You are the Light of the World

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Matthew 5:14 (NKJV)

At the time that I'm writing this, I've just come home from another reviving experience of our 10 Days of Prayer during which the Scripture quoted above was mentioned.  Wow, let that passage sink in...words of Jesus spoken to disciples long ago but applicable to disciples of all ages.

Light.  Of the WORLD.  You and me?!

Maybe you feel a tinge of disbelief like I initially do when I hear and read those words, the kind of disbelief that looks to my right and then my left for the "someone else" Jesus may be talking about.  But no, this IS for me.  And it IS for you.

Let me share two simple realities tucked away in these words of Jesus that move me past unbelief and into faithfulness to Jesus' high calling.  (Disclaimer:  The following observations may look like unnecessary attention to grammar detail, but there's really something to all this. :))

You are...

1) The "You" is not just you.  In the context, Jesus is talking to a group of people.  So we're supposed to hear "you" in the plural and collective sense, not "you" in the singular and individual sense.  You all, not you alone, are the light of the world.  The "you" is not just you...it's us.  When Jesus calls you the light of the world, He's sets that high calling in the framework of team and community where there is truly strength in numbers.  The times I feel hesitant to take up the "light of the world" label, are usually the times I feel stuck by the perception that I'm doing it all on my own.  But put me alongside someone else who embraces that illuminating call or, better yet, a group who want to light up their corner of the world, and that hesitancy has much less chance to turn into paralyzing fear.

2) "You are" is a description, not a prescription.  It's stated in the indicative, not the imperative.  Did you notice that Jesus didn't say, "Be the light of the world"?  In other words, Jesus is giving us more of a promise to trust than a command to fulfill.  It's more about who He has made us and less about what we'll make of ourselves.  It's a declaration of who He has already made us, not an obligation of what have yet to do.  That's why two verses later, Jesus' concluding appeal is "let your light so shine."  It's an identity we already possess in Christ that apparently we have a hard time letting our lives make known.  So if my light isn’t shining, it’s not so much that I’m being negligent or disobedient…but that I’m really not trusting that what Jesus promised He’s able to perform (Rom. 4:21).  

There it is again.  You are...

May we embrace this life calling with less of me and more of we, less of trying and more of trusting.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Matthew 5:14 (NKJV)