Beyond the Shadows
John’s Gospel is different. So was John. Once he stumbled into the rhythm, the beat seemed to be almost to a different drummer. No question that what Jesus was inundating John and his friends with was above their pay grade. Yet as John kept reaching, he closed the gap and began walking intimately, progressively and uniquely so with Jesus. He had become a part of Jesus’ closest inner circle …. and then was entrusted with His mother as Jesus hung dying on the cross.
Profound insights reside in John’s message, uncovered in the course of his journey, into the very underlying nature of God, the spiritual dimensions of light, walking in the light and Jesus’ role as the Light of life. And for that matter, into the ageless message of what lies before us …. beyond the shadows.
John was the only member of Jesus’ inner circle who was not martyred. As we consider the times we’ve entered and extend our reach beyond the shadows, John’s message and significant post-resurrection journey bear a closer look.
David is another, whose keen spiritual discernment penetrated the spiritual world. He captured keen insight in one of the most remembered segments of Scripture. In this passage of the 23rd Psalm is the reality that: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Indeed, our grasp of what Scripture reveals concerning darkness and the shadows …. and the depth of what it truly means to be God’s people will better equip us to walk in the Light.
So it was, in the beginning, at creation, that we learn that darkness covered the face of the earth until God created light and then separated it from darkness. Despite this demarcation between light and darkness, at one point in his message, John observed that “men loved darkness better than light …. because their deeds were evil.” .
It has been postulated that before the Fall, that Adam and Eve were clothed with an aura of God’s presence …. that manifested as light. There is a pattern throughout Scripture that draws insights and parallels to the light and life drawn from the sun …. and the Light and Life that emanate from God. The prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) points to a time of restoration when the sun will no longer be our light, but will be replaced instead by the Light of His presence.
Light and the Giver of Life
And so, John begins his gospel explaining the extent of God’s essence not only as creator, but as the giver of life …. which was through His light:
“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him and apart from Him nothing was made that has come into being. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overpowered it.” John 1:1-5 TLV
John begins his epistles with the same insight in describing God as he did with his gospel regarding Jesus as being the revealed Word of Life. That God is light and in Him there is no darkness. The point being made in the gospel account is that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us …. as we beheld the glory, the radiance …. that is the light of the only begotten of the Father.
So, the foundation to John’s message is that if we abide in the Word, we will also abide in this Light of Life, which he goes on to describe (in 1 John 2:20) as the anointing that is the access into His presence and our pathway into these dimensions of the spiritual world.
Death, Restoration and Life
In one of the earliest segments of Scripture, Elihu rebukes Job’s short-sighted grasp of the limitations of darkness …. when the bottom had dropped out in his circumstances …. pointing to the depth of God’s nature as the giver of life and restoration, despite the embrace of overwhelming darkness:
“To turn them back from the pit, that the light of life might shine on them.” Job 33:30 NIV
David’s insights similarly touch the reality of these depths without boundaries:
“For You have delivered my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Ps 54:14
The light of life, beyond the shadows. John’s grasp of these dimensions in God are also reflected by Solomon’s words:
“For the commandments are like a lamp, instruction is like a light and rebukes of discipline are like the road leading to life.” Prov 6:23 NET
Seeing Eyes and a Supernatural Worldview
It should be remembered that when Scripture was written, that neither the writers nor their readers shared the sanitized, pervasive natural worldview that stymies the spiritual perceptions held by so many in the West today. Rather, their context was a supernatural one, where spiritual manifestations were the natural order of things.
Jesus consistently admonished His followers with the importance of viewing things from this spiritual perspective.
“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing and their eyes closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.” Matt 13:15-16
Such was what transpired on the Mount of Transfiguration. Leading Peter, James and John onto a high mountain, Scripture indicates that suddenly: “He [Jesus] was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” Matt 17:2
Underscoring the spiritual truth of avoiding the shadows and resisting the darkness, Jesus proclaimed Himself as the “Light of the world.’
“He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life.” John 8:12
God’s Light Unveiled as Restoration Manifests
John lived in this reality. He was more a thinker and as such a writer, than speaker. Deep calls to deep. The depth of John’s faith shaped his ability to grasp the boundaries for the climax of all time. His understanding of the Light of Life dispelling the darkness clearly was a major influence in shaping his message and the role he played over the course of his life.
In discerning a crucible in time for this age-old conflict, a key prophetic observation of Isaiah’s was this glimpse of when darkness would cover the earth and deep darkness the people, BUT a time when the Lord would arise over His people with the radiance of His glory being seen upon them. God’s glory being manifested in His people …. beyond the shadows.
Out of the darkness will come God’s glory … implying that His Light, His glory would be seen upon His people. It was from these truths that John’s message drew from the truth of Light and life and the reality of the Life of His Master.
Malachi also foresaw this time when God would arise in judgment of the dark side, of the wicked, reducing the wicked to stubble, but similarly with God’s presence equipping His people: “To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” Mal 4:2
The Beyond the Shadows Difference
There are a number of things beyond his message that relegate John into the “beyond the shadows” category. Getting beyond the shadows is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, where the natural yields to the supernatural. While it demands a consistency in the reach, John seemed more than the others in Jesus’ inner circle to have lived in this realm.
When he was ninety nine, John described himself to Nathan, the scribe of his gospel, as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” No doubt about that reality, but wisdom would indicate that while John was very close to Jesus, that Jesus didn’t play favorites. On the other hand, Jesus clearly trusted John, and John knew that He trusted him.
So, along with dependability, John was recognized as being trustworthy in his relationships. Each being noble traits, beyond the shadows. Traits reflecting King David’s glimmer of not fearing evil as he traversed the valley of the shadow of death.
Indeed, John’s trustworthiness combined with him being courageous, boldly so in facing the darkness of his fears. He followed Jesus the night he was arrested and was right there, with His mother, at His crucifixion. Being entrusted with Jesus’ mother is certainly telling. Also, in accordance with Jewish tradition and scripture, John married his brother’s wife after James had been martyred.
John was not the orator as Peter was. Yet his fertile mind, knowledge of scripture, prayer life and intimate grasp of His Master’s ways combined with the scope of his faith and intense imagination to enable him to become an anointed writer, capturing the message the Lord had for the church, while being imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos. It should be noted that what we currently have as this book of Revelation are only fragments of what John originally scribed, with much of it having been lost.
John also had an intolerant side. He was ready to call down the fire due to the Samaritan’s initial rejection of Jesus. When John encountered strangers teaching in Jesus’ name, he rebuked them. Yet these early examples of intolerance were also indicators of the high standard he upheld and walked in over the course of his life.
Simultaneously, John was quick to discern the spiritual dimensions at play in situations. He was the first of the disciples to fully grasp the reality of the resurrection. Likewise, he was the first to recognize Jesus on the shore after the resurrection when the disciples had gone to fish.
John was touched with the reality of a love so pure and so real that it became the moniker in describing himself …. the depth of Jesus’ love so captivated him, that it dwarfed all else, any other attribute that could have described him. It was the Light beyond the shadows.
A Light that he came himself to radiate; a Life so real that I can only surmise that John had zero fear of the darkness or of death. All incorporated into what he repeatedly described as the Light of life that came into the world. Beyond the shadows.
“In Him was Life, the Life that was the light of men. The LIght shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
In the unfolding of God’s timetable, John’s gospel unveils that Jesus came out of time, wielding authority over the elements …. and with His resurrection He passed on this authority to those who would transcend the natural dimensions …. beyond the shadows … in becoming givers of Life.
What we have of John’s Revelation then represents setting the stage for the reset and execution of this process. From the crux of this truth comes Paul’s insight into what this transference of the light of life is creating in the recovery of all things.
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul describes those who embrace this Light as fellow citizens with the saints …. “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Together as one. In a place beyond the shadows. Capturing the same prophetic glimmer as did Isaiah, the Revelation of John foresaw:
“But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor to it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day as there shall be no night there.” Rev 21:22-25
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Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner of the Joseph-calling and God’s economy message, being an international voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation, the Strategic Intercession Global Network [SIGN] and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick’s messages equip leaders and economic community builders with strategy where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
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2024 Copyright Morris Ruddick — email@example.com
Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For more information go to https://strategic-initiatives.org