Summary: Jesus has called us to be light into the world around us.
Light and Dark
June 15, 2008
Me: I used to be terrified of the dark. I hated it. I always wanted more light and to be able to see what horrible monster was going to crawl out from under my bed. Somehow, seeing the monster made it better. There was a comfort in the light.
Now, I want it as dark as possible in the room I sleep in. I like to watch TV and movies with no light. I enjoy the darkness.
You: Are you a light per son, or do you prefer dark?
God: Jesus gives a parable to help people understand their spiritual lives in the darkness around them. Let’s start with a little background of the nation of Israel.
They have been looking for the promised messiah for hundreds and hundreds of years. They are looking for the one who has been promised to deliver them from the darkness in which they live.
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. Isaiah 9:2
Isaiah is writing in a crucial time in the history of the nation of Israel. They are between the period of the founding of the monarchy with Saul and the prosperity of the nation under David and Solomon. Now the kingdom is crumbling and they are looking for guidance. Isaiah points out that they are being heard by God and that they are going to be delivered from this time. However, as most humans do, the nation is looking for an earthly king who will restore their powerful place as a nation.
Now Jesus has arrived. He is teaching and healing and talking about the kingdom. Some people are beginning to believe that maybe he could be the promised Messiah.
He is in the middle of teaching using parables when he says this:
He said to them, Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Mark 4:21-25
Let’s look at this passage for a few observations and then look at how we live this out in our lives.
The lamp represents Jesus.
Matthew and Luke also record this parable, but in a slightly different context. Jesus represents himself here as light. He is in a veiled way acknowledging that he is the light promised in Isaiah.
He is also pointing out that the time for him to be revealed fully is not yet come. In fact, it will not come until the very end of time.
The fact of Jesus as the Messiah will be revealed in the eternal kingdom.
Only those who choose to hear with spiritual ears will understand before then.
Jesus cautions everyone to carefully consider the claims he makes.
Over and over again he uses the phrase if anyone has ears to hear let him hear. It means, if you are looking with your heart and your soul, you will understand the claims of God.
So, if we understand the claims of Christ, and we choose to follow them and be obedient to them, what will that look like in our lives?
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise the Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
What does that look like?
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.