Light and Lights

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” The apostle John got the message. He starts the gospel of John by referring to Jesus as the light of the world. “In him was life, and that life was the light or men (v.4).” Jesus is referred to as the light of the world in chapters 1, 3, 8, 9, and 12. John associates it with life (1:4), which is obviously a contrast to death. Light is also the opposite of darkness (1:5), which relates to evil. John then says that the light was Christ himself, the one sent by the Father to offer salvation to all who believe (1:9-12). Jesus himself said “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12 and 9:5. So where am I going with this? Here it is. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying to his followers “You are the light of the world.” Mt. 5:14. Jesus is the light of the world but his disciples are also? Let’s take a closer look at Mt. 5. “You are the light of the world. A city 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 men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Mt. 5:14-16. “Your light” means that the disciples possessed the light, that Jesus was living in them. Notice that a light can be hidden, but it is not extinguished. Notice, too, that the light is still burning, but the effect of the light is gone. It’s quite possible to be a follower of Christ, a Christian, and the light, still intact, and burning brightly, is not doing any good. John asserts that John the Baptist was not “that light” (Jn. 1:6-7) and refers to him as a lamp (Jn. 5:35). A lamp is not the light; it merely houses the light. And that’s why the light (Jesus) can be hidden. We can “let it shine, let it shine, all the time” or we can hide him and not let him do his work.

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