“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Who was Jesus speaking to?

“Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” (Matt. 4:25)
This means that Jesus was speaking to people who were not only gathered and motivated to listen to Jesus but also were followers of Jesus. They were in effect, Jesus' followers and students.

Jesus thus explained to these followers that after they had heard and learned from him, they were able to set examples for others. Jesus was encouraging his followers to spread the knowledge he was giving them so that others could begin to appreciate the need for focusing our lives on God.

Jesus wants them to preach


The final statement in this section is critical: “…that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” What does this mean?

This means Jesus was telling his followers to preach by example. He was telling them to conduct their lives in such a way that teaches others. And what might be those "deeds?" We only have to observe Jesus' life. Jesus spent his time helping people. He healed people. He praised God. He made sacrifices. He prayed. He preached. Jesus was God's advocate. He advocated for God in every possible situation.

Now Jesus is asking his followers to also become advocates for God.

The only way that others may “praise your Father in heaven” is for us to praise Him.

What does “praise” mean?


Praise means to glorify the Supreme Being's Name and virtues. Praise means to sing His Name and virtues with or without instruments, in groups or in private, consistently each day. Praise means we repeat His Names and virtues often.

Praising and singing God's Names is the holiest of tasks. This is taught by all bona fide spiritual teachers in every sect, faith or doctrine. See the Biblical evidence for this.

Singing and repeating the Names of God are the greatest deed a person can make. Singing and praising God and His Names brings true joy to the heart. It delivers a taste of love for God. If done consistently and without envy, praising God gradually purifies the heart of selfishness and envy.

This is confirmed by David’s psalm in 1 Chronicles 16-8:
Give thanks for the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to him, sing praise to Him; tell of His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy Name…”
This is also confirmed by Jeremiah (10:13):
Sing to the LORD!
Give praise to the LORD!
He rescues the life of the needy
from the hands of the wicked.
To praise God is the highest form of worship. This is because within God’s Names, within His characteristics and His activities, lies the kingdom. Within this praising of God lies the goal of life: To love and serve God with all our heart and soul.

This is Jesus' clear instruction not only to his followers, but all who may read his teachings later:
“praise your Father in heaven.”