Darkness Cannot Comprehend the Light

*Based on the readings 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; Psalm 137; Ephesians 2:4-10; & John 3:14-21.

"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 to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:1-5

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life; You are the Resurrection and the Light, help us to embrace You for who You are and to receive You and all that life with You entails. Amen.

Darkness Cannot Comprehend the Light

In Our Gospel today Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus. Jesus speaks about darkness and light. Jesus says, "And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

In this discussion of light and darkness, I think that it is good to reference what John wrote in the beginning of the Gospel that bears his name. At the end of chapter one verse five we read, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

The word for 'overcome' in the Greek is 'katalambanó'. katalambanó means perceived, comprehended, seize tight hold of, arrest, catch, capture, appropriate, overtake, overcome. In all of these various English words, we get a sense for what the darkness cannot do. The comparison to light and darkness speaks about the beauty written into God's created design and how it speaks to us of the truth of what God now offers to us. Darkness cannot comprehend the light; darkness has no capacity for light. Darkness cannot receive the light, darkness cannot grasp hold of the light, darkness vanishes, flees, cannot be simultaneously present with the light.

When a room is covered in darkness nothing can be seen even though things can still be known, but the moment the light shines in the darkness everything within the room is seen except the darkness as it cannot receive the light, it vanishes. The same is true in the spiritual life. When we live in darkness, choose sin, welcome in the other forces of darkness, everything may seem fine. We are comfortable with our surroundings. But by living in the darkness, we do not allow ourselves to have the capacity for the light. And this is what sin has done to us, what original sin has done to us. We have no capacity for the light. We have to be changed, we have to be made new, we have to be a new creation.

This is what Jesus is trying to tell Nicodemus. That only one who has come from heaven can do heavenly things, only one from heaven can change things. Only those who allow Jesus to give them new birth in water and the spirit will have the capacity for the light. Only Jesus can change us to receive the light.

What Jesus asks of us is to see and believe in Him. And that in seeing and believing in Him we can then name our sin, our darkness, and in revealing to Him what is hidden, it becomes no more the light enters the darkness and changes it. When we name before God our sins, we allow ourselves to reconcile with God. We allow our relationship to be strong again. We say to God, "I want You in my life, I trust You with my sins. I trust that You love me more than my sins. I trust that even though I have sinned against You, Your love is still greater, You are still greater." And we are humbled by His great and unfathomable love. But it is not about who we are or who we have been it is about who God is. That God is one who can give us a new capacity for the light. God is able to allow us to comprehend the light. To receive it, to grasp it, to take it in. And this is what gives us hope and new life.

This is why Jesus speaks about the Son of God, being lifted up. In the Death and crucifix of Jesus we see the cost of our sins, we see what our sins have done in our relationships, especially our relationship with God. In looking at the crucifixion and acknowledging our sins we let Jesus heal us, we allow Him to give us light into our darkness and to be made a new creation. We let go of the darkness and comprehend the light.

When we approach Jesus and bring what is dark in us, His light changes us and makes us a new creation. What was dark in us is no more. And we are made more and more like Him, the one who came down from heaven that we might have eternal life.

Don't prefer darkness to light.

May God richly bless you!

-Fr. Jeremy


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