The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The gospel of John differs from the other gospel accounts in that they focus mainly on what Jesus did and said; John focuses on who Jesus is, His character, His deity and what He says about Himself. In today’s text verses 1-5;14 say: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John establishes Jesus eternal nature. He establishes Jesus unity and equality with God the Father. He establishes Jesus creative character. Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Verse 5 says: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Other translations use the words, overcome or extinguish rather than comprehend. Without doing a word study of the Greek, my tendency is not to decide which of those best describes the relation of the light of Christ to the darkness of the world, but rather that it is not one or the other but both. Darkness cannot comprehend, understand light. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. God, and Jesus, because He is one with God, are infinite, eternal and spiritual, the finite, natural mind cannot fully comprehend what is infinite. Many will say that faith is foolishness. In truth though what is foolish is limiting something to your own understanding. The darkness cannot comprehend light because it is limited. Neither can darkness overcome light because light dispels darkness. When the two, light and darkness exist together, light always overcomes and dispels darkness. Darkness only remains where there is no light.
Verse 14 says: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus, fully God, came and became like us, having a body of flesh, but unlike us He was and is full of grace and truth. When we read the other gospel accounts we often tend to focus on being like Jesus the man, on doing the things that Jesus did. Jesus did indeed come as an example of how we should live, full of grace and truth, with love and compassion for others. But that is only a small part of why Jesus came. In truth it is really the by-product of His coming, not the purpose. Jesus came because of the love and grace of God. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus came not to show us how to live, but rather to die so that we could live. That He was an example of how we are to live was secondary to His purpose in coming to die for us. We cannot fully comprehend God and Jesus in natural human terms. To the natural man and natural mind the cross is the ultimate demonstration of man’s inhumanity to man. It, crucifixion, is a demonstration of evil, of pain and of suffering. But to God and Jesus is it the ultimate demonstration of love. John 15:12-14 says: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. “ The world tries to define what our love should look like saying love is tolerance and acceptance. True love is unconditional, but it is not demonstrated in tolerance or acceptance. True love is demonstrated through the cross. True love is that Jesus died for our sins.
Matthew 27:45 describes something that happened when Jesus was on the cross. It says: Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. For that brief time it seemed as though perhaps darkness had overcome the light. The devil thought that he had won. He thought that he had caused the evil of man to destroy the one who came to save them. But the devil could not comprehend love that was demonstrated in the cross. He too thought that the cross was the ultimate demonstration of evil. What looked as though it would be the ultimate and final victory of darkness over light was instead the eternal victory of light over darkness. On the cross Jesus said: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) In Matthew 27: 50-53 it says: Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Everything that had previously been hidden in darkness was forever exposed to the light. Darkness could not overcome the Light, evil could not overcome love.
The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. The glory of God was displayed and demonstrated not in how Jesus lived, but in that He died for us, the Light of the world forever overcoming the darkness. Jesus did come to tell us and show us how to live. He says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) We are light to the world if we demonstrate the love of God which is demonstrated in the cross of Christ.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the ultimate demonstration of love. Thank You for dispelling all darkness by Your Light. Thank You for giving me Your Spirit, that I can comprehend who You are, grace and truth, love and light, infinite and eternal. Thank You for the finished work of the cross that I may know You and be like You. Amen.