Pervasive Darkness

What do you all see on the screens right now? This is the right slide, they are showing exactly what they’re supposed to be showing, so what do you see? A black screen, a blank slide, nothing - that’s fair. What if I were to promise you that there is something on that screen?

I assure you that there is, but it is simply too dark for you to see it. And this image, or lack thereof, gives us an idea of how humanity understood God after the Fall and how individual people understand God when left on their own - it’s simply too dark to see Him and that darkness clouds our vision.

A Little Light

‌And there’s a little bit of a process to knowing God better right? I mean, think of your relationships with other people. You don’t start off sharing your most closely held secrets and the fullness of who you are right? If you do, I hate to break it to you but that isn’t normal, it’s okay to ease in. You meet someone and what’s the first thing you share with them, maybe your name? You get to know them a little more and you’ll share maybe some of your favorite foods or the kinds of things you like to do for fun, maybe what you do for work. And for a lot of our relationships, if we’re being honest, we stop there. But for a few close friends, we really let them in. We let them see our fears, we share with them the things we’re really proud of, we let them see who we really are. And that can take a long time because we want to establish some trust before we show that kind of vulnerability, we want to make sure they have a feel for our character so things don’t get taken the wrong way, and in some ways those little things we shared at first form the foundation for a deeper relationship.

And that process is a little bit of what we see as God acts in history leading up to the time of Jesus. Certainly God doesn’t have anything to fear from us and He has no vulnerability, but what the Old Testament gives us is a feel for God’s character. It is here, in the written word, that God works to reveal Himself to humanity in ways that we can understand. It’s like this slide we’ve been staring at, but if it got just a little more light. The Old Testament shows us a lot, it shows us how much God cares for His people, it points forward to His promises of salvation, it demonstrates how seriously He takes sin - but it doesn’t show us everything and some of it is still a little fuzzy.

The Fullness of God

But then we get to the Gospels, and this morning we read the first part of John and it talks about the Word. But when John talks about the Word here, he’s not talking about the written Word, he is talking about the personal, incarnate Word - Jesus. John describes Jesus as the true light. It’s like that image we can glean from the written Word gets a little brighter and we get to see the fullness of who God is and what His plan for creation is. John tells us that and says that “all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” and that “from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

‌Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the fullest revelation of God to man. In Him we see the culmination of God’s plan for His creation, in Him we see the ultimate plan God has for us, in Him we see the magnitude of the love and grace and forgiveness that God offers to us. The full revelation of God and His plan for our eternal salvation, the personal Word of God, Jesus Christ our prophet, priest, and king.

Cut Through the Shadow

‌But if you’ll notice, the image on the screen still has a lot of darkness in it. And in certain circumstances that darkness can make it still hard to see the truth. That’s because we still live in this world where we are surrounded by sin and temptation and confusion. But there is one more form of the Word of God that this text from John alludes to. There is the written Word of the Bible, there is the personal Word of Jesus, and there is the spoken Word when the wisdom and grace of God is proclaimed to us. And it doesn’t change the message but it helps cut through the darkness of this world so we can focus on the light of the world. That’s why this time together each week is so important, that’s why I challenge you to be a consistent part of groups and spend time with other Christians, that’s why we should be in regular contact with people who will talk about God’s Word with us. Through them, the Holy Spirit works to cut through the darkness of this world and draw our focus to the only thing worth our whole attention - Jesus Christ, our savior and our king. Amen.