The second Similitude of Christ which followed right behind the Beatitudes was about light. In comparing His followers to a natural element He used light to get His lesson across. He stated in Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” From that time on believers understood what their witness to the world was like.
Light is something that is hard to hide. The least amount of it penetrates the darkness surrounding it. The tiniest diode in some electronic gadget will appear very luminous during the darkness of night. I am one that cannot sleep with any light on. Even when I am spending the night in a motel room the diode in the smoke alarm in the ceiling disturbs me. If I could I would cover it up to keep from being bothered by it.
Spiritual speaking many who are outside the religious realm would like to cover our Christian light over so that they are not bothered by our witness. They are trying very hard to do this today at an alarming rate. This is bad, but it is not any worse than the timid Christian who is afraid to let his light shine. Jesus addressed this situation in the verse following our text above when He said; “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.” (Matt. 5:15). The purpose for having a light is to let it shine so we want be in darkness.
I heard a story one time about two brothers who went off to college. Their father reminded them to let their Christian light shine while away from home. After the first semester was up and they returned home for a visit their father asked them how they got along in college with their new friends. One of the boys told his father that they gave him a hard time when they found out he was a Christian. He asked the other son how he got along. His reply was that he had a fine time; no trouble at all, because he didn’t let them know that he was a Christian!
Jesus nailed it down pretty good with His command to: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (verse 16).
It is a fact that Jesus was the light of the world when He was here. He said in John 8:12 “…I am the light of the world…” And then again in John 9:5 He said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” He has left this world for the time being but He is still very much the light of the world, but only through us if we are willing to let His light of love shine through us. That is why He told us to: “Let your light so shine before men.”
Paul emphasized this important aspect of our witness when he said in Philippians 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
As children of God we automatically become lights when we come to know the Lord as our Redeemer. It is up to us to shine and how we shine. We should not try to hide our light (our witness) but let it shine to light the way for those around us. In Luke 12:35 Jesus instructed us to “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.” It is time for Christians to stand up and take Jesus seriously and be real. Our light can and will make a difference to the world.