It was a dark and stormy night.... that is how all suspenseful stories begin, isn't it? On this occasion we don't know for certain what the weather was, but we do know it was night, hence, it was likely dark sans full moon. A "ruler of the Jews" shows up at Jesus's doorstep (or dirt-step? We don't know if he was inside or outside... but that isn't the point). Everyone has heard of Nicodemus, he is one of the Pharisees scripture records as a follower, even if in secret. He would later work with Joseph of Arimathea to "bury" Jesus after the crucifixion.
As Nic and Jesus talk, our savior shares the infamous verses containing a call to be "born again" and John 3:16. Nicodemus is puzzled, he asks questions and we can only guess his ultimate response to the answers was to believe since he is there in the end, caring for the body of Christ. So what did it? What flicked on the light in this dark night? Was it Jesus' speech on being born again... or the reality that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life..."? Or... was it on this dark night, as Jesus shared the contrast of light and dark, that this "Ruler of the Jews" had his eyes opened?
I can't help but wonder if Nicodemus coming in the night has any correlation to the ultimate message of this passage. That presumption aside, there is power in understanding how the lost of this world love the darkness. Have you ever tried to talk with someone so entrenched in their ways and you just can't understand WHY... why can't they JUST see? Job 24 says they rebel against the light. He adds how by day they shut themselves up... they are friends with the terrors of the deep darkness.
Friends? Who would want to be friends with the "terrors" of "DEEP darkness"... why would they go deep?
As I pieced apart verses 20-21 this past week, searching BlueLetterBible's concordance for original Greek definitions, I came across something startling:
I believe lost people fight the light and hide in the dark is because, to the core of their being, they are convicted and they know their deeds or running or denial will demand an explanation. Show of hands: who here wants to have to explain the bad things they have done? Anyone? Many people do not like to admit they are wrong, and in today's culture, just as many do not want to have to believe they have an obligation to pass their actions before anyone else... especially not an all-knowing God.
So they hide.
They "love" the darkness, like Adam and Eve hiding behind fig leaves. They want to conceal their sin, for many reasons, but most of all because it would demand an explanation... and an obligation beyond their control. But for us who have read and accepted John 3:16... who have not questioned but accepted to be "born again" in the Spirit, the Apostle Paul gives instruction:
NO provision for the flesh. We are no longer in dark, we have let go of those ways. We have swung open the door and invited the light to shine in every corner... or at least we should have. God doesn't ask for part of you - he asks for ALL of you. Being born again isn't for your pinky, it is for your entire body, surrendered to the Spirit. Ephesians 5 says we should "take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead EXPOSE them." Not that we should go around pointing fingers, rather, that we should SEE and, at times, call to light the TRUTH. If we realize the nature of the darkness... we suddenly understand the battle we face and the WHY of those hunkering down in it... and we need to be certain we are not slipping into the shroud either.
God is light. Not a shred of darkness, "at all". We are not God, never will be, but we are called to be sons and daughters which means we carry His traits, we seek to be like Him in righteousness and attribute. We are called to be Holy because HE is Holy. We cannot fellowship with Him if we are not walking out of the dark and resting in the light.
You may say, per Romans, for all sin and fall short and you would be right. But one final note I want us to realize from our John 3 passage: For anyone WHO DOES wicked things... suggests a practice of or to be busy with worthless or unethical things.... verses practicing or being busy with that which executes God's purposes and is morally right. We will and do mess up... sometimes on purpose but often by mistake. This is not darkness though, this is our flawed humanity outside of heaven. What do we make a practice of though - good or bad?
In our thread of Light in the Darkness as it pertains to the upcoming October 31st 'festivities', let us remember with each open door and ghoul or goblin which greets on the other side, we have an opportunity to plant a candle in the darkness. Find Bible tracks, grab some silicone bracelets with a scripture message printed, be kind and shine light. It may seem so little but it is these seeds which God may use to water and sprout and grow... not just with the kids, but perhaps even with parents who will most likely see as well.
Most of all, pray. Pray for LIGHT on this coming dark night. Pray against the forces of evil alive and well in this fallen world. Pray for fertile soil as candy-grabbers visit your doorstep. Pray for a revival in your city/state/country. Pray to BE the Light, a reflection of our savior who has all the answers and holds all the hope, in this dark world.
Let the Light shine through,
Greek concordance references from blueletterbible.org
By the way... have you seen? My first KDP (Amazon) book released last month! TWO actually. The second is a a guided journal/planner ideal for homeschool families to help remember their homeschool days! Click on images to learn more....