Why Did Jesus Call Us the Light of the World? - The Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 12

Jesus immediately followed the Beatitudes, His explanation of Christ-like character, with four metaphors that show us how to live out that character. He taught: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, 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.” Matthew 5:13-16


This second metaphor literally means, “You and you alone are the light of the world.” When Jesus wept over those multitudes, the thing that moved Him to compassion more than anything else was that they were like sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36) They did not know their right hand from their left. They had no light. Just as the disciples were the only salt that could give or preserve life, they are the only source of light for the multitude.

When Jesus commands, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” He knows they will realize that He must have lighted your candle because you could never be and do what they observe in your life. (Matthew 5:16)

It is God’s plan to proclaim His Kingdom through us! The only light this world has will come from His disciples. As the salt cannot influence the world while it is in a saltshaker, we must go out where it is dark, and let the light that we are by the grace of God, shine into that darkness. If you are the only believer in your family, workplace, neighborhood, village, or university, remember that a candle in darkness has more value than one candle among fifty on an elaborate chandelier. If you are the only believer you know that means you are strategically placed in the darkness and that you and you alone are the light of the world for those who know you. We are here to help you and support you, but please, go and shine for Jesus!


In what ways is your life different from the lives of those who do not know Jesus?

Take a moment to pray, thanking God for the opportunities He has given you to be light in the darkness. Ask Him to help you shine as brightly as you can and to bear much fruit


This post is adapted from a lesson of the Mini Bible College, an online study of the whole Bible. We highly recommend their audio resources and written materials, available in many languages, to anyone who wants a stronger understanding of the Bible.