The Peril and Promise of Church Politics: Preaching Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory wrote, "Listen to the Voice of God which [says] I Am The Light Of The World. Approach Him and be enlightened, and let not your faces be ashamed, . . . step out of darkness and draw near to the Light, and become the children of perfect Light. See the grace of the Resurrection; see the power of this mystery. Are you not already lifted up from the earth? Are you not clearly placed on high, being exalted by the Word [who is Christ]? . . . Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of human beings, for whom his every word and every revelation exists. God wants you to become a living force for all humanity, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven."

The only other time Jesus uses the phrase "light of the world" is in Matthew, but not in reference to himself. In Matthew 5, addressing his followers, Jesus said, "you are the light of the world." Like the light of Tabernacles radiating from the Temple that reflected off every courtyard in Jerusalem, so the light of the world radiating from Christ reflects off of those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. In the last analysis, Jesus convincingly shows himself to be the light of the world not by persuasive arguments or compelling proofs, but by shining—in and through his people.

"I am the light of the world," Jesus said. "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Therefore you are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

8/14/2011 4:00:00 AM