What does it mean that the light shines in the darkness (John 1:5)?
John 1:4–5 says: "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." Darkness can be seen as a symbol of evil and ignorance of God and His truth, while light can be seen as a symbol of righteousness, life, truth, and God's ways. These verses introduce Jesus as the light that shines in the darkness. The world is shrouded in the darkness of evil and falsehood. Jesus Christ is the righteous light that not only shines in the darkness but dispels it.
There is no darkness in Jesus: "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). We have the choice to follow Jesus and have His light lead us. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life" (John 8:12, NLT, see also John 12:46).
When we put our faith in Jesus as Lord, we become filled with His light. The apostle Paul describes this transition from dark to light: "For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)" (Ephesians 5:8–9). As children of the light, we become bearers of Christ's light and we reject the darkness of sin: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).
The salvation we have through Christ brings His light into our lives, and not only that, it spills out of us to share His light with others around us. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven'" (Matthew 5:14–16). How we live and how we love others reveal the light of Christ in us (1 John 2:8–11). Paul reminds the believers of this message from Jesus that we are a light on a hill that cannot be hidden (Philippians 2:15).
The light and salvation of God present within our lives means we never have to fear (Psalm 27:1), and we know which way to walk (Psalm 119:105). All the good that we have comes from God, and there is no danger of that changing: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17). Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness and cannot be overcome by it. When we have the light of Jesus, we cannot hide it—and why would we want to!
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