Today we continue our look into Christ’s amazing statement that His followers are the light of the world. (If you just found this post and haven’t read the preceding post, you should stop and read the previous post first.) Click here to go to the previous post.
2. Jesus is simply NOT intimidated by the darkness. Notice how his disciples wanted to debate who was at fault for the darkness the man was experiencing. (“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”) They wanted to pass blame and figure out why the darkness was so bad. Jesus seemingly bypassed the debate about the nature of the problem and pointed the guys to the good news of the solution:
Darkness is a reality in this world. The overarching reason this has been allowed to happen in this man’s life is so that the glory of God can be awesomely displayed in him! (My paraphrase!)
I’m not suggesting that sin is a non-issue. I’m just saying that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world for its sin, but to free us from sin. And this happens by the infusion of His life and light! Jesus is not intimidated by the darkness in the world: not yours or anyone else’s. So whatever problem you are facing, whatever trial you are going through, whatever sickness is affecting you, whatever sin has its grip on you presently…just remember. Jesus is NOT intimidated by it! He never ran from sin, demons, diseases, or disaster. Light doesn’t flee. Darkness does.
3. Light’s potential for illumination only increases in the presence of increased darkness! Here’s a chart that helps us see the relationship between light and dark:
As the presence of darkness is increased, the potential of light is equally, or better yet, exponentially increased as well!
On the other hand, if you increase the presence and influence of light in any location, the influence of darkness is dramatically curtailed. That’s just the reality of the nature of light and darkness. Darkness is not something that can really be measured in its own terms. There are not particles or rays of darkness. It’s simply the absence of light.
So if Jesus is on the scene, darkness is always subject to Him. Darkness is always exposed by the light.
4. So please stop freaking out about the darkness in our world! Please stop fearing and fretting and talking about how bad everything is getting. Jesus is not scared. Jesus is the same in every season and every location! Stop listening to the preachers and newspeople who motivate you to live in fear. Stop putting your hope in human nature and political and economic solutions to the problem of darkness! Jesus is the light of the world. We are light in Him. We are a city set on a hill. The darkness is no match for the light when it is shining!
5. Consider Angola State Penitentiary Louisiana. The infamous prison was the setting of popular movies like Dead Man Walking and The Green Mile. It is the nation’s largest maximum security prison and has been the bloodiest. Angola has an inmate population of 5,200, 85% of whom are violent offenders. Ninety-percent of the men who go to Angola do not walk out alive. But something amazing began to happen starting about 15 years ago. A new warden came to the prison. Warden Cain is a dedicated Christian and believed that the Light of Jesus Christ was the only hope for changing the wickedness, violence, and perversion that so darkened that prison.
If you think about it, it would be near impossible to think of any place on earth that is more dark than the inside of Angola. You just can’t get any more violent or perverted. So you’re wondering what’s happened, right? Okay, here recent facts about the prison down in Louisiana:
- Approximately 50% of the inmates are now born-again, practicing Christians.
- There are 18 congregations within the prison and 435 official services each month (worship, training, prayer meetings, etc). One worship service alone regularly sees 800 or more inmates participating.
- Most of the former gang leaders in the prison are now pastors.
- 192 inmates have finished an accredited bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry and are serving as pastors within the prison.
- 24 prison ministers have been sent out as missionaries to other Louisiana prisons. In each case prison violence has been reduced after these missionaries arrived and began serving.
- Felons who are approaching the last year of their sentence are sent to Angola, in hope that contact with real Christ followers will impact them and potentially reduce their likelihood of returning to prison after their release.
How about that? Jesus is simply not afraid of the dark.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Amen.