light.

  14. Amy McCashen says:

    Did those who thought it thundered not hear God’s voice? No, they heard God’s voice, but they could not understand it.
    What is the connection between the voice from heaven and living in the light? When we are living in the light, we can hear clearly the voice from heaven.
    Where does the one who walks in darkness think he or she is going? They think they are doing fine, but they really are not.
    Is you life being lived in the light right now? Yes! Because I am united to Jesus.
    How can God encourage you to a disciplined life lived in the light? Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit I am encouraged.

  15. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. Maybe it seems to be unsure as to whether or not they heard
    2. Living in the light is living after God and when you do so then you can hear God’s voice if you are seeking him out and have an active relationship with him
    3. Mostly people today who walk in darkness think they are good people and that they will go to heaven. They are pleasing themselves and are oblivious as to exactly what will happen to them. There are few who do know and still choose to do what they want.
    4. I am living a life following God, i may falter and fail because of my human nature but I will continue to strive after God and live life in the light of God’s grace.
    5. Usually when things go wrong, and things are bad God makes his presence known to me so strongly of how much he is with me. When things are so good I know all those things are a gift from Him and I cannot help but have the joy of the Lord inside. I think when things are in between and uncertain I need to stop trust the Lord with whatever may happen and seek him…to feel his presence around me

  16. nataliaria says:

    I had never considered it before, but I believe that those who said that they had heard thunder had indeed heard the voice of God, they had just not identified it as such. Thinking about it this way makes me wonder if I have ever missed hearing God’s voice because I dismissed it as something else.

    The connection between living in the light and the voice from Heaven lies in Jesus’ self identification as the light, and as God Himself. When God speaks from Heaven to reinforce that He will be glorified, I believe the implication is that He will receive this glory through the completion of Jesus’ ministry and mission on earth. A mission which involves men turning to Him and living in the Light.

    While the passage says that the one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going, I suspect that he believes that he is going somewhere, and that he probably has a fairly defined idea of where he wants to go.

    It thrills and humbles me to be able to say that yes, I do think my life is being lived in the light right now. Because of the my life in and relationship with the Light, I have had the bravery and commitment to take steps of living in the light- removing sin from my life and trusting Christ to be sovereign and gentle as I grow in vulnerability and allowing my heart and life to be exposed to the Truth.

    I have thought about this, actually, as I wrestled with what sometimes seems like the unrecognized status of obedience- “I just wish I could receive some kind of immediate reward for obedience to Him,” I have thought multiple times; “Maybe then I would be able to follow Him with consistency, even amidst temptation to do otherwise.” But I believe that in the encouragement I receive from Him, in addition to the eventual affirmation of my faith and relationship with Him that I will receive in Heaven, is found in the peace, joy, and internal desire that I feel to keep following Him. Through His grace, I have experienced a taste of what it is to live in His light, and know that I am glorifying Him, and that is something I want to keep doing.

  17. Nick says:

    When we are living in the light and following after Christ, we are able to hear God speak in our lives more clearly perhaps. Jesus says that these people who walk in the darkness do not know where they are going. Instead of walking in the light, they are going their own way, perhaps towards what they think the light is or maybe just a conscious rebellion against the light. I believe that my life is being lived in the light. That is not to say that I do not sin or make mistakes, because clearly I do. I am a sinful being by nature, and the only way for me to try and escape that sinful nature is to walk with Jesus in the life.

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