Summary: 6th in a seven part series on the incarnation from John 1.
As a young child growing up in Tucson, one of the special treats at Christmas time was going down to Winterhaven to see all the Christmas decorations and lights that were on display there. And so when we had our own children, one of the traditions that developed in our family is that we would go to Christmas Eve service at church and then afterwards we would drive around and look at Christmas lights.
It seems that the association between Christmas and lights is certainly appropriate. Even in the Biblical accounts that we associate with Christmas, light is a predominant theme. In Luke’s account in chapter 2 we see the angel appear amid the great light of the glory of the Lord. And in Matthew 2, we find that the magi were guided to Jesus by the light of a star, arriving at the house in Bethlehem about two years after He was born.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that as we continue our study of the “logos” from John chapter 1, John also uses light to describe the nature of the “logos”. Once again let’s read our passage out loud together:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14 (NIV)
Let’s take a moment to quickly review what we’ve discovered about the “logos” so far:
• He is eternal. He has no beginning or end and He is uncreated.
• He has personality, which means that we can have a relationship with Him.
• He is fully God. He has all the attributes of God
• He is the Creator and His creative process is ongoing
• He is life, and therefore is the source of both our physical and spiritual life.
This morning, we’ll focus on the last part of verse 4 and verse 5:
…and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Just as we saw with “life” last week, the concept of “light” is one that is used frequently by John. He uses the word 24 times in his gospel, including 7 times here in the first chapter. And he uses it another 13 times in his epistles and in Revelation.
When we think of light as it’s used in the Bible, several different ideas come to mind. Light is often associated with illumination and knowledge. In fact, we still use it that way today when we use a light bulb as a symbol of understanding. But I think John has something else in mind here and we can get some insight into that from Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus. After Jesus was born, He was taken to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. A man named Simeon was there and he took Jesus in his arms and proclaimed these words:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."