“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”John 1:9
There’s something about light that is both comforting and awe-inspiring. Think back to your childhood. How did you handle darkness? Or if you have kids, how do they handle the darkness? When my kids head to bed, they often turn every light on as they go through the house because they don’t want to walk in the darkness; they want to be in the light. Light is comforting because it’s revealing; it shows us what is there.
But light can also be awe-inspiring. Think about that light display at Christmas time or your very own Christmas tree. In the darkness, the light shines and there’s something about it that is beautiful. The light pierces the darkness. The light shines and we sit there gazing at the light.
In John’s Gospel, he picks up the concept of light. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus is understood as the light, but nowhere more significant than in his prologue––John 1:1–18. He writes in verse 9, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
What does it mean to be True Light?
Throughout this Advent season one of the things Vintage Church has done together each week is recite the Nicene Creed. There’s one line in the creed that resonates with John 1. Jesus is described as “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” What does it mean that Jesus is the true light and light from light?
Think back to the beginning . . . the very beginning: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water. And God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Genesis 1:1–3). Where did the light come from? The light came from God. In particular, it came from the Word of God. Who is the Word? Remember what John calls Jesus––the Word. The source of light is God. Jesus is light from light because he is the Son come from the Father. Jesus is the light because he is God.
What does the True Light do?
The True Light came into the world through the incarnation. The Son, the second person of the Trinity, put on flesh and became fully human. But what does the light do? According to John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). But John is speaking about more than the darkness in the beginning. In the beginning there was physical darkness; today there is spiritual Darkness. Yes, Jesus the Word created light, but Jesus the Word also defeats the Darkness.
We all feel it. The Darkness is strong, heavy, and often overwhelming. We have a very real enemy, Satan, who is Darkness himself. Because of his influence we are enslaved to sin and our entire world is inclined to Darkness. But Darkness does not have the final say. Like a candle lit in a dark room, Jesus has pierced the darkness. But this candle does not die out. Instead it becomes an all-consuming fire overcoming all the Darkness around it.
This Advent reflect on the True Light, the Light from Light. The Darkness may feel heavy; it may feel as though it has overcome. But it hasn’t. Jesus has overcome. In the moments this Advent season when the Darkness overwhelms you pray to our True Light. Ask him to remind you how he has overcome the Darkness. At his first coming, Jesus has overcome the Darkness. And one day Jesus will return, and when he does we’ll be in the Light forevermore. Rest in that Light, the Light from Light, our True Light.