Dr. Stephen Phinney
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Matt. 5:14-15)
Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ & the Gospel?
As we review the original story and the setting Jesus spoke these words, we see Peter, John, and James, who were fishermen. They didn't have much of an impressive background. And Jesus is sitting there in Galilee, which is a great distance from metropolitan Rome. And all of the powers of Rome and the lively Grecian culture were shinning forth from the hillside above the Sea of Galilee, upon this nieve motley crew Jesus selected. Then Jesus says to them, Gentlemen, you are the Light of the world. Sounds simple right? In Jesus's reality, He was telling them, You're the only Light; you're the only hope. Keep in mind; they were not authentically filled with the Light (Jesus) until the day of Pentecost, which was much later in their journey in "following" the man who IS the Light of the World. Thus, His statement must have sounded puzzling.
Much later, when Paul described his commission before Agrippa and talked about his indwelling transformation in Christ on the road to Damascus, he declares that the Lord called him to free the Gentiles from the power of darkness and bring them into the Kingdom of Light. Making it known that his constant mission is to formulate the Church, the Body of Christ Jesus. His immediate goal? To open their eyes, turn them from darkness to the Light, who is Jesus, through delivering them from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive the forgiveness of their sins and the ramifications of being born into an Adamic sinful nature. Since Paul was well familiar with Jesus's words, he tells these men, "You are the light of the world."
Were these men born-again? No, not yet. Paul does exactly what Jesus did, and he introduced a profound Truth to these men who had not yet received the indwelling Light & Life of Jesus, which ultimately led them TO the Light & Life of Christ.
Who turns on a lamp and puts it under the table?
Only a fool or a confused man turns on a lamp and hides it under a table. When we say, Let your light shine, we are actually saying, Let Jesus shine through you. Light is a Person, and Light is not letting your good behavior shine forth, and it is not replicati