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Read Introduction to John


9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”


Jesus here addressed the anxiety of His disciples. They were very apprehensive about going back to Judea where the Jews had tried to kill Jesus. He spoke in simile here about the Father’s purpose for them.


Jesus answered,

In response to the disciples’ fear of going back to Judea, Jesus gave them a message about what was truly safe travel.

Are there not twelve hours in the day?

“Twelve hours” is an approximate number of daylight hours in Israel during the summer. This was normally from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. The idea is that this was an entire working day. Daytime is the only time to work. It was necessary for Jesus and His disciples to seize the opportunity while they had it.

If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble,

Physical light helps people travel in very stony territory without stumbling. It helps them to see the obstacles before them. People worked during the day, but when night came they stopped working, for there were no artificial lights. They needed to walk in the sunlight if they were to walk without problems.

because he sees the light of this world.

Physical light is illustrative of spiritual light or the providence of God. The “light of this world” was God’s plan for Jesus and the disciples. The disciples needed to deal with their dark thinking by trusting the plan of God, who gives light to walk in the world.

Jesus Himself would not stumble in the Father’s prescribed portion for His life; He understood the providence of the Father watching over each step along the way. Jesus’ time on earth would fulfill the complete purpose of the Father. He would not die before that time was complete.


But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

This verse is the corollary of the previous verse. Those who walk in the day seize opportunities that God provides, but those who walk in the dark lose opportunities. We cannot concern ourselves with dark issues.

The “light is not in him” means that God is not providentially guiding this person. The person walking under God’s protection understands how God intervenes in life.

Jesus was safe from persecution in Judea so long as He was in the will of the Father. He lived to fulfill the Father’s commission for Him under divine guidance; He would not stumble under that principle. Jesus would go to Lazarus under the clear protection of the Father. There is no reason for anxiety if we trust in God’s providential hand on our lives.


We need to seize every opportunity to glorify God with our lives.


Jesus did not grope in the night for the Father’s purpose for Him. He did not stumble in the night. His purpose was certain. Jesus was very clear about the Father’s plan for His life. He distinctly determined to go to the cross to die for the sins of the world.

The Father had a purpose for the Son. Nothing could stop that. Nothing, as well, can daunt God’s purpose for our lives. We can walk into danger knowing that we operate under the providence of God. God allots each person a specific time to fulfill His will for him or her. No reversal, no accident or calamity, can shorten it. As we cannot make the sun set one minute earlier, neither can we alter the plan of God for our lives.

God’s timing for our lives is measured. We will not expire before His providence for us has completed its course. God gives each of us a specific span of time to live for Him. We cannot extend that time one day. We are invulnerable until our work is done.

We need to make the most of Christ’s presence in our lives. Once the opportunity is lost, it is gone forever. It is important to consult with God before we launch our own designs.