Verse of the Day Devotion. Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14
When Jesus came in the flesh to this world, it was to help the people here, both Jews and Gentiles, to understand the grace of God through His sacrifice in paying the penalty for all our sins. And by understanding this truth we can then accept this sacrifice that covers our sins if we believe Him and the one who sent Him. The first chapter of John lays this out beautifully. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3. He starts by declaring Jesus to have been since the beginning and existed when everything was created. In fact all that came into existence was through Him. And then we come to verse 4. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. What He is saying here is that because He came, we have access to eternal truth. When we walk into a dark room, we have no idea what is there because all we see is blackness, for there is no light. However, when we turn on the light, we then see clearly what is there. It is essentially the same idea we see in verse four above. Jesus came here to reveal the truth to all people, especially since the Jewish leadership were not.
Now there are several clues that ‘shine a light’ on who this light is. We read again in John the following. “There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light.” John 1:6-8. This could be none other than John the Baptist who came to declare that Jesus was the promised Messiah; to be a witness that Christ is this promised light. He was not the light but was a witness to the light. And this light was intended for all people. “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9. This light that reveals truth was not intended only for the Jews, but all who are in the world. But unfortunately many, including God’s people the Jews, would not know Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11. But those who believe would receive a great honor. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13. This incredible honor was the right to be adopted as sons and daughters of God.
Jesus tells them later that He will not always be the light. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5. While He is here on the earth, He is the one who shines the light of truth in this world. But who is it that will do it after His ascension? This is seen in our focus verse. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. The disciples became the light in this world after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus, knowing that His Spirit and righteousness are found in them, declares they are the light of the world, shining the light of Jesus who is the true light of the world. And since they did not live forever, this blessing has fallen on all true Christians to this day and going forward till His return. This light is the same light that shined forth from Christ. But now we are to be a reflection of this light. People when they see us must see the truth of the gospel being lived out in us. And when they see us living it out, they will be able to see their need for Jesus to provide salvation to them. For just as the moon has no light of its own, reflecting the light of the sun, so are we, true believers, to reflect the Light of Christ so that all can see this light in us. This light is proven to others by the good deeds we do in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The focus here is Christians are to maintain an obvious and credible witness to the world that shows we are true believers, faithful and true to God in all ways. And this evidence must be sincere and trustworthy regarding everything about us. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. We are to have such a love for unbelievers that we will do all we can to show the truth of the gospel by reflecting the light of Christ to all people. This is our calling. So let us go out and make it happen.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.