My dad was watching TV when he suddenly began shouting in pain. He then, just as suddenly, stopped and looked disoriented. This odd behavior repeated itself a few times. He told my mom that the recurring pain was accompanied by a loud, fluttering sound.
A tiny moth had inadvertently taken a wrong turn and ended up in the cul-de-sac of his eardrum.
Someone suggested flushing it out with water, but my mom wisely surmised that a dead moth in one’s ear was only marginally better than a live one. Instead, she came up with a brilliant idea…literally. She simply shone a powerful flashlight directly into my dad’s ear.
He seemed pleasantly surprised that no light shone out of the other ear, and he was visibly relieved as the little, shell-shocked moth crawled meekly toward the light and into freedom.
The moral of the story – when you find yourself stuck in a dark place, just head for the light.
3 Facets Of Responding To The Light Of Christ
- Rejection: The Roach Response
John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
When my wife and I were first married we lived in a roach-infested apartment building. The place looked clean and tidy but if you woke up in the middle of the night and turned on the light in the kitchen, the floor was alive with an assembly line of bustling cockroaches who, suddenly exposed in their dirty deeds, would scatter and disappear under the dishwasher, fridge, and cupboards.
Roaches hate the light.
And you know who else hates the light? …Everybody.
The Word went from being pure spirit, to taking on flesh, dwelling among the fallen cursed creation, walking with the very people who lived in darkness. And instead of receiving him, they rejected him, mocked him, accused him, arrested him, tortured him, and then they killed him.
Who are the “they”? ……..Everybody.
Why? Because, spiritually speaking, we are all roaches who love darkness.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
You can choose to sin with more or less vigor; you can choose to sin in a certain manner instead of another. You can worship an idol of your choosing, and you can choose which of God’s laws you disobey more than others. But you cannot employ your “free will” to choose God any more than an Ethiopian can use his free will to change his skin color, or a mind set on flesh can choose to submit to God’s law.
But, according to our verse, some people did receive the light, didn’t they?
The handful of disciples received the light as did the 120 in the upper room and the 3,000 who heard Peter’s first sermon. As well as many of the readers of this blog.
And why is that, if we are all naturally lovers of darkness?
- Reception, The Moth Response
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
We are not automatically God’s children. We need to be adopted into the family, or “given the right to become children of God.”
You are born a roach, but you can become a moth.
“Well,” you say, “I chose Jesus, I exercised my free will to make the right decision to trust in who he claimed to be and what he did for me.”
Okay, sure…but why?
Because the Spirit made my heart soft to the gospel.
But why? And why you?
Because I recognized that I was a sinner, a roach, and I recognized my need for a Savior.
Yes, friend, but why?
Why did you, of all people on this planet of 7 billion souls, receive the light?
Why do some roaches come to the light against their nature?
Answer: because they have been given a new mothy nature that loves the light.
This brings us to….
- Reason For The Response
John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
There are 3 possibilities mentioned and rejected in verse 13 for why people get saved:
a) By blood, i.e. ancestry – the relationship to Abraham was not enough to save an Israelite; and your relationship to Christian parents is not enough either.
b) By the will of the flesh, i.e. your effort, your choice, your good works will not save you.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
c) By the will of man: no man can declare you saved, no priest nor Pope, and not even your own free will.
So that leaves the only way to go from roach to moth—the will of God.
Many reject this, but our text clearly says that no one receives the light by any means except the will of God.
Let’s collect some corroborating testimony:
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Matthew 13:10-11 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
You cannot escape the way the Bible presents the reason some people receive the light and others don’t. All are born roaches and only the will of God changes us into moths.
An application for us is to preach the gospel to all people with confidence. Give all glory to God for our salvation, keeping none for ourselves.
This world is dark, but the darkness is not able to overcome the light. Why? Because Jesus is the Light of the world, and he stepped down into darkness, to bear the wrath your sin deserved, and supply his righteousness so you can have the right to become a child of God.
How will you respond to the Light?