This passage comes from the Sermon on the Mount – Jesus’ most comprehensive teaching about what his kingdom would be like, and how his followers could start practicing it. We did an entire challenge series on this previously.
Here, Jesus says:
Matthew 5:14 – ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
We live in a dark world. Just watch news, and you’ll see there is lots of evil and danger. But we are not left alone in the dark.
Jesus says to his followers – you are the light of the world. There is light, not just darkness – good!
But you might be wondering – how can Jesus say we are the light of the world? Isn’t He usually described as the light? Isn’t God the only one we could describe that way?
He did say in John 8:12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It’s both. Christians are called to reflect God’s light, Jesus. Notice what our role is in the Sermon on the Mount passage – we can cover the light, or let it shine. We didn’t light the thing!
Lighting the world is not a violent act – earlier in Old Testament history, the Jews hid lamps in a surprise attack. Not this time – now lamps are a symbol of letting the light be seen by everyone, no surprises. That’s why Jesus says they should be like a city on a hill.
There are fascinating lightmaps of the world that show what areas are lit at night. The electric lights can’t hide – we can see where there is prosperity, and where there is poverty.
So how are we the light of the world? Think of the moon reflecting the sun – the light source is not the moon, but at night (in darkness) the moon is the only visible light around, even if it wasn’t he source.
We aren’t the source of the light, but what we can do is reflect it, or not. When we are reflecting God’s light our way of life and our words are meant to show people God. When people see us, they should learn something about God. When they are cared for by us, they learn about God’s care. When they see our generosity, they learn about God’s gifts.
Question: What makes a good reflector of light? What makes a bad one?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]