From all accounts, the gospel according to John, was the last to be penned. It shows a more mature, reflective theology about who Jesus is, what his relationship is with God (indeed, that he is God) and all of this is summed up beautifully in the prologue; the first 18 verses.
Like every good introduction, key themes are identified: Life, light, incarnation, the Word, the world, the Jews, witnessing (testifying), grace, truth, and critically, God’s plan of salvation, as outworked through his Son, Jesus.
This Christmas, I want to touch on the key theme of light.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John, 1:4).
Similar to Matthews, parable “you are the light of the world”, John goes much further. Jesus is the light of the world. This light that quite literally was involved in creating all things, has now ‘shone’ in such a way, that we can all see Him – the one and only.
C.S. Lewis is often quoted as saying “ I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.”
In the same way, John explains, not only has the light come, but it has come in such a way that we can now see, clearly, God!
Like all themes that John identifies, light, has its opposite – darkness.
The opposition to the light has always been there. The darkness wants to ‘swallow’ the light. To stop it from doing its work of shining. To close in and snuff out the light, before it can take hold.
John sums up the whole gospel in this one verse: Despite the best attempts of the darkness to overthrow the light, (the crucifixion of Jesus), the light has been victorious. The darkness has NOT overcome it. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has made impotent the last of the enemies of God’s people, satan and his weapon – death.
Whilst this might all sound very much like a message that should be preached on Easter Sunday… every story has to have its beginning. Before Golgotha was Jerusalem. Before Jerusalem, was Bethlehem.
Our God came, lighting the way, so that we might have life and fully understand what that life is.
This is the story of Christmas, the light has come and come so that we might see all things as they really are. See sin for what it is. See death for what it is. See our apathy, for what it is.
This Christmas, please help us shine the light of Christ, ever so brightly in the darkest of places…. Prisons.
We can only continue to do this with your support. Next year, the state of Queensland will be opening its refurbished “Borallon C.C.” to house another 500+ prisoners. Wouldn’t it be amazing if because of the light of Christ shining into the darkest places of the human soul this Christmas… that this new prison did not open – due to a lack of numbers! And even now, that could still happen.
That will only happen through your support.
Please pray with me for our chaplains this Christmas, as people of the light, bearing the light in prisons. Please pray for our mentors and partner churches, as they shine like a “city on the hill.” Please pray for those inside our states prisons, that they may find the true light, and know the saving power of the one who came, as a helpless babe.