A Light for a Dark World

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

In 1970 I found myself in the darkest place and in the darkest time of my young life. I am not going to go into where that place was but I will say for the most part of that year I was living in a fog. It was in a place that those who were with me considered somewhere not of this world, as we kept talking of when we got back to the world. I was walking through the camp one dark evening trying to work out the events of the day when I passed a passed a group of fellows sitting around a radio listening to the music. The song that was playing caught my thoughts and gave me a glimmer of hope in what I considered a spot that held little hope. I knew the band, as it was my favorite in high school. My ears were absorbed as John Fogerty sang out the lyrics to “Long as I Can See the Light.

Put a candle in the window, ’cause I feel I’ve got to move. Though I’m going, going, I’ll be coming home soon, ‘Long as I can see the light.

Pack my bag and let’s get movin’, ’cause I’m bound to drift a while. When I’m gone, gone, you don’t have to worry long, ‘Long as I can see the light.

Guess I’ve got that old trav’lin’ bone, ’cause this feelin’ won’t leave me alone. But I won’t, won’t be losin’ my way, no, no ‘Long as I can see the light.”

Much of the lyrics of that song did not really fill the bills of how I was feeling but the music was moving my soul. A few days later, maybe a week, I don’t really remember, a package came in the mail that was from my Grandmother Welsh who wrote to me often. What was in that package made the last line of that song ring a solid truth into my heart. “But I won’t, won’t be losin’ my way, no, no ‘Long as I can see the light.” My Grandmother had sent me a New Testament Bible with a bookmark in the Gospel of John and a verse underlined. “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

My Grandmother was always sending me little things that year. Things that could be placed in a letter from home. Encouraging snippets from articles she had read. Quotes from people that she thought would apply to where I was. In this day and time do not remember anything that she sent me except that they told me that I was always in her prayers. But on this day she had sent me the greatest gift that I had ever received and I credit her with saving my life from the out of world place I was in. That Bible she sent me finally wore out and fell apart last year. Forty six years I carried that New Testament with me and it is still wrapped together and in my cedar chest. It is one of those things that I can never let go. Thanks Grandma!

Jesus came into the world that man does not have to remain in the darkness. There I was in the darkest place that, I believed, anyone could be, and now I had begun my journey into the light because my Grandmother had put a candle in the window of my mind.

Light is the contrast to darkness, God and evil forces, and those who believe and those who do not. There is no equal to God’s light, as darkness cannot abide in His light. “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5) In the Scriptures darkness represents everything that is unrighteous or wicked. The many of this world are walking in the darkness, they do not have to go anywhere to find the darkness, Satan is the god of this world and he brings his darkness upon us. Satan does not make us this way, we chose to walk in the darkness. “From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness.” (Proverbs 2:13)

When the world was formed by God it was without light. (Genesis 1:2) Where there is darkness there is chaos. God’s Spirit was moving across the world and He saw the darkness and one of the first things God did was to command that there be light. “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Light brings life, as there would be no life in the world if it remained in darkness. “For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living.” Psalm 56:13)

God is light and God is holy which means He is a part from His creation. He is the Creator and all came from His creation. He has the knowledge and the wisdom to bring everything that is into being and is able to hold it together. His truth is the righteousness of all there is and His truth is the light of creation which lives in His light. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) At creation all was perfect until man fell into sin and brought sin and death into the world. People do not need to walk in a dark world being caught by every snare Satan puts into their path. The Word of God is a light that we may see the folly of this world and not fall into the depths of the pit. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Because of God’s love for His creation He has made a pathway in the darkness of this world that man can follow to escape the wrath of judgment that a just God requires. God gave these words to His prophet Isaiah to tell His people that soon they would see a great light that will shine on them. “The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.” (Isaiah 9:2) God sent Himself as a man, Jesus who would free the people by the light of His truth.

Jesus came to testify to the truth and the truth will set people free from the bondage of sin. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32) Jesus is the light that the wise men still seek to this day that they no longer walk in the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death but will have the light of life. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12) Light is the revelation of God’s love through Jesus that lives need not be darkened by sin.

It was by God’s Word that light came into existence, (Genesis 1:1-3) and by the revelation of God in Jesus Christ the Word brings light to humanity. “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Our salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. If we respond to the call of Jesus we are brought into a life where the darkness is dispelled. Many today are living in that darkness with no hope for their eternal future. They are short sighted by the darkness that surrounds them and think that life ends here in this world. How shallow, can they really believe that? The body dies, as it is only for this world, but the spirit lives on in the next. The only question that a person needs to answer correctly is in what domain their spirit will reside after this world. God has sent His Son that we may know the correct answer, as it is revealed in His light. “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned.” (Matthew 4:16) In Jesus Christ we find life by walking in His light. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4)

There is a great contrast between the old way of life in the darkness and the new life in the light. It is by no means easier and it may be even harder. Nothing that is of value comes easy. We must have the proper perspective that we are not living here to remain, that we are not living here just for the moment, we are living to invest in an eternal future to live with our God who knows and loves us in a place greater than we could imagine. We have nothing of value to give up and everything profitable to gain. We are forsaking a life in the shadow for a life in the abundance of eternal light. “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:8-9)

God is the light that dispelled the darkness of this world. Jesus came as the light of the world and broke through the darkness by His redemptive work on the cross of Calvary. Those who accept the Word of Christ on faith and trust His sacrifice as payment for their sin are now lights shining forth in a dark world. As disciples of Jesus this is our privilege to have Him live through us and reflect His light that all may see and be drawn to Him. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

A life without hope is pointless, it holds no purpose, has no direction, and has no destination. Living in the light of Jesus gives the vision of faith to see the ultimate prize that rests in the riches of God’s glory. It is not something that we have seen with our eyes, can comprehend with our finite imagination, or grasp from worldly reality. It is a place that has no shadow but is illuminated by God’s penetrating light where nothing is hidden and all is truth. It is a realm of intimate love, continuous joy, and everlasting peace. It is the eternal home we have all been living to be. “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” (Revelation 21:23-24)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 15, 2016

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