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 a bushel basket, but on the lampstand,
and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they
may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
I do not know what I was expecting, but I was disappointed. After standing in line for over an hour to see the first rocks brought back from the moon, I was not impressed. Transported a near quarter-million miles from the nearest heavenly body, the rocks were an uninteresting dull gray. They looked nothing like the luminous moon that I wondered at the night before. But then I remembered: the moon has no light in itself, but only reflects the sun’s. Of course, the moon rocks seemed so ordinary!
I think of that as I ponder today’s scripture in which Jesus looks at peasant farmers, rough-hewn fishermen, prostitutes, and tax collectors and calls them “the light of the world.” Astonishing words, to say the least, about people who had just started following Jesus! It is Jesus, after all, who is “the light of the world.” That is the clear message of the Gospel: Jesus is “the true light, which enlightens everyone” (John 1:9). And, it is Jesus who promises: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Jesus is like the radiant sun, imparting life to those who will receive Him. They become the “light of the world” reflected to those around them. Jesus called John the Baptist a “burning and shining lamp” as his life and words pointed people to the Savior (John 5:35). So is everyone a light whose life humbly reflects the one true light, Jesus! Thus, the apostle Paul reminds Philippian Christians that, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, you shine like stars in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
What a wondrous calling to shine like stars and to reflect the saving light of Jesus! By Jesus calling His followers “the light of the world”, He acknowledges that the world is in darkness. And you and I, no less than the ancient Philippian, live amidst a darkened and corrupt culture. But here is the Good News: light not only exposes darkness, it shows the way out!
Admittedly, this is a dark time for our country; the way ahead is not clear, but there is a way out! God has a plan, and God’s plan is us! God’s plan is you and me! Humbly speaking, we are the only light our troubled nation will ever know.
Jesus says in today’s scripture that you put a lamp on a lampstand to light up the room. So God has placed you and me here to light up the darkness! Jesus does not give us light for us to hide it. A wise mentor once reminded me that there is no such thing as a secret follower of Jesus: the secrecy destroys the following, or the following destroys the secrecy. At this momentous time, Jesus commands: “Let your light shine before others.” I want to live out the song that I learned as a child in Sunday School: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”
Isn’t it exciting to think that Jesus might turn around our nation by shining through us into our little corner of the world! He did it shining through peasant farmers, rough-hewn fishermen, prostitutes, and tax collectors! Lord, please do it through us; let us not be secret followers!
A fellow traveler,