March 10, 2012: The Seventeenth Day of Lent
March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5.14-16 ~
Christ makes another comparison regarding his disciples and their place in the world. Here, he calls them “light.” The concept of light had powerful associations with the nation of Israel. The idea of light would have brought to mind God and his angelic servants, who were clothed with God’s light. Because of their relationship with God, the people of Israel would have lived in God’s light. Christ’s reference to a city on a hill would have brought to mind images of Jerusalem, the holy city, covered in God’s light as a beacon to the rest of the world; we see one such image in Isaiah 60. The association of God and light would not have unfamiliar to Jesus’ audience; but Jesus takes it one step further when he calls his disciples light. Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven bear the light of the King wherever they go.
Christ makes the point that a lamp is to be put in a place where it can shine and illumine freely; the idea of putting a lamp under a basket would have sounded just as foolish as wrapping duct tape around light bulbs. Christ makes his point clear: a lamp is meant to give light. This is how Christ’s disciples should live in the world: like bright lights, shining unobstructed.
Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are meant to do good works; this is how one “shines light.” However, Christ also speaks of the purpose of good works. Such actions point back to God himself. As disciples of Christ, we do not perform good deeds for our own reputations or benefit. Rather, our actions as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven reflect back upon the King himself.
Do you see yourself as light? What holds you back from viewing yourself in this way? If you have embraced this understanding, how are you “shining?” Christ states that the purpose of carrying light is to bring it to others so that they give God glory. Today, look for ways to let God’s light shine through you.
Lord Christ, shining isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, I do want to bring your light to the world. Please help me to live as your servant, blessing others with your love and grace. Please don’t let my own selfish motives get in the way, but let all my actions point back to you. Amen.