"Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:18
There is no mistaking the effect of light upon a darkened place. Light boldly and unabashedly announces its presence and vigorously dispels darkness. We have all experienced this physical phenomenon when we, for example, walk into a dark room and turned on a light. In less than a heartbeat the room is fully illuminated and all that is in it exposed. There is no struggle. The darkness does not and cannot push back against the light. The darkness is just gone.
God gives us the physical creation and all its laws and properties that we might have a glimpse of the spiritual. There are unquestioned parallels between the physical universe and the spiritual universe. Oakman gives one example “… the light of the sun which appears to be the origin of all physical phenomena is itself but a shadow of a greater and far more significant light – the light of the Spirit.”
The world around us is enmeshed in darkness. Spiritual darkness. We’ve all noticed. Its impact has touched us and even hurt us in many ways. Sometimes in devastating ways. We are in the day spoken of by our Lord when “darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people.” (Sec 105:9a)
We want to blame the darkness and yet is the problem really with the darkness? It is simply doing what darkness does. The remedy for darkness is light so perhaps the problem is with the light – or the lack thereof. Yes, there is a devil who actively seeks the misery of all mankind. The father of lies who beguiled Eve in the garden and stirs up the children of men unto secret combinations and all manner of secret works of darkness. But what if there were more light? Spiritual light. Would there still be gross darkness? Would the devil have such a stronghold on the world as he does now?
Where does the light that can dispel the spiritual darkness come from? In many places in scriptures Jesus says of Himself that He is the light and the life of the world. John says of Jesus that “In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men; And the light shineth in the world, and the world perceiveth it not.” (John 1:4-5)
In latter day revelation, Jesus says of Himself, “Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the great I AM, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not;” (Sec 39:1a)
What does it mean that the darkness does not perceive or comprehend the light? The Greek translated “perceiveth” in the New Testament is not easy to translate into English. Scholars suggest that John’s usage of the Greek katelaben is meant to represent the forces of evil which seek to overcome, conquer, or master the light. In simple terms it means that the light wins. It is not overtaken or conquered by darkness. The darkness cannot put out the light.
It stands to reason then, wherever Jesus is known and embraced darkness is dispelled. Just like turning on a light in a darkened room. It is no surprise then that God’s answer on how to deal with the gross darkness that is covering the earth is to preach His gospel. The message of a Savior. He says, “purify your hearts before me, and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it” (Sec 105:11b) So important was preaching the gospel that He even said we should not trouble ourselves with the affairs of the church.
Those whom God has called into ministry should with every opportunity they have boldly and unashamedly proclaim the atonement of Jesus which he wrought on Calvary’s cruel cross. They must preach the redemptive story of a God who desires to fill all of humanity with the light of His Spirit. Because God desires that all know and embrace His son. That every knee would bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil. 2:9-10) And that is because those that follow Jesus “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) And when humanity “shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy” (Genesis 9:22)
It is not just those who have been called to preach that bear the responsibility of sharing the light of Jesus. When you are filled with the Spirit of God and the light of the gospel others notice. Let us endeavor to be a light and walk in the light.
Walk in the light, and thou shalt find
Thy heart made truly His,
Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined,
In whom no darkness is.