Jesus: Illuminating Light
Seeing ourselves as Jesus sees us disrupts our comfort zones. by Tami Rudkin
"The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Matthew 4:16).
Shining . . . shadows. Radiant . . . gloomy. Brilliant . . . dim. Glowing . . . foggy. Transparent . . . hidden. Blaze . . . flicker. Illuminating . . . ignorance.
When reading these sets of words, to which are you naturally drawn: The first or the second? To the light or to the dark?
The answer to that question is probably simple: Most of us are drawn to the light. We want to see better, maneuver with greater ease, and know more than we do presently. The light warms us when we are chilled, leads us when we are lost, and brings healing when the soul needs a caress.
We all need the light, desire the light, long for the light -- unless, of course, we love the deeds done in the murky hours of night away from the eyes of the law and our own conscience. In that case, we long for dusk that dims the view; we love the shadows cast across the truth's path, and we enjoy the timid flicker that plays tricks on the mind searching for peace. It seems wicked to intimate that there may be those who love the blackness. But aren't there? The biblical writer, John, penned Jesus' words: "Men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19, NIV).
Doesn't it seem crazy -- utterly ridiculous -- that people would choose darkness over light, silhouette over sunshine, or fog over clear skies? And yet we know it to be true. In extreme cases, most murders are committed after dark, rapes are perpetrated in the middle of the night and burglaries are usually perfected after dusk.
But those are the extremes. What about us -- average individuals who walk through life never really doing anything bad? Do we love the light or the darkness?
Now be honest: What do we want?
Complete illumination? Total cognizance? Full enlightenment? What might it mean for us to truly step into the incandescent light? For most of us, this would be terrifying. I believe we have spent a great deal of our adult lives living in the ill-defined, not directly in the Light. Don't get me wrong: We have ventured into the light on different occasions and even stayed there awhile. Every flaw we had was exposed by the light, every word spoken was unmuted by the glory, and every facial expression was readable by the glow. There was nothing hidden while standing in the light; every thing and every thought was clearly visible. Eventually, we wandered back into the opaque. It wasn't so hot, the rays weren't so blinding, nor the search light so demanding.
Jesus is the light: bright shining, luminous. He came to heal, to save, to love those who would join Him in eternity. Although painful for the moment, His radiant love will expose us for the selfishness we harbor. His brilliant love will reveal the prejudice we cling to so tenaciously. And illuminating love will unmask the face of religious piety that strangles true relationship with God.
Yes, the light will be bright -- perhaps blinding at times. But it warms cold hearts, illumines dim minds, and unveils solemn secrets.
The Light dissipates mists of doubts.
The Light diffuses the dusk of despair.
The Light dispels the darkness of death.
The Light loves us, but we must be willing to come out of the cool, comfortable shadows and step into the soul-penetrating, life-giving, truth-seeking light.