Christians as light (5:14-16)

Later, Jesus would say that he is the Light of the world, so there is an obvious allusion to Christlikeness when he says that his disciples too are the light of the world. In order to function as lights, believers need to become like Jesus increasingly. We know how this comes about – by spending time with him in his Word and by speaking to him in prayer.

Imagine a world without light, where there were no candles or electricity or other forms of light. It would be a desolating experience to live in such a place. That is what the world would be like spiritually without Christians.

When we think of light, what elements come to mind? Here are three. Light gives warmth, light gives vision, and light gives life. So Jesus gives great encouragement to his followers because he assures them that if they live according to the Beatitudes, others will see their lifestyle and begin to praise God.

When a Christian displays the graces listed in the Beatitudes he becomes a source of warmth to those who experience the chill of the world’s self-centredness and indifference. This point is stressed in Isaiah 58:7-8 concerning sharing with others: ‘Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.’

Similarly, when Christians exhibit these graces, they give vision to others. This can occur in different ways. For example, when a Christian lives like this, others get a visible presentation of godliness or Christlikeness. Along with this, they find spotlighted the deficiencies in their own sinful lifestyles, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:13-14: ‘But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”’

Another way in which sight is given is that others see that our interests are primarily with the kingdom of God, that all we aim to do is serve Jesus Christ. Living according to the Beatitudes tells others that our goal is to please Jesus Christ.

Christians functioning as light also show to others the way back to God. By living in dependence of the Lord, they show to others that this is the way to live. By holiness of life and personal testimony to the Lord’s grace they show sinners how to be saved

Read more

© (2017)