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The Scriptorium

Life and Light

The Word is the Life of men and the Light of the world.

The Gospel of John: John 1.4, 5

Read and meditate on John 1.4, 5.
John offers two more contrasts, one overt, one implied. The Word is associated with light, while the world is associated with darkness. The darkness struggles vainly to overcome the light, yet cannot. The Word also has life in Him. What does this imply about the world to which the light comes?

4In Him was Light, to expose the darkness and
illuminate the truth for every man
and woman. 5And His Light in sin’s dark night
began to shine, and though with all its might
the darkness strives to overcome and kill
the Light, it cannot, and the Light shines still.

-        John 1.4, 5

1.  If life is in the Word, in the world must be non-life, or, death. Based on just what we have learned about the Word thus far, what can you say about the nature of the life which is in the Word? What kind of life is in the Word? Complete this prayer: Lord, today I will encounter people who do not know the Light. Help me…

2.  Life is a defining characteristic of the Word. Life will always be in Him. If we want the life which is in the Word, therefore, where must we be? What does this mean? How is this possible? How can we know when we are there? Let my life be hidden in You, O Christ, so that…

3.  John says the life which is in the Word “was the light of men.” He makes light an attribute, or at least a consequence, of the life which is in the Word. Based on what you have concluded about the life of the Word, and considering the darkness which is in the world, what kind of light is John thinking about here? Lord Jesus, today let Your light shine on me, in me, and through me so that…

4.  What happens when light shines into darkness? Given the nature of this light, what would you conclude about the nature of the darkness into which it shines? Can darkness resist light? Can the darkness of this world overcome the light of the Word? What should we expect regarding darkness, now that light has come into the world? Explain. Illuminate any darkness remaining in me, O Lord, and…

5.  Whatever does not possess this life and light is therefore not alive and in the dark. To whom does this darkness pertain? What is it like to live in such darkness? What was it like in your existence, when you were without the life and light of the Word? Would you agree that the Apostle John was not content for people to live this way? Are you? Pray together your prayers from questions 1-4.

“The ‘life’ mentioned there is not that life that makes both rational and irrational beings [alive]. It is instead the life that is added to the Word, which is completed in us when a share from the first Word is received. And so, when we turn away from what seems to be life but really is not and we yearn to truly possess life – that is when we first share in it.” Origen (ca. 185-254 AD)

The Word of God is not only the Bridge between the various contrasts we have observed (time/eternity, temporal/spiritual, created/Uncreated). He is also a kind of weld in which these contrasts are resolved. He brings light and heat and power to transform death and darkness into life and light, and to keep things that way forever. What does John suggest by saying that the darkness cannot comprehend – literally, overcome – this Word of life and light? How should this encourage us in our walk with and work for the Lord?

Closing Prayer
For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.
You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
You broke open the fountain and the flood;
You dried up mighty rivers.
The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.

Psalm 74.12-16

Psalm 74.12-17 (Rockingham: O Lord Most High, with all My Heart)
O God, You are King from long ago; You work deliv’rance in the land;
You split the sea, You crush Your foes; against You none can ever stand.

You opened the springs, fresh water flowed; to You belong both day and night.
You bound the seasons and the earth, and gave the sun its glorious light.

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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