Jesus is the light

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • You are camping in the wilderness and your child gets bit by a rattlesnake. The car doesn’t start so you are forced to carry her to the nearest city. You cut through the forest, hoping the shortcut will save her life. Somewhere around here is a trail, but with no moonlight, no flashlight, and barely any starlight, your luck is running out. You know you’re close to the path, but you can’t seem to find it.
  • Someone close to you is the victim of a horrendous crime, yet all of the evidence points to YOU. You’ve been framed! You cannot afford to hire a lawyer, so one is appointed for you. You beg your relatives to hire private investigators to solve the crime, but it’s obvious they suspect you. No one seems interested in helping you, because the case is so neat and tidy. You wish someone would realize what’s happening and fight for what’s right.
  • Party after party, partner after partner, substance abuse and chemicals…and finally, the best you can hope for is to get your mind hazy enough not to remember how obscenely passionless, pointless, and purposeless your life has become. Money has bought you pleasure, but the pleasures all wear thin. Nothing seems worth working for, worth living for, worth dying for. Outsiders see you and wish they could have your life, but YOU know that it is hardly worth calling a “life” at all.

These seem like something out of a Hallowe’en horror film, but perhaps they’re closer to reality for you than that. Maybe somebody you know has been through something similar. Real life abounds with all kinds of everyday horror stories, as the saying goes, “you couldn’t make this stuff up.” And while it’s true that many of us enjoy watching campy horror movies and attending fall festivals, and the costumes and trick-or-treating, and what-not, there is still a real darkness out there, of one kind or another.

The night before he died, Jesus had one last supper with his closest followers. Somewhere between the nicely furnished upper-room in Jerusalem and the garden of Gethsemane, he told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Not 24 hours after this, he would be dead. His path led toward suffering and death. He would be mocked and tortured first. And he would face the local magistrate, who would challenge him with the question, “what is truth?!” Yet Jesus said what he said, and in the twenty centuries since that time, millions of people have come to understand what he meant.

When you are on a dark path, when you face uncertainty, when you are in danger and you don’t know where to turn: Jesus is the way.

When your world gets tossed upside down, or your worldview is shattered, or someone betrays you and you find yourself longing for someone to trust: Jesus is the truth.

When you come to the end of your tether, and you’ve tried out every conceivable way to ignore the emptiness, you’ve put off all the hard questions long enough and at last it’s time to face your own mortality: Jesus is the life.

The very first chapter of the gospel of John describes Jesus as light. Where light shines, it eliminates darkness, and the darkness cannot do anything about it. If you find yourself in a dark place this Hallowe’en, because you’ve lost your path, you are searching for truth, or you want to know how to really live, call on Jesus.

May his light shine ever brighter in your life.