Matthew 5:16 Meaning of Let Your Light Shine Before Others

Matthew 5:16
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Explanation and Commentary on Matthew 5:16

Whatever we do in life as a follower of Christ, we must do it to the glory of God alone. Most of the time people do good things so they will be praised and also flaunt their wealth. These kinds of people cannot be called the light of the world. That’s just looking at the verse from an angle. From another angle, Jesus was talking about light – He has first talked of being the salt of the world. Salt, as it is known, is used to sweeten food or preserve something. Calling us the salt of the world means we are the ones to preserve this world and sweeten it. He called us light here too.

From the beginning, man fell in sin. There was light in the world (not the physical light) because God was so close to man. God is light, he shines to the man He created. The devil came in and caused the man to stumble, God went far away from man and darkness took over. Darkness is the representation of sin.

Romans 1:21
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Darkness had taken over the world and men stumble often because they couldn’t see the light. God decided to save man from darkness and shine His light again then He sent Jesus Christ. Jesus came in like a Light to shine on us.

John 8:12
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus called himself the Light here – God sent Jesus to shine a light on us, not only to shine His light but to make us become the light too. We have now been transferred from darkness into light and we are also made the light. What we received is mercy and grace to be able to leave the darkness. There are still other people in the darkness that needed saving. This is the reason why Jesus told us to shine our light.

Shinning light according to Jesus means two things.

1. To preach the gospel.
Preaching the gospel to people means taking them out of the darkness which is synonymous with taking them out of sin. Mark 16:15. Telling others about Jesus means we are introducing them to the source of light and to the one who can make them become light also.

2. Doing good for others.
This is the part that tells about Love, the nature of God. God is love and God is light – if we have been made light, then, it means we must have the nature of God in us. That is we must do good to people and do in a way that they will glorify God alone.

Biblical Translations of Matthew 5:16

NIV
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

NLT
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

ESV
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 who is in heaven.

KJV
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

NKJV
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

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