So, it happened again this week – 58 murdered, over 500 injured. Another mass shooting, it boggles the mind to consider this great evil in our land. And yet we shouldn’t be surprised. When a country leaves God out of the equation as our nation has done, God from time to time will remove His hand of protection. We live in a very dark world, and the reason that we live in a very dark world is that our nation has forsaken the light of the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t hear our political leaders calling for more prayer and spiritual awakening. Nor do we hear that in many of our churches either. What we hear is more calls for gun control. Jesus spoke of the contest between light and darkness when He said in John 3, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly what he is done has been done through God,” (v.19-21 NIV). Jesus says, “that light has come into the world,” into a place of darkness and death Jesus has shed His light. This is no mere shining moonlight but rather a life-giving compassionate light that flows from the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are two things that are revealed by this light. First, the light reveals Christ so that we may see God. Like the light of the sun, light reveals Jesus in all His power and all His glory. Keep this passage in its context, Jesus has been speaking with Nicodemus about the greatness of God’s love. God’s wisdom, love, and grace shine out of the SON -not the sun. Jesus has come to reveal the image of the invisible God to us so that we may know the true light. Secondly, the true light reveals to us the true condition and destiny of mankind. The man who committed this heinous crime this past week “loved the darkness”. God’s condemnation will be just because people love the darkness. Think of the darkness of hate and evil that would lead this man to murder innocent people that he had never met in his life. Whatever his reason was his true motivation was that he was a child of Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning. When the gospel is not received, and Jesus is rejected there is nothing left but darkness. Satan snares people and leads them into a life of darkness and misery.
The things that people fill up their lives with will never meet the deepest longing of their lives apart from Christ. No matter how much success this man had in his gambling or how many guns he accumulated, they were not going to meet the deepest needs of his heart. Men love the darkness rather than the light because the darkness provides them the escape to continue in their evil undisturbed. Many people don’t want their lives exposed to God’s light because they’re afraid of it will reveal what they really are and because they have no interest in changing. Even for us as children of God we should not be surprised when people are threatened by our desire to obey God and shine Jesus’ light in our dark world. Because men hate the darkness, at times evil prevails in our world. When the light of the Lord Jesus Christ shines on the evil in people’s lives, they don’t usually rejoice and repent. But we should not be discouraged and stop shining our light into the darkness.
One of the great challenges I find in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is in Matthew’s Gospel where He says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matthew 5:14 – 16 NIV). These verses express how Jesus really feels about us. It’s about allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to use us in the face of great darkness and evil. How does one hide their light on the top of the hill? We can hide our light by being quiet when we should speak up or just simply going along with public opinion. We hide our light when we don’t witness when the Lord lays it on our hearts to do so, and I think we also hide our light when we ignore the needs of those around us. Don’t shut off your light to the rest of the world or your neighbors and family. Jesus said, “you are the light” and it’s directed to those who are Jesus’ followers. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, make sure you are allowing the light of the Lord Jesus Christ to shine into the darkness, you never know who your light you may affect!
Pastor Rich Sivo