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Updated: Oct 12, 2021

A CALL AWAY FROM ISOLATIONISM: Exploring Matthew 5:14-16


In the previous post we discussed some of the basic understanding to lay a good foundation for the frequently used Biblical metaphor of "light."

  1. Light is representative of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

  2. Truth can only come from God, He is the only source of the light of truth. This truth is made known in YHVH's instructions or Torah.

  3. The Torah then becomes the path by which we understand righteousness and holiness and how to walk in them. It points us not only to those truths, but the truth of the Messiah and His ultimate mission, reconciliation and atonement.

  4. Being a City on a Hill will come at a cost. It will costs those who follow any version of "truth" they currently holds that does not come into alignment with the light of truth in YHVH's Word. In addition, it will cost every kingdom and man-made success built upon their own effort and skill. The light does not shine for its own glory, but the glory of YHVH.

Once we commit to a life on the hill or on the stand and we willingly relinquish our own glory and truths for the eternal wonder of YHVH, it remains eternally true that those in darkness will not always joyously accept the light we offer. Those who reject that light do not often slink off into the shadows never to be seen again, instead they launch a violent assault against the thing that threatens to expose their even The reality that cannot be ignored as we commit to a life of holiness and truth is suffering is not only to be expected it is all but guaranteed. To make matters worse, we cannot choose to put down the light, crawl down into the valley, exact our vengeance, and then resume our post atop the hill. NO. In fact, the Bible tells us our response is one of love and forgiveness, defending and preserving the light of YHVH at all personal cost.

Are you ready?



Unfortunately, a huge amount of misled "believers" are under the impression once you are "saved" and you have the Savior "living in your heart" then all things are smiles, sunshine, and rainbows. The critical nature of this error inevitably leads to scores of people who after suffering in some form or fashion become disenfranchised with their "Savior" and leave the faith. We should not accept this outcome, because the truth is far more amazing than the muck being peddled from pulpits around the world. The real truth, from the real Messiah, is this, the world will hate you, but there is hope.

John 15:18-25 HCSB 18 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. 20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates Me also hates My Father. 24 If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason."

While it is understandable you may not consider this message all that hopeful, if we truly understand what Yeshua is saying here, it should stir fountains of hope within us. Yeshua tells His disciples that the world hates them, not because they are repulsive people, but because they remind others of their Master. It is the "Him" they see in His disciples that conjures up that enmity within those of the darkness.

Luke 6:39-40 esv

"39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher"

Here's the deal, if we truly are set apart, a city on a hill, and a light on its stand as Yeshua says in Matthew, then naturally we are set apart, or holy, as He is holy from everything else that is of the darkness. The closer we draw to the light, and the brighter that light is shown in our lives, the more the darkness will be repulsed by the exposure. As Yeshua says, it's not actually us they hate, it's Him, so when they loath us, we can rejoice knowing we are drawing closer to the Master and journeying further from the darkness. After all, if we were like them, there would be no reason for animosity. Yeshua refers to this in verse 19.

John 15:19 HCSB

"19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you."

Luke 6:26 esv

"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."

Therefore, the outward evidence from those in darkness which testifies most fiercely to the truth of our faith in YHVH is how the world treats us accordingly. If the world loves you...chances are you are enough like them they are not repulsed by your presence. However, that same world who loves their own, refuse to accept those who are in the light, and it is there we can truly find hope, joy, and peace because we know it signals our intimacy with the Father of lights. So, rejoice then when you face persecution or hatred because of your sincere faith in the Master.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a license to intentionally run around offending everyone you possibly can, but when innocent, there is great assurance knowing we remain distinguishably separate from the works of darkness. If that one reassurance isn't enough, YHVH offers hope and encouragement to persevere by blessing those who suffer and are hated because we stand with Him in the light. In Matthew 10 Yeshua is exhorting the twelve before sending them out to minister, there He lays out how and what they will suffer (v.16-25). Squeezed into the text is a short little line that should speak volumes about the Father's love for those who follow Him into the light.

Matthew 10:22 esv

"and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

He spends an enormous amount of time telling them how and what they will suffer, and just one little short line about the assurance they have to persevere until the end, they will be saved. Wow! The modern church has this backwards, declaring "blessings, blessings, blessings to all the disciples!" Yet the message of the Messiah starkly contrasts this kind of preaching by preparing His disciples for battle, equipping them in the spirit, and exhorting them to persevere. Can you imagine what the results if Yeshua had delivered one of these pervasive power pep-talks to His disciples before He sent them out?

"You got this!"

"Five steps to be loved by everyone!"

"Expect blessings everywhere you go!"

Receiving the pep-talk and after spending some time passing hi-fives around the circle, these men would have walked into the wolves den and been devoured. Yeshua takes the "realists" approach, you know, that one people say is just negative thinking. He tells them exactly what they are going to suffer, so they know exactly what it is they are getting into before they even start. No surprises, no faltering faith, no sunshine and rainbows, just real, hard truth.

Similarly to these twelve, we too are sent to the wolves, are you ready? As a city on a hill, you are not in stealth mode, you are obviously and openly set apart, and while that comes with inherent suffering, it is salted with the light of truth, "those who persevere, will be saved!" There is hope even when surrounded by darkness, walk in the light as He is in the light, and the light will never be overcome by the darkness. Yeshua does not promise deliverance from suffering, but that we will have the boldness to continue through the anguish and salvation awaits us at the end.

The challenging aspect of this hatred and personal suffering comes with one more cost we did not discuss before, the cost of not seeking personal vengeance.



Remember in Luke 6 Yeshua says if we are fully trained, we are like our Master, this means we respond to suffering and abuse the way our Master does. Not with vengeance, not with anger or hatred, but with silent, simple, illuminating love. Instead of clouding the remaining portion of this post with my thoughts and commentary, I will only leave a series of verses which clearly make this point, and my desire is that you will prayerfully petition the Master to train you to be like Him in every way, especially with those who hate you and seek your harm.

Isaiah 53:7 esv

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth."

Matthew 27:11-14 esv

"11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed."

Mark 14:55-61 esv

55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

Isaiah 50:6 esv

"6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting."

Matthew 5:38-39 esv

"38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Luke 6:29-31, 34-36 esv

29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them...35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."

Matthew 27:27-31 esv

"27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him."

Mark 14:61-65 esv

61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Luke 6:27 esv

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."

Luke 19:41-44 esv

"41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Luke 23:34 esv

"34 And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' And they cast lots to divide his garments."

Exodus 23:4-5 esv

4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him."

Proverbs 25:21-22 esv

"21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you."

Matthew 5:43-48 esv

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

John 13:34-35 esv

"34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

1 Thessalonians 5:15 esv

"15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone."

1 Corinthians 4:11-13 esv

"11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things."

1 Peter 3:8-9 esv

"8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."

Romans 12:19-21 esv

"19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

My prayer is each one of us will continue to be trained by the Master and be like Him. Being a City on a Hill and a light on its stand, means we will be set apart, noticed, and targeted for the light we shine. We will be hated, abused, and made to suffer for that reason. Yet, even in that there is great hope that we are becoming more like our Master and that as we persevere we will be saved.


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