In John 9:5, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Yet in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says to his followers, “Ye are the light of the world.” Is this a contradiction? Who really is the light of the world—us or Jesus?
The answer is both, and it is explained in Genesis 1.
On the fourth day of Creation week, God made the sun, moon and stars. Genesis 1:16 tells us that God made two great lights:
“the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.”
We know them as the sun and the moon. We also know that the moon doesn’t give off its own light, but only reflects the light from the sun to give us some illumination during the night time.
That is exactly what Jesus meant when He said that we were the light of the world. We are not giving off our own light, but merely reflecting the light of Christ in our lives so that others may see His truth.
And that is exactly what 1 Corinthians 10:31 means when it says that we are to “do all to the glory of God.”
The light that we give off as Christians is really the glory of God’s character being reflected in how we live in obedience to His Spirit. When we love others, we are literally pointing others to the source of that love. When we have peace in trying circumstances, we reflect the source of that peace to others. When we are longsuffering with those that revile us and persecute us, we reveal the nature of the One who suffered most at the hand of His enemies.
So giving glory to God is nothing more than letting His light be reflected in our lives. We are merely a moon; He is the sun.