What made Jesus the light of the world? It was not His mere words, but also His works: “The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me” (John 10:25). Jesus’ works made it manifestly clear who He is. His works shone and still shine.
What makes us as Christians the light of the world? It is not our mere words, but also our works. The works we do in Jesus’ name bear witness about us. Our outward, observable, public works make who we are and whose we are manifestly clear. And just as it was for Jesus, our works will cause some to revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on His account, and they will cause others to give glory to our heavenly Father.
What kind of good works shine like lights? This is not a difficult question to answer. It’s that the answer has demanding implications. We just need to think for a moment: What good works have others done that stand out most in our memory? Who are the people who have been most radiant with Jesus’ light? They very well may not have possessed the most prominent talents or most publicly influential platforms. But they are the people we have likely found ourselves simultaneously drawn to and unnerved by. That’s because the light of their humble love both warms our chilled hearts and exposes our selfishness and pride.
The shining people are those whose servant-hearted and sacrificial love make them literally remarkable. People talk about them. Some slander them, and others praise them. But they are ones who find God’s steadfast love better than life (Ps. 63:3), and they love others in both word and deed (1 John 3:18). Their words and deeds are sometimes tender and sometimes tough, depending on the need, because they really consider others more significant than themselves (Phil. 2:3), and their aim is to love others, not to gain others’ approval. It’s not merely what they do but why they do it and the way they do it.
If God grants me the average life expectancy of an American male, I have one-third of my life left to live. And I am asking Jesus to press me harder than ever before, to examine me fully, to search me and try me and transform me—because I want to shine more with the light of Jesus than I ever have. I don’t want merely to articulate glorious truth more accurately, but to manifest it more fully. I want to live it and to so love God and others for His sake that, whether I provoke persecution or the praise of God, my light, my city on a hill, is clearly seen.
And you? Join me! Let us press on to know the Lord (Hos. 6:3) and let our knowledge pour out in love through our mouths and hands and feet and wallets and schedules.
Let us let our light shine.