What can fill up an entire room without taking up any space?
This verse will give you a hint:
And you, beloved, are the LIGHT of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to LIGHT a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone LIGHTS a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the LIGHT illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating LIGHT. Let your LIGHT shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. — Matthew 5:14-16 The Voice, emphasis mine
You guessed it! The answer is LIGHT.
If Jesus says, “You, beloved, are the light of the world…” then we ought to pay close attention to what that means!
Four Thoughts About Light:
1. SIGHT is directly tied to LIGHT. Without LIGHT, there is no SIGHT.
In other words, light makes vision possible. It makes stuff visible.
Sight is an incredible miracle! It’s a miracle based on light traveling from the outside world at around 186,000 miles per second. It travels through space and when it becomes visible to you, it first reaches your cornea, that clear layer in your eye that’s in charge of most of the focusing power of your eye.
The amount of light that enters your eye is controlled by something called the iris – a muscle in your eye that constricts or dilates depending on the surrounding light conditions.
Light continues to travel until it finally reaches the retina in your eye that’s in charge of transforming light energy from the outside world into chemical and electrical energy that gets transmitted through the nerve in your eye to the brain and so on. SIGHT an incredible miracle!
In fact, even Charles Darwin, was blown away by the complexity of the human eye and the miracle of sight. In a chapter in his book, Origin of Species, titled, "Difficulties with the Theory," Darwin wrote:
“The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder... To suppose that the eye, with so many parts all working together...could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree... The belief that an organ as perfect as the eye could have formed by natural selection is more than enough to stagger anyone.” —Charles Darwin: Origin of Species - Difficulties With The Theory
The design of the eye points to the existence of a supreme designer. Sight is an incredible mircle!
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus indicated when an individual or a group of people determine that they’re going to live a life in the presence of God and under the rule, reign, power and will of God... When an individual determines that he or she is going to live "in the kingdom of God." When a person starts living out the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), that person or group of people are not only going to be "salt," but they will be "LIGHT." They'll make God VISIBLE to a watching world.
The Voice Translation says we will “ILLUMINE CREATION”. We'll give people a glimpse of what God had in mind when He created PEOPLE, when He designed RELATIONSHIPS, when He dreamed up MARRIAGE, when He thought of FAMILY, when He created LOVE, COMPASSION, GOODNESS, KINDNESS and BEAUTY!
God created us to live in such a way that people look at us and say, “Wow! There must be a God. I can see Him in you. You have given me a glimpse of His rock-solid faithfulness, His extravagant grace, reckless and relentless love and His mercy that meets people right where they are!”
When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world...” He was saying, “You make it possible for people to SEE GOD! To see BEAUTY... To see GRACE on display... To see what LOVE actually looks like...”
2. Light always dispels DARKNESS. Always.
Light always has an IMPACT. Just a little light can make a huge DIFFERENCE.
Wherever you go, wherever you are, you carry LIGHT and light in the Bible is always a symbol of the PRESENCE OF GOD.
One of the things the Bible regularly points out is the CONTRAST between DARKNESS and LIGHT. As far back as Genesis 1, “The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the face of the deep… Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and light appeared” (Genesis 1:2-3)
From the beginning, the moment God shows up light shows up and it starts driving back the darkness.
In the Bible, darkness is often a symbol of death, powerlessness, deceit, destruction, sin and condemnation.
But light, on the other hand, is a symbol of LIFE, POWER, TRUTH, GUIDANCE, HOLINESS, GLORY and the PRESENCE OF GOD.
When Jesus said, “You’re the light of the world,” He was saying “You carry the PRESENCE, LIFE, TRUTH and GLORY of GOD with you wherever you go. When you show up carrying my LIGHT; darkness, death, powerlessness, shame, guilt and condemnation have to go because LIGHT ALWAYS DISPELS DARKNESS! Always!”
Sometimes people get upset because this world is so dark. You’re right! It is dark! But when Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” those were our marching orders!
For instance, check out what God says about light in both the OT and the NT>
I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my salvation becomes global! —Isaiah 49:6 MSG
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home...” —Isaiah 60:1-4 NIV, NLT
God says, “When you finally take your call seriously, and let my LIGHT fill up your LIFE; your spouse, kids, parents, aunts and uncles, the people you work with, the people you go to school with, are going to TAKE NOTICE and restoration and reconciliation will begin to take place.”
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. —1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 NIV
These are our marching orders! Be light! Shine! You've never encountered darkness that cannot be overwhelmed and overcome with light. When it's light versus darkness, LIGHT WINS every time!
3. It ONLY takes a little LIGHT to make a BIG DIFFERENCE.
Judges 6-7 contains an incredible story about Gideon and an army of only 300 men overcoming an army of approximately 120,000 Midianites.
Gideon's army was anything but conventional. Instead of being equipped with weapons, they surrounded the camp of the Midianites armed with only rams horns, and blazing torches covered by clay jars. But at Gideon's signal the 300 men blew their rams horns, smashed the clay jars revealing the blazing torches inside and just a little bit of light made a big difference! God gave 300 Israel victory over an army of 120,000.
NOTICE! It was only when the clay jars were BROKEN that the LIGHT could shine through!
God is constanly looking for people who are willing to be BROKEN so that the LIGHT of HIS GLORY and GRACE can SHINE through.
Paul had to have the story of Gideon in mind when he wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7.
The God who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One. —2 Corinthians 4:6, The Voice
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. —2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT
Paul’s point: we are FRAGILE CLAY JARS! The Gospel of Jesus and presence of God are a BLAZING TORCH!
This world is filled with broken people and God says, “I love broken people because it’s in your brokenness that My light and life is most clearly revealed.”
4. I’m not the SOURCE of the light. GOD is!
When it comes to you and me being “the light of the world,” it’s important to remember that we’re not the source, God is.
We are the “light of the world” not because of anything in ourselves, but because of our SPIRITUAL UNION with Jesus who IS “the light.”
Before Jesus ever said, “You are the light,” the Bible says this kind of stuff about Jesus and about light...
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” —John 1:4-5 NIV
Jesus: “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
The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine. —Proverbs 4:18 MSG
I love that! That’s God plan for every person who follows Jesus! We’re familiar with people who start off with a bang and then fizzle or burn out! It happens with diets, exercise plans, budgets and even in our relationship with God.
But God’s plan is for people to be SET ON FIRE. Pardon the expression, but it’s for people to “get lit”. Not in the way that leads to regret and shame, heartache, heartbreak and addiction; but to allow the light of God to so ILLUMINATE our lives that we become set on fire and for the rest of our lives get BRIGHTER and BRIGHTER and SALTIER and SALTIER the longer we walk with Jesus.
Based on Matthew 5:13-16, I think this might be a good theme for a2 Church: Stay Salty. Get Lit.
I’m kidding, but I’m not kidding...
You need salt where there’s decay. You need light where there is darkness. So… It's time for the church to...