“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.” – Mt 5:14-15, TLV
Now Hang On! I thought we had made it very clear that the Light of the World, the Light to the Nations, that we are pondering on these days of the Feast of Chanukah, is Yeshua. But here it is equally clear that Yeshua, speaking to His disciples (that would be us!), is saying that we are the Light of the World. How can this be?
Now in the Jewish tradition, being a disciple is so much more than our modern perception of discipleship. We fall into the trap of thinking being a disciple is just believing in Messiah, making a decision follow Him, and then making sure we do some “disciplely” things like reading the Word and praying now and then. But in the 1st century, being a disciple involved so much more. As a disciple you were expected to follow your master everywhere, to act as he acted, to pray as he prayed, to memorize everything he said, and to do exactly what he did in all things. The aim of a disciple was to become more and more like the master — until the onlooker could no long distinguish between them.
That is quite a different picture than what we normally claim in our culture. That is radical. That we could and, in fact, should become more and more like Yeshua as we walk with him, is so much bigger than we thought. So, put in that light (pun intentional), it is not at all surprising that Yeshua would call us the Light of the World. If he is the Light of the World, then as his disciples we are also called to be the Light of the World.
I don’t know about you, but that seems a bit HUGE for me! I am responsible to be a Light to the World?! But I’m thinking about that Chanukkiah for today… the third day. If we — each of us, our brethren in the Jewish community, and our brethren in the Body of Messiah — are those three candles, then we are not responsible to light ourselves. We are not even responsible to light each other. Yeshua, the Light of the World, the shamash light if you will, he is the one that brings the flame. He is the one that creates the Light on each of our candles — we just have to receive and keep it burning bright.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Mt 5:16, TLV