Christian, You Are the Light of the World (Matthew 5:14)
The Bible tells us that God is light and “the father of lights.” Then again, Jesus is the light of men that shines into a sin-darkened world, and the darkness cannot overcome it. How then, can it be said that you and I, Christian, we who are so easily "overcome," are nevertheless – like Jesus – the light of the world?
When Jesus spoke those words to his disciples, near the start of his “Discourse on the Hill” (Matthew 5-7), those disciples were not a particularly impressive bunch. They certainly hadn't accomplished much yet. They were merely the ragtag crew–rather disreputable, in fact– that followed Jesus around. And not only ragtag and disreputable, but soon to have their character-flaws and weak spots exposed for all to see. Sometimes they would sorely lack meekness, and sometimes they would not be particularly pure-hearted. Some of them would be a little too ready to “draw the sword,” and at other times their hunger would not be so much for righteousness as worldly honor. Yet these are the folks whom Jesus calls “the light of the world.”
To walk in the light, Paul says, is no longer to be associated with “the things that are done in the dark.” He goes on, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
To be children of light is to be so closely associated with light as to share its characteristics. God is light. We are children of light. Jesus, God’s Son, is the light of the world. You, Christian, are also the light of the world. Are you getting it yet? Being light has something to do with being attached to the source of all light. Do you believe it?
Jesus knew that in time His disciples were going to become vessels of truth, carriers of a glorious revelation, walkers in the way of God. But before all this, they would have to come to terms with thee difficult question that Jesus once asked: "Who do you say that I am>" Pater's example, in fact, is a very good one. When was he the light of the world? Well, first off, when he confessed to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the son of God.” That was surely a good start, but soon afterward he was hiding his light under a bushel. You remember the three denials? Three times someone thought they’d spotted a glimmer, but Peter kicked dust over the fading sparks and said, “I’m telling you, I don’t know the man.” You've never done anything like that, right?
The light you shine, Christian, is first of all (though certainly not last of all) in your confession. Answer the following questions: Who is Jesus? Why did he die? What happened after that death? Where is he now? Finally, what does it all matter?
Christian, everything depends on your answers. You cannot "walk as children of light" until you come to terms with these. In this world we like to devalue words in favor of actions. We think it a wonderful thing if a man can “walk the walk” whether or not he “talks the talk.” But your walk begins in your confession. I hasten to add that it doesn't by any means end there. Nevertheless, what you believe, that’s what you walk out. So shine your light, Christian. Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks you, “How shall the world know who you say that I am, and also why it matters, unless you both talk it and walk it?” Word and deed, enabled by the Holy Spirit, this is the light of the Gospel shining through men.
Christian, you are the light of the world.