Our state of Colorado purportedly averages 300 sunny days per year. Studies have shown that availability of sunshine has more impact on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor. No wonder I became more positive after moving here!
Light affects the core of our being. So, when Jesus said to us, his disciples, “You are the light of the world….”, Matthew 5:14, it’s worth a deep dive into what he meant.
Light and darkness are the first contrasting elements mentioned in the book of Beginnings (Genesis).
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:1-4 NIV
The first thing I see in this account is that light is “good”. When God said “let there be light” that culminated with light separating from darkness, it implies that light invades, permeates and dominates. Could permeation be the main quality of light? Here’s a partial list of the benefits of light:
- Without illumination we can’t see at all nor can we see colors.
- Light is the sole source of food generation for all living organisms on earth.
- Sunlight provides the best source of vitamin D which is necessary for healthy bodily functions.
- The temperature of the earth would drop drastically without sunlight.
- Circadian rhythm from everyday light keeps plants and animals synchronized with the time of day or night.
- Light, especially its ultraviolet component, is an excellent sterilizing agent.
- Plants grow toward the sky as they are guided by the light.
In his gospel, John identifies Jesus as creator, mirroring the above passage in Genesis. Here John contrasts the light of Jesus with darkness and proclaims that the light of Jesus wins!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 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 all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 NIV
Later in his gospel, John records Jesus identifying himself as “the light of the world”.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 ESV
A couple I know who were pursuing a “New Age” spiritual path, were challenged when her mother observed, “The light inside you is darkness“’.
After that proclamation they encountered Jesus and began to walk with him. Since then, the light of Jesus inside them has illuminated many other people.
Using the above list of the benefits of light, meditate on the affirmation that “You are the light of the world”. How does Jesus’ light inside you spiritually illuminate those in your sphere of influence and give glory to “your Father who is in heaven”? Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
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