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.
For a light to be of any use it must be visible. Lights and lamps have a number of different purposes. We are all used to traffic lights, and they are positioned so as to be seen easily.
During my time working on British Railways the majority of signals were illuminated by paraffin lights, which would shine through a different coloured glass aspect. It was important that these lights could be clearly seen at night from some distance away. This enabled engine drivers and firemen to know if it was safe for them to proceed. One of my jobs was to keep the lamps full of oil, and also to keep them clean so as to shine clearly through the coloured aspect.
Jesus used the illustration of the lamp and its visibility to show that all followers of Him must be clearly seen to be His followers.
‘Do not hide your light under a bushel (basket)’ is often quoted by people in the world. Perhaps people do not realize that it comes from the lips of Jesus. It is usually said in regards to people being open about their abilities, and not to be shy about promoting themselves.
However, Jesus does not refer to our shining our light to promote ourselves and what we can do. Instead Jesus was, and is, telling us that it is His light within us that we must not hide.
The people of this world with whom we come into contact are the very people we are to illuminate with the light of Jesus. This means that we are the light of the world to our family, our friends, our work mates. We are the light of the world, shining Jesus to everyone with whom we have contact: the receptionist at the garage, the person on the check out at the supermarket, the person on the other end of the phone who we have had to call because of something that may have gone wrong with what we may have ordered.
Whenever we have to make a complaint, also remember that we are the light of the world shining Jesus to whomever we speak.