Read Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (NLT)
A torch or lantern serves three purposes. One is rather incidental: the beam of light highlights the darkness around it. Jesus, as light of the world, showed up the darkness of those who rejected him. We, as subsidiary lights, also act as a living if gracious rebuke of the surrounding moral darkness.
A more positive function of the light is to show us the way forward. If I am in the dark I may stumble and fall. So the beam of light alerts me to dangers and shows me the best way forward. Jesus did that through his teaching and example, showed us the best way to live. And his followers are to be examples of what the best sort of life is like.
And then that beam of light can act as a sort of floodlight, illuminating what needs to be seen clearly. Jesus said that if we saw him and knew him, we have seen and known the Father. Jesus is a walking, talking illustration of God. And we are to be those who illuminate God, who point the way to God. Not merely by talking, but by living the sort of life that brings honour to God.
Jesus is the true light of the world. But he has delegated the job to us. How do you think we are doing?