There are two great spiritual truths about light in the New Testament. First, Jesus announced that He is the Light of the world. And second, Jesus appointed us—His followers—to be lights in our world.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. (John 1:6-7)
When Jesus broke through history, humbly appearing as a baby in Bethlehem, there had been some 400 years of silence. No prophets. No word from the Lord. No light. And then came John the Baptist to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.
Later, Jesus sat teaching the people in the temple courts, with the Pharisees looking for opportunities to trap Him with His own words. And yet, Jesus declared openly, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Notice three significant truths in Jesus’ statement:
- Jesus is the Source of light.
- Following Jesus frees us from darkness.
- Those with the Light are promised life.
Combatting the darkness in our world and in our communities can only be accomplished when we follow the Source of light. Without His light, we have no light of our own, but remain in bondage to the darkness. But with His light—and life—we have a gift to share to those around us, in our homes, in our communities, and in our world.
However, we have to make our light visible if we’re going to light the way for those around us, so that they, too, may find safe harbor.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to His disciples about living in the world—that we are to be in the world, but not of the world, and yet have an impact on the world.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
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 5:13-16)
Salt preserves food and enhances flavor. As believers, we are to maintain our saltiness, preserving a standard of righteousness in a decaying world.
Light identifies and attracts. The distant lights of even the smallest towns give hope to weary travelers that life is near. Jesus admonishes us to not hide our God-given light, but rather to lift it up and put it on a stand for all to see, and for all to find their way.
Notice the effect. If we hold forth His light properly, others will see us. They’ll see what we are doing, which means that our testimony should be evident to all. Our lives should be noticed. Our “good deeds” will be remembered.
The result? Applause—not for ourselves, but for God in heaven. The glory is His. Our goal is simply to use our lights to point the way. Just as someone uses a torch to light their way through the dangerous passages of a cave, we are to allow God to use us to light the way for others.
The brighter our flame, the more our light will impact our neighborhoods, our towns, our nation, and our world.
How bright is your light? Are you keeping your flame held up high for your family to see, for your neighbors to notice, for your co-workers to remember?
Christ has given us the light. He expects us to keep our torch burning brightly.