Discover more from Heaven On Wheels
Prologue to the Gospel of John Part 3: Jesus as the Life and the Light
John 1:4-5 He is life and Light in our dark world
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:4-5 NASB1995
If these verses look familiar to readers of Heaven on Wheels devotionals, it is because Steve featured the same passage in an epiphany devotional he wrote for December 29. We agreed when we started doing this to not worry about overlapping or repeating Scripture excerpts because our writing styles are totally different, with unique purposes. So here is my take on John 1:4-5 to start the new year of 2023. Happy New Year to all of our readers!
In the last devotional on Jesus and His relationship to Creation, I featured several examples of the amazing complexity and vastness of the Creation that speak volumes about the rational, complex, infinite, mathematical and mysterious mind of God. In Him was life (zoe) and the life was the Light of men. Light is essential for almost all physical life (bios) to thrive and the Light of Jesus is necessary for the essence of the redeemed spiritual life (zoe). These two words, bios and zoe, are different Greek words for life. The Blue Letter Bible resources define zoe as follows (these are the second and more important definitions):
of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through Him both to the hypostatic [union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one existence] "logos" [Word] and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature
life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.
These verses are telling us that without The Word we are dead and in darkness, two things that every rational person dreads. Death is inevitable and darkness affects most people in a negative way. I love a dark, clear (and warm) night in a safe place, but the main reason I love a night like that is to gaze upon millions of stars giving their light for us to see here on Earth; if we couldn’t see those lights from other suns, or even the reflected light from the moon and the planets, night would be even more dreadful.
Remember going on a camping trip as a youngster with friends and you gathered around the warmth of the light of the campfire? The looming darkness in the trees behind your backs led to creepy ghost stories and glances over the shoulder and sleepless nights in your little tent imagining all sorts of night terrors. Almost every horror movie ever made has a core darkness to it that immediately creates unease in a viewer (check out “The Blair Witch Project ”, for example - a chilling story of noises in the night in the woods).
I’m going to perform a little experiment here and show you something that I found to be quite disturbing. On the Unsplash photo site, I came across the photo below when searching for “darkness” or “evil”. Can you imagine walking down this hallway with the pure darkness that seems to overwhelm the tiny light? If you are not made uneasy by this photo, tell me why in a comment. This is indeed the darkness that cannot comprehend the Light. Jesus alluded to the “outer darkness” three times in the Gospel of Matthew and it has been interpreted as being part of Hell. Four of the most extraordinary miracles of Jesus involved restoring sight to the blind. Darkness is a fallen state of this sinful world and is not part of the Kingdom of Light.
Let’s go back to the light (please). In looking at resources for this passage, I found this list of things about LIGHT (in both physical and spiritual realms) on a site called Thinkers Bible Studies, a resource for Christian believers to help them explain Christianity to doubters and non-believers:
Light dispels darkness [YES]
Light itself cannot be seen but reveals everything in its presence
Light cannot be grasped or held
Light fills all space available to it but will not invade space closed to it
Light can be everywhere at once
Light is never consumed or exhausted by anything in its presence
Light is illumination, enabling us to find our way
Light is communication by written words and symbols to our mind
Light is color, revealing incredible beauty around us
Light is warmth, giving comfort
Light is energy, producing power
Light is speed, from here to there in an an instant
Light is essential for growth and healing
Light fades the further we move from its source
And in scientific reality, light (the electromagnetic spectrum) is composed of both massless particles or quanta (photons) and waves and the speed it travels is the theoretical speed limit for matter and energy in the known universe (no, there are not wormholes or warp drives invented yet that we know of). This brings to “light” (no pun intended) another amazing, complex creation of The Word! A few more words about light: I have usually suffered from what is known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), with lower energy and some depression in the winter months with their short days. I love the longer days and the light of summer! If I was one of God’s many creatures besides human, I might vote for being an Arctic tern, a bird that sees two summers every year (and many hours of daylight). Light is life!
God said in the Beginning “Let There be Light” and He was and is and will be the Life and the Light of the world. The darkness can’t comprehend it and it flees before that Light.
My next devotional examines The Prologue to the Gospel of John 1:6-8, The Witness John the Baptist
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Lord - Please fill my soul with your Light and life and dispel the darkness of the evil and sin that surround me. Keep me close to your Light so that it never fades. In Jesus name, Amen.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
Thinkers Bible Studies Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved The Lundberg Foundation