Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 18, 2015
Darkness no match for the Light
The children of darkness reared their ugly heads again last week – this time in Paris, leaving the families of 12 people suffering in grief. Once again the world is gearing up to confront the evil powers of darkness.
Darkness calls to mind a man who centuries ago declared himself to be the light of the world. It was an astonishing claim. Yet Jesus made it and we are left with a decision. Either Jesus was delusional or he was telling the truth.
A man named John took Jesus at his word. He believed Jesus was everything he said he was. In the years since Jesus’ time-dividing ministry untold millions have agreed with John. Yet every generation must decide for itself because “God has no grandchildren”!
Follow Jesus across the pages of the Gospel of John and you find Jesus claiming that he and the Father were one. In his mind he was not acting alone. He was doing the work his Father sent him to do.
Jesus’ sense of oneness with the Father is remarkable. Believe in me, he said, and you believe in God. Get to know me and you know God. See me and you have seen my Father. Reject me and you reject my Father. Receive me and you can walk in light. Deny me and you remain in darkness. His words were crystal clear.
No less clear was his reason for coming into the world – so that no one should have to remain in the darkness. Jesus was light – “the” light. Follow him and you can escape the darkness and never have to walk in darkness again. What an offer! But what does it mean?
To the Pharisees who despised Jesus, what he said was blasphemy! They accused Jesus of lying; they denounced his teaching. They hated him so much they wanted to kill him. They knew God had called Israel to be “a light to the nations” but they preferred the darkness to the light that shone before them in the face of Jesus Christ. None are so blind as those who refuse to see.
Still Jesus proclaimed the truth about himself. He did not cut and run. He loved people too much to leave them in the darkness of worthless ritual and pagan superstitions. He was on a mission from God that eventually would take him to the cross.
Why was his message so important? Because darkness is such a terrible thing! Physical darkness makes it impossible for us to know where we are going. The dark is frightening. Imagination runs wild. We suppose “monsters” are nearby, eager to harm us.
Fear of the dark is not merely a childhood experience; it can last a lifetime. Over the years there have been many times when, seized by fear in the dark, I have wished for God to appear as a pillar of fire as he once did for the Israelites.
Spiritual darkness is worse. It blinds us to the truth. The Pharisees were living in darkness without realizing it. They could not “see” the Truth when He stood before their eyes! How pitiful!
Jesus offers us the privilege of walking in the light of life. When we do our minds are no longer dimmed by the darkness of sin and guilt, death and sorrow. We “see” the forgiveness God offers us in Jesus. We understand that he sets us free from our past and shines the light of his love on our pathway to a new future.
Most people who truly believe that Jesus is the light of the world feel compelled to share this message with those who live in darkness. Millions are lost in the darkness of ignorance and superstition; they worship a false “god” who is pleased by their violence. Some have never heard of Jesus. They do not know that by trusting Jesus they can walk in the light of life.
Those who walk in the light can find great joy in sharing the light. If you were with a group of people lost in a dark cave, and you found a flashlight, you would be thrilled to help the others escape the darkness.
The Bible calls the people of God the children of light. And as long as even one person remains lost in spiritual darkness, God’s people have a compelling mission – to share the good news that darkness is no match for Jesus. So children of light, let your light shine for it will conquer the darkness! + + +