Summary: To show how that as men respond to light of God's Word more light is given, but as they withdraw the light is retracted
Studies in the Gospel of Mark
It's Better To Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness
Text: Mark 4:21-25
Introduction: A young boy went with his parents touring around Europe one summer. Part of their tour included visits to the great old cathedrals of the past. As he visited cathedral after cathedral he was impressed the massive stained glass portraits of the disciples and of other saints as he stood in their great empty halls looking through the beautiful stained glass windows.
Upon returning home, he was asked by his Sunday School teacher about holiday on the continent, and what he liked the most. He thought for a moment of those great churches and their grand windows and he said, “I loved the sense of awe and the hugeness of who God must be, and I loved the stained glass windows with their images of the saints.”
“And what is a saint?” his teacher asked. His mind went back to those beautiful windows and he said, “A saint is a person the light shines through.”
That is a good definition of what a saint of God is supposed to be. We have no light of our own, but like the moon, we are to reflect the light of Jesus to a lost and dying world.
This evening I want to think about the Light of God, and to consider whether or not the Lord shines us through and if we are really allowing His Word to penetrate our hearts.
In Mark 4 the Lord began speaking in parables. The purpose for this in part was to hide the truth from those who had committed the unpardonable sin, whilst revealing truth those whose hearts were tender in following Him.
The first parable was the parable of the sower, and the second, the subject of our thoughts tonight, is the parable of the candle.
I. The Reason for A Candle – vs 21
A. Jesus said, “Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?.”
1. Well, we have all sung or heard that little chorus, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” and then we get to that part that goes “Hide it under a bushel? No, I’m gonna let it shine.”
2. Well, I wonder how many of us know what a “bushel” is exactly?
3. It is a measuring bowl – a common household utensil that was used for measuring grains, in fact under the old imperial system it was a familiar term, but thanks to the E.U and the metric system we speak of cubic millimeters – which doesn’t seem to have the same feel to it.
4. Just to clarify further, when the Lord spoke about a candle he was not speaking of the long elegant wax cylinder with a central wick that is lit to produce light as it burns.
5. No the ancient people used little clay pots, (think Aladdin’s lamp) in which they put some olive oil and dipped in a wick and lit the end, drawing on the oil to sustain light.
B. So now we know what a candle was and what a bushel was, we are ready to think about verse 21, and Jesus paints a picture of someone going to get a lamp as dusk is falling, lighting the wick, illuminating the room, and then, for some inexplicable reason placing the little pot beneath a bowl, so as to hide its light from the room.
1. Obviously the question arises, why do that? Surely it is defeating the purpose. The reason for lighting a candle is to brighten the room and chase away the darkness.
2. And yet that is exactly what we do when we shy away from sharing Christ with those around us.
C. In Scripture light is associated with the truth of God.
1. “God is light”, wrote John, “and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5).
2. James declares God to be the “Father of lights”. (Jas 1:17)
4. The Psalmist portrays God as One, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment.” (Psalm 104:2a) and;
5. Paul portrays Him as, “…dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto…” (1Tim 6:16)
6. The Word of God is, “…a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
6. And Jesus is seen as the Light of the World, and the Light of men.
7. So light is always associated with God’s truth, holiness and purity.
D. Now the churches in general and the Christian in particular is to be reflective of that light.
1. In Rev 1-3 the churches of Asia Minor are portrayed as candlesticks, and in Matthew’s gospel we are told, “Ye are the light of the world.”