9th June 2023

  Dr. James Merritt comments on


The Light Within

In His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus says
something that would have been strange to those who
had been following and listening to Him.
He said to the crowd "You are the light of the world."
(in Matthew 5:14,)

14  "You are like light for the whole world.
    A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
15  No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl;
    instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone
    in the house.
16  In the same way your light must shine before people,
    so that they will see the good things you do and praise your
    Father in heaven.

.....Matthew 5:14 GNB

"A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."
  Every follower of Jesus has the light of Jesus in them.
  We are to be lighthouses, not dark houses.
  We are to be like a city built on a hill.

The word "built" literally means, "to be placed or planted."
In the 1st Century, when Jesus originally said these words, they didn't
have bulldozers like we have today,
so cities were built one layer over another.

If a city was invaded and burned down and destroyed,
they would simply take down all of the rubble and use it as a foundation
and build the next city on what was previously destroyed.
Eventually, cities would be built on hills.

Whether you went to the city in the daytime, with the sunlight shining
off the white limestone of the houses, or at nighttime when the houses
were lit by candles or torches, the city could be easily seen.

That was a strange statement because earlier, as recorded in John 8:12,
Jesus had said,

"I am the light of the world.
  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,
  but will have the light of life."

First Jesus said He is the light of the world.
Now He is saying we are the light of the world.
Which is right?
They both are.

When Jesus told His followers they were the light of the world,
the light He was talking about is Him.
He is the true light of the world; but a follower of Jesus has Jesus
within him.
The light that He is, is the light that is in you and in me.

What He wants us to do is to let Him shine His light through us.
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul meant, in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
when he said that we are Christ's ambassadors.

We are the carriers of Christ's light in the world.
God is making His appeal of reconciliation through our lives
as we shine His light.

You don't have to look a certain way, have a certain degree,
or hold a certain position to be a light.
You just allow the light of Jesus that is within you to come out of you.

When you give your life to Jesus you have, in effect,
swallowed the light.
You don't only have the 'life' of Jesus in you;
you have the 'light' of Jesus in you.

It is amazing to me who Jesus was speaking to in His Sermon
on the Mount.

Where was this "Mount?"
It was in northern Galilee.
He was talking to villagers, fishermen, farmers, and wageworkers.

He wasn't speaking to the philosophers in Athens, the generals in Rome,
or the PhDs in Alexandria.

He was talking to the 'Beverly Hillbillies'.
He was speaking to Mayberry! (the fictional town in an American TV show)

Somehow, we have the idea that there are just a few people who are
the light of the world.

God's plan is to take ordinary people and send them to other
ordinary people to share an extraordinary message of light.
People need to see Christ's light through our lives so that they can
leave spiritual darkness and come into the light of God's truth and love.

You don't think you are important?
Think again.

The only hope for this world to come out of the darkness of separation
from God is if they see the light that is living within us.

I am not asking you to shine your light in someone's face all the time.
I do not mean that we should be overbearing, pushy, or obnoxious.
I simply mean in your everyday walk and your everyday talk
you should take advantage of every God-given opportunity to
let people know that the light of the world lives in you...
and you simply want to show them that light.

Dear Father,
I want the light of Christ to shine brightly in my life.
I want the fact that I follow you to be obvious to others, and
I want to be diligent about sharing that light with other people
who haven't experienced it yet.
Please give me the boldness and the opportunity to do so.
In Jesus' name,

Dr. James Merritt
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