Epiphany: “Those who do what is right come to the light…”
John 3:19-21 Why those who do evil detest Jesus, his teachings, and his followers
Through January 6, 2023 (Epiphany) I’ll be posting devotionals with a Christmas and Epiphany theme.
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.””
John 3:19-21 NLT
The words above are from John’s Gospel, Chapter 3, and quote Jesus conversing with Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader and Pharisee. As with many of the other recent scripture verses from John here on Heaven On Wheels, these three verses use the imagery of light and darkness to metaphorically describe hope, love, goodness, and salvation (light) versus hatred, hopelessness, sin, and condemnation (darkness).
Jesus is explaining to one of the top religious scholars of the time what should have been obvious: that people flee from faith and rescue in Him because they are drawn to darkness. Many non-believers deny or ignore that their sin is immoral, simply because they love to sin.
Consciously rejecting Jesus when His Good News is explained to them is common with non-believers. They don’t want to stop sinning, so they see themselves as courageously standing up to the “superstition” of Christianity, being “spiritual” (when in reality they’re being sensual), and “being a good person”. None of those traits will miraculously land the sinner in Heaven no matter how hard they try; the only way to the Father is through the Son (John 14:6.
By loving the darkness and fighting against the Truth of Jesus, those who oppose Christianity simply love their sin too much. Deep down, there may be a grain of the Truth in their brains that’s telling them that if they don’t repent, they’re going to be judged by God and found wanting… so they just turn away from something they’re afraid of.
When thinking about this love of sin that sends people to hell, we usually think of especially bad sins — murder, adultery, stealing, sexual immorality, to name a few. But thinking that “I don’t need God because I can run my own life” is something that condemns in the eyes of God just as quickly as murdering another person!
To quote David Guzik of Enduring Word,
“Everyone practicing evil hates the light: Some express their hatred of the truth by actively fighting against it, and others express their hatred by ignoring God’s truth — by saying to Jesus “You are not worth my time.” In contrast, he who does the truth comes to the light.”
“Doing the truth” is essentially living an honest, conscientious life following the new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:30) as well as the original ten commandments.
Many who spend eternity separated from God’s love will blame Him, when it is really their own doing. In closing, I’ll share a commentary from the early 19th century:
“They chose to walk in the darkness, that they might do the works of darkness-they broke the Divine law, refused the mercy offered to them, are arrested by Divine justice, convicted, condemned, and punished. Whence, then, does their damnation proceed? From THEMSELVES.”
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Almighty Father, help me to abide in Jesus and Him in me, so that I know that I am always walking in spirit and in truth. May I become closer to You with each passing second of every day, and both my words and deeds honor You. Help me to walk in righteousness for the rest of my life, keeping my mind and heart on Jesus to maintain a clear conscience before You. This I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN.
Guzik, David. The Enduring Word Bible Commentary, https://enduringword.com. Used with written permission of the author.
Clarke, Adam "Clarke's Commentary: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with a Commentary and Critical Notes" Volume 5 (Matthew-Acts) (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1832)