Luke is sharing another familiar parable with us today. We looked at this story in Mark 4:21-25. Feel free to refresh your memory of that telling and what we found that day, if you want to.
When I look at the story today it brings to mind the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine.” Luke is very good at skipping timelines and he makes this story look like it came right after Jesus’ explanation of the previous parable. I don’t think that is what happened chronologically, but I’m not certain about that either.
Whenever and wherever it happened, I believe thought wise, it fits very well with the previous thought. Jesus had just finished explaining the story of the sower and the seed to His disciples. He explained to them about the different kinds of soil and the different yields to expect from each. He ended His explanation with an explanation of what happens in the hearts of the “most favorable” kind of soil. “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (verse 15).
I believe Jesus is referring to those people when He talks about the lamps. The seed of the word that has begun to grow up is the light. Jesus is the light growing in the person’s life. If that person hides what Jesus is doing in their life he/she is putting their light under a bushel or under the bed.
Instead Jesus wants each of us to share what He has done for us. In seeing our light others will be drawn to the light of Jesus and want what we have. In this way you are lighting the path to Jesus.
Jesus’ disciples were the new lights for the world, especially after Jesus ascended to His Father. While He was with them their lights were burning but not at full intensity. During their “mission trip” into the surrounding area that Jesus sent them on their lights were very strong. They had great success in sharing Jesus’ message, healing the sick, and binding the Devil’s work. They were overjoyed with the success of that first assignment.
After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, their lights were like neon beacons! People were flocking to them left and right. Their boldness and clarity of message spoke right to the peoples’ hearts. New lamps were being lit by the thousands! They are still being lit today. I have no idea the numbers today, but the breadth of the spread is incredible! The whole world is seeing the light of Jesus on the faces of His children.
Jesus’ last statement in the parable is a word of caution to all His lamp bearers. “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given. And from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (verse 18). I believe the “how” here refers to the quality of listening being done. Are you being an active listener, one who asks questions about what is being said in order to ensure the best understanding? Are you a passive listener, taking it all in and quietly mulling it over on your own? Are you a distracted listener, listening with half an ear while engaged in something else? Are you a second hand listener, taking someone else’s interpretation of what was said instead of going to the source? Each kind of listening produces different levels of understanding.
Jesus said that the one who has, or gets it, more will be given to him/her. But to the one who doesn’t even have a clue, even when he/she thinks they do, what they have will be taken from them. Get involved in listening. Ask questions about what you are hearing/reading. Not questions filled with doubt and skepticism, but questions aimed at better understanding what you see/hear. This doesn’t mean that you will have all the answers or that all the answers are actually available. But if you don’t search you will never have any depth in you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many sources and people who have studied the bible and history just waiting to be asked for help. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask the Author of the book for His thoughts. God Himself authored and Jesus lived much of our bible. They are just waiting for You to ask them to show you Their point of view. The Holy Spirit Himself opens up our understanding. ASK!
Thank You Father for showing me Your words and their meaning in my life. Forgive me for the times I forget to ask Your input first. Thank You that You have shown me some of Your deeper things. Thank You too that I don’t have all the answers. Thank You for the experts that have more than I do, but even they don’t have them all. I look forward to our “bench time” when You will finally share everything with me. I want to learn at Your feet every day from now until forever. Thank You for sparking my imagination and letting me use it when reading Your word. I pray my stories do You justice Jesus.