Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
You have to ask yourself a question about this verse. “Does Jesus realize who might be listening to Him…who might be reading this statement even today?”
There were some pretty messed-up guys listening to him – then and now.
It’s a pretty bold statement, don’t you think? It rings of definitiveness and certainty…and even exclusivity – Not things that are highly prized in our present culture!
We must understand that He’s talking to those who know Him, who have met Him, and who are seeking to follow Him. And to no one else. To understand this statement we can find help by considering another reference where Jesus used basically the same words…of Himself.
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
Here some clear realities that can be discerned from these words of our Lord:
1. Jesus speaks so confidently about the ability of light…because He is the Light of the world. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus never requires of us something that He is not able to impart to us and bring forth through us. When He says, “You are the light of the world,” He is not simply giving us a command. He is defining the nature by which we’ve been reborn in Him. If you are born of Him, you have His new nature inside you. You are born of the light. It’s a statement of both present identity and future destiny and potential! In another place Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice…” A lot of us read that and think, “I’m supposed to hear His voice. I need to try harder to hear from God.” But this misses the obvious!
Jesus is not giving us more commandments to keep or piling on more duties to bear! He is making bold faith statements about His own ability to transform the lives of His kids and their subsequent ability to transform the darkness. The reason we can know His voice is not because sheep are so smart. They’re not. Actually sheep are usually referred to as being dumb!
The reason we can know His voice is because He is so awesome at getting through to those He loves and has chosen. It’s a statement of the Shepherd’s ability to speak in ways that His kids can hear!
Praise God. This requires FAITH and NOT ABILITY on our part. We must believe first…always. The blind man in John 9 had to believe first. As he did, he got all lit up by Jesus! This story is not exceptional. It is normative.
Next time we’ll continue in this flow and see why Jesus is NEVER intimidated by darkness!