Why Did Jesus Say We Are the Light of the World?
I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. During the dead of winter, there are several weeks where the sun skims the horizon for a mere four hours a day. If you move north to the Arctic Circle, there are days with no sunlight at all.
Can you imagine a world without light? A world where you can’t see your hand in front of your face?
A world without light is a world of terror and fear. It is a world where nothing is revealed and everything is hidden.
Jesus tells us that the world was dark before he came into it. In John 8:12 he tells us that he is the light of the world. Without Jesus the world is utter blackness.
And we are made to be the light. But before we can become the light, we need to have the light illuminate any darkness in us.
In Luke 8, Jesus talks about the lamp that comes into our lives: “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
This passage is usually misunderstood. We sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! Hide it under a bushel? No! Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”
This song picks up on Jesus’ words in Luke and tells us not to cover up our light. But the song misunderstands what Jesus is saying in Luke 8.
Jesus is saying that he is going to shine his light on us; he is not saying that we are the light that shouldn’t be covered. It is the light of Jesus that comes into our heart that we are not to cover or shield ourselves from. Why would we hide ourselves from the light? The reality is that while we are afraid of the dark, many of us are even more afraid of the light. We are like cockroaches who scurry in fear when the rays of sun pierce our comfortable hiding spots in the dark.
We want to control the light and not let the fullness of the light enter our lives. We want Jesus to come into our lives, but we only want a little light.
Are you trying to get just part of the light? Don’t protect yourself from it.
When I was ten, I had a friend of mine show me a Playboy. I was so guilty and ashamed that I didn’t tell anyone for a long time. The shame and guilt festered. This is why we can’t leave things in the dark. We need to have every part of our hearts exposed to the light. We need to confess to God and others and let the light of Jesus come.
Satan loves the dark. He loves it when we allow him to have the dark corners of our hearts. He takes these footholds and undercuts the work of Christ in our hearts.
When Moses went up to Mount Sinai and encountered God, he came down with his face shining the light of God:
“Now when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand – when he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. Exodus 34:9
When we encounter the fullness of Christ, every dark corner of our hearts are lit up. Every secret is exposed, every sin is forgiven.
When God shines his light into the corners of your heart, the light of your face will shine. We radiate the light of Christ as our hearts are illuminated.
In the Holy Place in the Temple there was a golden lampstand that signified the presence of God. Exodus 25 describes the care that God took to ensure that the “earthly temple” reflected His glory.
At Pentecost the presence of God came out to his people: the fire rested on those outside the temple. The tongues of fire described in Acts 2 described the light that brought the brightness of God’s glory to the early church. We now have the presence of Christ, the light of Jesus shines through our face.
Will you let the light of Jesus expose every dark corner of your heart? Will you let the light of Jesus shine through you? You are his light! Shine!
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