Jesus is… the Light, by Ty Tamasaka
“4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.”
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:6-14 NIV
In John’s Gospel, we will see a tension develop between light (God and eternal life) and dark (Satan and eternal death). Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot put it out or lay hold of it.
Jesus is a light in the dark (v. 4-5)
If we read closely, in the text, we see that the prologue here does NOT establish that light will come in and overpower the darkness (as we often assume it to mean). The text simply says, “darkness has not overcome it (light).” Notice the light does not withdraw and hide in its own place as some kinds of Gnosticism (a popular religious thought of John’s time that suggested Jesus had to be either divine or man) suggest. Rather, the Gospel of John says the light offered itself into the darkness.
Jesus is the light.
“The light shines in the darkness…” We’d like it if Jesus wiped out the darkness. We’d like it to say, Jesus removed the darkness. The only problem is that if Jesus wiped out or removed the darkness, we would be wiped out and removed! Jesus didn’t destroy the darkness, He entered it. We have had dark lives and Jesus could have wiped us out or destroyed us. Aren’t you glad that He chose not to? Aren’t you glad He instead chose to enter the darkness?
We will discover from John that Jesus is the One who didn’t overcome the dark, but He entered the darkness and shined His light into it.
John the Baptist is sent from God (v. 6-8)
In verse 6, we are introduced to John the Baptist whom we learn was not the light. Rather, John the Baptist was “a man sent from God.” It’s important to see that John was described as a witness to Jesus Christ and not a charismatic figure in his own right. John came as a witness to testify of the light. Jesus is the light. While the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) show us teachings like the Sermon on the Mount as means to grow in discipleship, the Gospel of John instead shows us John the Baptist as the first disciple in terms of him leading others to faith.
While the other three Gospels uses the term Apostle as a noun to identify those who gathered around Jesus (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:13) the Gospel of John describes it differently. The Gospel of John does not see the term Apostle as a noun, but as a verb – an action word. The Gospel of John describes the followers of Jesus as men “sent from God” to lead others to faith.
Like John the Baptist, if you are a Christian, you are sent from God to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ.
The Promise over Destruction (v. 9-13)
The opening of the Gospel of John describes the light invading the darkness… not destroying the darkness… just invading it. Interestingly John does not describe the destructive fate of those who reject the light. Instead it only offers the great promises of God to those who accept it.
I think we can learn from this when we share the Gospel. As believers, we need to be known for what we stand for rather than for what we are against. We need to be known much more for the blessings of the promises of God rather than their impending destruction.
Thank You Lord Jesus Christ that You are the light that invades the darkness. You have invaded the darkest areas in my life… and You still love me. You know the deepest darkest secrets I hold, yet You have still chosen me. You are the light and as a result, I am sent from God to witness and testify to that light. Empower me with Your Promises in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.