Summary: Darkness is all around us, and rather unpleasantly, inside us when we walk as we ought not to walk. God calls us to walk in the light as He is in the light.
Me and the dark don’t get along, at all. When we were first married, Barb and I lived in a small basement apartment that had 6 ½ foot ceilings. That’s fine because I’m about 6’ 2”. One problem.
On the way to the washroom in the middle of the night from the bedroom area, there was a pipe that hung down 5 inches from the ceiling. You get where I’m going. Lots of welts on the head. We moved as soon as we could.
Most likely, most of us here aren’t afraid of the dark, per se. But we’re not particularly adept at maneuvering in the dark. We all have our share of stories of stubbed toes (funny to watch, not-so-funny to experience).
We’ve likely smacked our heads in the dark, dropped keys in the dark, got lost in the dark. Darkness is a problem for humans. I know that complete darkness is beneficial for us to get a good sleep, but other than that, darkness is not our friend.
In our Scripture reading today, John the Apostle is concerned about darkness. He’s concerned about the effect of darkness on Christians in particular.
He wants us to walk not in the darkness, where there are all kinds of hazards; rather, he wants us to walk in the light.
It might be helpful to have a little background on the situation John was writing into. Did you know that all of the letters of epistles in the New Testament were responses?
They were letters written in response to problems that were developing in the early churches. Paul’s letters, Peter’s letters, John’s letters and others – they were written out of concern for how Christians were doing in the early days of the church.
Now more than likely, John was writing to 2nd and 3rd generation Christians. Those who were not eye witnesses to Jesus’ life and miracles. There’s no indication in this book of mass persecutions of the church.
That’s not to say persecution wasn’t happening, just that it hadn’t yet impacted the church everywhere. But among the second and third generation Christians, there’s evidence here that the moral and ethical demands of the gospel on the individual Christian were beginning to weigh on the church.
You know, there is a sheen on new clothes. There’s that new car smell. There’s the fresh excitement and vibrancy in a new relationship. And there’s a bloom on a person who has come to Christ recently.
For someone who has just come to believe in, and who has received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, there is a whole new world to explore. Everything about the life of faith is fresh and wonderful. Often prayers are answered in huge volume. There’s often deliverance from addictions and from a compulsion to sin. There’s just the whole awesome experience of learning about our new identity in Jesus Christ.
There’s just a lot of getting used to the realization that we truly matter to God, that God has loved us enough to save us through the blood of Christ, that God really does have a purpose for our lives and plans to prosper and bless us, and bless the world around us, through us.