19 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.
Verses 19-21 give the verdict of those who refuse to believe. This verse shows how God will execute judgment on negative volition. Judgment is a natural consequence of not believing or of rejecting the “light” that Christ is to the world. Because verse 18 says there will be obstinate rejecters of Christ, verse 19 pronounces this verdict upon them.
The key term in verses 19-21 is “condemnation” or judgment. Condemnation is used in two senses: separation and condemnation. People either come to the light of God sending His only begotten Son into the world or they shun it and move into deeper darkness.
The “and” here indicates that verse 19 is a continuation of verse 18.
this is the condemnation [verdict],
God condemns those who do not believe. He is the one who issues the verdict. The condemnation is that the light has come into the world already and that men reject that light.
that the light has come into the world,
“Light” is a common theme in the gospel of John. The purpose of light is to illuminate. Jesus Himself is the light of the world (Jn 1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36, 46). He came from eternity into time to illuminate what salvation is all about. “Light” is truth revealed about Jesus’ mission on earth.
“Has come” refers to a past action with continuing effect in the present. Jesus as the light came and remained in the world throughout His incarnation.
The “and” places coming to the light and preferring darkness to the light side by side.
men loved darkness
Men have a proclivity to love the dark rather than the light. They love darkness for what it hides. It hides their sin. They do not want others to know about their dark side. Those who reject the light are in darkness (Jn 1:5; 8:12). There are those who deliberately reject Christ. Mankind has a different love than that of Christ the light. They love the darkness of rejecting Him and what He has to offer. Darkness is an active force against the light.
The word “loved” indicates that the worldview of the lost, whether they are religious or corrupt sinners, centers on darkness. They hate the light, which is God’s worldview. There is no middle ground between these two realms. These people persist in orienting to darkness even after God presents the light of Jesus to them.
rather than light,
“Rather” indicates that light and darkness are absolute categories like life and death. It is not that men love darkness more than light. The idea is that they love darkness rather than light. Light and darkness are unqualified categories just like life and death are absolute categories.
John references “light” five times. “Light” is the standard of everything about who Jesus is and what He did.
Light is the absolute standard that man must face if he is to fellowship with God.
The difference between Christians and non-Christians does not rest in their guilt, it lies in their attitude toward Jesus. The non-Christian shrinks from Jesus as the light. By rejecting Christ, man shows his judgment is just.
Alcibiades, the Athenian genius, told Socrates, “I hate you, for every time I meet you, you let me see what I am.” People react to Jesus the same way. He lays bare people for what they are.
Darkness is the worldview of Satan. Light is God’s worldview or the means whereby He reveals Himself. Most men prefer to live under humanistic influence, which is satanic.
When we turn on a light, the cockroaches scurry into the dark.