You are the light of the world. – Matthew 5:14
What did Jesus mean by this? Can we take this literally, or is it figurative?
Did you know that the dark ages began at about the time that the Christians of the time began to all go into monastries? The movement began at about 350 AD and really took off by 480 AD. And generally speaking the Dark ages are considered to have begun at about 480 AD.
What happened? All the light went into monastries… and the world literally went into the dark ages. Some people say the dark ages ended at about 1000 AD, but if we look at history, the world was still in terrible trouble beyond that date. Only in 1439 a guy called Flavio Biondo said that the world had now managed to move beyond the dark ages and was now in a “middle age”.
Do you know what happened at about the time the world exited from the dark ages? In the 1440’s Johannes Gutenberg printed the first bible on the first printing press. Christianity had been returned to the people. The light had grown in the world. By 1510-1520 Martin Luther had been a monk, then travelled to Rome and then published his thesis… he took religion back to the people.
Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so. Right there in history is the greatest cause-and-effect showing the effect of Christianity on human society.
This is what Jesus meant when He said that WE are now the light in the world. If we’d just LIVE our lives for Him, that our worship/prayer/faith life will bring light to the world. It’s right there in history, if only we will see it and accept it and live it.
Bill wrote about revival and I am so glad that he did. I am even more encouraged that when I asked the question “what does a revival look like?” I didn’t get responses like “all the night clubs close down”. People responded that we all (Christians) live our lives and bless those around us. Hallelujah! What is God doing to all of us that a random sample of people are all hoping for the same thing?
If you needed more evidence that the light had to come back to people, then consider that there were no revivals until Martin Luther and then after that there were several revivals: 1727, 1792, 1830, 1857, 1882 and 1904.
Yes this is why missions and missionaries are so vitally important… but it’s also why your life in your community is so important too. You are (a part of) the light of the world. Don’t hide in a closet… go stand on a hill!