nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [matthew 5:15-16]
so much of scripture speaks of light. light isn’t a metaphor for what Jesus is like–Jesus IS light. light only exists in order for us to know more about who Jesus is.
again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “i am the light of the world. whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [john 8:12]
he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. [hebrews 1:3a]
of course, there is Light (Jesus) and there is light (the light that comes from the sun, a candle, a lamp, a lightbulb) in his first act of creation, God creates light (the light that we see with our physical eyes–God creates through Christ and for Christ–Christ is not a created being!), and then creates the heavenly bodies we know…but those are just the representations of an ultimate reality–light given to us by the sun and the stars will pass away–but the true Light, Christ, will never pass away!
and the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. by its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. [revelation 21:23-25]
they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. and night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. [revelation 22:4-5]
so if Christ is light–what does it mean to let our light shine before others? we have no light in and of ourselves, we let our light shine by reflecting Jesus the way that the moon reflects the sun–the moon has none of its own light, it simply acts as a reflector–if we are Christ’s, we are ambassadors, we are reflectors of Gods glory.
as reflectors of Christ’s glory, people should see and say–”why do you act so differently, so loving, so kind, generous, so joyful, even, especially in suffering and persecution? what is this light that shines off of you, what is it all about?” in that moment we can steal God’s glory and hide our lamp under a basket by pointing to ourselves or shrinking back from the Gospel, or we can proclaim the excellencies at Christ and point back to the source, the Light, Jesus our substitute, our sacrificial Lamb and say “Jesus is all i have!–look at HIM! look at HIM! Behold HIM!”
o soul are you weary and troubled
no light in the darkness you see
there’s light for a look at the Savior
and life more abundant and free
turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in his wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of his glory and grace
[the heavenly vision/lemmel]
~ conor eastman