The Light of the World

Yesterday, we spoke about being the salt of the earth. Today I'd like to explore our being the light of the world.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

In this passage, Jesus is telling the believers, "You are the light of the world." But how is that possible? In John 8:12, Jesus says that He is the light of the world. Is this a contradiction? Absolutely not, for there are no contradictions in the Bible. As believers, Christ lives in us; therefore, we have been made the light of the world because we each contain that light within us. It's a little confusing I know, but think about the light fixtures in your home. The fixtures themselves contain no light. It is the bulbs that contain the light. However, once we place the bulb inside the fixture, we refer to the entire thing as "the light." The same is true with us when Jesus came into our lives.

The admonition Jesus gives during this sermon on the mount is to make sure that our lights are shining brightly. After all, the purpose of a light is to illuminate or show the way. Have you ever had a flashlight with a weak bulb or battery? It wasn't worth much, was it? It didn't help you to see your way. Weak Christians are the same way. Our purpose in life is to point others to Jesus, but if our light is not shining brightly, others won't be able to see the way.

I am reminded of a story about a naval officer who worked his way up the ranks and was finally promoted to captain and given command of a battleship. While on maneuvers in the Atlantic, during an extremely dark and foggy night, the officer on deck strained his eyes, focusing into the distance to spot any oncoming threats. To his dread, he spotted a light ahead on a collision course. He quickly alerted the captain.

Seeing the threat, the captain gave the order to signal the oncoming ship to bear ten degrees starboard. To his dismay, the ship didn't move, but instead sent a signal for the battleship to bear ten degrees starboard. Needless to say, the captain was livid.

He quickly ordered his officer to signal the ship again. This time, he told him to tell the ship that the captain of the ship is ordering him to bear ten degrees starboard. To his utter frustration, again, the ship did not move. Instead, they received a reply that said, "With all due respect, Captain, I am a Seaman First Class, and I order you to immediately alter your course."

By this point the captain was embarrassed, insulted, and angry beyond belief. Once again, he ordered a signal to be sent. This signal contained the message, "You have one last chance. Bear ten degrees starboard. That is an order. I am a captain, and this is a battleship."

The reply came quickly. "Captain, I strongly advise you to alter your course. You may be a battleship, but I am a lighthouse." The battleship quickly changed its course.

As Christians, we should be like the lighthouse, unmoving and firm in our faith. Though the world may try to get us to alter our course, we must remain faithful, standing true and allowing our light to shine in order to lead others to safety.