Just as ‘light’ was important and had to be the first thing God would order into existence in the beginning of creation (Gen. 1:3); when the world was formless and void. So, also is the importance of the believer in the plan of God for the earth.
“ 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Much like the devastation that opens the book of Genesis, leading to the creation story, the world has once again fallen into such a quagmire of perversion, lawlessness and darkness.
Hence, a need for the glorious light of God to shine again, to deliver mankind and the occupants of the earth from the bondage of darkness.
We observe three points Jesus is trying to make here in this excerpt from His sermon on the mount:
First, a believer enjoys the sacred privilege of being the light of the world. This is no position to be taken lightly.
Jesus explains the character of light in the succeeding verse, so we fully comprehend the power of light over darkness. But, let us examine these words of Jesus first, “You are the light of the world…”
The bible says in John 1, that the light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it; it cannot overcome it.
So, Jesus establishing the believer’s reality of being the light, not a light, gives us an explained position of our heritage and blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
Remember Jesus also said the believer would do the things he did, and even greater things than those. Do we have a model to being the light of the world? Yes, is surely the answer, the life Jesus lived should be the perfect example for the church and the people of God who desire to live as he did while on earth (Heb. 12:2).
So being the light of the world, and taking the cue from Jesus’ life, we have the mandate to love like Jesus, heal the sick, feed the poor, raise the dead, teach the people, preach the word, and every other good work the Spirit of God moves us to do (Acts 10:38).
But to be the light, we must be empowered by the Spirit of God, just as Jesus was.
The next thing we learn is that, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…”.
Let us compare this verse to Hebrews 12:22,
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God…”
Spiritually camped in the heavenly city of the living God, is the present-day reality of every believer as we see in the above passage.
This is the place of God’s dwelling, because the bible says we are seated with Christ in God.
We are the light of the world. The brightness of God’s glory radiating through us. We are a city that cannot be hidden, it means that the life of the Christian is such that it shows the right direction to all that should see and follow. Just as Christ lived an exemplary life, after which his disciples modelled and after which we also must model our lives.
The will of God is that we shine wherever we find ourselves; in business, politics, family, sports, industry, etc., in everything and anything we could possibly lay our hands on to do, which is in the will of God. This light cannot be hidden, so wherever we may be, people always see that light of difference, that resonating difference, not being conformed to the pattern and mode of operation of this world, but working and walking with the character of the renewed mind, showing the world what is that good and perfect will of God according to Romans 12:2.
The succeeding verses continue to expand on the attitude we must put on, knowing whom we are and what Christ has made available for us.
The next verse, talks of how no man puts a physical light under a basket, that is to shroud it from the public, but instead this light is proudly and confidently put on a lampstand, where it gives light to all who are in the house.
In the same manner, after knowing our place, as God has made us a light to the world, so must we make efforts to shine in troubled places that have been ravaged by the terrible hands of darkness. As we go forth, carrying out our daily activities, we must always go with the mindset of the change we have the power to cause in this world. The believer is empowered and highly favored by God, as his workmanship, created for good works (Eph. 2:10).
This is a powerful tool in the hands of a believer who understands.
The last verse says,
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”
So clearly, if we are wondering how to glorify God, then we have our answer in this verse; “good works”.
Our ‘good works are the keys to bringing glory to God. When our light shines before men; when they see and know that we are his disciples by our conduct and attitude, then the people around us will inevitably give glory to our heavenly Father, by accepting our ways as the ways of God.
As Christians, being the light, is a higher calling to a life of inspired service to God by the things we do, the way we speak, the thoughts we have, all these culminate to our act of worship to God, and if the world can see our deeds, and they are good in the sight of all men, then we have truly brought glory to God, our Father.