“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)
I love this statement of Jesus’ prior to His healing the man who “was born blind” (verse 3). It’s almost as if He’s saying He’s the one who will be doing the work during the night. A lot of good humans had done up 'til then. Sure, mankind has been rapidly expanding its knowledge base and cranking out one innovation after another: writing, roads, electric lighting. None of it, however, holds a candle to the work that Jesus was talking about in that statement. Furthermore, none of mankind’s work has even come close to mirroring the act of taking one’s own sputum, mixing it with dirt, and curing a man’s blindness. Jesus continues in verse five:
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Beautiful. He goes on to heal a man who, while born blind, had surely never seen the light. I think about what it means to be blind. Is the blind individual receptive to light, their vision a cloudy, milky opacity? Or is it simply pitch black? I don’t know; I’m grateful for my sight. But what does this mean, spiritually, for us? Is Jesus still “in the world”? I believe He’s here by His Holy Spirit and that He makes the rounds, visiting his people, even as He is “set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” (Hebrews 8:1) Even though He’s not here the same way, Jesus is still the light of the world. His statement about “night” coming intrigues me though. Perhaps it had something to do with the enemy coming to obscure what God the Father did for the human race with His Son’s life, death and resurrection? Another aspect of His statement is worth pointing out as well: “when no man can work.”
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
Perhaps Jesus’ statement refers to a forthcoming time when all of our activity with reference to the kingdom of God (remember, He said “for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5b) would be taken over by God Himself? That is indeed to what the verse from Philippians refers, after all. This truth is now primary: that through the New Covenant, we must lay down our own works and our own wills so as to see Christ’s kingdom take root and take shape in the world. And remember, “For he that is entered in to [God’s] rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:10) This idea of rest. We must rest in God! The night is here, as Jesus said. Granted, there are other ways it’s day outside (see 2 Peter 1:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). But this command of laying down our own wills and realizing that the only way we’ll be able to see what’s going on—electric light notwithstanding—is so the Son of God can do the works. It’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc., that enable this work to be completed. Blessings to you.