The Light of the World: As the World Gets Darker, the Church Must Shine Brighter!

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Purpose & Identity

Discover Your Spiritual Identity!

The Revelation of the Names and Titles God Has Given His People

“You are THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14, MEV, emphasis added).

Jesus had just shared the Beatitudes with His disciples, challenging them to be poor in spirit, repentant, meek, righteous, merciful, pure-hearted and carriers of the peace of God in a strife-filled world. Then He prophesied, “You are the light of the world.” The context is important because only people of godly character can truly fulfill this calling.

Notice He did not say, “You should be” or “You have the potential.” Rather, He said, “You ARE the light of the world!”— because they did not choose this task for themselves; He chose them and ordained them to walk in it.

The disciples had only been with Him a short time. They had not yet been born again so they could hardly comprehend the largeness of the destiny unfolding before them. If the Messiah had said “You are the light of Jerusalem,” it would have been easier to believe. But He said, “the world.” I can almost imagine them shaking their heads in doubt-filled amazement as they discussed among themselves.

How could this be? They were just common, uneducated men with limited means. How could they ever hope to have worldwide impact? But the Son of God’s words surely echoed in their hearts and minds, causing them to feel the heavy weight of this sacred charge that He would later empower them to fulfill.

The Two Times Jesus Claimed This Status for Himself

Not long after His Beatitude message, Jesus demonstrated this calling to be “light of the world” — on two separate occasions.

The first time, an angry mob of Jews threw a distressed, disheveled woman at Jesus’ feet, claiming she had just been caught in the act of adultery. They were strict legalists — fiercely religious people who, like a pack of predator wolves, prowled the streets of their cities, ready to “pounce” on the weak and the erring.

Jesus knelt next to her trembling frame, feeling her pain and remorse. He wrote on the ground. Then the same voice that said, “Let there be light” in the beginning “divided the light from the darkness” once again, saying:

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

The darkness of pride, anger and judgmental, hyper-religious attitudes had to flee. The light of love, righteousness, truth, forgiveness and reconciliation shone forth brightly as He warmly spoke, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Then the defining moment arrived. He gazed at the stymied onlookers and boldly announced:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

What a magnificent declaration! As the light of heaven spilled over into this gloomy, physical world, it illuminated the consciences of judgmental people with the mercy of God and caused them to drop their stones. It flooded the hearts of the disciples with courage to be different by showing them the power of love. And it radiated hope to a broken woman in deep despair. Yes, all who witnessed that event were “enlightened” in one way or another. And the light that emanated from that single event on the Mount of Olives is shining still — nearly two thousand years later — lighting up a shadowy and guilt-ridden world with the kindness of God.

The Man Born Blind

In the very next chapter, in a continuation of the revelation, Jesus passed by a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). The Son of God responded:

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But it happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

In one short sentence, the Messiah shined the light of God on a question that has always plagued the minds of human beings for millennia — the reason for human suffering. Then Jesus announced:

. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5, NKJV).

An extremely important element is revealed in this statement. Jesus filled this vital role while He was here in this realm. But as soon as He ascended, the torch passed to us. Now, it is our turn to shine. His instructions were simple, “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13, KJV). So go out today into this dark world, withstand the prince of darkness and drive out the works of darkness wherever you find them.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

To explore this wonderful subject more deeply, listen to the episode on Mike Shreve’s weekly podcast called, “Discover Your Spiritual Identity.” Watch a TV presentation on our calling to be “the Salt of the Earth” on Mike Shreve’s YouTube channel. {eoa}

A product of the Jesus Movement Era, Mike Shreve has traveled evangelistically in the United States and overseas since 1970 with an emphasis on healing and the prophetic. His primary biblical teaching for over 35 years has been the spiritual identity of believers. This powerful insight is featured on his weekly podcast on cpnshows.com and his TV program — both titled Discover Your Spiritual Identity. It is also the theme of his Charisma House book titled WHO AM I? Dynamic Declarations of Who You Are in Christ. The first three categories on his YouTube website expand on this amazing revelation: YouTube.com/mikeshreveministries.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

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