Monday, April 18, 2016

What did Jesus mean by, "You are the light of the world"?

In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) Jesus said, "You are the light of the world.” What does that mean, really? What did Jesus want us to get from this statement? How am I l light and why is that important?

I want to understand this.

I have a hunch that this little seven word statement might just be a massive key to understanding what it means to live as an ambassador of Christ in this world.

I have no idea how many posts this journey will produce. I’m just going to take it one day at a time and I invite you to take the journey with me.

Some initial thoughts: 
Light encourages—I remember when I was a kid, and honestly even today, darkness can sometimes be a little scary. If you want to create a spooky environment, the first thing you do is make it dark! Light pushes all that fear away. When we’re in a dark place the only thought on our mind is, “Where’s the light?” And if we find light in a dark place we're drawn toward it. There’s something hard-wired into us that says, “Light is good, darkness is bad.” 

Light illuminates—Without light we struggle to navigate. Even when we’re in a perfectly wide open and safe place, if there is no light, we’re inhibited and unsure of ourselves. But if someone turns on even just one small light, boom, all of a sudden our concerns are gone and we can walk across that room with total confidence!

Light is vibrant—Light is always moving. It’s never static. If you turn on a light in a dark place it spreads out and dispels darkness.  By the way, it's not difficult for light to dispell darkness, it's just a reality.  When light shows up--darkness must leave, period.  You'll never turn on a lamp in a dark room and hear the darkness say, "Nope, ain't gonna leave."  It just vanishes.

Light is warm—Anything that produces light, also produces warmth. Warmth breeds and encourages life. Things that have been dead or inactive all winter come alive in the Spring when the sun begins to shine!

Light IS—Darkness is nothingness. You can’t create darkness. The only way you get darkness is by shutting out the light. Light is the exact opposite. Light is something. Scientists speak of light particles and waves. Light can be created. My house if filled with devices that create it—my tv, my phone, my desk lamp that’s lighting up my keyboard so I can see to write this post, my computer monitor and on and on. Our lives are filled with light, by design, because we need it.

Light has power—every green plant depends on light. We all learned about photosynthesis in school. If we concentrate light into a tight beam called a laser, we can do amazing things with it, like brain surgery. The light of the sun can be harnessed and turned into electricity, and on and on. Light inherently possesses transformative energy and power.

I know that little list just barely scratches the surface of all that light is and does, but that’s enough to make me sit back and think, “Wow, when Jesus called us the light of the world he was saying a lot about our nature and role in this world wasn’t he?”

Until next time...