“Jesus answered, “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 HCSB)
The word translated “overtake” here is a Greek word katalambano [καταλαμβάνω for Greek studs]. It means “to seize, take a firm grip, attack.” I started looking at how the NT writers used katalambano and discovered that we are instructed not to be overtaken by some things, but that we should be overtaken/seized/captured by other things.
What NOT to be overtaken/seized by:
- “Jesus answered, “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 HCSB) – We should not be overtaken by darkness
- “But you, brothers, are not in the dark, for this day to overtake you like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4 HCSB) – We should not allow the day of the Lord’s return to surprise us.
On the other hand we are to seize/obtain some things:
- “What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith.” (Romans 9:30 HCSB) – We are to obtain righteousness, but NOT by pursuing it [how is that for a conundrum?]
- “Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 HCSB) – Yep, “win” here is the Greek word katalambano. We are to win/capture/seize the unfading crown of righteousness [which is another way of saying what Paul told the Romans in Rom 9.30]
- “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12 HCSB)—We are to take hold of knowing Christ above all other things and work hard at it, because we have already been taken hold of by Christ Jesus himself [another tension-filled pair, no?].
So in some things, dear reader, do not carpe diem [darkness and not looking for Christ’s coming], but in other things, carpe diem [well, perhaps not diem, but you get the point…hopefully].