Why it is important: Jesus makes a declaration about His followers in the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7). We are the light of the world. I am the light of Jesus to those I know.
God’ goal: Our good works are to be seen and not hid. God wants us to do good. It doesn’t bring salvation in our lives but it points other to the glory of God. That is the Way of Jesus, the anointed King. That is His declaration for us.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, 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 who is in heaven. ~Jesus
Why should we let our light shine? So, they can the good works of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and give glory to God. Our good works give off light to others.
This theme is basic to the Jesus Manifesto. The Manifesto is built on the assumption that we are different, and it issues a call to us to be different. Probably the greatest tragedy of the church throughout its long and checkered history has been its constant tendency to conform to the prevailing culture instead of developing a Jesus counter-culture.
- There is a difference between those of us who follow Jesus and those who don’t. Some who don’t follow Jesus adopt a deceptive veneer of the Jesus culture.
- We might say that they are as different as chalk from cheese. Jesus said they are as different as light from darkness, as different as salt from decay and disease. We serve neither God, nor ourselves, nor the world by attempting to obliterate or even minimize this difference.
This call to assume our responsibility, because of what God has made us and where he has put us, is particularly relevant to young people who feel frustrated in the modern world. The problems of the human community are so great, and they feel so small, so feeble, so ineffective. ‘Alienation’ — a term popularized by Marx — is the word commonly used today to describe these frustration feelings.
What message do we have, then, for such people who feel themselves strangled by ‘the system’, crushed by the machine of modern technocracy, overwhelmed by political, social and economic forces which control them and over which they have no control?
- They feel themselves victims of a situation they are powerless to change. What can they do?
- It is in the soil of this frustration that revolutionaries are being bred, dedicated to the violent overthrow of the system. It is from the very same soil that revolutionaries of Jesus can arise, equally dedicated activists — even more so — but committed rather to spread his revolution of love, joy and peace.
- This peaceful revolution is more radical than any program of violence, both because its standards are incorruptible and because it changes people as well as structures.
Have we lost our confidence in the power of the good news of the Messiah?
Then listen to Martin Luther:
With his single word I can be more defiant and boastful than they with all their power, swords and guns.