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Advent 3 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
December 13, 2020
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, 1 Thess. 5:16-24, John 1:6-8, 19-28

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”
Text:                            pastorjud.org   
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

John 1:1-9 (ESV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.[1]

            You are running late for an appointment.  You are in an unfamiliar building hurrying down a hall looking for a right office.  Suddenly all the lights go out and you are plunged into complete darkness.  What do you do?  Do you keep hurrying?  Of course not.  You stop. You put your hands out in front of you and you slowly grope along the walls looking for an exit to get outside to the light.  What had been a clear and straightforward journey is now full of danger and uncertainty. 

            Darkness is dangerous.  The Hamilton Fire Department wants to make sure that if power goes out in this building you are not plunged into darkness and so they come around each year to test our emergency lights.  Emergency lights are important, because as powerful as darkness is, it is undone by light. So normally it is very unusual to be in place of total darkness because just a little light undoes the darkness. 

            The language of the Gospel of John is profound and heavy laden with imagery and significance.  In these first verses we have the Word.  John 1:1 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.[2]  We have Life. John 1:4 (ESV) 4 In him was life… And we have the light. John 1:4 (ESV) 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.[3][4] 

            Who is this who was there in the beginning and is the Word, life and light? We look to John 1:14 (ESV) which is essentially the Christmas story in John. 14 … the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.[5]

            Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the life.  Jesus is the light.  John 1:5 (ESV) 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.[6] 

            Since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin the world is a spiritually dark place.  By nature you are sinful and unclean.  By nature you hate the light.  Jesus overcomes your nature.  The light drives out the darkness.  Jesus tells His disciples on night before His crucifixion, John 12:46 (ESV) 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.[7] The light has come into the world and yet there are so many in the world who are fumbling around in spiritual darkness not sure which way to go or what to do.  They grope around in the dark for something to hold onto but only because they have their eyes closed.  The light has dawned.  The light has come.  The light is here. 

            So many are stumbling in darkness, but the light surrounds them.  What do you tell them?  Open your eyes.  The light has come!  Jesus has come!  He has come for you!  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out.  And yet people choose to remain in the darkness because they love the darkness. 

            John 3:19-21 (ESV) 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.” [8]

            There is an ongoing battle between darkness and light. The darkness wants to extinguish the light.  The light has come and yet so many hate the light and flee from the light.  They want to silence anyone who speaks about the light. You see this in the world as governments and groups attempt to snuff out the light by attacking those who bear witness to the light.  Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter![9] 

The devil is the prince of darkness and he hates the light.  The devil tries to extinguish the light of Christ wherever he finds it.  The devil tried to extinguish Jesus, the Light.

You feel this in your own life as the cloud of the darkness of sin and despair creeps over you trying to extinguish the light of Christ in your life. You feel it as you give in to the temptation to ignore the light and explore the darkness of your lust, your anger, your envy, your pride. 

The devil is the prince of darkness and he hates the light.  The devil tries to extinguish the light of Christ wherever he finds it.  The devil tried to extinguish Jesus, the Light.  That awful Friday afternoon it certainly seems that the darkness overcomes the light. Even the Mark 15:33 (ESV) 33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.[10]

            Three hours of darkness envelopes the land as the devil extinguishes the light of Christ on the cruel cross as gravity and fatigue slowly suffocate the light until… it is finished.  The snuffed out light is sealed in a dark grave.  It looks like the devil has won.  It appears the darkness has put out the light. 

            But the darkness does not win.  The light reignites on Sunday morning and goes forth from the grave.  God of God, light of light shines in the darkness.

            John the Baptist is witness to the light.  He is not the light but comes to bear witness to the light.  John the Baptist proclaims the light has come.  Isaiah 60:1 (ESV) 1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.[11] 

            What John the Baptist started we continue here in this place.  We, as a church and school, bear witness to the light of Christ.  The light shines in what we preach and teach, but also in what we say and do to each other, and to others.  You bear the name of Jesus.  You are baptized into the light of Christ.  You are a Christian; a little Christ.  You bear witness to the light in your words and deeds.  And the prince of darkness hates you for it.  He wants you to stop.  He wants you to act like you don’t have the light of Christ.  He wants you to return to the darkness of the world. He wants to separate you from the light and have the light of Christ fade from your life.  Know your enemy and his lies.  James 4:7 (ESV) 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.[12]

            Darkness comes in like a cloud to cover up your Gospel light. The darkness wants to snuff out the light of Christ in you.  Do you let the darkness win?  Hide it under a bushel?  No!  I’m going to let it shine.  You are in the light.  You live in the light of Christ.  You daily repent.  You turn from sin and turn back to God.  You humble yourself and receive the gifts of the light; forgiveness and eternal life. And you give thanks for all God has done for you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.[13]

            The light has come into the world.  The darkness hates the light but the darkness cannot overcome the light.  Colossians 1:13 (ESV) 13 [Jesus] has delivered [you] from the domain of darkness and transferred [you] to the kingdom of his beloved Son,[14]

Give thanks.  Rejoice always.  The Light has come to you.  Amen.


[1]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[9]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[10]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[11]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[12]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[13]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[14]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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