Light is so important to God and humanity alike that the first thing God brings on the scene in creation was light. He spoke forth those powerful words: LIGHT THERE BE LIGHT and that was it! There was light. While Jesus was on earth, He made staggering declarations which the people of His day couldn’t handle. I mean, Jesus was an enigma. They couldn’t just figure out what manner of man He was. He was just different. He confounded the ‘know-it-alls’ of His day. He said words like: “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5). Also in John 12:46 He says “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Wow! Power-filled declarations. But then He knew that in a short while He would be leaving the earth and He must transfer this responsibility to the New Creations, the results of His redemptive work.
The Lord Jesus made a profound statement in Matthew 5. He said “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16). He transfers the light commission to us. What a privilege to be God’s light bearers! In verse 14 Jesus lets us know who we are. He let’s us know our true identity on earth – the light of the world. He also showed us our position on earth, He lets us know that we are a city set on a hill and we cannot be hidden. The Believer in Jesus Christ is the illumination the world needs today. The earlier we come to acknowledge this the more effective and influential we become.
In verse 15 of Matthew chapter 5, the Master addressed the issue of hiding our lights. It’s really amazing when you hear Christians – the lights – complaining of the world situation. There is so much darkness in the world today simply because the lights are not shining. The questions are: who turned off the lights? Why is the light not shining? Who is to blame? And the answers to these questions are in the Church. The word ‘let’ simply means to consciously and willingly allow something or someone. When Jesus used the word ‘Let’ in Matthew 5:16, it is for us to know that it’s our responsibility to allow the light to shine before men. That means we can either allow the light to shine through us or we can inhibit it. It’s up to us! Someone rightly said that the only condition for evil to thrive is for the good people to do nothing. One thing is always certain: Darkness can never over power the light. In the real sense, darkness doesn’t even exist! As a matter of fact, darkness is only the absence of light. So when the light refuses to shine, the natural result is the presence of darkness.
In verse 16, the Master calls us to action. He said “Let your light so shine before men…” in other words, take action! This is a call to action. He didn’t just say that our light should shine, but He specified the degree to which it should shine. He said “Let your light SO shine before men…” In other words, get radical about your light! Let your light shine with a shout! Get to work with your light and expel every darkness with your light! I know in our world today we do a lot of things with light like designs; special effects etc. but suffice me to say that the number one purpose of light is to shine and get darkness out of sight! Light is for shining! Light is for illumination! I believe John the Baptist understood this demand of Heaven. The Lord Jesus tells us in John 5:35 that John the Baptist was a burning and a shining light. That’s just about what it means to let (allow) your light to SO shine before men. Just as John’s light did, our lights ought to shine with some special effects – I mean with heat! Men cannot ignore this manner of shining because they would either see it or feel it! That’s the attitude Jesus had. Glory to God! When your light shines in this manner, men wouldn’t only see your light or good works but they would also feel it!
I strongly believe the Lord Jesus spoke as a Prophet here, resounding the very words of the Father God on the lips of the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 60:1-3 which says “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” This is to say, we’ve been empowered to shine forth the glory of the Lord all over the world! And this light would attract men to the Lord. Remember that the sole purpose of our shining the light is not for selfish purposes but that men would see our good works done in Christ and glorify the Father Who is in heaven. No wonder 1Peter 2:9 tells us “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” It is right about time for us to get loud about the light we’ve got. We’ve got something to shout about!
So how do we get to work with this? By heralding the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere everyday! Never be silent about that which we’ve been called to preach. The world needs it. The world is desperate for a Saviour. As we shine forth the light, they would be pointed to the One who has shined upon us and whose light we reflect. In conclusion, it is also important for me to say that good works matter. Faith without works is dead as the body is without the spirit. Our good works done in Christ matter a lot and the Lord promises to reward them both now and in eternity!