GodReflection: I Believe.
The word was out. All my fellow students warn me, “Don’t take Dr. Neil Lightfoot’s class on The Gospel of John unless you are ready to dive into deep water without a life jacket”. Everyone knew the final paper was one that all feared to be an impossible task to complete. It was a long list of questions that would take weeks to answer.
The assignment seemed as if we were to explore every step Jesus took across the one thousand four hundred fifteen verses of John’s gospel. The word was out on campus, “no Mickey Mouse responses allowed”.
I took the plunge, and Dr. Lightfoot introduced me to The Gospel of Belief. Over a half century later, when I read the gospel or the letters written by the old apostle, I hear the voice of my late professor. Was my teacher a clone? Surely the voices of he and John’s were identical. Both received their DNA from Jesus.
John’s introductory statement declares Jesus’s LIGHT mission will conquer the DARK of NIGHT.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the LIGHT of all mankind. The LIGHT shines in the DARKNESS, and the DARKNESS has not overcome IT (John 1:1-5).
He continues with his DARK verses THE LIGHT theme as he paints a portrait of Satan’s NIGHT that JESUS THE LIGHT came to conquer:
- Nicodemus comes at NIGHT in search of truth (John 3:2).
- In a story about a blindman Jesus teaches to work in DARK at NIGHT is futile since we cannot see THE LIGHT to accomplish our task. (John 9:4).
- People stumble in the blackness of NIGHT, “for they have NO LIGHT” (John 11:10).
- Then comes one of the darkest verses the apostle can possibly write, as soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. AND IT WAS NIGHT (John 13:30). Both Jesus and Judas knew what was about to take place—this friend who had been with him for three years plans to betray him and hand him to religious leaders and Roman officials for crucifixion.
- And when that DARK NIGHT closes Joseph of Arimathea accompanies Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at NIGHT, to prepare Jesus body for burial in a DARK tomb (John 19:39). THE LIGHT who brought such hope was gone. Can they believe through the DARK OF NIGHT?
- Early on the first day of the week, while IT WAS STILL DARK, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. . . (John 20:1). As Mary walks IN THE DARK toward the grave can she believe in the DARK prior to morning’s LIGHT?
Here we are in 2023, and how often do I find myself faced with the doubt of those first century disciples? Has THE LIGHT gone out? Will it ever shine again? Can I believe through the DARK of NIGHT?
Hospitals are full, war jets fly over our houses, funeral services are far too frequent, medical systems are broken, fractured relationships abound, political discourse is toxic. Satan’s DARKNESS seems to cover far too much territory. When DARK storms invade our lives can we believe through the DARK of NIGHT?
John closes his gospel with a fishing story. It is not a fairy tale. It is true. He was there. He saw ETERNAL LIGHT prevail. It takes place after LIGHT is resurrected in Jesus. The risen Lord appears among his disciples and suddenly leaves once more. This time the glow of ETERNAL LIGHT remains.
Peter wants to get away so he can think. What better way then get out on the water in his boat and go fishing. He invites six of the apostles who happen to be present to go with him. John too is ready.
Just as in one of John’s first stories, once again they fish all NIGHT. It was DARK. Not a fish found. Then comes our “take away”. As the LIGHT of day appears so does the voice of JESUS THE ETERNAL LIGHT call to them from the shoreline.
At his word the living Jesus provides an abundance of fish and bread, a morning campfire, and companionship so desirable that Peter can’t wait for the boat to reach shore. Immediately, he dives in and swims to the warmth of JESUS THE LIGHT.
How about it? When we find ourselves in the DARK, let’s open John’s Gospel a fresh. Its message rings clear. Yes! Because of JESUS THE ETERNAL LIGHT LIVES WE CAN BELIEVE THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF NIGHT.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Can I Believe Through the Dark of Night?
2 thoughts on “Can I Believe Through The Dark of Night?”
Amén! Thank you, Lord Jesus! And thanks, God, for dear Gary’s life.
Powerful article my brother! Keep up the diligent work…Jesus is truly the source of all that is good, holy, noble, worthy, and life itself…