“You are the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:14 (NIV)
God created the sun to give us light by day and he made the moon to give us light by night. For the Israelites he provided a pillar of fire lighting their way by night (Exodus 13:21). David called the Lord ‘My light’ (Psalm 27:1) and we learn that the Lord wraps himself in light (Psalm 104:2)
In the New Testament we see that light has come into the world in the presence of Jesus Christ (John 3:19) and that he describes himself as the ‘light of the world’ (John 9:5) The Father is described as the ‘Father of heavenly lights’ (James 1:17) and is even defined as light (1 John 1:5). It’s of no surprise then that in the New Jerusalem, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23)
What is perhaps more of a surprise is that Jesus would take something that is inherently divine and call his followers by the same name, ‘the light of the world.’ He has no need for us to be lights, so why would give us this label? I have just a couple of reflections, one from God’s perspective and the other from ours.
First it tells me that God doesn’t want to hold on to the divine nature but wants to share it with us. We can’t be the light of the world in our own strength; it’s only because THE Light of the world lives in and through us that we can be lights in this world. God was pleased to have the fullness of the deity dwell in Jesus (Colossians 1:19) and the mystery that is now revealed to God’s people is that Christ, with the fullness of the divine nature, now dwells in us (verse 27) and because he works powerfully in us (verse 29), we too can light the world with his glory.
Second it tells me that we can participate in what God is doing. As Peter tells us, “…he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:4) We don’t set off doing our thing, or working in our own strength, but we join Christ in what he is doing. He is the light of the world, shining the light of reconciliation into a dark alienated world, and we are to participate in that ministry of reconciliation as his ambassadors (2Corinthians 5:18-20).
I’m thankful that God has called me out of darkness into his wonderful light (1Peter 2:9); now comes the responsibility to live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
May Jesus shine on us so we can shine on the world.
Father, in you is light and there is no darkness. May others see your light shining through us so they can come out of the darkness into the light. For your glory we pray.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Saturday 11 am
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