Now before you hear anything I have to say about scripture, the Bible, God’s word, whatever you may refer to it as, hear this: I am no expert. I don’t have any Biblical degrees, or special knowledge. What I do have is a history of reading and really wrestling with the words written in this book, and asking questions. Hard questions. And what comes from those questions? Usually more questions! But if in my externally processing through some passages of the Bible you can gain anything, whether a new insight, some manner of encouragement, or a desire to learn more, than I thank God that you read it and can start asking your own questions.
“For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7
I’m going to start in one of my favorite places: The beginning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
These may be very familiar words from the opening of the gospel of John. Or maybe you have never heard them and are thinking that it is a lot of confusing wordplay and imagery. John is my favorite gospel for a lot of reasons, but not least of all his use of imagery. This is an amazing way to start a book! If this was a novel, I’d be sucked in right away. I would have to know more about this Word and the darkness that is not strong enough to darken its light. Such mystery, such elegant descriptions of the One who was with God, and was God.
If you have been around me a lot, or have heard me speak about God, or heard almost any of the God-centered songs I have written, you will know that I love, love, LOVE the theme of darkness turning to light. I think it is because it is so clear an example. Dark is nothing. No sight, no hope, no life, no concept of what is around you. The smallest light, the flicker of hope, the single match that I hold in trembling hands is more than just an aid for my sight; it gives hope. If I can see, I can move. Light is hope. And according to John, Light is LIfe! Remember the Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angel Sings? One of the great lines in any song ever: “Light and Life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.” There could be a thousand things the songwriter could have put in those two slots- Love, peace, joy, health, etc etc…but Light and Life! What a picture of our faith! Life comes from seeing the Light of Christ. No more are we trapped by the damaged world we live in. There is a light, a way to bring life to the parts of this world that we have contact with.
Whether or not you are a follower of Jesus, it sounds pretty good, right? I know that for all of us there are areas of darkness that occupy our lives. Whether a relationship, an addiction, an attitude, or an emotional wound that has never been dealt with. Darkness is very real in our world. But the hope, the life that comes from Jesus is that darkness can not shut out the light. Think of it this way: dark is not actually a thing. You can’t add dark to darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. When we bring light to any situation, it is by definition going to be more powerful than the darkness until it runs out. That is the nature of light. But the good news we see in John 1, is that Jesus, the Word of Life, doesn’t run out. His Light can not be overcome. He was in the beginning, He is now, He will be forever. That is a good flashlight.