The other day, my wife and I watched the movie Thirteen Lives. The movie is about the Thai soccer team who were trapped in a cave. I will have to give full disclosure…sometimes it was hard to watch. I cannot imagine being one of the players, the coach, or one of the rescue divers. We sat there watching on the edge of our seat, in disbelief, during the entire rescue effort. We felt the weight of every decision, every move, every dive, every effort, and every sacrifice that was made to rescue the team. What seemed to be conventional ended up unconventional, resulting in a successful mission. However, it did not come without risk, sacrifice, danger, the unknown, or even the loss of life.
The divers had to have light. Lights on their helmets lit the way through the dark muddy water. The light provided a way for them to see as much as possible. The light provided them the ability to tie the guide rope along the path all the way to the team. Without the light, it would be impossible to rescue the boys.
As I think about that movie, I am reminded of a life in darkness versus a life in the light. Scripture tells us Jesus is the Light of the world. Then, Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” What? We are the light of the world? Jesus do you know what you are saying? You are telling me that I am the light of the world? What is the significance of Jesus telling us that we are the light of the world?
The Apostle Paul gives us some great words in Ephesians 5:8-10:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— testing what is pleasing to the Lord.”
There is such a contrast between darkness and light. Paul reminds us that we were once darkness. He did not say that we were once in darkness. He said we were darkness. We embodied everything about darkness. We stumbled through life apart from God. We didn’t have direction. We didn’t know truth. We didn’t know purpose. We didn’t know meaning. We were totally engulfed by darkness while trying to live our life on our own.
Paul then makes the shift that now you are light in the Lord. Light symbolizes holiness, righteousness, absence of darkness, no spots, no stains, no sin or shame. Everything is pure. Paul says we are light in the Lord. Jesus claimed to be the Light of the world. The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible gives background on Jesus’ statement claiming to be the Light of the world.
“Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Light of the world at the great Feast of Tabernacles (Jn. 7:2). The very first ceremony of the Feast holds great significance for Jesus’ claim. It was called “The Illumination of the Temple” and was held in the Court of the Women. The center of the Court was surrounded by large sections of stadium-like seats. In the open space of the Court sat four huge candelabras. When darkness fell the candelabra were lit, and the elders danced and led the people in singing psalms before the Lord all night. `The brilliance and glow from the burning flames of the huge candelabra were said to be so bright that the light could be seen throughout the whole city. It was against this background that Jesus cried out, “I am the Light of the world.”
What does the light of the Lord do for the disciple?
- Light reveals. Light gives us truth. Jesus is the way and the truth. No one comes to the Father except by Christ. The light shows us a way out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
- Light guides. Without light, we would be walking aimlessly in this life. The light brings purpose and meaning into our lives. I can think of guides such as, “Love God, love people,” and, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
- Light warns. It shows us when there is danger ahead. Have you ever been awakened at night and had to go through the house or apartment? Did you stump your toe? Walk into furniture? Brush up against the wall? Fall down the steps? Trip over a child’s toy causing you to speak in an unknown language? Light warns of danger, heresy, wolves, and warns not to forget what God has done in our lives.
- Light exposes. Light compares our wicked heart to the goodness of God in Scripture. When his light is turned on, we cannot hide from our sin. Light reveals the sin in our life so we can confess and repent.
With that in mind we are to walk, or to live, as children of light. We now live a life as children of light in a world full of darkness. How are we to walk? How are we to live as children of the light? Verse 9 from the passage in Ephesians provides the answer. We are to live with goodness, righteousness, and in truth. Let us look at the fruit the Light produces.
Warren Wiersbe defines this as love in action. I love his definition. Love in action. You cannot love and hate someone at the same time. The fruit of goodness is love. It is good and it does good. All around you love springs into action to do good works. Love in action shows how to love your neighbor as yourself. When you see a person in need you are the first to rush in and help that person. Be the biggest encourager for someone. Love in action leaks. Love leaks everywhere it goes. Goodness drips from the life of a disciple because God is good.
This word means to be right and to do right. If we only believe right but do not do right it is a sin. Righteousness is lived out in a life of faith. We trust in His goodness. We trust in His direction. We trust His Word. A righteous person seeks God. Why? Because they want to know the right things and they want to do the right things.
This means the Word and the will of God. Not just knowing the truth, but living out the truth. The truth sets us free from sin. When we know the truth the chains that have held us captive are broken.
Finally, verse 10 tells us to test what is pleasing to the Lord. Everything we do is done unto the Lord. We set our focus, our attention, and our desires on pleasing the Lord. We do things in order to show the world what is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. We show how to live under the control of the Holy Spirit. We live a life of goodness, righteousness, and truth.
If I am honest, Thirteen Lives displayed love in action. The divers risked their lives to rescue the team. The coach helped the boys overcome fear. Hundreds volunteered to do what was needed to help see the team come home. Their rescue depended on unconventional, never-before-done methods.
We have the good news of the gospel to take to this world. May we be like the divers risking it all to take the gospel to rescue those who are lost or trapped by sin in this life. May we be like the coach sharing with everyone not to fear. We do not need to fear because Jesus has overcome this world. May we be like the volunteers who live out Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
I would like to close with a prayer by St. Francis.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”
Everywhere you go, leave your light on!
This post originally appeared at: Leave Your Light On — The Bonhoeffer Project
 Leadership Ministries Worldwide, The Gospel according to John, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2004), 175.