July 21, 2012
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2
The Sunday school teacher gave her class some homework.
They were to read the words of the prophet Isaiah which are written above. They were to think about how, in Jesus, this dark world has seen "a great light."
Not surprisingly, most of the class forgot the assignment. When the teacher asked, "What did the people who were in darkness see?" the silence was profound.
Eventually, she even promised a candy bar to anyone who could answer the question.
That was enough motivation for a boy to raise his hand and volunteer: "The people walking in the darkness ... use less electricity."
The teacher said that wasn't right.
Another child suggested: "The people who walked in the darkness ... stubbed their toes on the coffee table."
Nope, that wasn't it either. One girl volunteered, "The people walking in the darkness ... are usually burglars."
One student confidently added, "The people who walked in the darkness... could really use a flashlight."
Just as the teacher was thinking about taking early retirement, one of the students finally got it right: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."
Sadly, we who live in an age of technology have a difficult time understanding the true impact of those prophetic words. That's because, most of the time, we don't understand "dark" the way the ancients did.
We have become reliant upon electric lights which brighten street, alley and dark closet. We can follow a soldier's path on a midnight battlefield because of his night vision goggles. A squad car records evidence against a drunken driver, as he tries to escape arrest on a dark, country road.
We don't know how dark dark can be.
We're talking about a dark so profound and pervasive we can't see if it's safe to take one more step. We're talking about a dark that is unsettling and frightening. We're talking about a dark that makes us feel lost and alone.
Jesus, the Light of the world, came to free us from that kind of spiritual darkness, the darkness which had enveloped and cocooned us. His entire life, His great suffering and unjust death were all endured, so the Holy Spirit might liberate us from the darkness and bring us into the light of forgiveness, hope and salvation.
Jesus rose from the dead, so we might be sure God's salvation plan has been completed and never again would darkness rule our present and ruin our eternity.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You are the Light which has conquered the world's darkness, my darkness. Now that I live in the light of life, grant me the wisdom to avoid the darkness in all that I do. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries