Anybody Got a Light?
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (ESV).
From the first verse of this chapter it's clear that the vantage point from which Jesus is preaching is an elevated place. From that place everyone who could hear him could also see the most cherished and central element of life for the Jewish people. Due to it’s gold plating, the temple was the first thing in the morning and the last thing in the evening to reflect the light of the sun. Jesus words to his crowd on that day would have been revolutionary. No longer would the temple be the center of cultural and societal life but now the people would be the ones to shine the light of truth about Yahweh into the darkness of the world.
Add to this the context of Kingdom, the idea that most clearly permeates Matthew's entire gospel, and we can come to understand that Jesus intends to begin communicating the idea of how outposts of His Kingdom will be established. Then in verse 14 he uses the plural form of the personal pronoun “you” and we begin to see a progression of how the light of the Kingdom shines. It begins with individuals who form the collective community of Christ followers. All of them who are “in the house” are illuminated. And then those faithful lightbearers are called to display the reality of transformation that the light of Christ's gospel Has accomplished in their lives. The good works that we as believers do will bear witness to King Jesus in a sin darkened world.
Similarly, in today’s culture being a light shining in the darkness ought not be difficult in the least. But being a city on a hill in another thing. When individualism and independence are premier virtues, the interdependence and interconnectivity of being just one small piece of a greater whole is nearly unthinkable. As much as the culture screams for community they truly have no idea how to pull it off, not even according to their own standards.
But in the collectivism of the church, according to Jesus, we cannot be hidden. Whether like a light on the lampstand or a city that sits on the side of a hill, we will be clearly visible to the world with one condition. We must actually be the light of the world. When Jesus is preaching “the Kingdom” to his would-be followers the message is countercultural. I mean really, the “poor in spirit” are the ones who will inherit this kingdom? When else in all of history has this been a reality? The poor of any and every kind are typically regarded as the down, out and off-casts of society not the ones who receive any kind of inheritance. This is an amazing proclamation by the Lord. In order to the light we must see the King, Jesus. And that is still our message today.
Jesus is the light that we are to be. As those genuinely following Christ our King, we are to look and live like Him. Possession of the true light that comes into the world (Jesus) is the requirement for being the light. Once we do so, we will live in accord with what pointed to the Light, the commandments of God. We will have the desire and ability to be obedient. This will be the good works that others see when they watch and inspect our lives. And we know they are definitely watching, perhaps in hopes of seeing us trip up, but they are watching nonetheless.
All of this sums up the desire of Light City Bible Church. We want to first see Christ in all His glory as the only savior. He alone can give us the desire and ability to obey God’s commands. Next we want to live Christ, we truly want to come one step closer to acting and thinking like him each and every day. According to Jesus, doing so will give us an audience, “others” before whom we can let our light shine. That gives us the opportunity to share Christ with anyone and everyone God places in our lives. If Seeing, Living and Sharing Christ seems like a good plan to you, we invite you to join us for worship. Check our Facebook page or website for location and time. Until then May the Lord bless you with His light so that you can be the light of your world.