Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 in heaven.
Is there a difference between lighting a match, or lighting a candle? Is there a difference between a candle and a lamp? A match, a candle, a lamp Ė they all give off light, but they all require someone to care for them. We donít make much use of candles and lamps, we would rather use a light bulb, you turn it on and it just keeps going Ė but even the light bulb has someone to care for it, the people who run the power company, and maintain the generator making certain that we get the electricity that keeps our lights always burning.
Our text says that we are the light of the world, since that is so, what keeps us going? Left by ourselves, we would be like the match, we would go out quickly. Who keeps us going? God keeps us going. We need to be plugged in to the steady stream of grace that flows to us through Christ. If you notice that you light is weak, perhaps it is time to ask, am I plugged into Christ in my baptism? We are called upon to daily drown the darkness of our old nature, and to daily rise to the new life which is ours in Christ. Once that darkness is drowned, the light shines more brightly.
Another way of looking at this, if we are a light bulb, prayer is alternating current. Prayer begins with God talking to us, God invites us, and we respond. But prayer is more than our response, it is also listening to God speak to us. If we donít listen, its like we are only half plugged in, for it is not our words, but the grace that comes from God that gives the current. We listen to God by reading and studying His Word, the Bible. Our response to Godís grace does not give light, but it does tell the light keeper that we have received what was given, and are ready to receive again.
And as good as it is to have light, for it keeps us from stumbling, shows us where we are, and guides us to where we are going. The point of the text is, that when God made us light, he didnít do it just for our benefit. God made us the light of the world, and in this way we are doing exactly what Jesus did, for he also was the light of the world. He came to bring light to those sitting in darkness. He came to show the love and grace of God. He came bringing salvation and life. We are lights, but we cannot give life Ė but we can guide people to the one who does give life, to Jesus our Savior. We can lead people to Jesus, so that he can give them life.
And so it is that God does not hide us under a basket, but he puts us on a lamp stand, so that our light can give light to all Ė guiding them to our Savior. Its not that we lift up ourselves, and say, look at how great I am, look at how much better I am than you. God puts us on a pedestal, and he does it so that people can see in us, what God would do also for them. If we are on a pedestal, it is important that we are a good light, a good example Ė one that guides to the Redeemer, and not one that leads people back into danger and evil. You see God has faith in us, and he trusts that we will be good examples, and faithful lights. And it is the grace of God that keeps us going, that keeps our light brightly shining Ė thatís why its important that we remain plugged into the source of grace, which is Godís Word and the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lordís Supper.
Why, because this light we have been given is not just for us, but it is to bring hope to the world, showing it the way of Salvation in Jesus our Savior. It is hope because the world has seen what we were, and has also seen the grace of God at work in our lives. And so we boast of God who put light into our lives, making us a new creation. And we boast of God who maintains the lights by his grace. And we boast of God who has put us on a pedestal, and enables us to be a good example and a true light. God has done all this for us in love, and so we give him thanks and praise in Jesus name. Amen.