That’s quite a statement Jesus made to Nicodemus that night. Not just the one known by nearly everyone who watches football in America, but the one a few verses down:
But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.
It reads as if, when we do what is true and keep ourselves in the light of truth, it will be plain to see that what that we do comes from God.
Lots of times, though, for our deeds to be seen to have been formed in light, we are showcased in pretty thick darkness.
Not only that, but there are lots of things going on that are invisible to others, only seen by the agents of darkness – and angels that dwell in unapproachable light. We don’t expose others in their sin, but devils see and wonder at the secret deeds we do that pierce their dark abode, acts of kindness and generosity and friendship. When they’ve made men and women, and some children, so obnoxious and wretched that nobody wants to be around them, you and I take time with those troubled souls, we listen to them, and even learn to enjoy them. We love them not just to bring them to the Lord, but because He loves them already.
Initially, and perhaps for a long while, nobody does seem to see what’s going on, and many wouldn’t care anyway. But as time marches on, what has been wrought in God and carried out through our faithfulness, begins to shine. How many times have we heard the testimony of someone who was steeped in darkness, but one soul, one grandmother or one friend or a boss or a neighbor, one person would not be intimated by darkness. No one saw the light streaming there until it radiated through the redemption of one lost beyond human help.
And all the while, as we are shining a path of love and truth for others, unbeknownst to us, the Light of the World begins to stream through our everyday lives, our speech, our eyes, our deeds, our hope, our love. In all this, our goal is to make it very, very difficult for anyone to maintain a love for darkness. We loved it once, and we remember what it was like when one brave soul stepped down into the mausoleum of our death holding just one bright candle.
My prayer, as I light my Advent candles today, is that you and I will not grow faint in the dark, for darkness will not overpower the Light by which we live and love.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. ( John 3:16-21 )
Three bees wax candles found at the Alamannic gravyard of Oberflacht, Seitingen-Oberflacht, Kreis Tuttlingen, Germany. Dating to 6th or beginning 7th century A.D. They are the oldest survived bees wax candles north of the Alps.
Bullenwachter, by permission