A few years ago, some friends and I were out walking in the woods and got lost. It was approaching winter and by 4.30pm it was dark. All of our phones had run out of charge, apart from mine, which had a pathetic tiny little torchlight, only offering a few feet of watery beam. For an hour or so, we picked our way slowly through the undergrowth, frequently stepping into muddy puddles and hoping that we were vaguely heading towards our accommodation.
Eventually we came to a road, which we thought it best to follow, even though we had no idea what road it was. And finally, twenty or so minutes later we rounded a bend and the drive to the house hove into view. We opened the front door, dirty and weary, but immensely happy to find ourselves bathed in light. It was only a bulb in the hallway, but after two hours of almost total darkness, it might have been the glory of heaven.
There’s nothing like coming into the light, is there? After hours of darkness every night, the approaching dawn causes the birds to burst into song every day – first the robin, then the blackbird. We can’t translate birdsong – I wish we could – but I like to imagine that what they’re all singing is: ‘The light is coming! The light is coming!’
And Jesus describes the experience of meeting God in the exact same way – it’s like coming into the light (v21). Jesus himself is that light – as he declares in v19 – and coming to Jesus is like being bathed in his light.
It’s not an entirely comfortable image, as Jesus also admits that not everyone wants to be bathed in this light (v20). Just as light attracts moths but repels cockroaches, so Jesus’ light draws some, while others choose to hide from it. The reason is that such people prefer to retain the choice to keep doing evil things, even though in Christ such things can be forgiven and left in the past. But for those who want to live in the light of God’s love, healing and blessing, the response can only be one of joyful and thankful coming into that light.
Take a moment to give thanks today that God’s light has found you. Choose again to be bathed in that light. Declare that light over all parts of your life. And if there is any darkness ‘attached’ to you at present – ask for God’s light to shine there too. All things can be healed in the precious name of Christ. Thanks be to God!