When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. Can you relate? The long (60 foot) walk across my dark backyard to the gate that led to the even darker alley behind it was bad. The worst was having to open that gate, fling the trash bag into the can, and then find it and pick it up again after missing on the first attempt. And the very worst was getting that gate shut afterwards and safely sprinting back to the lit garage – all at an increasing rate of speed as “something” got ever closer behind me. Why did I always put that chore off ’til after the sun set? And come to think of it, now after close to half a century of time has passed, I am still much more comfortable with a flashlight than without on the way home through the woods when it is dark…
The vivid imagery of darkness is used many times in the Bible to underline deep spiritual truths. We can all relate very well to these metaphors and allegories because we are (or have been) naturally afraid of the dark. This fear can be traced back to the Fall (Genesis 3) and the resulting loss of our right relationship with God. Darkness is used as cover (remember the monsters under your bed?), and it can be a real embodiment for evil and for hiding evil deeds. Did your parents ever tell you that “nothing good ever happens after midnight?”
Light, on the other hand, is as opposite of dark as you can get. Light stands in the starkest contrast to dark for everything good, right, lovely, pure and holy. One of the richest expressions of this contrast is John’s use of it to introduce the Messiah as Lord and to underline His divine nature – Jesus is the Light of the World! John 1:4-5 and 9 tell us:
In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it…The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you cannot physically carry a “dark” around like you can a “light”? Light always displaces and overcomes darkness; there is no contest, nor a shadow of a doubt that light always wins. Jesus used the beautiful contrasting metaphor of light and dark when He said:
“I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8: 12) and “I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
Here the concept of “darkness” is more than just ignorance; it is a state of being spiritually dead. Faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus brings us out of darkness and death into the kingdom of light and life! And if you have been made alive by the gift of the “Light of Life”, then your life should “reflect” it (didn’t I tell you this was a rich metaphor?). Paul makes that clear when he states:
“…for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live like children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)
Moreover, Paul encourages us to live with an urgency not born of fear (remember my childhood sprint to the garage?) but one of anticipation. It is the anticipation that comes from having the knowledge and experience of the true “light” – to know that the coming of the eternal “Day” will be awesome beyond our wildest imaginings.
The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 (NASB)
And to help us do that, we have been given an armor of light! How cool is that? Verse 14 of that chapter in Romans tells us that this armor of light is Jesus (makes sense doesn’t it?). So let me challenge you. Below is a list of verses that I have compiled to explore the wonderful topic of light and dark in the Scriptures. It is not a complete list; I am sure that there are many more that you can add. Choose one daily over the next couple of weeks, and meditate on it throughout your day. And while you are at it, why not take some time to re-assure a child using these biblical concepts. I know that they need to relate to the love of the Light, and that they don’t want to be left in the Dark either!
Light and Dark Verses:
- Genesis 1:1-5 – creation of light and its separation from the darkness (See also Isa 45:7)
- Job 12:22 – “God reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness into light” Job contains numerous other passages about knowledge and the sovereignty of God using the metaphor of dark and light
- Daniel 2:22 – “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.
- Psalm 18:28; 112:4; 139:11 and 12 – Light dispels the darkness of night (God provides comfort and security)
- Isaiah 5:20 – Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! A call for justice and a warning against evil:
- Isaiah 9:2 – The promise of the Messiah! “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them!” see also Matthew 4:16
- Mathew 6:23 – “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
- Mark 13:24 –The return of Christ: “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, (see also Matt 24:29)
- John 3:19 – “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
- John 12:35 – So Jesus said to them, ” For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.
- Luke 11:36 – “If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”
- Luke 12:3 – “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
- Acts 26:18 – Jesus speaking to Paul after he has been blinded: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”
- 2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
- 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are A CHOSEN race, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY nation, A PEOPLE for God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
- 1 John 1:5 – This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
- 1 John 2:9 – The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.