Jesus said, “You are the world’s light. A city situated on top of hill cannot be concealed.”
— Matthew 5:14 (USC)
Identity for Christians is elementary, and it doesn’t get more straightforward than via this verse – one that our Lord connects us with his very self; he, who has also said, “I am the world’s light.” (John 8:12 USC)
If we are the world’s light – and we must be, for Jesus said so – then we must take that as an indicative for the life we are to live. How can we say we are followers of Jesus, yet miss the mark by either intention or by error with no recourse to remedy?
We are the world’s light. We structure our lives around being that city that everyone sees.
To enjoy being a witness to all is a life that has no compromise for wanton sin.
To be that light on the hill – a shimmering city, alight all dark night long – we must arrest our spiritual indolence. One day at a time we are to climb with desperation into the Presence of the Lord, urgently seeking to know his will, clinging to him for the power to carry it out.
Only a little light is needed in the darkness, and, indeed, light is nothing if not shone into the darkness, just as salt is useless without dough in the making of bread.
If we are the world’s light then we have enough in and of ourselves – through the emergent Holy Spirit in us – to make some little though significant difference. Our few grains of salt are enough to season our world with joy, hope and peace.
Jesus’ radical stance that started at verse 3 – the first of his eight Beatitudes – continues into this little four verse section on salt and light. It seems so hard to imagine Jesus saying we are salt and we are light. Yet, he says we are.
We are apt to think we are so far from Jesus’ perfection, but the fact of the matter is Jesus needs us to be everything we can be all the time.
This is not about the pressure to obey our Lord. We will never be perfect. Grace – our divine no-blame insurance policy – covers us. Our Lord simply asks that our hearts shine with his light.
It is very much about striving – as the apostle Paul put it in Philippians 3 – to run our race well, and at last to finish!
We must keep coming back to our Light if we are to be the light on the hill of our lives.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. When do you feel like the “world’s light” and when don’t you? How do you overcome, with spiritual resilience, your temptations and trials into darkness?
2. Do you feel under undue pressure when Jesus says you are salt and you are light? If so, how might you rise above such feelings and enjoy the blessedness of being a child of God.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.