Journal Entry // March 12, 2023
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (ESV)Matthew 5:14
Just like the previous statement where Jesus declared his followers were salt, here too he makes a definitive declaration that those who have a renewed heart filled with faith and righteousness are the light of the world. It’s not that his followers can be a light or should be a light or even ought to be a light. No, Jesus is telling us that his disciples are lights. More than that, he is declaring that his people are THE light of the world. Without this light, the world would be in darkness. Just as Jesus declared that he was the light of the world, so too are his disciples as they are filled with the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.
As light bearers, we bring the gospel of Christ into every situation. I can remember being in a room that had no windows and the entryway was up a flight of stairs with a shut door. It was completely sealed off from any source of light. It was a darkness that you could feel. After being in the room for a while, I became accustomed to the darkness and it began to feel natural to me. I learned to navigate around the room without much trouble and it became comfortable. Eventually, the door at the top of the stairs was opened slightly and a sliver of light broke through and invaded the darkness of the room. Even this tiny sliver of light made an impact in the domain of darkness that I had grown accustomed to. The light drew my eyes toward it and illuminated my attention. This is the picture Jesus is talking about. The world around us moves about in darkness, the darkness of a life living in opposition and antagonism to Jesus. The world becomes comfortable in this darkness and can only ever imagine that darkness is the way of life. The light of the gospel dispels this notion and illuminates the hearts and minds of all who see it. And we are these lights moving about in the darkness of the world. We bring the gospel of Jesus by the mere fact that we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us.
I love the picture that Jesus is showing us here. We are just like the city on the hill. We cannot be hidden if we are disciples of Christ. We will stand out. It will be overtly obvious to everyone that we are representatives of Jesus and they will hate us for it. As the Bible tells us, people love the darkness more than the light. They hated Jesus because of the light he brought, so we too will be hated as we bring this same exact light to a dark world. If we are true followers of Christ and the Spirit of God dwells within us, then two things are true. One, we will be lights of the gospel. Two, people will hate and despise us because we are lights of the gospel message.
So what’s the takeaway? I don’t have to do anything special to be a light of Jesus. I don’t have to be perfect or say the right prayer or have enough money or prove myself holy enough. I am a light of the world simply because Jesus dwells within me. That doesn’t mean that I am not doing holy and righteous acts. It simply means that my acts of love and devotion to Christ do not brighten, intensify, or diminish the light. The light itself is the gospel of Christ. I am simply a bearer of the light walking in humility and faithfulness through this dark world. Living and loving Jesus every moment of every day.