“In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not conquered it.. The true light that gives life to every person was coming into the world.” ~John 1:4-9
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus over and over refers to himself as the light, the true light of life.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~John 8:12
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” ~John 12:46
When Jesus was betrayed by his friends and then crucified on the cross, the gospel says it was dark. When Mary went to the tomb early on that first Easter Sunday morning, the Scripture is clear that it was dark. It’s also certain that Mary was not looking for a resurrected Jesus that morning; she was looking for a dead body. Maybe that’s why she didn’t recognize Jesus when she saw him — she wasn’t expecting it. But when he said her name, when she heard his familiar and powerful and loving voice, she knew it was Jesus her Lord, she knew he was alive, and she knew it wasn’t dark anymore.
2 Timothy says Christ Jesus has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light. 1 Peter tells us Jesus has brought all of us out of darkness and into his wonderful light.
I don’t know what kind of darkness maybe you’re living in. Maybe you feel trapped by sin or by some really bad decisions that you’re still paying for years later. Maybe there’s strife in your marriage or in your family. Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with something and your future’s unclear. Maybe you’ve just got this dark cloud hanging over you that follows you everywhere you go and you can’t really describe it or explain it, but it’s just there. It’s just dark.
“You were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light… Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” ~ Ephesians 5:8, 14
Listen, that darkness is real. I don’t want any of us to pretend that it’s not. You and I are broken. We are fallen. We are sinners. And this world we live in is broken and sinful. There is starvation and disease and violence and injustice all around us. Every day. We can’t get away from it. And we are not called to deny it or ignore it. The darkness is real. The darkness in your life is real. Your sin is real. Your desperation is real. Your sickness, your depression, your lack of faith is real.
It’s OK to feel it. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to feel hurt and disappointed. It’s OK to get angry. As a Christian, though, it is not OK to live without hope. It’s not OK to live without courage and confidence. It’s not OK to live like the darkness has any power. Jesus is risen, he is alive, and the darkness, whatever it is, is no match for the light of life.
“The truth is seen in Christ Jesus and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” ~1 John 2:8