The Light has won, is winning & will win – Brad Jersak with Kenneth Tanner
The Light is Winning
Passover is coming. A time to remember how the people of God were quarantined in their homes behind blood-marked lintils, praying for deliverance from a deadly pestilence and quietly sharing what they thought might be their last supper. A time to remember Christ’s final passover meal, his Last Supper with friends and anticipating the great exodus his own death would achieve. A time to remember that the shroud of death was removed from all people through the victory of his resurrection.
For some, these days are understandably a time of darkness, death and fear. Once again, we hunker down in our homes, wondering when this current plague will end. A time to remember: the hope and light of the slain Lamb’s resurrection is just ahead. The shadows remind us that the Light still shines.
The TV series True Detective is a powerful portrayal of this present darkness. It’s an R-rated story of grizzly murders, groteseque religion and gruesome dysfunctions. I won’t recommend it to our readers. Some would condemn me for even watching it. And yes, despite the skip button on my remote, True Detective left its stain on my eyes and mind. But precisely because the darkness was such a black hole for hope, the closing scene cut through with a punchline that left me breathless:
Final conversation from True Detective
Marty: “Didn’t you tell me one time, dinner once, maybe, about how you used to … you used to make up stories about the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, that was in Alaska, under the night skies.”
Marty: “Yeah, you used to lay there and look up, at the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, I think you remember how I never watched the TV until I was 17, so there wasn’t much to do up there but walk around, explore, and…”
Marty: “And look up at the stars and make up stories. Like what?”
Rust: “I tell you Marty I been up in that room looking out those windows every night here just thinking, it’s just one story. The oldest.”
Marty: “What’s that?”
Rust: “Light versus dark.”
Marty: “Well, I know we ain’t in Alaska, but it appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.”
Rust: “Yeah, you’re right about that.”
Marty: “How’s that?”
Rust: “Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”
It was always there in Psalm 23:
God does not visit evil on humanity, and God does not prevent the evil that men and the dark angels do.
Rather, God is *with us* as we endure the evils our departures from his light and life bring us.
And this is not a great cosmic battle for God, though it may seem like one from the human vantage, for we humans do wrestle with principalities and powers, as Christ struggled with these powers in his humanity.
But all God has to do to defeat evil is to die in Jesus Christ—to touch death—and death vanishes like darkness when you switch on a lamp. There is no contest between God and darkness.
Amen. As the beloved disciple of the Good Shepherd taught us:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:15
“… the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8
In the spirit of the Patristic fathers who could find the Cross in any piece of Old Testament reference to wood, I see the Shepherd bearing his Cross as he walks us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The rod and staff that comfort us form the cross-pieces of our Savior’s cruciform throne. With the rod of the Cross, he has driven out “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) and with the staff, promises to inexorably draw all men to himself (John 12:32).
The apostle of love reveals that this “light of the world” is none other than Christ (John 8:12) in whose light we participate by love for one another. The reign of light is advancing … and it does so through love. His love for the world, and our love for each other:
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11)
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)
The world feels very dark these days. It feels increasingly insane. But if you watch closely, you’ll see how the light of love trumps the darkness of hate, again and again and again. The darkness cannot snuff out the light, because the Source of that Light is eternal and found especially traversing the dark valleys where fearful sheep would huddle together in love.