by Cynthia Ruchti

Somewhere in my youth–fourteen? fifteen? sixteen?–I dove headfirst into Bible quizzing, a major event for our church youth group and other groups in our district. In adulthood, it occurred to me that my motives weren’t entirely pure. Competition sometimes overshadowed my sincere desire to understand the Bible better.

I don’t even recall what the rewards were for capturing a win for our quizzing team. Or personal wins. Almost daily, I profit from the benefit of having memorized and studied God’s Word, even when motivated by competition.

Apparently one of the journeys God called me to this year is taking a fresh look at familiar passages of Scripture. One of the Bible quizzing challenges from my childhood was to memorize portions of the first chapter of the Book of John.

In the past weeks, every time I open my Bible app, it defaults to the first chapter of John. Large print. Tugging at me.

Rather than scrolling past it to some other passage, I’ve lingered over those familiar words: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God,” John 1:1-2 KJV.

Verses four and five resonated in a new way: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The darkness didn’t get it. No comprende. It didn’t understand.

“What in the name of all that is holy is that?” 



“Light. It, like, lights things.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You wouldn’t.”

Darkness can’t understand. It finds light shocking and disturbing. We can extract a measure of peace from that. 

When we write about Light, those shrouded in darkness won’t understand what we’re saying. They can’t. If they find what we say about Jesus–the Light–offensive, it’s part of the price we pay for speaking Light into darkness. It’s darkness’s natural response.

Other versions of those verses throw more…uh…light on the passage.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV).
“…and the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT).
“…and the darkness has never put it out” (ISV). 
“…but the darkness has not mastered it” (NET). 
Light wins. It always wins. It will ultimately win no matter how dark and ugly the world around us. Darkness can’t snuff the Light. Darkness is still saying, “What is THAT?”
So, shine, Lightbearer. Because another truth rises from the pages of Scripture. 

Matthew 4:16 tells us that Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy–“‘The people who lived in the dark have seen a great light, and a light has come upon those who lived in the region and in shadow of death.'” The following verse says, “From that time Jesus began to announce, ‘Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!'” (CEB).
Cynthia Ruchti is an award-winning author and speaker who tells stories hemmed in hope. You can learn more about her and her books at A new novel, nonfiction, novella, and devotional collection will release in 2015. Watch for the novel–As Waters Gone By–in May.