John 1:4-5. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Darkness is a powerful thing. Have you ever been in the pitch darkness and felt afraid or disoriented? Have you ever felt lost in the dark? The dark is scary. We aren’t meant to live in darkness. We are daytime creatures. Too much darkness literally kills us. Researchers tell us that darkness, and its sensory deprivation, can have terrible effects on the human mind including insanity.
But think about how much more powerful light is than darkness. Have you ever walked into a lit room and turned on the dark? Have you ever opened up the curtains to let some dark into the room? Have you ever said “It’s so bright in here, let me turn on my lamp of darkness”? Nope, you haven’t. Why? Because light is, and always will be, greater than darkness.
Of course when John talks about darkness he doesn’t mean the literal absence of light. He’s talking about the deep darkness of the human condition. The hopelessness of life without meaning. The despair of eternal existence without goodness or a “good” life without eternality.
As we saw in yesterday’s reading, Jesus’ life is union with God – the divine life (zoe) made receivable by faith so that we might share Christ’s life as the children of God. It is not just our biological or even our psychological life going on forever, it is a brand new existence, the divine life of God placed in us forever. This is the life that we have in our union with Christ.
But now John takes us a step further. The zoe of Jesus is also our light. But how is life also light? And how is it the light of ALL mankind?
John answers this question in verse 5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This is a reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The darkness here is the crucifixion of Christ. The darkest day in history. The most hopeless, fear-filled, day of deep despair and gloom. The day the Trinity felt evil’s power and death’s sting.
But the light has overcome the darkness in a violent overthrowing of sin and death. Christ’s victory over darkness, over hopelessness and meaninglessness, by the power of the resurrection, serves as THE light for the whole world. The resurrection life of Jesus restores all human meaning, purpose, glory, and hope. His resurrected life is a beacon pointing all mankind to the goodness, grace, and power of God.
And it will never end – The light shines.
Shines. Not shone. This is John’s first present tense verb. The light is shining on and on, right now. Yes, even today in these “dark” times, Jesus is alive and he is a shining light. If the crucifixion and death of Jesus did not extinguish his light, if the greatest forces of darkness could not overcome his life, do we really believe that any situation we face today can do what death itself could not do? Can your depression, isolation, stress, fear, loss, pain, sickness, or even death overcome the life and light of Christ?
(The answer is no)
Then why do we live like it can? Why do we live like we are in pitch darkness rather than living like we are in the light? Why are our candles under a bushel? Why are we grumbling and complaining? Why are we stressed out and discouraged? God’s life and light always win. Despite what we see and feel in the world around us, darkness isn’t winning. As long as the Light is alive he will always overcome darkness. And Jesus will always be alive.
Now there is shining into our hearts an eternal hope in his eternal goodness and grace. Now there is the light of love. A love that is more powerful than death. More powerful than your sin. More powerful than any darkness in your soul. A love that can raise the dead. A love that can overcome the deep darkness of loneliness, fear, and despair. A love that lights the path of our daily living.
Will you shine his light today? Will you, by the power of the eternal life of son-ship with your good good Father, shine his light into a dark world? Will you trust the grace of your Abba, forget yourself, and reflect the light of Jesus’ love instead? Will you “to live is Christ?”
Where have you seen darkness taking over your soul recently?
You in Christ
In Christ you are in the Light. How does this restore hope and purpose to you today?
Christ in you
Where can you shine the light of Christ today?
Playlist: Songs of Light