By Jerry Harris
Were you scared of the dark when you were a kid? There are two reasons we naturally fear darkness:
- Darkness makes us see things that aren’t really there.
- Darkness keeps us from seeing things that actually are there.
I remember seeing scary shadows in my room at night when I was little. I needed to have a night-light on or leave my bedroom door slightly open. But the closet—that needed to be closed. I feared the darkness of the closet . . . and the darkness under the bed. I remember imagining things were coming to life in that darkness; once it was the pants I had left hanging over the desk chair, another time it was the clothes my brother had thrown into the corner of the room.
Over time, we tend to outgrow such childish fears. We grow accustomed to the darkness, sometimes even comfortable with it. The darkness of a bar can become appealing for some. The cover of darkness can be pretty useful when we’re doing things we shouldn’t. Once again, we perceive things in those dark places that really aren’t there, and we can’t really focus on the things that truly are there.
There’s a spiritual quality to both light and darkness, good and evil, right and wrong. Make no mistake, there’s a lot of power in the darkness, but that’s the deception. It appears the darkness is so powerful—almost all-powerful—but the truth is that just the tiniest bit of light will overcome a massive amount of darkness.
Jesus has overcome the darkness, and he provides the light we need to ward off its power! Nails pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, but his light pierces the darkness! This is where we find our faith and our hope. We need not hope for the resurrection of Jesus, since it’s a fact! We place our faith in Jesus’ resurrection, which instills confidence for our resurrection!
Darkness is the absence of light. In the beginning, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). But this was the verdict, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). And so, we were cast out into the darkness, where hope was lost . . .
But then Jesus came. “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4, 5).
Jesus came to die—to face the darkness for all of us. He was rejected, beaten, ridiculed, and crucified. Darkness covered the world when he died, and his body was laid in the darkest of graves. It seemed the darkness had won and the light extinguished altogether.
I love the contrast of the Easter story. From the perspective of Jesus’ followers, things were bad . . . they couldn’t get any worse. Jesus was gone. Dead. Executed. His life and his ministry finished. His kingdom was a farce, a fantasy, a pipe dream, an impossibility. There was nothing left but darkness and weeping. Nothing to look forward to . . . nothing to hope in.
And then Sunday morning happened. It was the greatest reversal of reality in human history. In an instant, everything went from upside down to right side up. Emotions did a 180.
There is no starker contrast than a bloody cross leading to an empty tomb . . . the premature darkness of a Friday followed by the bright dawn of a Sunday morning. It captures the essence of hope . . . the hope that if God can do that, he can do anything.
“I turned around to see . . . someone like a son of man,” said the apostle John in Revelation. “His face was like the sun shining in all of its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades'” (1:12, 13, 16-18). “I have come into the world as a light,” said Jesus, “so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46).
Jesus shines on those living in darkness to guide us into the path of peace (Luke 1:79). He is the light of the world and whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life (John 8:12).
We were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord, and so we live as children of light because Jesus is our hope . . . our hope in the dark!