“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12: 46
Back in August of 2003, the east coast of the United States experienced one of the largest “blackouts” in history. With a nine second “hiccup” in the electrical grid, millions of people found themselves completely in the dark. Worse, having lived in the light, they found the dark both a scary and uncomfortable place to be.
One woman in Detroit spent eighteen hours in a dark, hot and stuffy elevator, wondering if anyone would ever find her. Thousands of commuters were stranded in New York subway tunnels needing rescue. They knew that venturing into the dark alone to find their way out would be too dangerous. Hundreds of merchants spent the night in their stores for fear that the cover of darkness (and disabled alarm systems) would bring out the looters looking for an easy mark. Indeed, living in the dark, though temporary, was a pretty uncomfortable place to be.
Living in spiritual darkness is also an uncomfortable place to be, especially for those who have lived in the light. We see that with the sin in our own lives. We see how the darkness of evil, the darkness of our own transgressions against God impacts both our faith and our relationship with God. Darkness pulls us away from the light and makes our hearts anxious and concerned.
Jesus, however, in the above passage from John’s gospel, tells us that he does not want anyone who believes in him to stay in the darkness. That is not why he came. Jesus came to shatter the darkness forever. He is the Light of Light, the very God of very God, who pierced the darkness to reveal a better way and a better life. He did this by letting the darkness pierce him.
The darkness of all our sins combined led Jesus to the cross where he was crucified and killed for our transgressions. In the darkness of his cross we have seen the light of our salvation. In the darkness of the cross we have seen the brilliance of God’s love.
That Jesus has shed his light on our lives is nothing less than an act of perfect grace. Certainly, with his light now shining, I now see the magnitude and the extent of my sin and the harm it brings. Without his light, I would never have known. His light also, however, illuminates his mercy and forgiveness. He has revealed his salvation so that we might live in his light. Actually, when you think about it, having seen the light, like those people on the east coast, it makes no sense to want to return to the darkness. Living the light is far better.
Granted, we all still venture into the darkness every now and then. It is an unfortunate trait of us human beings. But, the light of the cross of Jesus (which was strong enough to rescue us from the darkness) is there to rescue us over and over again. The beauty of Jesus and the light, which he has revealed to us, is that we can continually step back into the light and find his forgiveness; complete and total forgiveness.
Have you been living in the dark lately? If so, don’t stay there. Step into the light of your salvation! Step into the light of Jesus, the very Light of the World!
Most merciful and loving Savior, through the faith you have graciously granted us you have taken us out of the darkness of sin and moved us to the light of your salvation. Keep us by your grace in the light that we might always walk according to your will. Grant us, in those times when we choose darkness over light, repentance that we might turn back to you, return to the light and receive your forgiveness. In your name we pray. Amen.