You Are the Light of the World

Listening to audiobook of “Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer, reminds me why I appreciate his work so much. A particular quote (taken from the Touchstone 1995 edition; pg. 117) that struck me the other day was this one on Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world…”:

The call of Jesus makes the disciple community not only the salt but also the light of the world: their activity is visible, as well as perceptible. “Ye are the light.” Once again it is not: “You are to be the light” they are already the light because Christ has called them, they are a light which is seen of men, they cannot be otherwise, and if they were it would be a sign that they had not been called. How imossible, how utterly absurd it would be for the disciples–these disciples, such men as these!–to try and become the light of the world! No, they are already the light, and the call has made them so. Nor does Jesus say: “You have the light.” The light is not an instrument which has been put into their hands, such as their preaching. It is the disciples themselves. The same Jesus who, speaking of himself, said, “I am the light,” says to his followers: “You are the light in your whole existence, provided you remain faithful to your calling. And since you are that light, you can no longer remain hidden, even if you want to.”

What are your thoughts about this statement of Jesus? What do you think of Bonhoeffer’s reading of the text?

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