“You are the light of the world.” If Jesus didn’t say it, we might think it was false teaching. But he did say it in his famous Sermon on the Mount. Through that sermon, he reaches ahead into history, puts his hand on your shoulder, and calls you to action. He doesn’t look past you or around you. His eyes are locked in on yours.
Hear it again, “You are the light of the world.”
What could this possibly mean?
Let’s slow down and meditate on the main words in this sentence.
YOU: Jesus is speaking to you. In fact, the way Matthew recorded it, Jesus basically put YOU in all capital letters (5:14). Jesus is saying, “There’s no plan B. I’m not picking anyone else to do my work. I pick you.” Jesus is giving you a great responsibility. He is giving you a reason to get out of bed. He is giving this day meaning and purpose.
He wants you to do his work. He could have chosen angels, but he chose you. He could have chosen some talented celebrity, but he chose you.
YOU, yes, you, the one reading this blog post. Jesus wants to use you today.
Light: We know Jesus is the light of the world. He said so in John 8:12.
So how could YOU be the light of the world?
You are a reflected light. Like the moon reflects the light of the sun, you reflect the light of Christ.
You are a light energized by someone else. Like a flashlight energized by a battery, you are energized by Jesus’ Holy Spirit.
So sit quietly with your open Bible and let the light of Jesus shine on you. Bask in his glorious light. Speak to him in prayer. If you are stuck, start with the Lord’s Prayer. And let him energize you.
World: We know Jesus came to change the world by loving the world in order to save the world. But his mission to the world began in his hometown, gathering a handful of fishermen, a tax collector, and a few more. Twelve in all.
Sure he preached, healed, and helped crowds on occasion, but he mostly spent time with his disciples. And his greatest energy was given to only three of them.
When Jesus calls you to be the light of the world, he doesn’t want you to picture a mass of people on this green and blue globe. Jesus started by loving a handful of people. That’s a good place for you to start as well.
But what are you supposed to do? Do you need to be a slick salesperson for Jesus?
No. Jesus himself explains what it means to be a light. He says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Jesus is saying, “You are the light of your family. Do good deeds in your home, that they may glorify your Father in heaven.”
“You are the light at your office. Do good deeds at work, that they may glorify your Father in heaven.”
“You are the light of your neighborhood. Do good deeds, that your neighbors may glorify your Father in heaven.”
Final thought: Jesus has rescued you, adopted you into his family, and is preparing a place for you in the renewed world. But until that day, he is choosing you to further his kingdom of love, to reflect his light to others, and to change the world around you.
You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.