In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5 (ESV)
Sometimes the most profound lessons in the Bible do not require the interpretation of a skilled expositor. The Gospel of John gives its own reason for existing. In John 20:30, John himself says that he recorded the miracles of Jesus in order “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John begins his portrait of Jesus by establishing three foundational truths. First, Jesus existed from before the beginning of time, secondly, his life gave light to the world, and finally, the darkness has failed to overcome that light.
As a pastor, I find it interesting how the translators tried to interpret verse 5. You only need to read it in a couple of Bible translations to see my point. Some very reliable versions of the Bible say that darkness “has not overcome it” or “has not extinguished it,” referring to the light. Others say that darkness “has not comprehended” or “understood it.” Most normal folks struggle to see the similarity between mere understanding and aggressive opposition. Herein lies the beauty of my point.
The darkness has never allowed itself to understand the depth of God’s power and love that was demonstrated by the light. For to understand it is to potentially begin to embrace it and, in so doing, it would cease to be darkness. Therefore, the only natural thing for darkness to do is to attempt to overcome or “put out” that light before it can accomplish what God intended for it to do.
Wow! Has there ever been a day in recent memory when this battle between darkness and light has been more obvious than it is today? Those blinded by this present darkness view those who attempt to share the light of God’s love as being intolerant, hateful, and incapable of showing compassion or understanding. Why? Because they can’t comprehend the concept of opposing darkness yet loving those who are walking in it. Those set free from addiction by the light of Jesus know first first-hand what the dark is afraid of!