Matt 5:14-16 The Light of the World CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This passage is one of the unique passages in the Sermon on the Mount that has dual application to the Jews and to the Church. The Sermon on the Mount is doctrinally to the Jews. However, because Christians are also light in the dark world, there is an application to us, as well.
When the Lord said, “Ye are the light of the world,” he was speaking of Jews, who were the children of light (Lk 16:8). Their light was to shine so that men could see their good works and thereby glorify their Father in heaven. Notice that the good works were not to shine (Matt 6:5), thus drawing attention to themselves. Their light was to shine.
Notice, also, the reference to “your Father” in verse 16. This is the Father/son relationship between God Almighty and the Jews that was established way back in the book of Exodus (4:22-23) when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt.
Therefore, the city set on a hill in verse 14 is a reference to Jerusalem. If you have studied history, you know that Jerusalem has been the focal point of history for more than 3 millennia and will be at the Second Advent (Zeph 3:8) and right on through Rev 20:9.
Since this passage can also be applied to Christians, we see parallels to the Church. We can apply what’s said here to us because we find companion passages in Paul’s epistles. For instance, we are the children of the light (1 Thes 5:5). As Christians, we “reflect” the Light of the world (Jesus, Jn 1:9; Jn 9:5).
By studying the Sun and the Moon, we discover some interesting truths concerning Jesus and the Church. The Sun is a type of Jesus Christ as seen in Ps 84:11; Ps 19:2-5 and Mal 4:2.
The Sun is a good type of Christ because it also represents the Trinity. The Sun has actinic rays which can neither be felt nor seen (no man has seen God at any time). It has heat rays which can be felt, just like the Holy Spirit can be felt. And it has light rays, which can be seen and which typify Jesus, the Light of the world. Yet it is still one Sun.
The Moon, therefore, is a type of the Church according to Song of Solomon 6:9-10. By these simple comparisons, we can draw some more “light” from the passage. For example:
· The Moon, the lesser light, was given to rule the night (Gen 1:16). Therefore, the age in which we live is referred to in the Bible as night. According to Mk 13:35, we are to be watching for the return of the Lord. The watches in which he could return are all night time watches. Therefore, when he returns, he returns as a “thief in the night,” (1 Thes 5:2). Thus, the beginning of Jesus’ earthly rule is called the “Day of the Lord.”
· The Moon is a satellite of the earth and it is dead. As Job said, “it shineth not,” (Job 25:5). As Christians, we are dead with Christ (Rom 6:7-8). Therefore, the light that shines forth from us is the light of Jesus Christ and not our own light (2 Cor 4:6).
· The Moon is marked by craters which give the appearance of spots on the Moon. These spots would be similar to spots and blemishes in us that result from sin. Jesus Christ uses the words of God to cleanse these spots and wash us up, particularly at the judgment seat of Christ as he gets us ready to be presented to him as a glorious church without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:25-27).
· Occasionally, the Moon is eclipsed by the earth so that it cannot reflect the light of the Sun. That’s why we are warned in 1 Jn 2:15-17 not to love the world. The closer the church is to the world, the more the world blocks the light of the Sun.
Finally, in this passage, we see that there are two great hindrances to our ability to be effective witnesses (“lights” Phil 2:15) for Jesus. One of these is merchandising, typified in v. 15 by a bushel. When men are more concerned about making a buck than they are about winning a soul, the light in their life dims. The other hindrance is laziness, typified in Mk 4:21 by a bed. When men become slothful (Prov 26:14), they lounge around too much and neglect to be used of God to shine for his glory (Rom 13:11-12).