The Scriptorium

Light of the World

We are called to light the world. How's that going? Matthew 5.14, 15

Matthew 5: The Sermon on the Mount: Righteousness (2)

Pray Psalm 97.10-12.
You who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Sing Psalm 97.9-12.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King!)
All you who love the Lord, despise sin’s wicked ways!
Praise Him Who guides us by His Word through all our days.
Refrain v. 9
Beyond, above all gods and nations be exalted, God of love!

Read Matthew 5.1-15; meditate on verses 14, 15.

1. How does Jesus describe His followers in these verses?

2. What does He expect of us?

Light is an image frequently associated with Jesus, and with good reason. He is the light of the world (Jn. 8.12). His coming to earth brings light to expose sin and illuminate the darkness (Jn. 3.19-21; 1 Jn. 2.8). By the light of Jesus, people come to the truth of God and are saved. Jesus is the Morning Star, Who dawns to bring the new day of salvation to the world (2 Pet. 1.19). We are familiar with all these applications of light to Jesus, and we know they are most appropriate.

But Jesus says to us that we are the light of the world! How can this be?

I’m sure those words must have startled the people who heard them. But Jesus was again drawing on Old Testament revelation to remind them of God’s promises, and to establish Himself as the Bringer of those promises to all who would follow Him. For the righteousness, for which Kingdom citizens hunger and thirst, has the effect of making them shine like the noon day sun: “He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Ps. 37.6). Righteousness is God’s doing, and when He does it, we shine like light, and like the sun when it casts no shadows. But we must commit our way to the Lord, and trust in Him, for only then will He bring forth in us the righteousness for which we hunger and thirst (Ps. 37.5; Prov. 4.18).

Jesus pictured His followers as a well-lit city on a hill (Matt. 5.14), shining its light into the dark valleys below (cf. Mic. 4.1-8). When we live according to the holy and righteous and good Law of God (Rom. 7.12), the Light of Jesus in us shines into the darkness of the world, illuminating the way of salvation, and showing the character of the Kingdom of God. But we must let our lights shine, and not try to conceal the fact that we live by truths and walk in paths other than those pursued by our secular age (Matt. 5.15; cf. Ps. 1).

We are the light of the world as those in whom the light of Jesus has come to dwell, and through whom the light of Christ shines on the world. We must hold our lamps high before the dark world, that any who may be seeking a way out of the darkness can now to come to us, so that we may tell them about Jesus.

1. In what ways do believers function as lights to the world?

2. What is our responsibility as bearers of the light?

3. How should we expect to respond to the light of Jesus shining in us?

For, illumined by his very own self who is the true and eternal light, they too become light within the darkness. For since he himself is the sun of righteousness, he rightly also calls his disciples “light of the world.” Through them, as if through shining rays, he poured the light of his knowledge on the entire world. For by showing the light of truth, the Lord’s disciples made the darkness of error flee from people’s hearts.
Chromatius (fl. ca. 400), Tractate on Matthew 19.1-2

Shine Your light on me, Lord Jesus, and send me forth as the light of the world today as I…

Pray 97.1-9.
Pray that the Lord’s Presence will be known through you today, as you let your line shine in all the places and on all the people in your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 97.1-9.
Psalm 97.1-9 (Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King!)
Rejoice, the Lord is King! O earth, lift up your voice.
Be glad, you islands, shout and sing: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Refrain v. 9
Beyond, above all gods and nations be exalted, God of love!

His just and righteous throne ‘mid clouds and darkness stands;
His fiery wrath consumes His foes in every land.

Earth trembles at the sight of Jesus’ holy face;
the mountains melt before His might and praise His grace.

The heav’ns above declare His glorious righteousness.
and tribes and peoples everywhere; His Name confess.

While Zion gladly sings, let all be brought to shame
who to vain idols worship bring and scorn His Name.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore