It weirded me out the first time I realized it. I was familiar with the concept of Jesus being “the light of the world,” but I was less familiar with the Bible passage that identified Christians as “the light of the world.” But sure enough, there it was, staring me in the face the whole time. And what is it that makes Christians light?
Good works. Good works. Good works.
I doubly reiterate this because I grow tired of a Christianity that doesn’t value works and thinks it has nothing to do with our faith. I triply reiterate it because I’m insulted at how much Christians argue against good works in all of their forms, especially in politics. “They want to take care of the poor? What is this communism?”
No. It’s Jesus.
We want our light to shine via apologetical evangelistic conversations where we argue someone into a corner about God. I’ve seen all the YouTube titles: “Angry Skeptic tries to challenge Christian apologist and instantly regrets it!” or “Atheist debunked by pastor!” Such titles frame Jesus as fist-pumping and kicking his leg up in the air saying, “Booyah losers! Have a little light of the world in your face!”
Instead of this, how about we be light in the way Jesus said? “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Pretty simple really. Do good works and people will suddenly catch a glimpse of another kingdom breaking through into this one, where good works are a standard expectation and people love one another. Do good works as individual Christians. Do good works as collective churches.
Indeed, in the book of Revelation, churches are pictured as lamp stands. And Jesus specifically tells these churches that if they don’t do works, he will take their lamp stands from them. No works, no lamp. No lamp, no light. What then is left?
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 5:11-16 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.