Adventure - Day 2

Light vs Dark

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.”
John 1:1-10 NLT


I am one of those people who loves Christmas decorations.  At 48 years old, I still climb on top of my house to outline my roof in white lights, and I take great care to place the lights on the Christmas tree just right so they illuminate the tree and all the ornaments perfectly.

Some nights, I sit in front of the tree and I just get lost in the glow of the lights, which are usually white.  At times, I’ll blur my eyes and think of those lights as angels.  Other nights, I sit on the curb across the street from my house and just drink in the contrast of the lights against the background of the dark.

Light and dark are a common theme in Scripture.  In fact, in the Scriptures, darkness is often used as a metaphor that stands for one of two things; evil or ignorance.
In one of the most famous Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, found in the book of Isaiah, we learn, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2 NLT

Though the darkness they felt was assuredly the evil of their enemies, in Jesus’ time there was also a darkness that made many unable to recognize who Jesus was. John speaks to this in the last line of our opening pericope, “[Jesus] came into the world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.”
 
How could they not recognize the Messiah they had waited for for so long?  Because they were walking in darkness, ignorance.  They were looking for a military Messiah King who would arrive in a palace with an army at the ready, not a Servant Messiah King born to peasants, in a tiny village, surrounded by unclean  animals and unclean people. But the light this new king brought, it wasn’t a light from this world. It was a light from another place.

We live in a world that is trying to find the light within ourselves.  We think that if we try hard enough, look deep within ourselves, we can solve all of our problems.  If we were just humanitarian enough, wise enough, innovative enough, we could finally make this world a better place.

But no matter how hard we try, over the years, history has proven that our light is not enough.  Our world is too dark, too broken, to be healed by us.  

No, what we need is a light from another source, a light that is other worldly.  A light that can illuminate the world but isn’t from our world.  A light that when it shines in the darkness, “the darkness can never extinguish it.” Other translations say that the darkness cannot understand it. Why? Because it’s not from this world.

This is the “true light, who gives light to everyone,” who brought His light with Him into our world. The only way to save us from the darkness of this sinful world, is with the light that comes from the Creator of the world.  When we follow him, as Jesus said, “You won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8: 12, NLT

  1. What is one thing you love about the Christmas season?
  2. What kind of darkness do you see in our world today?
  3. Jesus said that with Him, we become cities on a hill, lights in the dark.  What may be some ways that the world you’re walking in today needs your light?
  4. Surrender to the light of Jesus today, recognizing that it is His light, not yours, that saves.  Then follow that light wherever He leads you.

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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