Light in the Darkness

I love lights. The way lights illuminate the darkness has always been fascinating to me. I also find that light brings hope. One of the first times I ever felt this was when I lived in Abilene as a college student at ACU. I would head back home after having been away for several months, homesick and ready to see my family. I yearned, in those moments, to be in a comfortable place, surrounded by the loved ones I missed so much when I was away at school. And Amarillo, as the only city in the panhandle of Texas of any size, can be seen from miles away as you're traveling towards it in the dark. My heart would be aching for home, and then I'd come over a rise, and there it was. In the distance. The lights of Amarillo, shining in the darkness. That moment, which I experienced over and over again each time I drove home over the course of 4 years, has never left my mind. I remember it as clearly today as if it happened yesterday. As I said before, I love lights. And one of the most striking descriptions that we have in the New Testament regarding light can be found in John 1:1-13. It reads:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believe in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:1-13 (ESV)

What do we hear John saying when we read through this section of scripture? When John talks about the Word, he's talking about Jesus! He's speaking of Jesus before He was a man, before He took on flesh. Before the incarnation. What does he say about Jesus here though? He says, "The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." John is telling us, right here in the very first verse of his gospel that Jesus is God! This should be encouraging for us, because it means that if we want to get to know God, then the first thing we need to do is get to know Jesus. Because Jesus is God! He was there in the beginning, when the world was made! He wasn't just there, but He Himself took part in bring it about!

Jesus is also where we find true life! See verse 4 , where John says, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." We think that we'll find life and satisfaction in God's creation...in created things, whether that's sex, love, money, power, political causes, sports, our children. But this is a lie. These things are temporary, and they were never meant to satisfy us. Oh, just because they're temporary doesn't mean that they won't bring us some pleasure. Because they will. But only for a time. We get bored. We, as human beings, were not meant to be satisfied with trinkets, ourselves, or even other human relationships. Things which God created to be finite cannot possibly fill the infinite void which exists within the human soul. The only thing that will bring us true life is Christ. Jesus Christ, who brings life, and is the true light, shining bright in our dark world.

In verse 10 we read, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him." What we learn here is that people in the world are hopelessly and irrevocably lost. They need the light, but they will never have the light. That is, unless we share it with them. In verse 12 we learn that, "...to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." It is by believing in Him, and receiving Him, that we become "children of God." Through receiving Jesus as our savior, we become a part of the family of God! That is incredible news! When you're part of the Church, you are part of a family! And of course, this isn't a perfect family (this side of heaven), and it can be messy sometimes, but it is a family united by the knowledge of, and faith in, a Savior who loves us unconditionally.

When we receive the Holy Spirit (through placing our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins) Jesus then shines out through us to a dark world! We get to be a part of what God's going here on earth! We get to be a part of bringing hope and light to people who live in complete and utter darkness! We get to be a part of Christ bringing life to those who are dead! So don't miss out on that glorious mission! The mission of the family of God, the Church, is to bring light to a dark world. To help God push back the darkness here on earth! Sometimes we underestimate the impact that Jesus can have through our lives here on earth. It is easy for us to get caught up in our mundane routines. May God help us to be mindful of how we spend our time. May we always be looking for opportunities to pour ourselves out, to let Christ shine through us. Not for our own glory. But for His. May we be a luminescent metropolis shining out upon on an infinite plane covered by the inkiest of black, giving hope to the hopeless, and calling those who are lost back home. Calling them to our Savior. Our Jesus. The Light of the world. 

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