“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome or understood it.” John 1:4-5.
Since the earth was set in orbit around the Sun, it has turned on its’ axis to give us day and night. Before life appeared, the Sun rose from the horizon to bring light to a new day. Then came the first organisms which churned their molecular machinery using light as an energy source from the Sun to produce the oxygen that sustains our existence. Our life is dependent on light. For with it life began and without it life would end.
After millions of years, the rhythms of nature are embedded in the behaviour of all living things. Whether plant or creature, each organism has adapted to survive conditions in both light and darkness. The day is warmer than night, and our minds wander to joyfulness on sunny summer days, but tend toward sorrow in the cold darkness of winter.
In light we can see but in darkness we are blind. So we are comforted in the light, we believe we can see what is coming. We look around and learn to recognise what we see, which encourages and reassures us. However, the routine of finding what you expect is a false comfort when our circumstances are so often subject to change. Then in darkness, we find the fear of what cannot be seen. But as the world is the same place in the dark as it is in the light, fear is an imagination, a thought. So whichever we are to believe is merely an appearance to mind.
Any observer to our existence would not find it at all mysterious that the human mind attributes light as being of divine origin. Nor would they be surprised that we would contrast the absence of a divine light that is good and brings life – when the Sun disappears, objects block out light to create shadow, or as light dissipates within materials to leave the depths in darkness – with a darkness that is evil and brings death.
As our eyes open from birth we allow the light of the world around us in to the darkness of our minds, and when we reach our final destination of death our eyes close to the permanent darkness of our flesh.
But in this opening scripture Jesus comes to us as a light, a divine light because He was God in the flesh; a light in a dark place, driving out all fear (1 John 4:18). His ministry teaches us to go beyond our nature, to have faith without fear in what we cannot see. So John uses light as a perfect metaphor to capture our understanding of what Jesus will do for us when we form a relationship with Him. Without Him as a lamp to our feet on the journey through this life we search blindly for our purpose, attracted to the false lights that satisfy us only for a short while and are easily extinguished.
If we follow Jesus as a ship follows the lighthouse safely to harbour, we are given His life; we are saved through Him to eternal life (John 3:16-17). We live more fully knowing that we are loved just as we are, and it is a life given to us filled with joy and purpose.
As God’s light shines in to the darkness of our minds we do not always understand or perceive it to be Him (John 1:5). We see this in 1 Samuel 3:4-10, as the Lord calls out to Samuel he did not recognise or understand it to be God, instead he got up and ran to Eli thinking it was him calling. We may hear the call but may run to every other place instead of Jesus to find the answer. I have come to realise this myself, in hindsight I recognise now that God has always been with me, calling out to me and I did not know it. Like Samuel I did not yet know the Lord (1 Samuel 3:7).
This is why our testimonies as believers are so important, we speak of what we know (John 3:11). Samuel needed Eli to understand that it was the Lord calling to him (1 Samuel 3:8-9), just as we who have come to love and know Jesus need to help those who are being called but do not understand it. It is also why we need fellowship and safe friends to share our lives with; for the times we need others to see or understand what we cannot.
God has a plan for our every situation. Every conservation we have has the potential for us to shine as lights in dark places. Even when the conversation does not turn to God, how we conduct ourselves, how we make people feel in our presence leaves a mark that God can use to open a door.
Father God, thank You for Jesus! Thank You Lord for shining as a light in to the darkness of our minds, so that we can see Your kingdom and bring it here on earth as it is in heaven. Let Your light be our guide on the journey through this world. Help us Father to also be a light to others, to love them as you love us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.