One line jumped out at me in The Desolation of Smaug. Gandalf is fleeing from the necromancers fortress when Sauron confronts him in the form of a black swarming mass. In his deep evil voice he rasps:
“There is no light, wizard, that can defeat darkness”
Of course that turns out to be untrue and Sauron gets snuffed out by the brave actions of a small hobbit. The real truth is spelled out in John’s first letter which I have just been translating from the Greek as its reasonably simple.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5
Light is what we see by. Without it we don’t see anything. Jesus is the light by which we see things as they really are. He illuminates our hearts and minds so that we see and know God. Darkness is not so much the opposite of light but the absence of light. It is not something in itself. There is not really any way darkness can overcome light. Darkness cannot “un-shine” light.
That is not to say that darkness didn’t have a go at snuffing out the light but John’s use of past tense is very encouraging. On the cross darkness seemed to overcome the light. The sky turned dark as Jesus died. But then three days later Jesus rose from the grave. By his death and resurrection he overcome darkness so that we could see. See our need of forgiveness, and see God’s provision of it in the person of Jesus. No more groping around in the shadows. No more hiding in the dark.