The Powerful John 1:5 Meaning (the light shines in the darkness)

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

This is an incredible passage that should cause us to pause and reflect. The John 1:5 meaning should be one that Christians don’t just know, but live. It’s a powerful passage of Scripture. 

While many know this verse, most don’t know how it actually applies to their life. So in this blog post I want to break down the meaning of John 1:5 and look at how we can live this out in our everyday lives. 

I believe if you spend a few minutes looking into what this passage means your faith will be encouraged. Let’s dive in! 

The Context Of John 1:5

Of the four Gospels, John’s account is the most unique. In the first chapter we see Jesus introduced as “The Word” or logos in the original Greek. From this introduction we clearly see Jesus as co-existent with God from before creation. 

Shortly after John introduces Jesus we see a glimpse of what he came to do; he is light in the darkness. 

This illustration is seen throughout John’s Gospel. Jesus even claims to be the light in John 8:12, one of his seven I Am Statements

Clearly this is something that John wants to highlight and that we should lean into. So, let’s look at what the John 1:5 meaning is for us today.

The John 1:5 Meaning 

When we read the Bible it can be helpful to break down the passage we are looking at so that we can examine it more closely. Often we just breeze through the Bible and miss it’s beauty and depth. 

So, to help us better understand the meaning of John 1:5 I’m going to break this verse down into two sections. 

The Light Shines In The Darkness

Remember, this verse takes place in the very beginning of John; it’s the opening scene of what’s going to unfold in the coming chapters. John is setting the stage for what Jesus is going to do. He is a light shining in the darkness. 

Dr Tom Constable describes this moment this way: “As light shines (present tense for the first time) in the darkness, so Jesus brought the revelation and salvation of God to humanity in its fallen and lost condition. He did this in the Incarnation. As the word of God brought light to the chaos before Creation, so Jesus brought light to fallen humankind when He became a man.”

There is a clear parallel here in the first few verses of John between what Jesus did physically in creation and spiritually by coming to earth. This light that John 1:5 is talking about represents both the message he came to proclaim and the salvation he came to deliver. 

The light shines in the darkness. 

And The Darkness Has Not Overcome It

In contrast to the light there is darkness. The darkness represents the fallen and sinful state of the world and the people who inhabit it. This was both a physical and spiritual condition. But as prevalent as the darkness was, the light shines through it. 

John here is foreshadowing the end of the story. Jesus wins. It’s not a fair fight. The darkness has no chance. When the light shows up the darkness runs and hides. 

Picture a flashlight on a dark night. When it turns on, the dark runs away from the beam. It doesn’t matter how dark it is, the light pierces through. 

Similarly, Jesus pierces through the fallen and broken world. His light brings healing and hope to our lives. He brings us from death to life. The darkness has not, and will not, overcome the light. 

How To Apply John 1:5 To Your Life 

John 1:5 means that God is the light in the dark world that we live in. His light brings healing, hope, and direction to those who are lost and hurting. The darkness doesn’t stand a chance. 

For followers of Jesus this should change everything about their life. We should live in light of what Jesus has done. 

Really John 1:5 is an invitation for us to step into this light. To find hope, healing, and restoration. To leave the darkness behind and live in God’s light. 

But for many they prefer the darkness, they want to stay hidden. Why? Because the light illuminates the brokenness in them. Light can be painful at first. 

It’s like walking out of a dark theater into a bright sunny day. Light hurts. When we step into God’s light, he’s going to illuminate some painful parts of our life. Not to hurt us, but to bring healing. But’s it’s going to hurt before it heals. 

Listen, the life that comes on the other side of that temporary pain is so worth it. God can, and will, take the darkness inside of you and transform it into something incredible. 

So, step into the light. Live in his light. And see what God can do in you. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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