Punching Holes in the Darkness

Light into Darkness

In John 8, right before Jesus heals a blind man he says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The miracle of giving sight to the man born blind demonstrates the purpose of Jesus’ ministry. It illustrates Jesus’ power to bring his light to those in darkness. Jesus is driving home a point for us when he declares that he is the light of the world in the presence of a blind man. Imagine how obnoxious it would be for someone to tell you to do something when you know you just can’t do it. For example, imagine having the best food in the world in your mouth, but not having taste buds. Imagine being asked to describe the taste. The issue is that of capability or ability. Without the ability to see, you cannot experience that which is just “out there.” You need to be capable of tasting to enjoy an Italian dinner. Perhaps it is at this point that we can identify with the blind man and reflect on how our blind eyes don’t see the light that Jesus says he is. Our spiritual eyes don’t see without healing.

Brilliance of His Light

However, Jesus shows up and illuminates our hearts so we can see the brilliance of his light. Jesus brings healing to the exact point of the blind man’s suffering and darkness. Like this man, we can’t heal our own blindness regardless of how hard we try. It is not like we are spiritually injured and can limp toward Jesus so we can lean on him the rest of the way. Rather, we are blind and poking around in the dark. And left on our own, we are not capable of experiencing the absolute beauty and splendor of grace unless Jesus heals our spiritual blindness. Where darkness, death, and decay reign in our lives, Jesus breaks in with light, liberation, and love.

Punching Holes

A picture of this comes from Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, who lived in 19th century Scotland. As a boy, his family lived on a hillside overlooking a small town. Robert was intrigued by the work of the old lamplighters who went about with a ladder and a torch, lighting the street lights for the night. One evening, as Robert stood watching with fascination, his parents asked him “Robert, what in the world are you looking at out there?” With great excitement he exclaimed: “Look at that man! He’s punching holes in the darkness!” With that one statement, Robert Louis Stevenson summed up Jesus’ miracle and teaching on spiritual blindness. Jesus came into this world and accomplished many great and miraculous wonders, yet his primary purpose was to punch great gaping holes in the darkness that shrouds us. He came to be the light to the entire world—he came to punch holes in our darkness.