Matthew 5:16 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.
Jesus spent most of the Sermon on the Mount telling His followers about the Kingdom of God and about who they are. He didn’t begin by telling them anything to do, He led up to that. The Sermon on the Mount is mostly descriptive, not prescriptive. First came the statements and the definitions, then came the mission.
In Matthew 5:14, notice that Jesus does not tell His followers to go be
the light of the world. He tells us that we ARE the light of the world. We are the light of the world because God illuminated our hearts so that we’ll know Him
. He then shines through us for others to see Him and know Him. Our testimonies as Christians are not always verbal. Sometimes it’s the good works we perform that ultimately lead people to see Jesus working in our lives. So what are “good works?”
There are obvious things that we can do for others to show them the character of God, like caring for the poor and loving the lost. There are other things that might not be as obvious, attitudes of the heart that manifest themselves in our actions. Sometimes pointing the way to God is as simple as doing things without complaining
. One thing is for sure, others are watching. We are the light of the world whether we want to shine or not.
Salvation brings transformation and a Christian who has no good works to show for their transformation isn’t a very good witness. The Bible is very clear that works don’t save us
from God’s wrath and reconcile us to Him. Only Jesus’ work on the cross can do that. It’s equally clear, though, that we’re supposed to do good works. We’re created with a purpose
and given a mission, to point others to the Father by shining the light He’s put within us.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
All throughout God’s Word, there are contrasts between light and darkness. Again and again the metaphor of light is used to speak about God, especially when it comes to Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we learn that He is “the light of men,(John 1:4)” the “true light, (John 1:9)” and that “darkness has not overcome” (John 1:5) this light.
The thing that should be noted is that Jesus is not A light, He’s THE light. He’s not just light, He’s the light that overcomes the darkness. The darkness stands no chance.
Any earthly analogy actually fails to fully represent Jesus, so you can just imagine that light isn’t even a good enough description to help us understand Him. Something far greater than what we know light to be is really what He is, but we can’t comprehend that.
Take note, Jesus said that whoever follows Him will have the light of life. He didn’t say we’d experience it or that we’d see it, but that we’d have it as our own. If you’re His, He’s yours and there’s no separating you from the light. The darkness can’t prevail. Victory has already been won. The light wins.