Jesus was speaking to his disciples, painting for them a picture of their purpose in this world. They had started out simply as fishermen but had now been apprenticed to the One who was transforming the world. They would be persons of influence and impact because of their new identity as representatives of the Savior. But to have that impact, they had to make themselves visible. They had to step out of the crowd and in to the open. They had to reveal what it mean to have the One loved the world that He gave everything to restore it to wholeness, to righteousness, to love.
Christians claim to be men and women who have been saved and changed by the unconditional love of God. They profess to being different from the rest of the world that is madly self-serving itself into destruction. They are New Creations who can help show others a more perfect way, the way of God’s love and righteousness.
But they cannot do that by trying to blend in, being like every one else and living lives no different from anyone else.
They need to let the light shine.