When Darkness Rules | My Journey

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Jesus said to those who came to arrest him, “This is your time, when darkness rules.” But light can drive out darkness – and Jesus is the light of the world!


Exodus, chapters 3-5; Luke, chapter 22

Luke 22:47-53 (CEB):

While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd appeared, and the one called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Human One with a kiss?”

When those around him recognized what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we fight with our swords?” One of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus responded, “Stop! No more of this!” He touched the slave’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the others who had come to get him, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, as though I were a thief? Day after day I was with you in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, when darkness rules.”


Darkness and Light

The images of light and darkness abound in Scripture. Light represents good, and God; darkness represents evil. The Prologue to John’s Gospel (John 1:1-18) presents this contrast in cosmic terms. In this passage, however, we see it “up close and personal.” Earlier in chapter 22, we read that the religious leaders wanted to find a way to kill Jesus (22:2). They wouldn’t do it out in the open, in the Temple; “they were afraid of the people.” When Judas Iscariot offered to betray Jesus to them, they had their opportunity. Now, as Jesus and the other disciples leave the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas and the authorities appear.

After the “Last Supper,” Jesus had told his disciples: “Those who don’t own a sword must sell their clothes and buy one. I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in relation to me: And he was counted among criminals” (22:36-37, quoting Isaiah 53:12). The disciples replied that they had two swords (22:38), and Jesus said, “Enough of that!”

There had been no time for selling clothes and buying swords by the time they came to arrest Jesus. What’s important for us to see is the contrast between Jesus’ reaction and that of his disciples. The disciples were ready to fight: “Lord, should we fight with our swords?” Before Jesus could answer, one of them had sliced off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus told them, “Stop! No more of this!” And he healed the man’s ear.

When Darkness Rules

Then Jesus turned his attention to those who had come to arrest him. “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, as though I were a thief? Day after day, I was with you in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, when darkness rules.” Darkness meant that most people were at home, in their beds. But not those who do wrong! “All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light” (John 3:20).

That’s why Jesus told them, “This is your time, when darkness rules.” They knew what they were doing was wrong, so they came to arrest Jesus in the darkness. When darkness rules, evil rules. When darkness rules, sin abounds. And that’s why Jesus tells his followers, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

Application – When Darkness Rules

It shouldn’t surprise us that bad things happen “when darkness rules.” That’s true in the physical sense; look how many crimes take place “under the cover of darkness.” But it’s also true in the spiritual sense. When peoples’ lives are darkened by sin, bad things happen. Sin brings guilt and shame, and darkness seems to offer a place to hide.

But only “seems” to!  “If I said, ‘The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,’ even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine as bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you!” (Psalm 139:11-12). Darkness doesn’t hide anything from God!

Darkness rules in our world – for a time. It may offer cover and concealment – for a time. But in the end, darkness doesn’t rule, because God is light! “This is the message that we have heard from him and announce to you: ‘God is light and there is no darkness in him at all’” (1 John 1:5). As we look around our world, it may seem that darkness rules. But God is still in control, and someday everything will come to light.


Father, thank you for reminding us that darkness is not darkness to you. It may seem to us that darkness rules, but that is a temporary state of affairs. Help us to reflect your light, so that others may see and find their way to you. And strengthen our faith, that we might not despair when it seems as though darkness rules. Above all, help us to not fall prey to the temptation to fight darkness with acts of darkness. Only light can drive out darkness, and we are called to shine your light! Help us to do that today. Amen.


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Written by: OchriO

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