"You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).
These are the words Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount. Bible scholars believe that initially Jesus intended this very meaty, lengthy teaching to be for the disciples’ instruction, however, a large crowd gathered around to hear the many topics He addressed, for certainly there was something for everyone and every need imaginable. He was a fascinating teacher!
Jesus is the Light of the world, as He said in John 8:12, …therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” Again in John 9:5, He said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The Greek word for light in these verses is “phos,” akin to “phao,” meaning to give light, expressing light as seen by the eye and reaching the mind.
“Let your good deeds shine out for all to see,” Jesus said. He not only had the very light of God radiating from Him, but He did many good deeds that were visible to the human eye, like healing blind people, raising the dead, casting demons out of tormented people, multiplying food when supplies were scarce, changing water into wine. Such deeds assuredly caught the eye of many, and they still do today. The difference is He gives us the power and authority to continue His work and “shine out for all to see.”
We are called to be the light of the world, and just as a city set on top of a hill cannot be hidden, we are not to be hidden from view. We are to be illustrious, conspicuous, spectacles to the world—beacons looked to for signs, miracles, and in short, the stuff Jesus did! The light of Christ in us is definitely not to be confined or hidden under a bushel.
The MESSAGE translation expresses the Lord’s words so well: "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16 MSG).
Show the God-colors to your little corner of the world—be bold to pray for your children and grandchildren when a need arises. Your hands are perfect instruments in the Master’s hand to extend healing to your family and friends, a neighbor in need, your boss, those in your sphere of influence.
"This Little Light of Mine" was never intended to be little. Turn it on and change lives around you. Jesus did. A brilliant star marked the birthplace of the Light of the World. The Light of God never, ever stopped shining—even in the grave. Man created dimmer switches, not God. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven!
Copyright 2023, Chris Custer Werre