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The Light of the World

by Michelle Wilson on July 22, 2022

Dear Friends,

As I am writing this to you, I am sitting on a rock near my tent in the cool morning air, watching the sun come up on the trees and mountains of Olympic National Park. I’m reading Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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.”

As I’ve meditated on this passage this week, I’ve felt blown away by the fact that Jesus calls us the light of the world. Isn’t he, Jesus, the one who is the light of the world? Yes! And we are what He is! It is common for Christians to point out that we “are not Jesus.” This is typically in the context of trying to help someone not feel overly responsible to save another person from themselves. But Jesus tells us the exact opposite! We are the light of the world! We are what Jesus is! We are one with Him and with the Father! Paul tells us that we are the body of Christ! If you stubbed your toe, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, that wasn’t me; that was my toe.” If someone hugs you, you wouldn’t say they merely hugged your torso. Your body is you! It doesn’t represent everything about you. But it is you! Likewise, we read in the Bible that we, in a very real way, are Jesus - or at least becoming him! We’re not the head of the body. We’re not everything Jesus is. But we are meant to be Him in this world.

We are the light of the world. In the same way that it would be wrong to light a lamp and hide it away where no one else in the house could benefit from its light, we cannot be Christians (meaning “little Christs”) and hide ourselves away, denying everyone around us the chance to see and be blessed by Jesus himself.

This passage calls us to be out in the world, letting Jesus shine through us, being a source of wisdom and blessing to everyone around us. It’s so tempting sometimes to hide under a bowl. I don’t always want to interact with other people. I don’t always want to take risks. But, as I’m looking out over the morning light splashing across the mountains, I feel deeply convicted. How could we deny the world its light? We may not be as big and bright as the sun, but we are light! Let’s get out of our bowls and up on our stands so that all around us can enjoy the goodness and love and beauty of Jesus!  This of course, means doing good out in the world, not for the sake of being seen doing good, as if this were about us, but so that those around us can benefit from the goodness of Jesus that is in us.

Here is a prayer for us this week:

Lord, help us to believe that we really are the light of the world. Help us to come out of our hiding places and shine brightly. Help us to believe that we have only to let your Spirit work good in and through us, and that, in this way, we bless the world.

Love in Christ,
Michelle

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