The new you… a city set on a hill
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)
Jesus compared His people to a “city set on a hill.” This tells us many things…
1) In those days, cities were set on hills to be SEEN. Think about it… people traveled mostly by walking – and walking is slow and arduous. Nothing lifts the soul of a weary traveler more than to look up and see a welcoming destination on the horizon – a place of rest, a place to find a meal, a place to sleep (if needed). Especially if that journey has extended into the nighttime hours.
Builders of cities WANT their cities to be noticed. Cities are made to be seen.
So are God’s people. God makes new creations and He wants them to be seen. He wants us all to be a welcome sight to the weary sojourners of this life. True Christians are meant to draw people in – with love, with hospitality, with service, with compassion, with all manners of sustenance (spiritual and physical) for the weary. This is a vital part of God’s intent for His people.
2) We are a city on a hill… not a hut. Many Christians struggle with the understanding that God intends for His people to be a collective unit. Many individuals working together as one. Cities are communities of people all connected by their common interests and locale. God saves individuals, but He puts them into families. Think about it: God’s Covenants (both Old and New) are with a GROUP of people. He deals with us, primarily, as a whole. Most of the New Testament is written to groups of believers (city or area churches).
This is important, because so many of our misunderstandings, of Scripture, are centered in taking a verse that is written to a group of people and applying it to ourselves, individually (ex. Phil. 1:6! the “you” is plural). We must first grasp the corporate context, before we embrace, and apply, Scripture to our lives. This one small thing can make a huge difference! We must begin with the understanding that we are a city first – then, we are individual parts of the whole.
God made us to be SEEN. He also made us to work together as ONE. How can we possibly represent the love of God, if we cannot get along with one another?
I think that is why Jesus really gave us only one command: “Love one another as I have loved you…” (John 13:34) God intended all Christians to be seen; and to be fully representative of His nature and character. And the most essential description of His nature and character is… love.
Jesus said it best: we are a city on a hill. So all the weary travelers of this life could see us and discover the fullness of God’s welcoming love within us.
That is why you are made new. The new you longs to live in fellowship with other believers – and be a warm and inviting harbor for people who need to know the love you have found…
Prayer focus: God, help me to live in love… for other believers, and for this world’s people.