Christ Lutheran Church Stover, MO
Christ Lutheran Church
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Loving GOD Through Worship and Service
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Pastor Tuura

 

The True Light for those walking in darkness;

A meditation on John 1:1-14

 

By Rev. Tom Tuura

Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church


As the winter winds blow, we are reminded that it is the season of darkness.  Sunset comes so early, and darkness is so slow to retreat. The morning saunters in like a tardy school boy.  Light is the tremendous hope of the Scripture. Isaiah 9:2 tells us The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

What is your darkness?  Medical professionals have literally identified a condition.  According to the Mayo Clinic,

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”  

Bingo--this is me, and maybe you too.  Or perhaps you are bringing into this winter season a heavy load of disappointment.  Perhaps there is failure that seems to be hounding you. Something that was supposed to bring satisfaction and joy just isn’t.  In a more dramatic scenario, many spend years and boatloads of money preparing for a career that is just not fun.

According to therapists, marital satisfaction sinks after just a few years of marriage.  This is so tough, because the husband and wife don’t have the tools and resources yet in their reach to handle this.

Is it illness or disease?  There are few sharper knives than the cutting diagnosis from an exhausting battery of tests around the holidays.  

Is it division?  The growing concern of many is the rising tide of division.  There is a lot of finger pointing from both sides. It is political, and it is personal.  United is our name, but it is certainly not our description right now.

Is it disaster?  We’ve seen many a disaster shatter communities.  From the forest fires out west, to the fires of relationships burning in homes and families.

We can see that there is a lot of potential for darkness.  John points out in verse 1-3 something that our world has forgotten.  Jesus the light of the world has created and established literally “all things.” (verse 3).  A very large component of our condition today is that we believe we are here by accident. We have no past, and no future.  That’s darkness.

But John makes it clear that our past is definite; and therefore our right now is meaningful.  Your present is meaningful. There is meaning in your darkness; It is not futility. That’s all the secular world has to offer is futility.  

One more thing to point out about darkness.  Jesus equates evil deeds with darkness. In John chapter 3 Jesus’ says:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (emphasis mine)

This adds a new dimension to this darkness.  It is more than seasonal. It is more than disaster and disease;  It is a strange form of love. Jesus says men ‘love’ darkness.  Then He says, they ‘hate’ the light—because of evil deeds.  So in Scripture, darkness includes than a circumstantial, or seasonal phenomenon.  If we see darkness as we say, “...really a dark time in my life.” we are not grasping fully what our Lord has said, and what John is talking about here.  

Jesus Himself directly, and explicitly teaches about a darkness that is evil.  And it is something that involves our affections. He says “men loved darkness”.  But that’s not all. He says those practicing evil ‘hates’ the light, and “will not come into the light”--why?   Judas the traitor, denied and exposed Jesus literally in darkness.  How much sin takes place under the cover of darkness. Why do places of ill repute not have windows?  See Romans 13:12 and Ephesians 5:11.

Why does someone involved in darkness not want to come into the light?  Exposure. Being known, being revealed, being called out for the truth--the realization of what they truly are.  

Are you ready for the light?  Are you ready for hope? Into this world of darkness comes the light of the world, Jesus the Messiah.  Chapter one tells us about a light. John the beloved fourth Evangelist, and gives his reader hope by writing, “...in Him was life and the life was the light of men.” (verse 4).  He continues with the announcement in verse nine, that light is coming--an ongoing condition. “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”  He was speaking of the incarnation, literally and physically in the form of a newborn baby boy, and then ongoing through the Gospel and inspired Words of Scripture.

Good news for shepherds, and bad news for darkness.  The glorious light was first seen by the shepherds on that chilly night in Bethlehem.  It didn’t cost them anything at all. Any darkness of disappointment, division, disease, or depression was erased by the angelic glory.  They came to worship Him. They came into the light.

If you haven’t yet, would you consider coming into the light yourself?  It’s not painful. Those of us who have spent time in darkness know well the truth of Jesus’ words.  All it costs is the illumination of our evil deeds. Just turn the light on. Just tear off the darkness covering the wicked works.  It is time. Walk into the light of truth into the presence of Christ the Messiah. Shed the condemnation in the process.

 

It has been exactly forty years, but I will never forget what it felt like to walk into the light (and out of condemnation).  It doesn’t hurt a bit, only our pride, and walking in the light and warmth of God’s love never gets old. So string up those Christmas lights and light up our world.

 

"That's My View From The Blackberry Patch Pulpit" 

-Pastor Tom Tuura