In John 8:12 Jesus calls Himself the light of the world. By the reason of our belief, we have been born again (born of the Spirit) into the family of Christ. This means we have the very nature of Christ (John 1:12-13). So long as you believe in the finished work of Christ, that is, so long as you believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ you are called the light of the world. Jesus Himself says this in Matthew 5:14. Therefore, just as Christ is the Light, we are also the light of the world.
But what does it really mean to be the light of the world?
Well, as we all know, light shines. In fact, it illuminates (to brighten up a place or thing). Wherever there is light, darkness vanishes. Even the tiniest of lights E.g your phone’s torch would expel a great deal of darkness.
Light signifies hope. I stay in the school hostel and at times, there arise issues with our power plant so power supply is affected. This experience could be very destabilizing. Sometimes, I would not know what to read, other times, I lose interest in reading for that day. However, if power is restored and the light comes back on, I feel a certain burst of hope and zeal. Even in the secular world, light is used to represent hope…ever heard of the slang “love and light”?
You are 5 times more likely to fall down the stairs or miss your way, when you walk in darkness. But, in the presence of light, you are guided. You would know when you’re approaching a pillar or when you still have one more step ahead of you, because Light facilitates direction.
This is what Jesus was implying when He called us the light of the world. Jesus was telling us we ought to be a threat (not an empty one) to the kingdom of darkness. Darkness should never thrive wherever we are. When I say darkness, I mean things associated with the devil (sin, sickness, pain, sorrow, etc). Take a look at the Apostles, they lived as light, casting out darkness wherever they went. Demons and sicknesses couldn’t stand them because darkness can never comprehend light (Acts 3:1-10; Acts 5:12-16; John 1:5). Half of the New Testament contains letters written by the Apostles addressing one sin or the other. They weren’t going to let sin thrive, not on their watch!
Jesus was pointing it out to us that we are the hope of the world. As carriers of the truth, we can bring hope to people by letting them in on this truth. Little wonder why the Scripture says all of creation is eagerly awaiting the manifestations of the sons of God. All of creation looks unto us, the light, for hope (Romans 8:19-21). Jesus Himself is hope for the world. When we lost our way with God, Jesus came and brought us the hope of salvation. As witnesses of this great miracle, we carry that hope as well. The more we tell people of the gospel (good news), the more we spread hope.
Like two peas of a pod, bringing hope to others and directing them to The Way are always together. Who is this way? Jesus Himself (John 14:6). Even in situations such as disappointment, while bringing hope to such people, we can always let them know that our confidence lies in no other than Christ Jesus. The Apostles were very fond letting their messages point towards Jesus. They were simply showing the world the direction to go. As the light of the world, you must strive to align the world to the right direction. Matter of fact, we cannot successfully bring hope to the world without telling it about Jesus.
This is what it means to represent Christ as the light. To represent The Light, you must be a light. Among your little group of friends can you be singled out as the hope-bringer or are you always having a pessimistic view to life? Do your words and even action bring hope to others? Do you make your space a sin-safe space or people would rather do what is wrong in your absence? Does sickness perish or flourish wherever you are? Are you quietly watching people go astray? These are some questions to get you thinking and to evaluate whether you are truly living as the light of the world that you are, or not.
This is not to say explicitly that if you have not been living as the light of the world you are not yet saved. Rather, this is a wake-up call to as many of us that have been living this way, that we have a lot of renewing of the mind to do (Romans 12:2). All you have to do is keep studying the Scriptures until you are filled with the light therein to know exactly what it means to be the light of the world and also ask that the Holy Spirit enable you to live such way.
Remember, “you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:14-16