“A City That is Set on a Hill Cannot Be Hid.”
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said,
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Notice some observations from this text.
Jesus is the ultimate source of light. John would record concerning Jesus as light,
In him was life; and the life was the light of men…And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. [John 1:4; 3:19-21]
Darkness stands for sin, ignorance and evil. On the other hand, light represents righteousness, knowledge and good. Even Jesus himself claimed,
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life…He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness (John 8:12; 12:44-46).
The Bible is our light. The Psalmist would write, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 119:105; 19:7-8). We come to receive our faith in God, experience the new birth, inherit spiritual immortality and enjoy light in the gospel all by the word of God. Peter explained,
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. [1 Pet. 1:22-23]
A true disciple contains the light and shines it brightly in the darkness. Paul was a light to the Gentiles (Acts 13:47). The wise man wrote, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:18-19). Just as the passage of consideration affirms, we are lights of the world (Matt. 5:14-15), walking “as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth): Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:8-11). Just as a light that does not work is useless, a Christian whose light does not shine is useless to God.
Our light will not work if we do not remain connected to the source of power. Electricity or alternate sources of power (such as batteries) are necessary for light to function—consider the many people in the last weeks without electricity in the northeast due to Hurricane Sandy. Are our lights working? Do we all have relationships with Jesus that urge us to live for him daily and shine our lights everywhere we go (cf. Gal. 2:20)? When Saul of Tarsus saw “the light,” he was baptized (Acts 22:12-16). To make the world a better place, we need to be in Christ, free from sin and shining gloriously.