1 John 1.5
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When I tuck Bennett1 into bed, I know to leave the light on outside his bedroom door; when I kiss Alyssa good night, her closet light is on
Light banishes darkness. No one has to tell a child what darkness is or looks like, she knows it before she can speak; she feels the darkness. Yes, from a very young age, every human being knows the feeling of uncertainty that comes with darkness.
I find myself wondering about different aspects of the people in Scripture, using my exegetical imagination, if you will - after all, they were flesh and blood like you and me.
Here we have John,
who called himself 'the one who Jesus loved' one of three who was closest to Jesus, actually transfigured with him
the disciple who stayed at the foot of the cross as Jesus was dying
the one to whom Jesus entrusted his mother at the end
the apostle who lived the longest and wrote six books of the Bible...
Since John wrote about Jesus being both Light and Life, I wonder of John's feeling about darkness. As a young boy, was he afraid of the dark like Bennett? At the start of his gospel, he writes of Jesus, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understoodit."2 Darkness symbolizes everything that is not light--evil, injustice, sin, ignorance, and unbelief.
Remembering all of his time spent with the Messiah, John recalls in this letter we call 1 John, "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."3
Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness; light is stronger than darkness and overcomes it...hmmm, yes. John uses the term 'light' 21 times in his gospel, and Jesus even says of himself, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."4
One thing I know about light is that it attracts. An abstract childhood memory I carry is night fishing at the end of a pier on Clear Lake (which wasn't clear!). In the balmy night air, the insects swarmed to the one old lone green-metal light fixture shoddily hung. Light attracts. Jesus attracts. Religion repels, but Jesus attracts. Man-made constructs divide, but Jesus unites. Reminds me of the man, Charles Templeton, who was a contemporary of the young Billy Graham in the 1950s and 60s, but later denounced his Christian faith. In an interview conducted while in his 80s, knowing he did not have long to live, Templeton had this to say about the Jesus he had walked away from:
"He was the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius. His ethical sense was unique. He was the intrinsically wisest person that I've ever encountered in my life or in my reading. His commitment was total and led to his own death, much to the detriment of the world."
The interviewer, Lee Strobel, commented, "You sound like you really care about him."
"Well, yes," Templeton acknowledged, "he's the most important thing in my life." He stammered: "I . . . I . . . I adore him . . . Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus."
Strobel was stunned. He listened in shock. He says that Templeton's voice began to crack. He then said, "I . . . miss . . . him!" With that the old man burst into tears; with shaking frame, he wept bitterly.5
Your attention, please? Some in our culture talk of 'being spiritual' yet have bought into a lie that has made the name of Jesus uncool,
unpopular and unattractive.
Only you and I can dispel that darkness by choosing to live in the true light of Jesus and speaking the name that is above every other name. I'm not talking church, I'm not talking religion or denomination,
I'm talking choosing the One who came to bring light and life two thousand years ago and who comes to us today.
Christianity is relationship with Jesus Christ;
it is personal, and it is alive, and totally incomparable.
Anything else is a poor substitute, and a lie.
Give 'em light, give 'em Jesus. People do not forget the feeling of light...
of life... of love... or who brought it into their lives.
Just give people Jesus. Just give 'em Jesus.
1 - Bennett is my little grandson, now six years old, Alyssa soon to be 4 years old
2 - John 1.4-5
3 - 1 John 1.5
4 - John 8.12
5 - Strobel's interview with Templeton quoted on www.christiancourier.com