In Matthew’s gospel, we are given an extended sermon by the Lord Jesus that has (for centuries I believe) been called ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’ A few years ago a friend of mine challenged me to try and memorize the whole thing – all three chapters!
Well, I’m happy to say that I got chapter five done, after that…well, I gave up sad to say. But one of the many things that stuck with me was Jesus’ instructions – his command – to be a light to the world. To show the world what it is to be rightly related to Him, and to have the blessings of a relationship with Him.
This is what He said:
“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. (Matthew 5:14-16)
God has always wanted His chosen people to show the world what it means to have a relationship with Him. The same was also true in the Old Testament of Israel.
In Peter Gentry’s exposition of the Davidic Covenant, He refers back to the purposes of the covenant at Sinai and the parallels to Christ’s sermon are strong. Here’s what Gentry has to say:
The divine purpose in the covenant established between God and Israel at Sinai is unfolded in Exodus 19:3-6. As a kingdom of priests, they will function to make the ways of God known to the nations and also to bring the nations into a right relationship with God. Since Israel is located geographically on the one and only communications link between the great superpowers of the ancient world (I believe Gentry means Babylon and Egypt), in this position she will show the nations how to have a right relationship to God, how to treat each other in a truly human way, and how to be faithful stewards of the earth’s resources. This is the meaning of Israel’s sonship.
This weekend, as you interact with friends and family and strangers over dinner, at the bus stop, at the cell phone store or wherever, I hope you remember that if you are a Christian you are a son or daughter of God. Others who know this ought to see in you something different – something of a changed heart accompanied by changed words and behavior. Kindness motivated by and rooted in love is the light Christ has planted within every Christian – this weekend I pray you yield to its burning within. Confess your sins; be reconciled to your fellow man and to God. And show love to others in joyful gratitude for all that you have in this life and the next.