The focus of this website is on the LORD Jesus’ gross and undebatable injunction, which in the (first part is ‘Salt’ , and) second part is:
“You Are the Light of the World”
The Scripture is enveloped by the imagery of light, both literally and figuratively. For in the beginning, we have the account of the physical light which springs forth as the first created thing (Genesis 1: 3 – 4); and at the end is the story of the light of God which wipes off all traces of darkness – “There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light…” (Revelation 22: 5 NKJV)
Between those two benchmarks there are about 200 appearances of the imagery of light.
The Primacy of Light
In the Bible, light is the first of all physical and the very basis of life on the earth. It is the first wonder of existence — springing from non-existence — breathtaking in its suddenness and illuminating power. Similar is the wonder of the life-transforming experience of conversion:
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4: 6 NKJV)
Physical Light in the Biblical Story
Primitive thinking begins by dividing reality into a dichotomy between light and darkness — viewed as opponents in a continual battle for dominance.
However, when light dawns, chaos or darkness is averted. It implies that light is the great antithesis and conqueror of darkness.
In essence, the physical light retains its life-giving and protective qualities throughout the Scripture. For instance, while the Egyptians were shrouded in darkness, the children of Israel had light at Goshen where they dwelt (Exodus 10: 23).
Similarly in their wilderness journey, by night they had a pillar of light to keep them warm and to illuminate their way (Exodus 13: 21).
In addition, light expresses the mystery of divine presence; for lamps were prominent, for example, in the worship prescribed for the Tabernacle (Exodus 25: 37).
Symbolic Light in the Scriptures
The symbolic references to light in the Bible outnumber the references to physical light. The references include the following:
- Light is a symbol of goodness and blessing (John 3: 20) – The calling of Christians is to “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2: 15)
- A symbol of God’s favor, and of the joy this favor brings (Psalms 97: 11)
- A symbol of truth, a revelation from God. (Psalms 43: 3)
- Also, light symbolizes God (1 John 1: 5; James 1: 17). And it takes the more specific form of representing the Messiah. (For Jesus said, “I am the light of the world…” John 8: 12)
And, once the Father God and Son are light (as the natural symbol of salvation and the new life) then the Church (as the Body of Christ) is named light. More so, having painted a composite portrait of the ideal disciple in the Beatitude, Jesus declared:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14 – 16 NKJV)
The Church as Light
Having labelled the church as light, every disciple of Christ is to live a life that characterizes light:
- to illuminate darkness, and enables people to see; and
- be a source of life.
In a simple and direct language, being light of the world implies we should —
- Speak the truth of the Gospel for people to know it (which means that we must first know and live the truth.)
- Witness to the reality of the presence of the Kingdom of God in little kindnesses in the daily life.
When applied politically, light becomes a symbol for the goodness that flows from a ruler who rules justly over his people. (2 Samuel 23: 4)
Summarily, being light (and salt) will not be carried out in dramatic or miraculous ways but accomplished in the ordinariness of life. It requires us to be alert to the stark difference between our discipleship and the world’s values and habits, and to live out the Kingdom values.
The light metaphor continues the thought (on salt metaphor) but emphasizes more directly the positive influence disciples will make in this sin-darkened world. We not only carry the light of the Gospel, but we are that light. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our life-change has produced Kingdom light in us, affecting every aspect of our being.
Therefore, to strengthen our faith and encourage one another for better witnessing, articles shall be posted here regularly.
(Please, check here regularly for updates. And your contribution is welcome – email us at email@example.com)