on John 11 :9
Are there not twelve hours in the day? - The Jews, as well as most other nations, divided the day, from sun-rising to sun-setting, into twelve equal parts; but these parts, or hours, were longer or shorter, according to the different seasons of the year. See the note on John 1:39. Our Lord alludes to the case of a traveler, who has to walk the whole day: the day points out the time of life - the night that of death. He has already used the same mode of speech, John 9:4 : I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. Here he refers to what the apostles had just said - The Jews were but just now going to stone thee. Are there not, said he, twelve hours in the day? I have not traveled these twelve hours yet - my last hour is not yet come; and the Jews, with all their malice and hatred, shall not be able to bring it a moment sooner than God has purposed. I am immortal till my work is done; and this, that I am now going to Bethany to perform, is a part of it. When all is completed, then their hour, and that of the power of darkness, shall commence. See Luke 22:53.
If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not - A traveler should use the day to walk in, and not the night. During the day he has the sun, the light of this world: he sees his way, and does not stumble: but, if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in it, John 11:10; i.e. there is no sun above the horizon. The words εν αυτῳ, John 11:10, refer not to the man, but to the world, the sun, its light, not being above the horizon. Life is the time to fulfill the will of God, and to prepare for glory. Jesus is the light of the world; he that walks in his Spirit, and by his direction, cannot stumble - cannot fall into sin, nor be surprised by an unexpected death. But he who walks in the night, in the darkness of his own heart, and according to the maxims of this dark world, he stumbles - falls into sin, and at last falls into hell. Reader! do not dream of walking to heaven in the night of thy death. God has given thee the warning: receive it, and begin to live to him, and for eternity.
on John 11 :9
Twelve hours - The Jews divided the day from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts. A similar illustration our Saviour uses in John 9:4-5. See the notes at that place.
If any man walk - If any man travels. The illustration here is taken from a traveler. The conversation was respecting a journey into Judea, and our Lord, as was his custom, took the illustration from the case before him.
He stumbleth not - He is able, having light, to make his journey safely. He sees the obstacles or dangers and can avoid them.
The light of this world - The light by which the world is illuminated that is, the light of the sun.
In the night - In darkness he is unable to see danger or obstacles, and to avoid them. His journey is unsafe and perilous, or, in other words, it is not a proper time to travel.
No light in him - He sees no light. It is dark; his eyes admit no light within him to direct his way. This description is figurative, and it is difficult to fix the meaning. Probably the intention was the following:
1. Jesus meant to say that there was an allotted or appointed time for him to live and do his Father's will, represented here by the 12 hours of the day.
2. Though his life was nearly spent, yet it was not entirely; a remnant of it was left.
3. A traveler journeyed on until night. It was as proper for him to travel the twelfth hour as any other.
4. So it was proper for Jesus to labor until the close. It was the proper time for him to work. The night of death was coming, and no work could then be done.
5. God would defend him in this until the appointed time of his death. He had nothing to fear, therefore, in Judea from the Jews, until it was the will of God that he should die. He was safe in his hand, and he went fearlessly into the midst of his foes, trusting in him. This passage teaches us that we should be diligent to the end of life: fearless of enemies when we know that God requires us to labor, and confidently committing ourselves to Him who is able to shield us, and in whose hand, if we have a conscience void of offence, we are safe.
on John 11 :9
11:9 Are there not twelve hours in the day? - The Jews always divided the space from sunrise to sunset, were the days longer or shorter, into twelve parts: so that the hours of their day were all the year the same in number, though much shorter in winter than in summer. If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not - As if he had said, So there is such a space, a determined time, which God has allotted me. During that time I stumble not, amidst all the snares that are laid for me. Because he seeth the light of this world - And so I see the light of God surrounding me.