Matthew 5:14

When we think of light, we think immediately of the sun. We’ve been taught that the sun is the center of the solar system, and thus, it is the light of the world. Some figures reveal the sun’s greatness. For instance, the sun is 93 million miles from the earth. If a baby started flying to the sun at birth and traveled 150 miles per hour, this baby would be nearly 71 years old upon arrival. Also, astronomers estimate that the diameter of the sun is 109 times that of the earth.

But, in spite of its greatness, the sun is not the “light of the world.” The “light of the world” is the Son of God. Jesus declared Himself to be such. He is the One who made the sun, for He existed with the Father at Creation. He is also the One who, with one bold stroke, declared, “I am the light of the world.”


God Himself is described as light (Ps. 104:2). In the book of Revelation, Jesus, the Son of Man, is described in this way: “His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Rev. 1:16).

So, when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” it was a statement about His glory, but it was more than that. It was about what He came to do (Luke 4). His life was about bringing life to people (John 1:4).

Through His caring acts toward people, Jesus came to display all the goodness of God. He came to teach truth. And He came to bear the punishment for our sin. In all these ways, Jesus is the light of the world.


A. The light can be repulsive. Before Jesus proclaimed that He was “the light of the world,” the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in the act of adultery and demanded of Him an opinion of her punishment in light of Moses’ law. Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. Then He said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Then He wrote again, and when He looked up, the accusers had fled one by one until only the condemned woman was left. The truth was that the Scribes and Pharisees did not like the light (John 3:19, 20).

Because of this repulsive effect, some people reject Jesus (John 1:11). Can you imagine a dying person refusing to see a doctor? Can you picture a starving person rejecting bread? Yet, the Light was and is rejected by many.

B. Light reveals truth. It reveals the truth about ourselves. We will never see our real selves until we see ourselves in the context of Christ. Sometimes it is hard to admit some of our imperfections, but when we compare ourselves to Christ and His Word, we are confronted with our true selves. We are sinners in need of a Savior. It takes humility to receive the light.

The light reveals truth about Christ Himself. As we read in John 8, the Pharisees had a problem with Jesus’ claim about Himself. They wanted to argue by way of a legal standpoint. They wanted to discuss, not believe. They wanted a legal battle, not a saving moment. But Jesus confidently stated the truth about Himself. John realized the truth, so he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” After the resurrection, the two men who walked the road to Emmaus finally recognized Jesus in the light of His own revelation.

The light also reveals the truth concerning the way of salvation (John 8:12). This means life in all its fullness. It means eternal life! It comes not by accepting a set of standards to follow, nor by our promise to be good. Eternal life is not inherited by birth but obtained by receiving Jesus.

C. The light causes growth. As we absorb the truth and the presence of Jesus, we grow and mature just as plants need sunlight to grow. Jesus’ presence in us changes and purifies us. We blossom with godly character. We become rooted in the truth to withstand the storms and every wind of doctrine. And we are filled with joy, thankfulness, and peace. Growth comes by being guided by the light of Jesus in us. Jesus, who is also the Word, “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105).

D. The light gives reassurance. Like the light of the sun which warms us, creating a place of peace, Jesus, the Light, brings us to a place of peace. We gain peace because the burden of sin is lifted and the path through life and to our eternal home is clear and sure and mapped out for us. We are secure, and that gives us a warm feeling inside. It is like the comfort of seeing the light in the window of one’s own house after being gone.


Once we believe and understand Jesus as the “light of the world” and become truly human as God created us, then, finally, the light in us calls forth a certain response. We follow. We have the light, and that light cannot be hidden.

A. Jesus shines through us to the world. Like Moses, whose face glowed after being in God’s presence, we shine because we have Jesus’ presence in us. We may not feel very bright at times, but that is our weakness, not Jesus within us. In our humanity, we sometimes dim, squelch, and hide the light in us.

Without Christ in us, the greatest possible impact that we can have is like that of a large ship’s impact on the ocean. It leaves a wake which is impressive for the moment but soon disappears without a trace.

Jesus doesn’t just say, “I am the light of the world”; to the Christian, He says, “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 15). It is only as we strengthen our relationship with Christ that we can be lights to the world. We must always remember that it is the light of Jesus that shines in us, not some self-created light.

The light also connects us to other individuals who believe; we become part of the church. We don’t stand alone to face the world. When we stand together as Christians and as a church, which is what Jesus wants, we shine even brighter and stronger.

The church, like the people of Israel, is to be a light to the nations. Live like a believer! Tell the good news! Light your torch from the eternal burning flame of Jesus and carry the light to your family, to your friends, and to the world!


Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” This is our Savior who died for us. He transforms us. He leads us. He is light for everyone. Do you have Him in your life? Receive Jesus as your light. Continue to look to Him as your light. And then let Him shine for you and through you. Amen!