Today I’m delighted to publish a guest post by Jacob Wright, an online friend and theological discussion partner who is passionate about finding the God revealed in Jesus. You can find some biographical information at the bottom of the post.
If what you’re about to read makes you stop and think, please share your thoughts in the comments!
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
When physical light is present, what was previously hidden in the darkness is now exposed and seen for what it is. But what is this divine light that judges? It is not literal, physical light, although literal, physical light serves as a metaphor for this metaphysical reality of God-light. The God-light is God’s very nature of love. Go back to the gospel of John: to whom is it referring when it speaks of the Light that has come into the world? It is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature of love, the God-light who exposes the hidden motives of our hearts. But how does Jesus expose them? By His incarnate living-out of the nature of God in peace, mercy, humility, and finally non-violent, co-suffering, self-giving love. The cross is the radiant light of God’s nature that judges the world. But the paradox is that it judges the world by not judging the world, by revealing perfect, self-giving love.
God does not judge the world by our normal understanding of judgment; not by lifting the hand and pointing the accusative finger, but rather by opening up the hand to be pierced. The judgment of God is not a direct action of God, but simply a by-product of Him revealing His nature. The judgment of God is light. This light simply shines, and all is exposed. This light is perfect love, peace, humility, mercy; and in the radiance of this light, our selfishness, violence, pride and condemnation are exposed for what they are. The cross is the radiant light of divine self-giving love that judges the selfishness of the world by revealing its antithesis. God radiates His co-suffering, self-giving, enemy-forgiving love, and all the selfish intents of the heart are exposed. Some run from this light; others welcome it, so that they may live in its truth.