Being on the western edge of the mountain time zone, we have long days of sunlight in the summer. So, on the 4th of July, you have to wait until at least 10:30 p.m. for fireworks to show up against a dark back drop. Many in our neighborhood started with their fireworks earlier than that but they weren’t very visible until about 10:45 p.m. And then they kept going until about 12:30 a.m. today! The darker it got, the more the beautiful light displays showed up in the darkness of the night. The darkness does not overcome the light. Rather it causes the light to show up all the more.
The apostle John refers to Jesus as “The Word” who was with God in the beginning (before time began) and “was God” (Jn. 1:1). He goes on to say that “All things came into being by Him” and that “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overpower) it” (vv. 3-5). Darkness cannot be driven out of the world, but light can swallow it up. The reverse is never true. There is no such thing as darkness swallowing up light. All of the world’s darkness cannot extinguish it, but must retreat before even the glow of a tiny candle.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12 cf 9:5). Just as the sun is the physical light of the world, Jesus (God the Son) is the spiritual light of the world. When an individual asks Jesus to be his/her personal Savior, Jesus–through the Holy Spirit–comes to indwell that person (Gal. 2:20). As believers we have “The Light of the World” living in us. As we submit to His control and allow Him to live His life through us, we too shine as “lights in the world.” Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the light ofthe world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt. 5:14). You will be watched! He goes on with this challenge: “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” (v. 16). We glorify Christ by radiating His light in our spiritually dark world. The darkness cannot overcome the light. In fact the darker it gets (and it is!), the more the light shows up!
The Apostle Paul, picking up that theme, writes this to the believers at Philippi in Macedonia (Greece): “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (spiritually dark), among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:14-16). The light that we shine is the “Word of Life”–and that is, according to the Scriptures, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Charged with the responsibility of “holding forth the word of life,” we are to show forth Jesus to those who are walking in darkness, sharing with them the good news of the Gospel of Christ, that “they might see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Cor. 4:4) and come to faith in Him.
Ultimately, of course, our “light” comes from “the true light” (Jn. 1:9). Since “He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” (Col. 1:13,14), we who “were formerly darkness, but now are the light of the lord” are to “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).
As it gets darker and darker (as we approach His return for the Church), our light should shine brighter and brighter. Let YOUR light shine!