18 Jan. Matthew 5:14-16

18 Jan. Christians reflect the brightness of God's glory

"You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don't hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house."

"In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven."

          (Matthew 5:14-16)

 

 

In Old Testament times, before the coming of Jesus on earth, the Jewish people were inspired by the 'glory' or 'shekinah' of the LORD - the bright, shining personal presence of God himself radiating from the tent of the Lord's presence (Exodus 40:34), and later from the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:11).

The 'glory' of the Lord appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 24:16), and filled the tabernacle – the tent where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (see Exodus 40:34-35). God’s glory filled the Temple in Jerusalem when the Ark of the Covenant was moved there (see 1 Kings 8:11). But in Ezekiel’s prophetic vision, the glory and dazzling radiance of God’s holy presence (the ‘Shekinah’) left the Temple just before its destruction by King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC (see Ezekiel 10:18-19).

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the radiant, shining presence of God re-appeared on earth again. God’s personal presence was shown by the 'glory' of the Lord appearing to the shepherds in the fields on the hillside outside Bethlehem (see Luke 2:9).

When Jesus came to earth as 'Emmanuel' - meaning 'God with us' - he shone with the brightness of God's 'glory' (see Luke 9:29-32). He gave light and hope to those who were living in a dark world controlled by evil and wrongdoing.

And today's words from Jesus's 'Sermon on the Mount' remind us that he intends his followers to reflect the brightness of God's glory in their own everyday lives.

Jesus often used the things around him to illustrate his talks. If you stand in the early evening at the spot just above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus talked to the crowds, you can see Safad, "a city that is built on a hill", on the ridge to the north of Capernaum.

When Jesus spoke these words, he was probably referring to Safad - the highest city in Galilee and Israel. When lamps are lit in the houses of Safad at night, they can be seen from a great distance and cannot easily be hidden. Jesus said to his followers, "In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16).

The photo (by Matik 18) shows Safad, the "city on a hill" in Galilee.

You can read more about Jesus's 'Sermon on the Mount' and see a photo of some early Christian oil lamps on The Bible Journey website @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesuss-teachings-on-a-hi…/


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