We get some ferocious thunderstorms in Colorado in the summertime. When the black-purple clouds boil overhead in the evening, one of the first things we grab is a flashlight. It's not unusual for the power to go out in those storms, dropping a black curtain over our home.
I think I once broke a toe trying to navigate my own bedroom in the dark. I've stumbled over tables and chairs when there's no light.
In John's account of Jesus' life, he used that idea of light and darkness to brilliantly illustrate the contrast between those who seek spiritual light and those who hold onto their spiritual darkness.
John explained the phenomenon in John 1:15: " The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
But the kicker comes later, when Jesus addressed a skeptical crowd. They wanted proof of who he is. This exchange takes place in John 12, late in Jesus' ministry. He had already preached and healed and explained many times.
Not enough for this crowd, however. They wanted more proof.
Jesus' answer asked them to believe what his ministry had revealed. "While you have the light, believe in the light," he said to them.
He asked for belief while they could still see. Jesus himself was the light and he would be leaving soon. Before they were plunged into darkness again, he asked them to grab a flashlight. Believe, he said, that it's better to be in the light than in the dark.
Jesus said, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness doesn’t overtake you." (John 12:35)
And then, after his last appeal to believe, he went away and was concealed from them.
We don't get forever when the darkness is approaching. We can grab the light or grip the darkness. Jesus said it well: " But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32