The words, of course, are based on the passage of scripture in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. So let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16). That’s the sermon in a nutshell: we are to be light-bearing followers of Jesus, lampstands in a dark room, not kept in a closet.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is wanting the people who follow him to be light. That may sound like an audacious claim, for isn’t Jesus the light of the world (John 1:4-13, John 8:12, John 12:46)? In John’s Gospel, Jesus is light of the world: “The light has come into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:13). But now, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.”
Does this mean that Jesus is now out of the picture?
Well, if you call yourself a Christian, no! Jesus’ light and your light come from the same source. Jesus’ calling and your calling come from God. Jesus’ mission and your mission are grounded in the kingdom. There is to be continuity between what Jesus did and what we do. Because Jesus is the Light, we can let our light shine. This is not a contradiction; rather, it is a kingdom strategy: it is a strategy to relate to others and to offer God’s love and peace.
How may we employ Jesus’ strategy in all we do? How may we serve as light and as salt wherever we are? What steps do we need to take to light up our world?
Pastor Andy Kinsey