“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus encouraged us in our seasoning as He said we are the salt of the earth. What must we do? We take the Word and the Gospel forth to the ears and hearts of men and women, young and old. The Good News of Jesus Christ is as salt. Acts 2:37 teaches us that it reaches the depths of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that the Word cuts, penetrates, and is powerful. Like salt, it preserves. Matthew Henry interestingly points to Numbers 18:19 and how an everlasting covenant is called a covenant of salt. Why? God’s promises have a permanent nature, similar to salt which can’t be burned. The Gospel is an everlasting Gospel. We must be seasoned by the Gospel and the salt of grace.
There’s another important truth about us that Jesus impresses to us – one that we need to remind ourselves of daily. Not only does Jesus say we are the salt of the earth, but He also calls us the light of the world. We stand out, we’re noticed as being the light of the world, by being different from, and in contrast with, the world, as light is in stark contrast with darkness as it shines. Christ has graciously and wonderfully made us to be light-bearers (Ephesians 2:15) of His, Who is the Light of the world (John 8:12).
Notice how our Lord uses two illustrations to press home what is true of lights to help us better understand the task and mission He calls us to. Both of them focus on the foolishness of any attempts to hide that which is designed to shine and be seen by others. First, Jesus points us to the city on a hill. There’s nothing that blocks or covers the view of that city because it’s on the high ground. Everyone can see it, from all sides. That, in part, is the grand purpose of it’s hilltop location. It’s meant to be seen and influence those who gaze upon it and live in it. In His second illustration, Jesus makes a similar point of lamp light. It’s meant to shine for all to see. So, why would someone put it under a basket? That would be pointless and a royal waste of the lamp’s purpose.
Though this is true of light, this is also the challenge and struggle for us as believers. We wrestle with consistently shining the light of Christ to one another and the world. In the day to day, we wrestle with our witness being dim, like it’s under a basket. However, Jesus calls us to keep any such baskets, anything that would hinder us, or anything that would seek to shroud our shining off and away. In verse 16, His call and command to let our light shine points us to two connected results – that men and women will see our good works, and give all glory to our heavenly Father.
Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We have a God-given evangelistic desire that, by the grace of God, there would be great Gospel impact on the hearts of many who hear our words, whose hearts are illumined to hear the Word, who see the witness of our walk, the good works the Holy Spirit is bringing about in us and give glory to God. It’s not about us receiving the glory, as tempting as we find that often is. The glory of God is the great thing we must have in our minds and aim at in every thing we do. We must not only seek to glorify God ourselves, but we must do all we can to bring others to glorify Him. Let your light shine brightly this week, my friends!
God bless you, loved ones.