November 27 – Incarnation Mystery – Darkness & Light

November 27, 2019 Randy Bushey

~ by Randy Bushey

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
In the prologue to John’s Gospel, one can’t help but notice the parallel to Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning, God created…).

It appears that John was prompting his reader to understand more than just an echo of Genesis. Think of the Bible’s first recorded words of God: Let there be light and there was light.

And the first value judgement of God in the Genesis narrative: God saw that the light was good. Interestingly, God created light on day 1 of creation, and the sun, moon and stars not until Day 4.

In the teaching of Jesus, light symbolized goodness, beauty – and truth (But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light – John 3:21).

Darkness, the direct opposite: spiritual confusion, distortion, ignorance together with that which is evil and ugly.

The contrast was vividly captured in Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus, an elite, respected spiritual teacher in a highly religious culture:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed (John 3:19,20).

I’m reminded of the words of Plato: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Jesus continued: But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3:21).

Rembrandt created “The Nativity” during the mid-1600s. The intriguing feature is that while several figures huddle around the manger, the Christ-child alone is bathed in soft light. But careful observation reveals that the light does not emanate from an external source – the light radiates from within the small form, clad in white and laying in the hay. It reflects in the down-turned faces of His worshipers.

But the imagery of light – and its connection to goodness, truth and beauty –
may be most compelling in its absence at the Cross.

In many ways the Cross was a perversion of justice and truth. The essential horror of crucifixion and all that preceded it often caused observers to vomit in anguish; it was the antithesis of beauty.

The horror of that day, caused the sky to go dark from noon to 3 in the afternoon. And not only in the Holy City, but throughout the whole land, “for the sun stopped shining” (Luke 23:45). Somewhat ironically, John – the New Testament writer who used the term light more than any other – was the only gospel writer not to record the darkness of the crucifixion event.

As the wrath of God was poured out on God the Son hanging on the cross in the Person of Jesus, the One who incarnated light became the personification of darkness.

The lights went out. The Father turned His face away.

The Lamb of God became sin for us.

Christ in my place.

Takeaway: notice the vivid contrast in Paul’s words: giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:12-14).

That’s the gospel: the proclamation of the Good News of the Person and Work of Christ, and the eternal benefit of Light to me through faith!

~ top graphic by Siddharth Gomez, freeimages.com

…portions of this post originally appeared in October 2015.