Light Pierces The Darkness
I believe it’s vital to stress the tangible reality of this realm before we look at its impact at another level within time and space. Some see images of light purely as spiritual pictures – but as we have seen this is far from the case. However the realities of the realm of light also point to a related reality – a reality we live in every moment of every day!
For the most part, this God of incredible light breaks in to our existence at an invisible, spiritual level. Nonetheless this spiritual realm is real, vital and life transforming.
So the Psalm writer David could say of his God –
“You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.”
“For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.”
Ultimately life has no direction, no fulfillment, no true meaning unless illuminated by this God of Light.
But then the unimaginable happened. This God of light and glory, the one no one could see with human eyes, the God in whose light David lived and walked – broke physically in to our time and space. Nothing so incredible, so significant, so earth shattering, had occurred since the creation itself. And the coming of this God/Man is unmistakably, undeniably fused with the concept of light! Again John cuts to the heart of the issue in the introduction to his Jesus story –
“The one who is the true light, (God’s light John 3:18) who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
Jesus himself reinforces this truth in a statement that leaves no room for doubt or debate –
I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
And his coming as The Light was the realization of prophetic longing and prediction! For if John, in the New Testament, was transfixed by the concept of God as The Light, his Torah counterpart must be Isaiah. For, among his many references to light, here is what he prophesied of a future time in his nation –
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
The great light of heaven – the one who illuminates that dimension of glory and majesty – the one who will one day literally, as we mentioned previously, be the light who lights everything in heaven and on earth (Revelation 21:22-24) became human – yet in essence he was still The Light!
It is Matthew who picks up on Isaiah’s prediction and applies it clearly to the ministry of Jesus –
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.”
Interestingly light is here contrasted with death – death that is itself darkness (we will think more of this later). And this darkness is clearly linked to the Kingdom of Darkness as opposed to the Kingdom of Light.
Matthew immediately links this fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy with Jesus initial declaration that the “Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17) In other words the Kingdom of Light is present in the person of the King of Light.
Paul also uses this imagery later when he prays for the early Christians in Colossi –
“He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
(Colossians 1:11 – 14)
But as we know, by and large, the message of the Kingdom of Light declared by the King of Light, fell on to darkened, hardened (often religiously hardened and blinded) hearts –
“God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”
Consequently, when the King of Light left this dimension of time and space – he passed his light-bearing mandate to others. This is perhaps the strangest twist in the story of light yet! But to understand it – we need to look back to God’s purposes hidden deep within the calling of his covenant people Israel!
To be continued …