Some Reflections on Being the Light of the World

Posted by colin on March 2, 2013 under From the pastor | Comments are off for this article

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

  • The first implication is that the world is in darkness. There is no other source of light other than the Christian (the “you” in the Greek is emphatic: i.e. you and no-one else).

  • We are the light of the world. We don’t have to “become” the light of the world. The issue is will we let our light shine? Or will we “put it under a bowl”?

  • Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), therefore the only way that we can be the light of the world is if we are living in union with Jesus. It is His light that shines through us into the world.

  • Individually we are like John the Baptist, a lamp (John 5:35). A lamp in those days was a small clay receptacle containing olive oil. We are that vessel of clay. The Holy Spirit in us is the oil that gives light to the world (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6-7)

  • let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven– the implication of this is that allowing our light to shine is primarily a matter of actively doing good works. This means reaching out to friends, neighbours, co-workers, strangers and even enemies, and performing acts of kindness. Matthew 25:35-36 mentions several kinds of good works that are pleasing to God.

  • Light is also associated with knowledge. Isaiah prophesies, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isa 49:6; cf. Acts 13:47). If people are to receive the light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, they have to hear the message of the gospel (see Romans 10:14-15 – the church has been commissioned to preach the gospel in all the world). It is a fallacy to think that because light does not make any sound, we do not need to share the gospel with others. This is stretching the metaphor beyond its intended meaning.

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