“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket, rather they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Nights could be dark during Jesus’ time when there was no electric or solar lights to light up the house. Night meant night, complete darkness apart from the fire or oil lamps. I remember during my school days, my mom made sure that I completed my work related to my studies before night because our house did not have an electricity connection. Morning and evenings were my study time making use of the daylight and during the night we used lanterns and candles, making sure that they were kept on a higher stand to light the whole room as we sat and chatted.
Such practical examples and very near to the regular life of the people, that Jesus used to teach the people. The purpose of the lamp was to light the room and make the people in that room see what was happening, and see their path as they move about doing their household work. It would be most idiotic to keep the lighted lamp under the table or in a corner unless you are hiding from the pursuer and your life is under threat. Light cannot be hidden, it can be seen from far, just as the lighthouse leads the seafarers in the right direction.
Jesus said, I am the light of the world (John 9:5), and as his followers, we are supposed to be like Jesus, the light of the world. As light bearers and light for the world, we are to demonstrate Christlike characters, living and directing people on the right path. Our goodness should be made visible to the world, fulfilling God’s desires for us by doing good works. Shining as the light shines in the dark room doesn’t mean shining for ourselves, our selfish fame and glory but we are to be the light that guides and shows the right path to the world.
God, we thank you for the Son Jesus Christ the light of the world. Help us to be the beacon of hope for those who are lost unable to see the path ahead, to see the ones that are hurt, struggling and being victimized by the system of the world. Help us to be the bearers of your light and light up their world and let them see your presence in their life situations. Amen
Dr Bendanglemla Longkumer, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at Pacific Theological College in Fiji Islands, South Pacific