When I was a child I was fascinated by the glow-in-the-dark hands on my first watch. I would expose the watch to light—either the sun or a lamp in the house—and then go into the closet in my bedroom where it was dark and marvel that I could see the time light up in the darkness. That watch took in the light it was exposed to and shone light into dark places.
Jesus claimed to be the Light of the world in John, chapter 8: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”
Light dispels darkness. Light illuminates what is hidden. Light shows the path. Light literally gives life through photosynthesis. Re-read these characteristics of life, and substitute “Jesus” for “light.”
The God of all creation took on flesh-and-blood in the life of Jesus of Nazareth to shine as light in a dark, fallen, broken world. To come to Jesus is to come to the Light. To follow Jesus is to walk in the Lighted path. To trust in Jesus is to find life in Him.
But Jesus said something shocking in Matthew, chapter 5: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.”
Jesus says we are to be salt. Salt preserves—salted meat is edible for days without refrigeration. Salt enhances flavor. I can eat sliced tomatoes or a boiled egg without salt, but the taste just isn’t the same. Through lives of love and service we preserve and bring out the flavor of what is holy in life.
Jesus tells us, “YOU are the light of the world.” But I am not God-in-the-flesh. I am not the Light of truth in a Person. I am not the Giver of Life in a human body. I am only a human being with faults and frailties. HE is the Light of the World. Not me.
Or am I?
Jesus still has a Body in the world. That Body is His Church. And the Church of Jesus Christ is US. You and me. Flesh-and-blood humans who bear the Presence of Jesus in our lives. As Jesus shines through our good deeds, people see the Light of the world! As Jesus lives in us and loves people through us, He lights the path for them to join us in following Him.
This is glorious and this is frightening.
You and I are not called to BE the Savior of the world. We are called to SHOW the Savior TO the world. Like my watch with the glow-in-the-dark hands, we are called to soak in the Light of Jesus, allow Him to transform us, and then become salt and light for others. There are no unimportant followers of Jesus. This is not just for Pastors and Missionaries. We are ALL salt and light! This is the glorious purpose for the life of every follower of Jesus.
The frightening part is that I am salt and light whether I try to be or not. Sometimes the stuff that glows from my life is not the love of Jesus. Sometimes the flavor I add to others’ lives is not the Grace of God. Sometimes I’m more focused on surviving than I am on being salt and light. Left to my own resources, I am not much salt and not much light.
But you and I are not left to our own resources. The Holy Spirit lives within us. The Presence of Jesus can shine through us beyond our own love or caring or intention. If we soak up Jesus then what runs out of the sponge of our lives when we are squeezed by the world will be the love of Jesus!
Bask in the Light to glow with the Light. That’s our call and that’s the glorious possibility for everyone who names the Name of Jesus as Savior and Lord!
I want a life that radiates Jesus. How about you?