John 1:4-5 (NIV): In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Light, by its very nature, counteracts darkness. It never struggles against the darkness; it counteracts it, destroys it, neutralizes it, completely does away with it by its very presence, its very nature. When Jesus came into the world, He came as light into a place that had grown very dark. He did not bring light into the darkness the way that someone brings a flashlight into a dark room. Jesus WAS light, so when He entered the dark world in which we live, He shone by His own nature, and the darkness had to flee.
John wrote that the light SHINES in the darkness. It did not shine for a while and then go out or go away. It is still shining as a living reality in our world, even today. Jesus not only said, “I am the light of the world,” (John 9:5) He also told His followers, “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), and told them that they must let their lights shine before men. (Matthew 5:16) Before the day of Pentecost, the disciples were more reflectors of the light that Jesus brought into the world. They had no brilliance within themselves that could produce enough light to counter the darkness. But after Pentecost, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit and the living presence of Jesus, they became like the lens on a lighthouse – their lives focusing the light of God that now dwelt in each of them, and shining it through their own lives, driving out the darkness everywhere they went.
That same light shines through the lives of Spirit-filled believers today. And, just as in Jesus’ day, those in the dark cannot understand the light. It is so far removed from their experience, it is so terrifying to them in its ability to dispel the darkness all around them, that their initial response it to try to turn it off; to shut down its expression in the lives of believers – to shut them up, to try to make them keep the express of their “religion” out of the public square, locked safely behind the doors of their homes and churches. But we must realize that it is not superior knowledge, or “enlightenment,” or concern for equity that drives this: it is simply fear of something that they cannot understand (until they are willing to surrender to Jesus), driving an attempt to keep it under control. But, as John wrote, the darkness has still not overcome the light (v5 margin). It can’t, because darkness has no real substance. It is merely the absence of light. When we, the people who carry God’s light, are willing to take away the shades and the shutters so that His light shines unhindered through our lives, the whole world will grow brighter, and those who prefer the darkness will find that they have no place to hide.
Father, thank You for Your light in our hearts. Shine brilliantly through our lives. Help us to step out boldly in Your power, Your strength, Your light, so that our very lives radiate the brilliance of Your presence everywhere we go. Amen.