Jesus said, ”I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me shall have the light of life.” [John 9:5) “You together are the Light of the World.” (Mt. 5:14)
When I was a child I sang like a child, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” But when I became a man, I realized my lone little light can put out very little of this world’s darkness.
Who Is the Light of the World? It is Jesus of course. But is that the full story? While on earth Jesus was an individual, limited by time and space. He put out darkness where he was physically present. But Jesus is no longer here. He is in heaven by the Father’s side, praying for his church. We are his body now, his earthly proxy, scattered throughout the world. So I am not ”the light of the world,” and you are not “the light of the world” But together we are when we are one in his Spirit.
Jesus shines today through His Church. Now he can only shine by His Spirit living in his temple, the church, the body of Christ. We either are the world’s light or fail to be that light.
Are We Dim Candles or Lighthouse Beacons? When we are in one in accord, like the early church, we shine brightly like a powerful lighthouse. It’s beacon has a very special lens with many facets, able to magnify a single light to shine for miles across the sea to warn ships of danger. Can our feeble, lone candles rescue anyone?
Are We Rescuing Our Youth? Barna Research declares youth are staying away from churches in droves, even those raised in them. Why? Have our quarrels failed to inspire their idealism? Has our lack of love and charity for fellow Christians alienated them?
Are We the Church or Not? Church, means “a gathering,” but is going to a church building an hour or so on Sunday, while estranged from fellow believers, truly gathering in his name? While estranged are we truly the church? In my city there are over 120 scattered congregations. Most compete with one another for members. Are we gathering in his name when we fail to even speak with each other, must less cooperate? We could be corporate powerhouses but instead are competing entrepreneurs—virtually ignoring Christ’s fervent prayer, “Father, may they be one, that the world will believe.” John 17: 11, 21, 22.
Why Do We Separate? Sometimes its doctrinal controversies and sectarian differences. Often its disagreements on how a church should be run. Race and economic differences also divide us. But isn’t the root cause often our sinful pride and stubborn willfulness? Because of these sins, we fail to make an impact on our world and fail Jesus, the great head of the church.
Jesus Still Prays, but for What? Since he died for this world and isn’t willing that any should perish, isn’t he praying for his church as he did when he was here?—something like, “Father forgive them for their divisions. Bring them together; make them one as we are, that the world will believe.”
The Devil’s Deception. Because unity is essential for our witness, our divisive squabbles plunge us into the devil’s trap. He tricks us to separate. When that happens, he conquers us and keeps us weak and ineffective. But when we bring our little lights together, we make an impact on this dark world. So let’s add a grown-up verse to that song and sing, “This great light of ours, we’re gonna let it shine.”
Lord, forgive our divisions and make us one in the Spirit one in the Lord.
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