Matthew 5.14-15 cont.
14 You are the light of the world. It is not possible for a city situated on the top of a mountain to be hidden.
15 Neither do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but put it on a lampstand so that it gives light to everyone in the house.
When I worked at Desborough railway station in the early 1960’s one of my jobs was to light all the gas lights on the platforms (we had no electricity). For these gas lights to work effectively they had a very fragile mantle (a covering that enabled the flame to spread evenly to give increased light), through which the gas came and when lit, the mantle gave a reasonably good light.
In order for the followers of Jesus to be the light of the world we must be lit up so that we can shine.
The Jews understood that as a nation they were the light to the Gentiles (the nations). This is prophesied in Isaiah:
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to Me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring My salvation to the ends of the earth” – Isaiah 46.6 (NLT).
It is clear that it is God who was to make the Jewish nation a light to the Gentiles; and when Jesus came He came as the Light of the world (Jew & Gentile).
The great commission of Jesus to His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples is the commission to be the light of the world. It was Jesus who ignited the disciples to go into the whole world.
Most of us do not have to think very much about switching on a light, we just go to the light switch. Most of the signal boxes that I worked in during the 1960’s were lit by paraffin lamps. This required the wicks to be trimmed, and the vessel to be filled with paraffin, and the chimney to be cleaned. A lot of preparation went into having a good light by which to work.
Jesus calls for us to be the light of the world and it is also a call for us to make sure that we have the oil of the Holy Spirit within us; it requires us to trim away the works of sin that can form a crust over our life and so prevent the light of Jesus shining through us; it requires us to live in purity so that the righteousness of Jesus shines through us.