“The Light Shines in the Darkness”

By Daniel Cook

Jesus said, “‘he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going’” (John 12:35 NKJV). Man needs the light of God in order to find his way spiritually, just as much as he needs light to see where he is going in a dark room. Have you ever hit your toe on the edge of the bed trying to make it to the bathroom at night with the lights off, or tripped over a toy left on the floor by the kids, or stepped on the dog’s tail, because you couldn’t see him? The same thing will happen to us spiritually, without God’s Word being used by us as “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” to show us the way (Ps 119:105). “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer 10:23).

 “In Him [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). In Christ there is both physical and spiritual life. He is the giver and sustainer of life, physically, and in Him we have life spiritually. “And the life was the light of men”—What light does in a dark room Christ does for mankind. He illuminates the minds and hearts of men who are in the darkness of spiritual ignorance, who don’t know God, who have not found salvation in His Son, and He lights the way. Now, those who were once in darkness can be in His light. Those who were stumbling and blind, who were heading for destruction can see where they are going; they can walk with surefootedness and arrive safely at their eternal destination. Also, Jesus Christ is “the light” (the only one), and he is “the light of men,” for all who hear, believe, and obey Him. 

When “darkness was on the face of the deep,” God said, “‘Let there be light’” (Gen. 1:2–3). And it is the same God, says Paul, “who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge” of God in Jesus Christ. When men go forth and the Gospel is preached, Peter says that we are called by that Gospel “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9; see also: 2 Thes. 2:14). When we have obeyed it and have been converted by it, God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col 1:23). It is for this reason that Paul was commissioned to “‘open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God . . .’” (Acts 26:18).

Since Jesus is light, there is a duty for those who follow Him to walk in the light. Those who are in the world are in darkness. Those who are in Christ are in the light. He calls them, “‘sons of light’” (John 12:36; see also: 1 Thes 5:5). A person cannot be both in the light and walk in darkness at the same time. Light and dark cannot occupy the same space. When the light moves in the darkness moves out. If we are in Christ, then we are walking in the light. Jesus said, “‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’” (John 8:12; see also: Eph 5:8–10; 1 John 1:5–7). And in another place: “‘I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness’” (John 12:46). To “walk in darkness” is to remain and live habitually in sin. I have known people who have lived like the devil all week, but then went to church on Sunday and acted like saints, but according to Jesus, they are still in darkness.

There is more to this than just trying to do the right things so that we ourselves can go to heaven, though. Jesus is the true light. He is the source of the light, but we are like luminaries in the world (Phil 2:15). We are reflecting the light of Christ. For what purpose? We are reflecting the light of Christ so that we can lead others to Him. Just as the moon reflects the light from the sun (s-u-n) and gives light to a dark world at night, we reflect the light from the Son (S-o-n) giving light to a dark spiritual world. Jesus said, “‘You are the light of the world . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’” (Matt 5:14, 16).

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