Photo credit to my friend Lois Pannabecker.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14
Really? I am the light of the world? Now, I’m just thinking about these statements that You made, Jesus. “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.” And here’s the thing. These people did not have a saving knowledge of You yet. Some were already trusting God by faith, but none of them really understood about You and how You truly fit the picture yet. So this really amazes me. How could they be the salt and light of world if they didn’t already know You? To me, it’s like You weren’t commending them. How could they be commended for something they couldn’t be yet because those things come from abiding in You? But You were encouraging and empowering and reminding, saying, “Hey, guys. You were created for a purpose. You were created to be the salt and light of the earth. This is who you are. This is who I made you to be. This is who I am empowering you to be. Come to Me, listen to Me, follow Me, live in Me, and I will fulfill My purpose in you.” You are telling us who we were created to be. The question is, am I living up to Your purpose for me?
“You are the light of the world…” What does that really mean for me? Is being the light about being someone that people see doing good things? Well, if so, there are a lot of wonderful humanitarians out there doing far more than I’ve ever been able to do. Are they the ones lighting the world? Not according to You. Because there is something different about this light and to understand I think I first have to ask myself, “What is the purpose of light in itself?”
What is the purpose of light? I googled it. Awesome thing is that the Lord took me to a blog where someone who loves physics (which I know nothing of) was sharing exactly about this question in my mind. Jeremy Statton shared, “You can’t smell, touch, or see light directly. It is energy. Electromagnetic radiation. When the electromagnetic radiation collides with an object, a portion of the light is reflected back towards your eyes. When this reflected portion collides with your retina, you see the object. You never see the light traveling through space. Only how the light changes after it hits something and reflects. The purpose of light is to reveal the properties of the objects it collides with.”
Now, hold that thought. “The purpose of light is to reveal the properties of the objects it collides with.” From what I just read, who is doing the seeing? I am doing the seeing. That radiation collides with my sensory perceptions by being reflected off of something else and I receive that reflection. And the interesting thing about being a light of the world is that first I have to receive the reflection from the One who is the Light of the world. And when I’m hit by that Light, when I see that Light for who He is, that reflection is so powerful that it reflects back from me and changes my image. It reveals the properties of God first to me, but then, in it’s powerful reflection again off of me, it reveals my true properties. But this reflection is so powerful that it changes my properties to reflect His own as I surrender to His power.
Jeremy continues, “Sometimes when this phenomena of reflected electromagnetic radiation hits our retinas, something even more amazing happens. Sometimes the light reflects beauty.” Well, that’s exactly what it does. First, light had to originate somewhere and it did. John tells us, “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
Light and how it works is so important. It’s right there at the beginning of all creation. Listen to Genesis 1:1-3. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Well, what was that like, I mean, before the beginning? “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Hm. Now God is light, but apart from Him everything else is without form and void and dark. It’s all purposeless until He gives it purpose. And He does. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.'” That’s important. This is everything to how I can ever be a light to the world. This is the beginning but it doesn’t stop here.
Now I jump ahead to John chapter 1. He shares about Jesus and who He purposes us to be. “In the beginning was the Word [you know, in that beginning we just read about], and the Word[that’s Jesus] was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God [just in case we missed that point the first time]. All things were made through Him [ this is more than by Him, it’s through all that He is, through that powerful reflective ability that only He has], and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” BAM! That’s it! In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Can I repeat that enough? In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
“You are the light of the world.” How? When Your life Jesus is in me, then You are my light. Then and only then can I reflect Your beauty to a darkened world who does not see. In You and You alone is life, including my life. And it’s not just for now. It’s for now into eternity. It’s life everlasting. It’s life as You intended, as You purposed for me. “You are the light of the world” is an invitation to living in You and in Your light, in Your reflection that changes me into Your image in a world that needs to see You and know You and experience You. “The light shines in the darkness [it has from the beginning], and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Mr. Statton didn’t stop there at the beauty of light and seeing it alone. Because this is what’s so amazingly beautiful about God, “As if that wasn’t enough, the beauty doesn’t stop there. Our sensory cortex sends a signal to another portion of our brain and we feel something. The light finds the beauty and sends portions of itself back at you so that you can see it. And feel it. And love it. The beauty exists independent of light, but it is the light that illuminates beauty for our eyes to see and then for our hearts to enjoy.” I can see my child’s smile, I can see my closest friend’s joy, and it warms my heart and it is the most beautiful thing. But God lets me see Him, and feel Him, and love Him, because I experience His reflection. I can enjoy God. He wants me to. He desires for me to. He delights in me delighting in Him. “Delight Yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart.” When I delight myself in You, Lord, You become the desire of my heart. And You’ll always delight in giving me more of You.
It was never about my brightness but about His likeness. I must reflect His beauty, His glory, His power, His love, His compassion, His righteousness. Jesus is not in black and gray and white. He’s beautiful and light reflects that beauty. Am I reflecting that beauty? Am I finding the goodness of God in every situation, in the things of my life and bringing them out to enjoy and allow others to enjoy?
” You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. ” (the Message) Can I take my eyes off everything else and keep myself focussed on His beautiful reflection? Can I see His reflection adding worth and value to those around me? Am I reflecting His beauty and value on others and everything around me? That’s the kind of light that You can’t hide on a hill. That’s the kind of light that no darkness can put out. That’s the kind of light that never loses it’s beauty. That’s the True Light. That’ s the Light that shines in the darkness and has overcome it. That’s the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See, the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. But just as God sent Jesus to be the light of the world, so You, Lord, are sending me. May I reflect Your glorious image more and more every day that those who are blind may be healed and rejoice in the beautiful sight of the glorious image of God.