In Matthew 5:14 Jesus tells us, you are the light of the world. But what is the meaning of this scripture? And how can we be the light in the darkness of the world? In this Matthew 5 devotional, we’ll explore this Bible verse and answer these important questions about it.
What does the Bible mean by you are the light of the world?
Let’s read this light of the world scripture and find the meaning of Matthew 5:14 together…
You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Have you seen the commercial on TV for Bring Your Bible to School Day? It shows a group of teenagers wearing a bushel basket on their heads as they go about their day. It’s funny and a little bit silly too, but it conveys the message clearly… our bright light cannot shine when it is hidden under a bushel.
Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads. Maybe we’re afraid of what people will think of us if we share our faith with them. Or we mistakenly assume everyone has already heard the good news of Jesus.
Satan would like for us to believe these lies and keep our faith to ourselves.
But Jesus has called Christians, the children of God, to be the light of the world and to put our light on a lampstand for everyone to see.
It’s our job to reflect the glowing light of Jesus and to be bold enough to take the basket off of our heads and let our light shine brightly.
Because the truth is…
Jesus is the light of the world
God gave us the sun to shine light into the darkness. He created this heavenly body to illuminate the earth and separate day from night.
Then God gave us His only Son, or should I say Sun, to illuminate sin and separate us from it.
Jesus is the light of the world. And He came into the darkness to give us His glorious light. When He shines His light into all the dark places of this earth, He gives us more than just a little light, He gives us life!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The truth is, without sunshine nothing survives. All of nature needs some sunshine to live and grow.
And we need Sunshine to survive everything the world throws at us too. So, we need Jesus, the light of the world in our lives. Because we want to not only survive but bloom into the person God wants us to be.
With His light, Jesus gives us eternal life and all we need to thrive in a dark world to live for Him.
You are the light of the world
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:-10 ESV
Christians reflect the light of Jesus.
That means it’s not our light that illuminates the darkness of this world. It’s God’s light that shines bright. The glory of God radiates through the Son of God, our Savior, Jesus Christ. And His glorious light should shine through us for everyone to see.
One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes reminds us to let your let shine bright…
Don’t shine so others can see you, shine so that through you others can see Him. CS Lewis
This is our call as Christians, to be the light of the Lord in a dark world. And to shine bright so others can see Jesus in us and have His light in their lives too.
How do we become light to others?
When we shine for Jesus, we become the light of the world. And these three things happen in our live and in other people’s live too…
#1 Opportunities to share our faith open up.
How can someone ask us about God’s truth and our faith in Jesus if they don’t know we have it to begin with?
When people see us, they can tell there is something different about our lives. And they want to know what that difference is.
With each person, we meet, and with every question they ask, God gives us an open door or a new opportunity for us to share our faith.
A seemingly chance encounter in the grocery store checkout line or a random meeting at the DMV just might be the perfect time for us to share our faith with someone who needs the light of Christ in their lives.
My pastor likes to call these “chance” encounters divine appointments. God loves to give them to us, especially when we least expect them.
So, let’s be on the lookout for our next divine appointment and take every opportunity God gives us to let our light so shine before men.
#2 We show the path to Jesus.
A lighthouse points the way to safety. It stands tall and shines brightly to keep a ship from crashing into the shore.
And just like a lighthouse, we point the way to safety. Our light stands tall above the darkness of this world and shows the path to Jesus.
It is a shining beacon of hope that keeps the unsaved of the world from crashing and burning into the despair of Satan’s lies and guides them into the loving arms of the Savior.
And this is what Jesus meant when He said a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
In the darkest of nights, we stand tall on the hill of faith and shine the way to salvation!
#3 We give God the glory!
Most importantly our light gives God the glory for what He has done, for us, and for everyone else.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be raised again to save us!
And our lives are changed forever because of it. We no longer live in guilt and shame because we have been forgiven.
By letting our light shine, we are showing the world what Jesus has done for us and for them. And we give God the glory that rightfully belongs to Him for it all.
Light of the Knowledge of God
The metaphor of light continues in this scripture from the Holy Bible…
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 New Living Translation
This scripture isn’t talking about the physical light of a light bulb that can be switched on and off in a room. It’s referring to the true light of the world, the great light that God switched on in our hearts when we first believed in His Son, Jesus Christ. In that moment we saw the light for the first time. And it can never be turned off once it is on. It is the light of God that was turned on at the beginning of creation and continues to shine today.
Be the Light
The world at large wants the light of the gospel to remain hidden. I guess it’s natural for unsaved people to not care about the light of truth shining through. Or not to want the daily lives of people to change for the better. They just don’t understand, because they haven’t seen the light for themselves.
However, in stark contrast to the world’s view, we as Christians should strive to extinguish spiritual darkness. But the only way for the glory of God to be revealed here on earth is to shine the light of God’s love so bright they won’t be able to ignore it!
In these next Bible Verses, we learn how we can be the light in a darkened world. John’s gospel in particular sheds light on the truth of God’s Word, His Living Word, Jesus Christ. And how by walking in Him we can be the source of light the world needs.
After all, Jesus died for the sins of the world. It’s by His saving grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that we have forgiveness of sins. And the rest of the world can have it too!
So, let’s learn how to be the light…
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12 New King James Version
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:4 NKJV
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.
John 12:36 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
Psalm 44:3 ESV
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2 ESV
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 ESV
holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:16 ESV
As we can clearly see in these Bible verses, Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope. As a follower of Jesus, we point the way to Him by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see. And His light cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view.
So, let’s get out of the safety of our Sunday morning comfort zone and take a chance on being the light and shining so others can see the Lord Jesus Christ today!
I pray we will be the light of the world and give glory to God for what He has done in our lives.
May God bless you!
Printable Bible Verse Art from Master’s Hand Collection
More Bible Studies from Master’s Hand Collection
6 Older Comments.
I definitely believe in divine encounters! It has happened to me numerous times.
May the Lord daily give us courage to let our light shine in the dark world around us instead of our trying to hide it under a bushel.
Thanks for this great reminder!
Connie from Master’s Hand Collection
Hi Ruth! Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m saying a prayer for you today. May God bless you and give us all the courage to be the light of the world!
so true – how can someone ask me if they don’t know i am a woman of faith? super reminder and praying today I’ll shine and that someone will ask. Light to shine. Invited to invite.
Thanks Sue, Praying for you today that your light will shine bright. God bless!
Connie, I love your ministry! Very original!
You wrote, “Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads.”
Yep. I can definitely relate to this. It’s a shame, but it’s true.
I believe in divine encounters, and I truly try to view every “chance encounter” as a divine encounter. We never know how we may impact another in our day to day life!
Hi Rachel, Thank you for your kind words. They have uplifted me and encouraged my heart today! I’m saying a prayer for you, that you will also be encouraged.