Rembrandt’s “The Woman Taken in Adultery”


September, 2020

Light Pierces Our Darkness

Have you ever noticed the Great Masters of art utilized dark colors to enhance light?

Without the blues and blacks, few of the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt’s masterpieces would have context or form. In his 1644 painting, “The Woman Taken in Adultery,” the majority of the canvas is dark. Our eyes are drawn to the figures—the adulteress, her accusers, and Jesus—oil-brushed in light at the bottom center of the canvas. It is as if the woman has been lifted from darkness into Christ’s presence. Rembrandt captures the power and symbolism of light.

Similarly, God uses the dark times in our lives to show us the bigger picture, to draw us out of the shadows and give shape to who we are and what we are capable of becoming.

Much is written about darkness and light in the Bible, and often one is not mentioned without the other. Without darkness, light would exist without context. Likewise, without light, darkness would have no means of measurement. Because the two are polar opposites, we are afforded more clarity as to the purpose of each.

This contrast is best exemplified at the greatest moment of darkness the world has ever known:  “When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. . . And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”—Mark 15:33-38 (NASB)

Christ’s selfless love tore the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place so that we may enter God’s presence.


God is Light. His light pierces a hole in the curtain of our dark circumstances.

Without the context of darkness, would we be drawn to the shining light of the Lord’s presence?

When darkness swallows us, we have many choices, some of which are to:

  • Succumb and allow it to suffocate and blind us
  • Rail against it and let it deplete our energy and focus
  • Complain and moan, “Why me?”
  • Blame others and alienate them
  • Blame ourselves and anguish over our failings
  • Pray for the Lord’s help
  • Thank God for our circumstances

While petitioning the Lord for help is essential, thanking Him is actually the shortest route to the other side of the veil.

Praise and thanksgiving usher us into the Most Holy Place—into The Light.  It is here we experience our Creator’s awesome presence—His love, His redeeming power.

David, the shepherd boy who became king, traversing through many dark times, discovered this threshold and revealed the keys to crossing it: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.”—Psalm 100:4 (HCSB)

In my mind’s eye I see this man of God raising his hands in freedom and joy, regardless of his situation.

What keeps us from moving out of darkness and into the light? What gets in the way of experiencing the freeing power of God’s presence?

  • Pain from the present or past?
  • Dreams shattered?
  • Relationships wrecked?
  • Finances crashed?
  • Loss of physical abilities?
  • Being wrongly accused?

None of these circumstances is more powerful than God’s mercy. Darkness simply cannot exist in His presence.

Thought for the day:  “Flowers grow out of dark moments.”—Corita Kent

Thank you, Father God, for piercing my darkness with your Light.


Portions of this blogpost are taken in part from my book Run in the Path of Peace—the Secret of Being Content No Matter What.