Creation and Re-creation: Work of Light
In Genesis 1:1-3, the Word was in the beginning, doing the work of creation. John 1:1-4 says that the same Word came to this world. What is the Word going to do?
The re-creation or redemption work follows the pattern of the creation in Genesis 1, namely the 6 days of creation and the 7th-day Sabbath. And the work that was instructed by God to accomplish redemption and reach the “sabbath” is seen in the exodus, the construction of the temple, and Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion.
In creation, the Word did the work of creating בָּרָא (bārāʾ) and separating בָּדַל (bādal). When Jesus, the incarnate Word, came to this world, what kind of work took place? Where the Word goes, the same kind of work and result takes place. There were works of creation and separation wherever Jesus, the incarnate Word, went.
Through this series called ‘Creation and Re-creation,’ we will study God’s work of re-creation in the Gospel of John.
In Genesis, God is presented as speaking the creation into existence. God speaks the Word and it happens: heaven and earth, ocean and stream, trees and grass, birds and fish, animals and humans. Everything, seen and unseen, is called into being by God’s spoken word.
In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word.
The creation work began with the creation of the light and ended with the creation of man. Then, the heavens and the earth were “completed” (Genesis 2:1). After that came the Sabbath rest.
The Gospel of John begins with the coming of the Light and ended with the salvation of man through the cross, where Jesus said, “It is finished” and died (John 19:30). After that, Jesus resurrected and gave the promise of peace (sabbath rest).
On the first day of creation in Genesis 1, God created light and separated light from darkness. Likewise, when the Word is introduced in John 1, He is introduced as the light of the world.
1. Light and darkness
(Genesis 1:3, John 1:4, 1 John 1:1–5)
The light mentioned in these verses is not just physical light. This light contains life, grace, truth, and the glory of God. And this light shines into the hearts of the people.
In John 1:14, the Word (Jesus) is the light, and the people are the darkness because the darkness did not comprehend the light (John 1:5).
John 8:12 shows that when we follow Jesus we are in the light, and if we don’t then we are in darkness.
2. Separation of light and darkness
When Jesus came into this world, that is the light came into darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6). When the Word comes into us, it is the light shining into our hearts, and that will give us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
John the Baptist shined the light by sharing of Jesus, which brought grace and revealed the truth (John 1:15-18). Yet, there were those who received the light and came into the light, and there are those who rejected the light (John 1:11).
In John 1:40–49, we see the people who came to the light by understanding the Word and so they followed Jesus. Those who are chosen by God get attracted to the light. We also see Philip bringing Nathanael to the light. We must also with confidence bring people who are in darkness to the light and it is God who will shine upon them. We need to believe for the people who do not believe, that God has seen them and chosen them and is calling them through us. When Nathanael recognized Jesus, this is the result of the light shining upon the darkness.
In John 9:1-5, this blind man is like us, we were born into the darkness of sin, and we were born blind spiritually. The work of God = the work of light.
But there are also people who did not come to the light. In John 8, we see the Pharisees rejecting Jesus, rejecting the truth, and therefore rejecting the light.
The truth of God’s Word is grace and light. Sometimes God gives us the grace of repentance and joy, but we choose at times to stay in darkness by rejecting the light. The truth is spoken to us, but if we cannot receive that truth, we will stay in darkness. The light leads us to the knowledge of God’s glory, but the Pharisees don’t have the knowledge because they rejected Jesus.
Unlike Peter, Andrew, Nathanael, Jesus said 1 thing and they immediately understood He is the Son of God. However, the Pharisees who rejected what Jesus said, could not understand who Jesus is. In John 8:25, Jesus is saying that He is the Word from the beginning. Jesus is saying I am the Word, God sent Me, but they picked up stones to throw at Him. The Israelites also rejected the Word, Jesus.
In John 13:29-30, Judas Iscariot went out to betray and sell Jesus, he was rejecting the light and now Judas Iscariot is in the night.
3. How do we come into the light?
Knowing and believing the Word is receiving the light. But darkness keeps returning like during the creation work, it also kept becoming evening and morning until the 7th day. Darkness will continue to come until the creation/recreation work is finished.
In the creation work, the evening always came first, and then morning came. When evening spiritually comes, we need to do everything possible to seek the light again. Read the bible, come to church, listen, and do something to find the light. What is promising and hopeful is that God continues to shine the light upon us. Darkness comes because we reject the light. Light will be there.
Conclusion: What is the result of coming into the light?
The earth was without form and void, and darkness; that is spiritually me.
(i) We will no longer be formless, void and dark.
(ii) We will become holy
(iii) We will be able to see God’s true identity.
(iv) We will follow Him wherever He goes (Rev 14:4)
(v) We will receive eternal life
Let us be illuminators of the light. People who shine upon this world.