One of the things I love most about Jesus is how simple Jesus makes everything. We tend to complicate the simple; Jesus loves to simplify the complicated. For example, His purpose for every human being can be boiled down to one statement: We are to become disciples of Jesus who make disciples for Jesus.
So I want to ask you a question: “Is my flashlight on?” This question comes out of the greatest sermon in history known as “The Sermon on the Mount” and flows out of a statement that Jesus made to people who had a desire to follow Him and live the Christian life.
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)
Once we have been pointed to Jesus we are in turn to point others to Jesus. We are to let the light of a cross-shaped life shine in such a way that others will want to glorify God by giving their lives to Jesus also. In other words, we are not here to make bad people good or good people better; we are here to get people to love Jesus and live like Jesus.
Why did Jesus choose the metaphor of light as the way we are to point people to him? Well it makes perfect sense. Physical life would be impossible without light, which is the sole source of food generation for all living organisms on the earth. Practically every living being depends on light for food and energy. Plants require light to synthesize their own food materials to live and grow. From these plants, animals get the required food materials they need to live. So, plants depend on sunlight for their food and animals depend on plants and humans depend on plants and animals for food and we all depend on light!
Not only does the earth need the light of the sun to survive physically, people need the light of God’s son to live spiritually. No wonder Jesus calls us “the light of the world.” He wants our flashlight on for a world that lives in spirtual darkness. Is yours on? Here is a three fold test:
I. Do I see the Light within myself?
Jesus says something that would have been very strange to those who had been following Him and listening to Him. He says to this crowd,
“You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14, NIV).
That would have been strange, because earlier Jesus had made this statement,
“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’”(John 8:12, NIV).
First Jesus says He is the light of the world and now He is saying we are the light of the world. Which statement is right? They both are.
The light that Jesus is talking about is Him. He is the true light of the world, but a follower of Jesus has Jesus within him. The light that he is, is the light that is in you. What He wants you to do is let Him shine His light through you.
The only hope for this world to come out of the darkness of being far from God, of having no meaning and purpose in life, of facing a certain death with no certain confidence of what comes after death, is that we see the light that is within us and let that light be seen through us.
II. Do I show the Light before me?
You don’t light light. You just show light. You just uncover light. You just make sure there is nothing between someone and the light. Jesus goes on to say,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl” (Matthew 5:14-15, NIV).
We are to be lighthouses, not dark houses.
All of us have lighting in our houses for one simple reason – we don’t want to sit in the dark or stay in the dark. Likewise, God has not sent us into our dark neighborhoods, and offices, and schools to just sit in the darkness with everyone else. We are to show others where that light is, who that light is, and how to come to that light.
III. Do I Shine The Light Beyond Me?
It is not enough just to show your light; you need to see how far you can shine your light. Jesus says,
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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” (Matthew 5:14-15, NIV).
A bright light needs to be held high. Now I get it – many of you work with a lot of unbelievers. You work with people who have no time or heart for God, church, or anything else. You are thinking to yourself, “You don’t know what you are asking of me. I am in a dark, dark place.” Let me ask you two questions:
- Where does light shine the best and the brightest? In the darkest places.
- Who needs the light the most? The people in deepest darkness.
We can’t all be preachers or teachers, but we can all see the light within us, show the light before us, and shine the light beyond us. It is time for many of us to come out of the closet. We need to take our light out from under the bowl and put it on a lampstand where everybody can see it. Is your flashlight on? It should be 24/7.
Published May 30, 2018