The coming of the Light
As promised, over the next number of blog posts I will be giving snippets from my forthcoming book on John’s Gospel. Here’s the first one…
“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” - (John 1:9)
What is the function of the True Light? It is to enlighten, to illuminate. The light itself is not to be focused on. Looking into the sun will cause damage to the eyes. We are meant to see what the light enlightens. You don’t look at the light, you look away from the light to everything that it sheds its light upon. What does the True Light reveal? The True Light, Jesus, reveals the nature of reality.
He reveals who God really is, who we really are, and what the world really is.
He reveals the original, the problem, and the solution.
There is a popular phrase in evangelical Christianity which goes, “So-and-so has seen the light.” The truth is, however, that we don’t really “see the light.” Rather, it is the light which helps us to see everything. The light of Christ’s glory is so bright that it is instantly blinding, as Saul of Tarsus discovered on the road to Damascus. What the light does is that it changes how we see everything else. The light influences our perception of reality. It determines how we see God, how we see ourselves and others, how we see life and truth.
Reality is only seen by the True Light. The reality of who God is can only be revealed by the Son who is in the bosom of the Father. From the bosom of the Father, God’s true nature is made known and demonstrated. Any revelation that does not originate and flow from the bosom of the Father is either false revelation or inferior revelation. The Old Covenant revelation of God is not false revelation, but it is shadow-revelation. The Old Testament revelation of God is a flickering candle by which we can only see truth dimly. The Old Covenant is, like John the Baptist, only a witness to the true light which is to come.
In order to get a proper perspective on the Scriptures we need to see them by the light of revelation. We need to allow the “true light, which enlightens every man” to shine upon the Bible. The true light, through which the Scriptures are understood, is the perspective from the heart of the Father.
Old ways of seeing, which are not from the paradigm of the Father’s love and of sonship, will give a skewed perspective on the Scriptures. It is our experience in this revelation of the Father, that the Bible is being seen in a new and truer light. The writings of the apostle Paul, which have and continue to be so problematic to many, are now seen from a different viewpoint. When we understand what kind of person Paul was, how deeply broken and burned out on religion he was yet how deeply comforted he became, we begin to understand more accurately what he wrote. The statements that Paul made, which have caused many disagreements, are now to be seen in the context of a community living in an environment of the outpoured love of the Father.
Seeing with the eyes of the heart as a beloved son gives a much more accurate perspective on the written text of the Bible. In fact, I would go as far as to claim that the Bible can only be fully understood from the perspective of sonship. The only true interpreter of the Scriptures is the resurrected Son through the Holy Spirit. That may seem like an ambitious claim but it is borne out by Luke 24:27:
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Jesus Christ in resurrection has a complete and wholly integrated revelatory interpretation of the Scriptures. This is the only interpretation that we need. Coming into union with Christ in His sonship will ultimately give us access to the proper interpretation of all the Scriptures.