Tag Archives: enlightenment

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14.

But, wait a minute! I thought Jesus said that He is the light of the world. Yes, He did.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

What is this light He’s talking about? Jesus isn’t talking about a literal light, like a flashlight or a street light. He’s talking about showing people the right way to live so that they “walk” in the right direction, i.e., towards God and eternal life. He’s talking about enlightenment – helping people to understand how God wants us to live by watching Him. When we live God’s way, we are at peace with God and with people, and also with ourselves.

If Jesus is the light of the world, how can we also be the light of the world? Jesus is the source of the light and we are the reflection of the light. The sun is the source of light for the earth, and the moon reflects that light, shining at night to give light to the earth. When we follow Jesus and do what He did, we reflect Him and shine His light where we are.

 “A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16.

It is silly to hide a light when it has been switched on or a lamp when it is lit. Why would we want to do that? Again it sounds as though Jesus is contradicting Himself. He told His disciples not to parade their good works in front of people.

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 6:1.

Jesus is not talking about being generous but about the reason for doing good works? Are you being kind to be people because you want to be known as a good person or because you want to please your heavenly Father? If it’s to please people, that’s all the reward you will get.

At the same time, it is impossible to be kind to people and not to be noticed. The word Jesus used for a city can also mean a battle. A battle took place when Jesus was “lifted up”, an alternative meaning for “a hill”. What was the battle that Jesus fought and won when He was lifted up on the cross? He won the battle to redeem us from slavery to sin so that we can be restored to God’s family as His sons and daughters. He has given us His nature – gracious, compassionate, and merciful – so that we can treat people like He does, with love, generosity and kindness.

That’s not the way the people in the world behave. Sin makes people greedy and selfish which leads them to do all kinds of terrible things to one another. Jesus died to save us from destroying ourselves through being selfish and greedy and to give us new hearts that are full of love for Him and for people.

When we live like that, we are the light that reflects His light and the people around us cannot help noticing that we are different. They also cannot help realising that we cannot change ourselves. Only God can change our hearts. When we show love and kindness to other people, God gets the glory because He did it through us.

Now that’s what a true disciple is – someone who reflects Jesus’ light by following Him and doing what He does!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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It’s A Dark Night

IT’S A DARK NIGHT

“Jesus spoke to those who had come — high priests, Temple police, religious leaders. ’What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I’ve been with you in the Temple and you’ve not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way — it’s a dark night, a dark hour.'” Luke 22:51-53 (The Message).

Darkness…night! It’s amazing what people will do under cover of darkness that they will not do in the daylight! What is there about darkness that affects the way we think? Darkness in the Bible means much more than the absence of light. The theme of darkness is introduced in the first chapter of the Bible and is carried through to the last book.

Before God stepped in to restore the earth after He had created it, it was shrouded in darkness. Even the light of His presence did not penetrate the darkness until He took positive action. Why was that? Lucifer and a third of the angels tried to dethrone God and take over His role as God, but God threw them out of heaven down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9). The darkness over the earth was symbolic of the moral darkness that the presence of Satan brought.

What did God do? His first words to rectify the situation were: “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 (NIV). But there is a problem. According to the Genesis account, He created the heavenly bodies on the fourth day. What was this light that shone on the earth on the first day?

John gives us the answer. “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…The light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him….The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” John 1:3-5, 9-10, 14a (NIV).

Just as God had confined Satan’s sphere of influence to the earth, so He assigned the earth to His Son before He began the work of restoration, to exercise His divine power and influence to win His erring sons and daughters back to Himself.

Darkness symbolises the state of mind that the devil’s deception brings. Satan is both deceived and the deceiver. Jesus called him “a murderer and the father of lies” (John 8:44). When human beings follow his lying suggestions, they lose their ability to think rationally and logically and are in a state of “darkness”. Moral darkness obscures the light of truth just as physical darkness hides people’s evil deeds.

There is no such thing as a battle between light and darkness. Wherever the light shines, darkness is dispelled. They cannot co-exist. Jesus is the light that brings light to every person who is born into the world, but those who receive Him are “enlightened” with the truth that God exists, that He is good and that He is in charge, not the devil.

Men are accountable to God and He has provided mercy and forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Every other philosophy and religion is a hoax to keep people in the darkness of deception that leads away from God to destruction.

Jesus and His opponents were entering the darkest hour in human history. Not even the holocaust can eclipse what men did to God on that day. Although His warning went unheeded, it had to be, and it happened because of the depth of the darkness that held those captive who wanted Him dead.

Jesus said to them, “This is your hour — when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53b (NIV). Darkness did not triumph over light; it only hid the light for a few hours but the rejoicing that men’s darkness brought in hell was premature and short-lived. It was temporary, for an “hour”. Three days afterwards, the light erupted from the tomb and lived again, and His light continues to shine on the earth and in the hearts of those who believe in him!