“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

City on a Hill

(Please read Matthew 5:14-16)

January 2

In speaking of his followers being the light of the world, Jesus used a great illustration to show the need for our lights to be seen, when he talked about a city set on a hill. In those days cities were built in elevated settings where possible, for at least a couple of reasons. First, by placing a city on a hill, the people could reserve more of the surrounding flat land for farming. Second, an elevated city was better able to defend itself. It could see the enemy coming, and the enemy would have to climb to attack.

Just as people did not hide their cities, so Christians should not hide their lights. And Jesus added that lights were there to be seen. People placed lights on stands in their houses, to elevate them so as to provide light to everybody in the house. But it’s possible for a light to be hidden. Jesus knew that but pointed out that people didn’t do such a foolish thing as putting a light “under a bushel” (KJV), a term which is still an illustration for foolishness to this day.

We simply cannot afford to hide our lights under the “bushel” of ignorance or carelessness or any other thing. There have been situations in which Christians were forced to be clandestine about meeting together and so on, but they were not trying to be “secret” disciples in the sense which Christ deplores. Let’s step out and be counted as Christians, too busy at good works and too intent on serving the Lord to think about dimming our lights.

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