The Terror of Darkness and the Clarity of Light.
Read John 12:44-50.
"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness."
As children, we were terrified of the night. The darkness of the night was not just a place we could not see and might stumble; it was a place where evil monsters existed, ready to pounce upon us. While we were terrified to walk in the darkness as children, walking in spiritual darkness is even more terrifying. Physical darkness envelops us with threats that we cannot see. Spiritual darkness leaves us empty and hopeless, groping in the dark, trying to discover hope in a chaotic and broken world.
In his last public address, Christ calls the people to make a choice. He challenges them with His claim to be from God and recognizes their response's significance and eternal consequence. Christ again affirms His unity with the Father and the importance of accepting Him to gain a right standing before the Father. One cannot claim to be a believer in God without being a follower of Christ. The two are interwoven. Christ is the way to the Father, and apart from Christ, there is no other way. To accept Him is to accept the Father; to reject Him is to reject the Father. We cannot just accept Christ as a profound religious leader or even as a prophet who came proclaiming God's message to us. He leaves us with only one option- to recognize that He is God's ultimate self-disclosure, the Word incarnate, the God/Man who came from the Father to show us the Father.
However, Christ came not just to reveal the Father but to call us into a personal relationship with Him. Christ uses the imagery of light and darkness to provide a contrast between belief and unbelief. To reject Christ and not accept that He is God sent in the flesh is to remain in darkness. Darkness does not just stand for spiritual blindness but the realm of evil apart from God. It is a world apart from God where there is no hope. Like a blind man groping in the darkness to discover his way, so apart from Christ, we grope in the spiritual darkness looking for meaning, purpose in life, and the freedom from sin's domination and control. But it goes beyond just a sense of emptiness and purpose in life. To remain in darkness is to face the certainty of divine judgment. To reject Christ is to stand condemned and judged before the Father (vs. 48).
However, Christ came to be the light. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. In Christ, there is moral and spiritual clarity; there is the restoration of our relationship with God. Instead of facing judgment, we attain life and salvation and an eternal relationship with the Father. We are living in confusing times, both as a society and personally. Just when we think that community and the world are becoming safe, it erupts into chaotic upheaval. We struggle to deal with the threat of a pandemic. Racial and political tension divide families, friends, and neighbors. We face the uncertainty created by the conflict in Ukraine.
On a personal level, we strive for financial security, only to feel empty and unfulfilled when we have attained it. The more successful we become in the eyes of others, the more we sense we are missing something. The more we pursue personal satisfaction, the more elusive it becomes.
This is why Christ came. He came to bring clarity in confusion, light in the darkness of sin, meaning and purpose in an empty world. Christ came to provide us with the answer we long for to obtain the peace we desire. The answer is Himself and the pursuit of a relationship with Him.