“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”
1 John 1:5
Where have you longed for light in your life? It could be as simple as stubbing your toe in a power outage and longing for the illumination of your house, or as complex as being lost in the woods and longing for the light of search parties or a familiar house to bring you back into comfort. In the same vein, where have you longed for darkness when you should have desired light? Where have you run and hid in your sin instead of welcoming exposure and honesty? The Pharisees both longed for light in their lives and delighted in the darkness that defined their lives. As Michael said Sunday, they went through all four stages of responses to Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world. They were oblivious to His claim and dismissed it as nonsense. Then they began to fight against His words and asked a loaded question about His origins. How many fights are started in our society based on the questioning of an individual’s legitimacy? The Pharisees inferred that Jesus was an illegitimate child from a family they had no respect for. They had no idea just how little they regarded Jesus’ Father. Jesus had every right to fight back and expose all of their dirty secrets, but He continued to love them perfectly in line with what His Father wanted. The Pharisees then misunderstood His claims about where His ministry was headed. They were completely out of tune with God’s plan for the world and Jesus’ part in that plan. The passage is not terribly specific, but in verse 30 John tells us that many believed in what Jesus taught them as He spoke. Those who believed saw the light they so desperately longed for in the Son of God standing before them. Their festivals and celebrations culminated in His presence and they began to understand His teaching. The emptiness that dominated their celebrations no longer prevailed in their lives because the Light of the world shone upon them.
As Michael and Ted preached on this passage Sunday, the reminder of Communion and Christ’s death was particularly weighty. The Light of the world experienced darkness on the cross so that we could experience the radiance of His Father. The one human who kept God’s law perfectly and never took refuge in the darkness that we take part in daily was punished for our sins. Luke tells us in his gospel that in the middle of the day, the sun’s light failed and darkness was over the whole land as Jesus died. The one who fed the hungry and gave water to the thirsty was famished and dehydrated in our place. God sentenced His only son to darkness so that we could experience the joy of His light.
Despite this sacrifice, I still run to the darkness of my sin for comfort. I have been given the gift of community and the invitation to live in honest confession, but I chose to hide instead. So ask yourself this week, where do I desperately need the light of the gospel in my life? Where have I been avoiding the warm embrace of God in favor of the cold despair of my sin? Take courage in Jesus words and His record that stands in our defense. What goes for Him goes for us because of His substitutionary sacrifice.
“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”