July 17 I Sunday
“You are the light of the world....let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:14, 16
Throughout the Gospel of John, we find an interesting theme. In John 8:12, Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Again, Jesus expresses, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Also, in John 12:46, Jesus announces, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” Repeatedly, Jesus emphasizes that He is, in fact, the light of the world, the perfect revelation of who God is and the true reflection of what God is like—the pure light of God.
When Jesus says to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), what does He mean? It is important to study the Sermon on the Mount through the lens of the Beatitudes, where the understanding is that as we depend on Him and the blessed state of the Father rests upon us, we will light up the world. It is like we are the lightbulb and He is the electricity; we derive our light from the essence of who He is because our Christian life flows out of our being in Christ, not just our doing for Christ. As we depend on and walk in Him, we shine His light to the world around us. Which is why in virtually all of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches, he emphasizes at the front end of his letters our position in Christ. Afterwards, he starts to address the conduct of the believer because our living flows from our being in Christ.
Out of our being with Jesus, His light shines through our good deeds and He is glorified. This is why He says, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16). Charles Price makes this observation about what Jesus is talking about: “What they see is your good deeds, and what they recognize is your Father in heaven.”
Through the gospel, we have been brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. May the world see the light of Christ and recognize the power of God at work in us through good deeds.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, may the world see the light of Christ shine through my good deeds and may You be glorified through it all. Praise You!