Matthew 5:14a,16 – Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (KJV)
The lamps that gave light to Solomon's temple were fashioned by Hiram, a master craftsman who worked in gold and silver. He made the lamps of purest gold. Each lamp was fed with a steady flow of the finest grade of oil, which ran down through golden tubes to the lamps that were never to go out in the temple. The priests kept the wicks carefully trimmed to prevent any unpleasant malodour of burning.
The only oil that was considered good enough had to be the best olive oil from the Mount of Olives. "Neither petroleum, nor the produce of fish, or that extracted from nuts would be accepted." (C.H. Spurgeon) Jesus favoured the Mount of Olives. It was to this mountain, on the night He was betrayed, that Jesus went, and prayed three times. It might well be said that He embarked on the first stage of His crucifixion there, for there He endured the first agonies of being crushed and drained like the olives in the press on that sacred mountain, as He prayed to His Father and poured out His anguish and sorrow in drops of sweat and blood as a painful prelude to the sufferings He was destined to endure on the cross. That outpouring is the only oil meet for our lamps to glow with incandescent radiance.
What makes us shine all the brighter is to remember His lonely agony for us. The disciples slept through all of it, but they remembered all too well later on when — for many of them — execution would be the next morning.
Like those of Hiram's making, our spiritual lamps are also fed constantly through golden tubes from ever-full reservoirs: our constant prayers both in and outside of the "secret place"; our regular study of God's Word; the reading of edifying authors; our meeting together in one of the candelabra of God, namely the churches; our duties for others; and the fruit of the Spirit that we display — all these keep the oil of Olivet feeding down into our lives, giving guiding illumination to those lost in sin and degradation. According to today's verses, when we let our lights shine, others will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
Jesus chose to ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives. May we have that sacred mountain in our hearts on the day that we are called to glory.
Prayer: Gracious Father, who lives with light, grant that the sacred oil of Olivet may keep our lamps bright for the salvation of the world. May we ever walk in Your light, for then, no darkness can overtake us. Amen.