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You Are the Light of the World.

In our daily meditations, we continue to look at the Sermon on the Mount. After talking about His disciples being salt in the world (Matthew 5:13), Christ then used the metaphor of light to describe the believer. As He looked around the hillside at His disciples, He told them they were the light of the world (v. 14). In the days when the New Testament was written, a household lamp consisted of an earthenware container of oil with a wick half in the oil and partly showing out of a small hole at one end. Unfortunately, there were no matches in those days, which made it difficult to relight a lamp when they went out of the house, so most people kept the lamp burning but shortened the wick so that it didn't use up all the oil in the light.


The householder would usually set the lamp up high in the room on a tall stand, but the lampstand could be knocked over, and oil on the floor along with a lighted wick could be dangerous, hence the need to sometimes protect the lit lamp by hiding it under a basket. When they needed bright light, they brought out the lamp from under the basket, put more oil in it, and pulled the wick out further to fill the room with light (Matthew 25:7-8).


By referencing His people as lights in the world, the Lord said that instead of hiding our testimony of Christ, lowering our light, and hiding away, we are to shine in dark times and push out the darkness. One of my favorite places in Israel is to be on the edge of the Sea of Galilee at night. One can see the lights of various towns and cities on the hillsides above Galilee. Jesus said that we should shine in the darkness like a city on a hill (v. 14). Maybe He was thinking of the same wonderful sight on the Sea of Galilee. The light that comes from believers is not their light. God is not expecting us to present ourselves as the answer to man's problems; our light is reflected light, i.e., the Light of the World is Jesus (John 9:5). When people of this world look at us, they should see Christ:


Let’s think of the early apostles as our example. After God healed the lame man through Peter and John at the Gate Beautiful in Jerusalem, the apostles were persecuted at the hands of Israel's religious leaders for doing the good deed. The disciples responded by pointing away from themselves to the Lord Jesus as the Healer. They said:


Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well (Acts 4:8-10).


Think of the boldness of the Spirit-empowered apostles. Something about their response took the rulers and elders by surprise. How did the elders respond to someone disregarding their authority? The elders of Israel put Peter and John outside and talked among themselves about the two apostles. They acknowledged that there was something different at work in their midst, and they recognized the tell-tale signs that the disciples had been with Jesus. The Lord was the One glorified as the Healer.


Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). 


Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, in the same way, believers reflect the glory of the Lord and speak forth His message of life. When we live our lives in close relationship with the Lord Jesus, those around us will see Christ shining through us, not us. This reflected light is not to be lived out just among believers, though, for Jesus didn't say, "You are the light of the church." No, He said that we "are the light of the world" (v. 14). As believers, we are to be guiding harbor lights or lighthouses that show forth the way to the safe harbor of Christ. Good works done by believers in Christ will be seen by those who are in the darkness of the world system in which we live. Accurate reflections of the Light of the World in us will draw all people to Christ: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our salt and light will make others thirsty for the truth of God and will draw them to the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. Keith Thomas


This meditation is from a more complete study found at the following link:

The YouTube video teaching is at the following link:


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