Monday, March 23, 2009

Scripture of the Week- John 3:14-21

14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

The light of God, Jesus Himself….. Uncreated God, uncreated light…. He existed with the Father and the Spirit, in radiant splendor, before the foundations of the cosmos. Scripture promises that, when the Sun is long dead and extinct, God’s children will walk in the New Jerusalem which will be illuminated by God Himself. What an extraordinary thought! How beautiful that light will be, beautiful beyond our ability to imagine….. But then we will be His pure and spotless bride, without sin. How awesome it will be, when we are holy, like Jesus, formed perfectly into His image. Now to say that we are simply blemished is an extreme understatement. We are consumed by sin, body, mind and soul…. We are comprised of darkness and shadows. It is on our skin, in our eyes, in our bones…. It is enmeshed in our souls… Our hearts are desperately wicked and hideously deformed. The fall has shattered the image of God within us. We are not as God intended for us to be.

How very painful it is to walk into the light of Christ in this condition…. Even God’s children keep to the bushes, like Adam & Eve, desperately trying to hide from the light that reveals our darkness and shame. Yet the light draws us out and beckons to us, just as the voice of the Father called to Adam & Eve in the garden. We were created to walk in that beautiful light that reveals just how infused with death and decay we are.

There was only one possible cure for our desperate circumstances, only one chance to walk once again with the Living God… The light of the world, Jesus Christ, descended into our darkness. In another garden, thousands of years after Adam and Eve, our beautiful light surrendered with His whole heart and soul to the darkness of the world. He emptied Himself and surrendered to wicked men and the demonic forces empowering them. He became darkness on the cross as He took all of our sins upon Himself, so hideous and deformed and black with death that the Father turned His face away. No human being has ever endured darkness so black and such desperate despair. Even in the thickest darkness of the world, there is always some light of God, yet Jesus entered into a perfect darkness on our behalf. And then, the sun’s light failed and Jesus died. He was so empty of Himself, devoid of the light, that satan thought that he had won.

And we can only imagine the deeper darkness that Jesus descended to, after the sun’s light failed and He died on the cross, for He journeyed into hell. God’s love and light even pierced that profound and impenetrable darkness. And there, just like in the world, those who belonged to the light recognized Him and were set free from the darkness as they rushed into His embrace.

And this is the judgment, the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. This is truly the point of judgment and eternal decision for every human being. Do we love the light and allow ourselves to be drawn to it, like a moth to the flame, knowing that we will burn in its brightness and die a thousand deaths, or, do we turn from the light and embrace the darkness and our sin?

On Easter morning, the Son of Man was lifted up in radiant brightness and light. He was restored fully to His divine position in the Godhead. Brighter than the sun, He blazed a victorious trail for every human being to follow in His footsteps from deepest darkness into eternal light. And people still love the darkness rather than the light. The agony that He suffered as He opened Himself fully to the darkness of the world and hell must be a small pain compared to the agony that He continues to suffer in watching those that He bought with so dear a price walk away from Him for all eternity. How He must grieve, even in the perfect light and fellowship of the trinity, as He watches people turn away from Him and immerse themselves in eternal darkness.


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