42 ¶ Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
44 ¶ Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
There were many among the rulers of Israel that believed on Christ but were afraid to speak up because they would lose their place in the synagogue. Think of the southern Baptists who may have continued to be opposed to slavery and/or its inhumane practice in the Antebellum South, before the Civil War, but were afraid to speak lest they lose their place in society. As Baptists moved into the mainstream of southern culture and away from the fringes they sought the approval of the powers that be in society. So, justifying slavery and maintaining their influence meant more to them than Christ’s words in the Bible. It is like that in this first set of verses where the rulers believed but were afraid to lose their place. Remember what they said in 11:48.
John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Even Pilate knew they acted against Christ because of envy.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Jesus said to believe on Him is to believe on God Himself. If they saw Christ, it is the same as seeing God. He will say this again to one of His disciples
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus came to be a light in the world and those who believed on Him did not live in spiritual darkness. The very first thing God said that is recorded in the beginning of creation was, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). Scientists, in their imperfect and often mistaken understanding of the physical universe, view something called photons as the basic particle of light. The universe is swimming in light, the stars and the planets and all other objects move in a kind of light. For every estimated proton around the nucleus of an atom they say there are a billion photons. (19)
Paul said about God as he quoted a pagan poet, Epimenides, from his poem Cretica.
Acts 17: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Jesus Christ, the living Word, what the Greeks knew as the Logos by which all things were created and exist, sustains the universe and all so-called laws of physics operate because of His actions. In fact, the universe is held together by Him.
Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The spirit of man needs to know Christ and without Him our spirits lie in darkness. Christ’s very words will judge the person who rejects Christ in that Day of Judgment. The words of God in this Bible judge we Christians even now.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Christ, the express image of God’s person, has come to man as a man with a message from God the Father, the soul of God, that offers everlasting life. Our king has offered us a pardon for our rebellion against Him by becoming the sacrifice for our sin against Him. In the last important Bible translation before the poisoning of the human mind by the so-called Enlightenment, German rationalism and theology and the triumph of the Counter-reformation, Abraham’s son, Isaac, and we are told.
Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
The choice is life forever with the One who created you or eternal agony by choosing to reject His free offer of mercy and grace.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(19) Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, and Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006), 75.