One of the things I like to do as a part of my daily quiet time with the Lord, is to read through the Gospels. I have no order, rhyme or reason relative to my approach in this. I just finished the Gospel according to Matthew so I decided to go to John. As I was reading John chapter 1 this morning, as I have many times before, something new jumped out to me. (Oddly enough, those of you who read scripture consistently can attest to how this can happen pretty easily. God is always revealing new things, and isn’t limited by our present understanding at any point in time. After all God operates outside of time, I digress……)
“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” John 1:5 NKJV
I hadn’t paid much attention to this before. In the NIV the phrase “did not comprehend it” is replaced with “has not overcome it”. Semantics? Well, I don’t know. There are many commentaries that deal with this subtle difference. In some of the English commentaries I read that “apprehend it not” is an even better way to translate from the original language. All in all the text and others interpretation of the text over the years doesn’t really bear an answer that I would consider to be cut and dry. Normally when I run across things like this in scripture, God is saying to me, “move on from it and go tell people about me.” So that’s what I will do and tell you what grabbed me as I was making my daily attempt at deeper intimacy with Him.
“And the darkness did not comprehend it”. Seven words this morning that stirred my soul and really got me to thinking. In the introduction to Johns gospel John is quick to point out that Jesus is more than just merely a man. John uses the word “Word” to describe Jesus. He also uses the word “Light”. Both with capital letters at the beginning indicating a proper noun. John is talking about someone. He is talking about Jesus.
Then to close out this portion of this greeting we read “And light shines in the darkness, and darkness did not comprehend it.” Did you notice that the word “light” isn’t capitalized in this sentence? “Interesting”, I thought. Why? The darkness after all cannot overcome Jesus. Then it dawned on me that I am missing the point all together.
The Light produces light. In other words light is always under the sovereignty of the Light. What a powerful indicator of things to come! There in lies the one of the most powerful miracles of the gospel message. Jesus, who is fully God, choosing to live fully as man, has the power of creation, even the creation of light (“Let there be light”). No matter what occurs in this life, no matter how far separated a person, a family, a community, or a nation becomes separated from God, it doesn’t mean victory for the darkness. As a matter of fact victory for the darkness (an implication that darkness overcomes light) is completely impossible. Think about it, the darkness (that which is separated from God) will never ever be in communion with God. How can that be victory? It’s always a loss. The darkness has the worst winning record in the history of mankind. Even worse than Prairie View A&M who from 1989 through 1998 lost 80 consecutive football games. The fact that the Panthers broke the streak with a victory in 1998 over Langston college gives them a better record than the darkness, than the devil. The mere fact that the Light (Jesus) produces light (followers of His) is mind blowing. Later in scripture Jesus even calls us “the light of the world.” The Light has empowered us to share His light and be the light. Wow! An answer for the world! Amen!
So when John says “did not comprehend it” it really speaks to the reality of darkness vs. light. The darkness has no point of reference to even recognize light when present. The Darkness recognizes Light/Jesus, but doesn’t comprehend light when produced by that which Jesus deems to be good.
No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the darkness will never have victory over light. Never! It can’t happen!! Are there times where it sure looks dark in this world? Every day. Do we have real “why” questions relative to God’s goodness and the enemies “abilities” when children are murdered, women are raped, and villages burned? Absolutely. But no matter how bad things can get on this planet because of humanities choice to exercise free will away from the Father, in the end, on “that great gettin’ up mornin” there is only one victory. There is only one truth revealed and glorified, and that Truth is the Light! The light of Jesus Christ. His light is so bright, that no matter how far into the darkness a person who bears a measure of faith (Paul says that all have this measure of faith) falls, the Light of Christ can overcome the darkest in an instant. The reason? To borrow from a phrase used by some, that darkness can’t hold a candle to the Light.