"In the Dark."
September 9, 2022, 12:00 PM

“In the Dark.”

John 8:12-20

Have you ever been lost in the dark? Lost to the point where you were scared? When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at Scout camp. I knew Camp Eastman like the back of my hand. I knew the trails and could find my way anywhere. One night while on staff, my friend and I went down to the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River to watch the sunset. We stayed for hours after the sun went down talking and snacking. Somewhere around midnight, the woods around us got eerily dark and quiet. It was a strange and creepy feeling, one that I had never experienced at Camp. I didn’t like it. I also didn’t have a flashlight. I had never needed one before. Suddenly something made noise behind us. At first, we thought it was another person playing a prank. But we knew no one else would be down there at that time of night.

Then, something came flying at us in the dark and went past our heads. As it flew, we realized something had thrown a hedge ball at us. We did what any rational, normal, brave, and courageous person would do. We screamed and ran. Don’t worry, it was a very manly scream. The problem was that to get to our campsite, we had to take the trail that went in the direction of whatever it was that had thrown that hedge ball at us.

I really wish I had a flashlight with me that night. It could have lit up the night around us and helped us see what was threatening us. It would have been helpful to know if there was a real threat, or something we had imagined. My friend thought it was Bigfoot.

The point of this story is that we couldn’t see what was there in front of us because of the darkness that surrounded us. This is true spiritually for every human being that is alive, will be born, or has ever lived. We are not just surrounded by sin, we are enveloped in it. The darkness that we see in the world around us is not a threat that we have imagined. It is real and it needs to be dealt with. Many have tried ignoring it or claiming it isn’t real. Buddhism teaches that pain is an illusion. I think we can all agree that pain, emotional and physical, is very real. Many have tried making laws upon laws to reign in the darkness. It is illegal to murder, yet people still murder. So, law can’t be the answer. Is there any way out of the darkness that is so pervasive and total?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. he was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him nothing one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). John helps us, from the very beginning of his gospel, see that Jesus is the light of the world. John knew this because he heard Jesus exclaim it at the Feast of Booths. John recorded this for us in chapter 8. “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the light of the world. He came into the darkness of the world to show us the way out of it. The way out of darkness is outside of us. Why? Because the darkness is inside of us, and we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Jesus helps us see the world clearly. The world is lost in sin. Jesus came to show us the biggest threat that we face is not other people, but the controlling power of sin. Jesus shows us a better way to live. That way is following Him. As Christians, we understand that our belief influences our actions. What you believe will inevitably come out in how you act. When we believe in Jesus, our actions, thoughts, and words take on the characteristic of light. Christians should not be doing dark or evil things. Paul says it like this, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth – testing what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

Jesus came to give His people the light of life. Jesus called people out of darkness into His light because He loved them and didn’t want to see people continue to suffer in darkness. You and I were once in the dark. Before Christ called us to Him and made us His own, we were trapped hopelessly in darkness. Now that we are in the light of Christ, we can see the world the way it really is – full of sin. Jesus has given us light to help call others out of darkness. Our light is supposed to reflect His and help others see the world as it really is. As Paul says, we are called to expose “the fruitless works of darkness.”

The best way to expose the fruitless works of darkness is by showing people the hope that we have in the light. It would not have been helpful if someone would have turned on a flashlight for my friend and I and instead of showing us the path, began to beat us with the flashlight. It wouldn’t have helped. Yet, this is how some think we are to talk to other people about Jesus. Beat them up until they give in. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). Let the love of Christ, and the words of Christ in Scripture, show people the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Show them hope. Show them a way out of the darkness. Walk with them on the path. Don’t beat them down, lift them up with the hope found as the Light shines in the darkness and will not be overcome.