Monday, January 18, 2016

Light Overwhelms this World's Darkness

Most assuredly I am saying to you, He who habitually hears My word and is believing on the One who sent Me has life eternal, and into judgment he does not come, but has been permanently transferred out of the sphere of death into the life. Most assuredly I am saying to you, There comes an hour and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those having heard shall live.

John 5: 24-25
New Testament an Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1961

I read these words this morning, as I have read them many times before, and they came alive to me. Those who have believed really will not come into judgment! There is a day coming... when the dead shall really hear the voice of the Son of God.

I believe with all my heart that day is drawing near quickly. This new year of 2016 has not gotten off to a good start if you just even look at the economy. But that's only the start of our problems. Man is cruel and beastly toward his fellow man. There's no more right and wrong, every man does what is right in his own eyes, just like in the days of the judges of Israel. (Judges 21:25)

But yet my heart is overflowing with hope, even in a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore. I think of Jesus' claims: He is the Light, the Bread, the Door, the Good Shepherd of the sheep. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

As I was praying, I was overcome with a thought for a friend who has a loved one suffering from depression. This person has become overwhelmed with the thought that we are living in the last times. But I was convinced that if he could just grab hold of the fact that Jesus is the Light of the world, his burden could be lifted, as mine was many years ago.

I used to be overwhelmed with all the sadness of the world. I was told I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and told to lighten up, crack a smile, wipe the worry lines off of my young face. But I could not.

Today, the world is worse. But yet I have hope. How could it be that you have hope, someone might ask. Just take one of the claims of Jesus: He is the light of the world.

Wuest again brings out beautifully the gist of  Jesus' claim here:

"Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I alone, in contradistinction to all others, am the light of the world. He who habitually follows with me shall positively not order his behavior in the sphere of the darkness, but shall possess the light of the life." John 8:12 Wuest translation, emphasis mine

Just one of Jesus' many claims, and yet what a promise to lay hold of. I hate it when I get up at night and it is pitch black. One time, I was staying at my sister's house in the country and was sleeping in their game-room downstairs. A summer storm hit and knocked out the electricity. I needed to use the bathroom but could not see anything around me, it was pitch black. I didn't know which way to go, whether left or right, and kept bumping into things. For that moment, I felt overwhelmed by the darkness all around me, yet also an urgency to find light. After groping in confusion for a couple of minutes, I finally found the stairs which led up to the bathroom. The lights had come back on upstairs, and I could see my way out of the darkness. What a relief!

That moment sticks out in my memory, because it represents my life before I found Jesus. I groped in darkness until I heard one day that Jesus bore my sins upon the cross. I trusted Him at that moment to save me from my sins, and yet like Lazarus, I was still bound by grave-clothes.

Jesus, after commanding Lazarus to come forth, asked others to take his grave-clothes. In my life, it took years  to start to understand just the tip of the iceberg of the greatness of that gift Christ gave me in my salvation. Through receiving the love of Christ demonstrated in His body , I came to realize that only God, His Word, and His loving Body could help me unwrap myself from the tethers of religion and the devil's accusations.

It is the best gift in the entire world, yet it takes our entire lifetime to open it and find out what it really means. It comes to us more and more as we find a place to grow in grace and knowledge of Him, but also as we read the Word itself as a habit.

Somehow, the more I read, the more treasures pop out at me just the like Jesus being the light of the world. If someone is struggling with sadness, a burden which seems too heavy to be lifted, take heart from this one promise from Jesus.

If you have Jesus, you have light, and you will not be left to grope in the darkness.

"All things through His intermediate agency came into being, and without Him there came into being not even one thing which has come into existence. In Him life was existing. And this aforementioned life was the light of men. And the light in the darkness is constantly shining. And the darkness did not
overwhelm it."  John 1: 3-5 Wuest translation, emphasis mine.

Even if your darkness appears to overwhelm the path you are on, remember that light and darkness cannot co-exist. Trust Him to light your path, and He will today and forever.

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