Day and Night
John 9:4
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.

To speak of life and death as day and night is so natural that one does not think of it as a metaphor. Every man has his day. One longer, another shorter; one bright, another shaded and even stormy. Then night falls perhaps suddenly, as in the tropics, where there is no twilight; perhaps with a gentle descent as in the north or south.

I. THE BREVITY OF THE DAY. Christ would impress us with the value of time and opportunity and to lay out our short day to good account. How brief His was, yet in calm trust He worked on and found it long enough in which to finish His work; and the Jews with all their craft could not shorten it by one hour.

II. THE WORK OF THE DAY. Christ's was to open the blind man's eyes. In this we can. not follow Him, but in the general direction and use of life we must.

1. We must work in order to live. Idlers are few, and are not to be envied. Jesus did not claim exemption from this rule. In his obscurity at Nazareth He earned the plain bread of a carpenter's table, and afterwards only accepted the ministrations of others as a recognition of His public work. Thus He would have us industrious in our daily callings.

2. Our first work is to believe on Him (John 6:28, 29). This excludes working for justification. Our good works can. not obliterate our misdeeds. Divine grace is our only refuge. Yet this must not be turned into a bed of sloth. The law said — Do and live! The gospel says — Live and do!

3. There is the obligation to do good unto all men, etc. The care of our own spiritual life is apt to become morbid unless accompanied by unselfish exertion for others.

III. FOR ALL THERE IS BUT A DAY. The time is long enough for the work but too short to allow trifling. It is well when men begin early. Alas, some are no more than morning Christians. They promise well in childhood, but as morning passes on to noon they fall away (Hosea 6:4). Others postpone their religion till the evening. This is to run a dreadful risk, for the night may come suddenly; and even if they do find time it is a poor homage to God to offer the dregs of life.

IV. DAY IS FOLLOWED BY NIGHT. In western countries, through the exigencies of trade, night is often turned into day. But in the East when the sun goes down work closes (Psalm 104:20-28). Here part of the thought is that rest follows toil. How welcome is night to those who have spent a long and busy day, when "He gives His beloved sleep." But this night is brief and is only a prelude to the eternal morning.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

WEB: I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work.

Christians Feel that They Must Work
Top of Page
Top of Page