The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
The Story: John announced Jesus as the universal source of all light. Our understanding, our wisdom, our discoveries all find their source in Him. The good things people enjoy every day are His gifts. He made everything and thus provides everything, but He arrived in His creation with no welcome. The universal source of light was almost universally unrecognized. Even worse, those who knew about God and His ways through the special revelation of the Scriptures, the people of Israel who were already God’s own, likewise gave Him no welcome. Instead they rejected Him and plotted His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. As Isaiah sang (53:3), “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” He came to give Himself for the life of the world anyway. Venite adormaus. Come, let us adore Him.
The Structure: In the movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson’s character, when asked for the truth, famously shouted in response, “You can’t handle the truth.” Sin has made that statement universally true. We can’t handle the truth, and, if we’re honest, we don’t want the truth. We are, by nature, among those “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” The truth about God and life is clear, but we can’t handle the truth and would rather suppress it (Romans 1:18-19). We find half-truths or outright lies far more comforting and comfortable. And so we sit under judgment: “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” (John 3:19). We only come to love light and welcome the True Light by God’s grace and by the work of the Holy Spirit. He breaks into our worlds even as Jesus broke into our world: unsought, unexpected, and so often unwelcomed.
What truths would you rather not know? How do you suppress them? How can you return to the light?