The Light of Men

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1:1-5 ESV]

Mere words cannot describe eternity or God who lives in eternity. One of the pitfalls of theology is the tendency to think and write in absolutes when such absolute statements are built upon a foundation of incomplete knowledge of the incomprehensible. God has revealed Himself in Scripture and through His work of creation in ways we can understand, but our minds have a limited capacity, unable to comprehend an unlimited God. Had He not revealed Himself we would only be able to surmise certain of His qualities and characteristics. Even what we do know He had to reveal about Himself otherwise we would never know Him. He has not revealed all about Himself but what He has revealed is comprehendible to us with our created image.

One of the absolutes He has revealed is the eternal purpose of the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of His Son, God in the flesh. What we see in history about Jesus seems bizarre to the corrupted mind and heart. Only the evidence, once examined critically, shows truth. Only the moral-emotional decision to disbelieve the evidence and the willful decision to not trust God turns the unbeliever’s will to reject the evidence. They reject the evidence because the thinking of their hearts will not accept its truth.

God did not reveal Himself in Jesus in a mysterious way, but sin, compromising the whole person, obscures the obvious. Sin takes the truth and calls it a lie, and takes a lie and calls it truth. How backward and bent, upside-down and inside-out are people.

When God reveals Himself He does so obviously. Even the image of God contained in a corrupted vessel is enough to reveal what is needed for anyone to Him.

Jesus is the light of the world for all who live, have lived or will live. He, the Eternal Word, spoke words no created being could comprehend and the universe, in which we reside, a blue-brown speck of dust called Earth, came into existence. This is a knowable absolute. He created the smallest particle and the largest star and put them in their specific place. Within the vast expanse of the universe are areas of darkness He filled with light. He is the light which came and He is the One who separated light from darkness. Darkness cannot remain in His presence for the light of His presence swallows darkness. Nothing can hide from Him and His person moves in every physical and eternal thing. Even in the depths of hell God is, though He withholds His life from those there, who have rejected His gift of life.

Jesus’ light encompasses and incorporates all of the qualities, characteristics, personality, even essence of God. He is, even while living on earth as a man, the  morphe (that which makes something what it is) of God. He is also the morphe of a servant. God has revealed to us Jesus, enough information and evidence for us to know intimately who He is and what He has done in the thinking of our hearts.

Once revealed, and accepted by those who are His, we can then begin to know Him in a deeper, more mysterious way, obvious to us, hidden to the world. “In him 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 ESV]. In this verse the word “overcome” means to overtake, to take eagerly or seize, to apprehend, comprehend, perceive. Jesus, the light of the world, demands obedience and submission to His superior position and authority. His whole, eternal being gives Him the right to expect our obedience and worship. Conversely, the world demands God submit to it and hates Him because He does not. Nothing created carries the authority to control anything eternal. Believing a lie will never make the lie true.

Jesus came so we might know Him with our whole person. Part of our task in this world is to cut away the lies which bombard us by immersing ourselves in His truth. We are surrounded by darkness, the sin of the world, but His light, His very being, seizes us for Himself.

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