The Light Shines in the Darkness

Very few brief verses have more meaning than the words of John the Apostle: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

This passage is filled with meaning.

This great verse testifies of what God came to do. God sent His Son to bring light to a dark world.

Our sin and rebellion places us in the midst of people who do not know the truth and who have not seen the light. Into this darkness the light came. The light of God shines in the darkness and the darkness has neither understood nor overcome the light. John 1:5 contains a Greek word that can be translated as both “understood” and “overcome.”

Notice that the Revised Standard Version translates this way: “and the darkness has not overcome the light” while the New American Standard Bible reads “and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Both translations fit the Greek text.

The lost world really does not understand or comprehend what God did at Christmas. Paul made this clear: “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). We need to remember this truth about our neighbors. We must pray for their enlightenment and understanding.

While I understand the translation that the darkness does not comprehend the light, I take great comfort to know the darkness has not overcome the light. Nor can it ever do so. This is our hope. Whatever happens in the circumstances of life, God has a plan to redeem His children and to redeem a rebellious world. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not yet–nor will it ever–overcome the light.

We will have a full moon this Christmas. I intend to think about how the moon is full because it is receiving the full light of the sun. You and I do the same as we live for Christ and let His light shine in us.

Let us celebrate the coming of the Light into the world, and let us celebrate the ultimate victory of our God.

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2 Comments


  1. Scott Cannon
    Dec 24, 2015

    Very good lesson, filled with the truth of God. The unspiritual man can not understand God’s truth. When I read God’s word; especially it seems where Jesus is quoted in the New Testament, the hair stands up on the back of my neck and I recognize deep inside my soul that it is the divine truth spoken from my creator to me. I thank God always for His Holy Spirit and for including me in his number. May we all continue to pray for the lost world and give thanks to God for the gift of our salvation.


  2. The Millers
    Dec 24, 2015

    Thank you Waylon.
    John 1:5 is cherished .
    This LIGHT is why we can have JOY in the midst of not so merry circumstances.
    May you, Martha and your family celebrate Christmas with GR8T JOY!
    All of you are loved!

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8 (NIV)