The Lamp in the Lighthouse
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” John 1:9
According to Wikipedia, the lighthouse is a structure designed to emit light and serves as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways. Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, rocks and safe entries to harbors; they also assist in aerial navigation.
You could say they are critical to the safety of seafaring men. If the captain’s view is clouded by fog or the darkness of night, they use the intense bright lamplight shone from the lighthouse to protect them from turbulent waves bringing them too close to a coast with dangerous, massive rocks, and to guide them from the shallows of sandbars where they might get stranded, leaving them high and dry. Without the lighthouses put in key locations, the majority of the ships along with their crew would be lost at sea. The captains relied on the lighthouse keeper to keep that lamp lit, especially in those critical times of darkness, poor visibility, and raging storms.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:1, 4-5
The disciple John had a unique place in Jesus’ life. He was given the opportunity to be at the forefront of Jesus’ ministry from the very beginning of it. He witnessed his baptism, was there at the Mount of Transfiguration, was by Jesus’ side throughout the entire three years of his ministry of teaching and healing, sat next to him at the last supper, was given the instruction to take care of Jesus’ mother Mary, and witnessed his crucifixion and death. In addition, John saw Jesus at least three times after his resurrection and spoke directly to him! John’s connection with our Lord was very intimate and personal.
When John begins his written testimony of who Jesus was and is, he declares that Jesus was the Word, that in Him was life, and that His life was the light of men. The light and/or life of Jesus shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. This was written long after Jesus had been crucified and resurrected.
John is saying that the Lord is shining in the darkness, and that no matter what, the darkness will never overcome Him. You could equate darkness to evil or death, but either way, Jesus has conquered them and nothing will ever change that! Our risen Lord has defeated ALL sin and death, and that is the very good news, the gospel truth.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Pastor Kenneth Sortedahl was my inspiration as a teenager. Not only was he my mentor, pastor, and friend, he was a father figure to me, and hundreds of other teenagers, for many years. His testimony is remarkable.
When he was young, he joined the navy, and became a deep sea diver. His first dive was in the New York Harbor, while wearing a 210-pound deep sea diving suit. Terrified as he was sinking fifty feet down, he realized about half-way that he couldn’t even see the portholes in his helmet, which are only 3″ from his face. Once at the bottom, he sunk into six feet of mud. At this depth of murky water, the mental weight of the darkness was heavier than the crushing weight of the mud and pressure. He was now literally and actually in over his head.
At this point, Ken, like so many others before him, began to panic, saying, “I am going to die! I am going to die! Oh help, somebody help me!” That is when he prayed, “Jesus save me!! Jesus, save ME!” He felt the suction and pressure of being totally enveloped in the mud, but then he sensed the presence of Jesus Christ beside him. The figure of the Son of God was there, a bright and shining silhouette of Jesus Christ himself. The Son of God was with him in the depths of New York Harbor! All of Ken’s fears melted away as a great calm and peace fell over him.
Pastor Ken had gone down a lost and condemned sinner, but came up from the darkness a sinner saved by grace, who literally saw the light of Jesus.
Our Savior is the one true guiding source for us. In any circumstance in life, whether it be uncertainty in our future, or how to get through what is directly in front of us, or how to traverse the deep muddy waters of doubt, He is the one constant that we can count on to see us through. Look to Jesus…He is the way.
“And the city (new Jerusalem) has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
Food for thought: John the Apostle and Pastor Sortedahl both had a personal relationship with Jesus. He was the light of their life. If you feel like you are sinking in despair, or are submerged in guilt, or cannot find your path, look to Jesus. He will answer, help, heal, guide, correct, forgive and love you, without fail.
Fun facts: Michigan has had the most lighthouses in the US. This is due to Michigan being bordered by 4 of the 5 great lakes and having 3,288 miles of shoreline. There have been as many as 247 different lighthouses in the last 200 years, claimed a previous keeper, but currently only about 100 of them are working.
Q. What did the ocean say to the lighthouse?
A. Nothing. It just waved.
Recommend: Kenneth N. Sortedahl’s first book, “Declaration of Dependence”, is available at https://www.amazon.com/Declaration-Dependence-Kenneth-N-Sortedahl/dp/B0006FAM3E
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – The Lighthouse of St. George’s Island