I remember power outages during a thunderstorm being one of the more frightening experiences of childhood. The pounding rain, roaring thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning are enough to make a kid feel small, but suddenly being plunged into inky blackness? It’s a rather jarring experience.
The darkness rushes in so unexpectedly complete and you’re left blinking away the blindness, groping around wide-eyed for a bit of illumination. I remember well that panicky feeling, the fearful cry for Mom or Dad and the relief when out of the dark came the click and gleam of a flashlight. We would light candles and set them on the kitchen table, all of us huddled around the flickering flames until the power was restored.
At the very beginning of his gospel, the apostle John describes the eternal Son of God with these words: “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” (John 1:4-5).
When humanity sinned, it was as if the spiritual light by which we could see the truth about ourselves and about God went out. Darkness flooded in and left us blind, but rather than seeking the light we “loved the darkness rather than the light because [our] works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19–20). Tragically, mankind prefers the deadly, pressing gloom of sin to the life-giving glow of submission to God.
If it is true that “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11) and Satan blinds us from seeing the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4), then what hope do we have? The answer is none, apart from Christ. Elsewhere in John’s gospel, Jesus is recorded saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (8:12).
Anyone who sees Jesus for who he really is – not merely a philosopher or moral teacher, but the Son of God – sees by “the true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). In a fallen world plagued by death and spiritual darkness, the light of life is our most desperate need. And God, in his divine love and mercy, shined that light into our darkness: Christ is the Father’s beacon to draw us back to himself.
But God didn’t stop there. If Christ’s incarnation was a single beam in the dark, then his death, resurrection and ascension were the restoration of spiritual light to the whole world. On the cross where Jesus allowed his creation to make war against him, he defeated once and for all every power of darkness: the powers of sin, death, Satan, the secular world, dead religion, even the power of his faithless followers. His blessed light overcomes every enemy of our souls, even our own failures (Colossians 2:13–15).
Sin plunged us into a spiritual gloom so frighteningly deep our souls were hopelessly lost. Blind. Shrouded in blackness. But Jesus conquered the darkness once and for all. The cross is his invitation to you to leave the willful shadow of sin and come into the light of life. Will you say yes to him? The Father has graciously given us no less than his only Son. We therefore have no excuse to remain in darkness – the true light has come into the world. Praise God, the light of life shines on and nothing can extinguish it.
Dani Potter is the office administrator at Grace Church Salida. She and her husband, Nathan – a local painter – have two children and enjoy being “indoorsy” people in an outdoorsy person’s paradise.