In our last devotion, we considered what Jesus had in mind when he told his audience that they “are the salt of the earth” and how this truth aids us in our mission of “Caring for all people for the glory of God” at HealthKeeperz. I invite you to listen to Jesus again in the gospel of Matthew.
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
This time let’s consider verses 14-16.
A careful reading of v.14 reveals that Jesus is making a declarative statement. That is, he’s stating that something is true now. “You are the light of the world.” However, Jesus refers to himself as being the light of the world in the gospel of John 8:12 and 9:5. How can I be the light and Jesus be the light? Let’s use the illustration of a full-moon-lit night.
We know the moon is not a source of light. It is a reflector of light. We call it a moon-lit night, but it is rather a “sun-lit” night because the moon is only redirecting the light of the sun. When due to the earth’s rotation we are out of direct sunlight, we experience night-time. But the moon, still being exposed to the sun, redirects the sun’s light onto the earth, providing light in a time of darkness. Likewise, we have no light in ourselves and can only serve as reflectors of the light of Christ once he has shone into our sin-darkened hearts.
He is The Light that has come into the world to displace the darkness by making reality and truth visible and in doing so gives direction and guidance. He delights to do this through his people. In John 3:19 Jesus says, “…people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” So, we see from Jesus in Matthew and John, that good deeds represent light (Matt. 5:16), and evil deeds represent darkness. (John 3:19) In the world, there is both good, and evil. Light and darkness. In a world with much darkness, we need people of The Light.
Every day we can imitate Jesus and thereby be reflectors of the light of Christ in our homes, workplaces, and communities. Remember, Jesus said that his followers “are light.” He did not say they can be or should be, but they are. Darkness only exists where light is absent. When a light switch in a dark room is turned on, or the sun breaks through the thick darkness of the night by way of the moon, the darkness must flee. My friends this is the way it is with those who will be reflectors of the light of Christ. Darkness will not be able to bear the presence of that light.
In our passage, Jesus likens our good works to light. By performing acts of kindness, showing compassion or being as concerned about the needs of others as we are our own, we imitate Jesus and overcome the evil of apathy and self-centeredness. God is glorified by us when Jesus shines through us. God is glorified through us when others encounter us and experience Jesus.
May God help us as our light leads others into His radiant presence.
For the glory of God alone,
Chaplain James Chavis, HealthKeeperz