5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
5 And the light shines in the darkness,
Light shining in darkness is the incarnation. Jesus illumines the Word to the world. The light was still shining in John’s day. Light shines in the darkness. It keeps on giving light. Light represents both revelation and salvation.
Darkness is the absence of light. Biblically, it is the absence of God and His truth, so it is the realm of spiritual darkness. “Darkness” denotes spiritual death that comes from sin; it is separate from God. It stands for both ignorance and sin (3:19-20; 8:12; 12:35, 46). This dark world does not have the ability to find truth on its own. It needs light from Jesus.
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Mt 4:16, quote from Is 9:2)
The idea of “light shines” is God’s way of making a statement about the fall of mankind into sin—into darkness. God spoke to us in His Son (He 1:2). The Father gave a Son-revelation when He sent the Word. God gave light that the Son’s death on the cross gives eternal life. The Word is the capstone of God’s speaking to the world.
and the darkness did not comprehend [overcome, conquer, accept] it.
“Darkness” here is unbelief and negative volition of mankind toward the Word. In His incarnation Jesus came as light, but the world rejected His light (Jn 1:10-11). Darkness is the hostility of man toward Jesus. Man has negative volition toward Jesus because of his vested interest in godlessness and unrighteousness. Darkness cannot receive light.
The word “comprehend” fundamentally means to grasp. We can grasp with our hand and with our mind. When we grasp with our hand, we seize our object; when we grasp with our mind, we comprehend it. The world did not comprehend why Christ came to earth, why He came to die for sins. They do not grasp that they are lost and in need of a Savior.
The world stands in negative volition toward God’s revelation. Despite the devil’s furious assault on the light Jesus offered, his darkness could not overcome it. It is not that the dark forces of this world cannot understand the light or truth from God but that they attempt to extinguish the light from Jesus. It is not that they do not know the truth but that they reject it. They suppress the truth because they are ungodly (Ro 1:18).
The darkness of hostility to Jesus is plain in the world. People are not only indifferent to Him but they hate Him.
Light dispels darkness. Darkness cannot override light. Satan’s system cannot conquer Jesus as the light. Darkness cannot overcome the Word; it cannot defeat Him (John 13:33). It cannot extinguish the light. It did not have the ability to eclipse the light.
Darkness cannot dispel the light.
Light transcends darkness and not the reverse. A small candle can light up a dark room. The great and glorious light of Christ will extinguish Satan’s darkness (1 Jn 2:8). Satan cannot blow out God’s light. Neither can men snuff or extinguish the light. The reason most people do not become Christians is they are negative to the light.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (Jn 3:19)
Postmodernism is a good example of those who cannot comprehend or overcome the light. This philosophy is the philosophy of unbelief or doubt. They believe that people outright reject the idea that someone can have the truth.
Negative volition quenches the light, making it difficult to grasp or accept God’s offer of salvation. Man’s natural capacity will never lead him to Christ. Jesus did not give truth to those who were negative towards truth:
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Mt 13:13)