Summary: Jesus used parables to make truth simple and understandable. However our responses to the truth are not always the same. We all receive the truth, but few of us know how to deal with it. Jesus taught the people by telling them parables; these were short s
LAMP UNDER A BOWL---MT 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus used parables to make truth simple and understandable. However our responses to the truth are not always the same. We all receive the truth, but few of us know how to deal with it. Jesus taught the people by telling them parables; these were short stories using familiar scenes to explain spiritual truth. By teaching this way he compelled the listener to think and concealed the truth from any who were too stubborn or prejudiced to hear what is being taught. Most parables have one main point, so we must be careful not to go beyond what Jesus intended to teach.
BACKGROUND TO THE PARABLE.
Mt 4: 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
Capernaum (from Heb. KapharNahum, village of Nahum) Jesus moved from Nazareth, his home town, to Capernaum which was about 20 miles further north and this became his home base during His ministry in Galilee. Jesus probably moved from Nazareth because of the intense opposition against him but in so doing He knew that He would be able to reach a much larger audience because Capernaum was a large city, He also knew that His message would spread more quickly and that He could expect some help and support for His ministry.
It also fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
THE PARABLE EXPLAINED
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Though the Jews saw themselves as the light of the world (Ro 2:19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark,), the true light is the Suffering Servant (Isa 42:6; 49:6), and this was fulfilled in Jesus himself (Mt 4:16; Jn 8:12; 1Jn 1:7). And because we are to be his disciples, we then constitute the new light. (Eph 5:8-9; Php 2:15). Light symbolizes purity as opposed to filth, truth as opposed to error, knowledge as opposed to ignorance, and divine revelation and presence as opposed to condemnation and abandonment by God.
The reference to the "city on a hill" is at one level fairly obvious. Often built of white limestone, ancient towns gleamed in the sun and could not easily be hidden. At night the inhabitants’ oil lamps would shed some glow over the surrounding area. As such cities could not be hidden, so also it is unthinkable to light a lamp and hide it under a bowl. A lamp is put on a lamp stand to illuminate all it touches. The "city on a hill" saying may also refer to OT prophecies about the time when Jerusalem or the mountain of the Lord’s house would be lifted up before the world and the nations would stream to it