Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
Would you give me a few minutes of your reading time?
Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
View sample lessons
You are the Light of the World
Epiphany 5A Matthew
Also Pentecost Sunday and Sermon on the Mount Lenten Dialogue Series
Grace to you and
peace from God our Father.
And from our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are all familiar
with that famous Sunday School song from childhood, This little
light of mine.” Why, I remember when I was a child of seven years
old when I was at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle,
Washington, with the brown linoleum on the floor …
Why I remember
singing that song in Jackson when I was seven years old and we had
the same brown linoleum on the floor as well, and a Sunday School
teacher put a candle into a cupcake and we all sang that song.
do the chorus together.
chorus: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine;
little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let
it shine, let it shine.”
We remember the
first verse, “Hide it under a bushel” and then you had to shout
the word, NO, so the angels in heaven could hear it. Let’s do it
with the motions.
it under a bushel, NO, I’m going to let it shine.
it under a bushel, NO, I’m gunna let it shine, let it shine, let
it shine, let it shine.”
the next verses was: Don’t let Satan blow it out and you have to
do the motion of blowing your candle: Blow like you are blowing out
a large number of birthday candles.
let Satan blow it out. I’m gunna let it shine.
let Satan blow it out, I’m gunna let it shine, let it shine, let
it shine, let it shine.”
knew that Satan wanted to blow out my candle. I knew that Satan
wanted to blow out my light of Christ, wanted to extinguish the
light, wanted to dim my life .
next verse was: Shine all over Jackson, but we don’t live in
Jackson, so where do live, your city. You shout out your city as we
sing the next verse of the song. Also you have to do the motion and
make a big circle that symbolizes the area of your town. Jesus is to
shine over your town through you:
all over Des Moines, I’m gunna let it shine.
all over Des Moines, I’m gunna let it shine, let it shine, let it
shine, let it shine.”
next verse to the song was: Let it shine til Jesus comes. We are to
let our light shine until the very end of our days here on earth and
until the day we meet Jesus Christ face to face. The motion with our
arm and finger is to extend our arm and pointing finger as high into
the air as we can. Let’s do it together, with the motion.
“Let it shine til Jesus comes, I’m gunna let it shine.
it shines til Jesus comes, I’m gunna let it shine…”
I knew what this meant as a seven year old. I knew that I was to let
the light of Christ shine throughout my whole lifetime.
At seven years old, seventeen, twenty-seven, or thirty-seven
or seventy-seven or eighty-seven. I knew that throughout my whole
life long, I was to let my light shine.
mood of the song was not, “I have
to let it shine, or I ought
to let it shine or I must
let it shine. I should
let it shine.” It wasn’t an oppressive commandment, “thou
shalt let your light shine.” No. Instead, there was a positive
enthusiasm for being the light of Christ, for letting the light of
Christ in me to shine. When I was a kid, I wanted to let my light
is with this introduction that we approach the story for today about
Jesus of Nazareth. The teaching for today comes from the Sermon of
the Mount. Jesus was living in the small town of Capernaum, right on
the lake shore of the Lake of Galilee. The large hills seemed to
grow right out from the lake shore, rising up from the lake, and
halfway up the hills above Lake Galilee is where Jesus preached his
Sermon on the Mount. Let’s see the picture of the actual
geographic area of the Sermon of the Mount or Mount of Beatitudes.
this picture, you can clearly see Capernaum, where Jesus lived as an
adult. You can see the lake called Galilee. You can see Capernaum
where Jesus had a home as an adult. Capernaum was a fishing village
and the disciples Peter, James and John were from Capernaum. Jesus
worked three miracles there. You can see the village of Bethsaida
and Jesus did eight miracles in that village. You can see the
location of Tabgha where Jesus fed the five thousand. From Tabgha to
Capernaum, is where Jesus walked on water. Up from the lake, you can
see the Mount of Beatitudes or location of the Sermon on the Mount.
This picture captures the location of many episodes from Jesus’
life, but our focus in on the Mount of Beatitudes or the Sermon on
In the next picture,
we have a view from hillside of the Sermon on the Mount. So you can
imagine the disciples in Jesus’ time sitting on a hillside,
overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The crowds were left down on the
lake. Jesus was teaching his true disciples up on the hills
overlooking the lake. We need to remember Jesus was addressing
disciples who were interested in discipleship and not simply the
crowds near the lake who were somewhat interested.
on that mountain, with his disciples, Jesus was thought of as the
new teacher, the new Moses. As Moses went up to Mount Sinai, he gave
the Ten Commandments to the Jewish religion; so Jesus, the New
Moses, went up the mountain and he gave Christians a new set of
commandments, a new code for living, a new sense of right and wrong.
Jesus gave us a new guideline for life. The Ten Commandments were no
longer adequate. There is much more to the Christian life than
trying to obey the Ten Commandments. On the mountain above Capernaum
that day, Jesus was the New Moses and this was the New Mountain and
these were his New Commandments.
said to his disciples: “You. You. You.” In the Greek language,
the emphasis is on you. “You are the light of the world. A city
set on a hill cannot be hid. A lamp that is lit in a house is not
put under a bushel. Rather, you put a lamp onto a lamp stand so that
it will light the whole house.” Then Jesus said, “Let your light
so shine, so that all people will see your good works, your works of
love, and give glory to God who is in heaven.”
you, you, you his disciples: you are the light of the world. And so
we hear that refrain:
John and Ed sing the refrain to the song
Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
is the title for the sermon for today: Let it shine. The verse is
do a brief Bible study. Please take out your bulletin and let us
examine the Bible passages together. In your bulletin insert, please
examine the following words. The
meaning of this verse is very, very clear. Mt
5:14 "You are the light of the world.” You are actually the
light of God. You. You. You. “A
city set on a hill cannot be hid.” You can’t hide a city that is
located on the top of a hill, nor are we to hide our discipleship.
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a
stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” In those days, the
people had olive lamps. You put an olive lamp on a stand and you
don’t cover it up with a basket. “Let your light so shine before
others.” We are to let our lights shine. “So that they may see
your good works.” Your works of love. “And give glory to your
Father who is in heaven.” We do not glorify ourselves but God.
if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will
be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”
Luke 11:36. Instead of the word, “body,” insert the word,
“personality.” Highlight: “completely lighted” or “wholly
bright.” The light of Jesus Christ is shine in us with the
greatest brightness. There is not a little light in us, but a large
and radiant light in us.
“Again Jesus spoke
to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John
8:12. When we follow Christ and are disciples of Christ, we have the
light of Christ inside of us. In our baptismal services here at
Grace, you hear the words, “Let your light so shine that people
will see your life of love.” In baptism, we are given the light of
Christ in us.
“While you have
the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of
light.” John 8:36. When
you believe in the light and follow the light, we become children of
concludes our brief Bible study.
did not say, “You are
to be the light for the church.” The Bible does not say, “When
you come to church, turn on your light. When you come to the church,
let everyone see how devout and pious you are. When you come to the
church, turn on your religious energy.” No. When you leave this church and get in your car and drive
out of the parking lot and into your neighborhoods, into your
schools, into your classrooms, into your factories and offices, let
your light shine for Jesus Christ. You, you, you, you are the light
of the world. Let the world see your light and come to know Jesus
Christianity is to be visible.
Your Christianity is to be seen, is to be noticed, is not to
be hidden. People are to know you are a Christian by what you say,
by what you do, by who you are. If you are a Christian, you cannot
hide it. It is the very nature of discipleship to be seen. There is
no such thing as a secret Christian. There is no such thing as a
closet Christian. At home, your discipleship is to be visible. At
work, your discipleship is to be visible. At school, your
discipleship is to be visible. In these places, do people know that
you are a practicing Christian? With your friends at soccer? With
the baseball teammates? At the symphony, the orchestra, the band? Do
people around you know that you are a Christian?
faith needs to shine no matter where we are, at work, at play, at
school. It is important that our
language is filled with
words about God, Jesus, love and the church. By what we say, we show
that we love God. We need to use the words, God, Jesus, Christ,
Bible, faith, church as part of our language. Do you use those words
as part of your language? Are those words part of your vocabulary?
Or…do you hide it? When you get out into the world, do you hide
it? But when you come to church, do you pull out the light and put
it on a lamp stand? Do you hide your light when you are in the world
but turn it on when you are in the presence with your Christian
friends? We need to let that light shine out there in the real
said, “If salt has lost its saltiness, you might as well throw it
on a pile of dung. The salt is worthless” Similarly, if you are
unwilling to let your light shine out there in
the world, if you don’t
let the world know
that you love God, Christ, and the things of God, you might as well
turn off your light for you are worthless as a Christian. The Sunday
School song says, “Hide it under a bushel, NO.” When you hide it
under a bushel, your light does not shine. Salt and light both can
become worthless to God. Jesus says, Let your light shine…in
the world…that the
world may know Christ.
this light of Christ shining inside of you is not showing off. We
are not talking about you being a Bible thumper where you bring out
your Bible and throw it in peoples’ faces. Letting your light
shine is not being a Jesus-pusher where you subtly push Jesus on too
many occasions. Letting your light shine is not wearing Christianity
on your sleeves to show everybody what a fine Christian you are. It
is not wearing crosses on your ear rings and crosses on your
necklaces and crosses on your bracelets, to show everyone that you
are religious. No, letting your light shine is much more subtle than
Let’s use our imagination for a moment.
Imagine I am a Christian person; a true disciple of Jesus
Christ. I love Jesus
and walk with Jesus. When you love Jesus and walk with Jesus, you
have the light of Christ in you. I want be the light of the world
and help to spread the light of Christ to everyone around me.
I try to live my life in a loving manner. I try to be loving toward my own family and friends but more
importantly, I try to be loving toward those who are different than
myself. In the little
kindnesses, the way I treat others, being honest in my transactions
and business dealings, I try to let the light of Jesus shine in my
life for others to see. And
when it is appropriate, I share the good news of Christ and invite
people I know to church.
And imagine that I am not a Christian; that I don’t really know
Jesus Christ but I know you. I
am watching you. You
aren’t aware of it, but I’m watching you and observing that
there is something different about you.
You are kind to others and really seem to care how other
people feel. Your
language is never inappropriate and you always speak with a certain
calmness about you. There
is a peace in your life that I really like.
I’ve seen the way you love your wife and children and the
way you are involved with the community always doing something
positive. I have always
believed that God existed but now I’m beginning to see God in you
and in your life. I’m
beginning to see a light that shines out of you and draws me in.
Could this be the light of Jesus?
Maybe Christianity is a possibility for me too.
I think I will go to church with you on Sunday.
And the more we spread the light of Jesus Christ to those around us,
the more light Jesus gives us.
The light of Christ may begin small in us but than grows
brighter and brighter. In a parable, Jesus said that a life can
produce 50, then 60, then 100 fold. The light of Christ grows in us
also. Christ is an unlimited supply of light.
He is the light of the world and because we have his light in
us we, too are the light of the world.
Tim Madsen from our church gave me this light some time ago and I
used it to illustrate that Jesus gives us a powerful light.
Don’t ever hide it. This
is a 500 watt light bulb, the largest light bulb I have ever seen. Isaiah
60 says, “Those who walk in darkness have seen a great light.”
Jesus is a great light and his great light shines in us. The Church
has become the great light of Christ and collectively, we shine with
a very great light that lights up the whole world. (John
turns on the light.)
know the refrain from the song. Sing it with us with your full
Let it shine. Let it
shine. Let it shine.