Summary: Spiritual Darkness comes in many forms. There is but one Light that can pierce the spiritual darkness of sin.
Piercing The Darkness
When Frank Peretti’s Piercing The Darkness hit the bookshelves, I became an instant fan. I bought every book that he wrote as fast as they came off the press. But after a few of his works, I began noticing a trend. At first the Book Title on the jacket was large and bold but that didn’t last long. Before I knew it the title of the book began shrinking and the author’s name became larger and bolder until they were given equal billing on the book’s jacket. Then when he wrote: The Oath, his name actually became more prominent on the cover than the title. Now what does that say? It says to me that someone believed that Peretti was such a good author that his book would sell based on his name alone, in many cases.
It is as if the allure became the author and not the title or even the plot. How often are we drawn from the TITLE of our worship or study to an author whose reputation as a great preacher, expositor or commentator becomes the allure? After all, it’s easier to accept an overview by Wiersbe, Ogilvie, Lucado, Warren, etc. than to dig it out for ourselves. We preachers soon find our favorite go to commentator.
That puts us in a state of darkness that borders on plagiarism and laziness. If we are to be honest and transparent, it would require that we share and credit our source(s). We don’t always do that.
In the gospel reading of John 9:1-7, we read of a blind beggar whose only source of income was the alms collected while begging at the roadside, where travelers came and went. As Jesus approached, He paused and engaged this beggar. His traveling companions (His disciples) immediately asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v 2)
Jesus answered: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (v 3) Jesus then spit on the ground and made mud from the saliva and clay. He put the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, go wash in the Pool of Siloam.” So we understand, the beggar wasn’t going to receive his sight until he went down to the Pool of Siloam and washed. In other words, he was granted a wonderful, powerful gift but if he was to choose to accept the gift there was an act of obedience that needed to occur.
Again, God created us with a free will. God also makes it very clear that He seeks our obedience. How often do we struggle with that one?
This beggar was born physically blind. However, we are all born “spiritually blind”. Whatever knowledge and experience that we receive early in life is from what we are taught from the cradle. So, if we are born spiritually blind, we are born into spiritual darkness. If we are in spiritual darkness, where does the Light of Knowledge and Salvation come from?
The same exact source that granted the beggar his sight: Jesus the Christ!
The beggar knew he was blind and knew he wanted vision. But all he could ever do was sit at the roadside begging for alms. What else could he do? Then Jesus comes along and engages him and offers him sight (LIGHT). Why did Jesus stop and minister to this one particular man? That becomes obvious. It was a divine appointment. Jesus was compelled by God the Father to engage this one man in the same manner that Jesus was compelled to minister to the Samaritan woman at the well. It was a divine appointment. The writer (John) doesn’t say that this beggar was the only person that Jesus ministered to; so, it is fair to say that in all probability Jesus did more ministry while in this town.
What we see is the omniscience and omnipotence of God at work. He knows the physical and spiritual condition of every person all the time and every time. Just as when Zacchaeus was up in that Sycamore tree when Jesus passed by, Jesus knew he was there and knew Zacchaeus had a strong desire to see Jesus. We might be short in stature and unable to see over the crowd but Jesus sees every one of us no matter what.
When mankind exists in a state of darkness (sin), he cannot know the Spirit of Truth and Love which comes from God. In a state of darkness, we can so easily fall prey to false teachings and false pathways of life which lead to a state of being lost.
I am a great fan of mysteries and enjoy watching some of the television documentaries of crimes. Having a background with over twenty-five years in law enforcement, I find myself trying to solve these mysteries based on the clues that are shared before the final solving is made clear. I enjoy a better than average success in doing that. It’s entertainment. But what it says to me is: we get fixated on a path that leads to an unknown. If at some point, it becomes obvious that it leads to a dead end, we have to go back and pick up on another clue or two and follow it’s path. The important thing to remember is not to follow a false lead that can have many pitfalls along the way.