One morning last week our city was shrouded in a dense fog. We don’t live on the coast; fog is rare. At times, visibility was zero. I had an appointment about twenty minutes from our home. Most of the drive I could see only about 5-6 car lengths. Buildings were hidden. I felt as if I were on another planet. Most drivers turned on their bright lights which helped. Even then, I was cautious and a bit fearful. Fog is the same as darkness because I could not see where I was going.
The Bible says nothing about fog but mentions darkness more than one hundred and seventy times. Most of those references use darkness as a metaphor for being in a fog concerning God and His holiness. Sin puts us there and only the Light of the world can expose our sin and lead us into the knowledge of the Lord giving us His righteousness. Light and darkness are interesting metaphors because darkness cannot snuff out light. As soon as it moves into it, it is overcome. However, even a tiny candle can invade darkness.
I’m thinking of the power of light as I read the verses in John’s Gospel that use it as a strong metaphor.
In him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4–5)
The life of Christ is light that exposes and overcomes the darkness of sin. When He turns on that light revealing who He is and what He has done, darkness must flee. John knew it . . .
(John the Baptist) came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. (John 1:7–8)
This other John was not the Messiah but he pointed the people to the Messiah that they might believe. He also set an example for me. I am not Jesus nor the light of the world, but I can point people to Him that they might have light in their lives.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:9–10)
This is the message of the Scriptures: Jesus is light from God for everyone. He created the world yet the world did not personally know Him. People know about Him just as I know about many people yet have no personal relationship with them. Knowing Him personally is key to being in His light.
He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. (John 5:35)
Even though the people didn’t personally know Jesus, for a while they loved what He said and did. His words were ‘wise’ and His deeds blessed them and often filled their bellies, but this is not what His light is for.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:9–10)
Jesus explains that He will bring them out of their fog about God and out of the darkness of sin.
Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. (John 12:35-36)I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)
They didn’t get it even though Jesus explained the reason for their fog and that they would be judged . . .
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19–21)
People love darkness. They don’t want to see God because He exposes their sin. Light also exposes the power that enables people who do what is true — they are doing it by the power of God. Light exposes sin, all my excuses and my pride. Any good that I do is from God, not from me.
Jesus, You use light to reveal my selfishness, my efforts to go my own way and resist You. But would I rather be meandering in the dark? I don’t think so. Seeing reality is often painful and shameful, but it is better than the limited view in a fog and far better than being in darkness with no view at all.