|Is this the kind of lamp Jesus talking about? Somewhat?|
“Then Jesus asked them [his disciples], ‘Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.’ Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you her. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given – and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them’” (Mark 4:21-25, NLT).
Jesus probably was speaking to the disciples with the crowd gathered around them. Here in the Gospel of Mark, the discussion of “a lamp”, “a basket”, and “understanding” appear immediately after Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the farmer, seeds, and soils (Matthew 13:3-12. Some accounts in Matthew are parallel with Mark at several places).
A “lamp” was a lighted wick in a clay bowl full of oil. The lamp would never be lit and then put “under a basket or under a bed.” It would be put on its stand in order to illuminate the room. In the same way, the purpose of the parables (in fact, all the parables that Jesus told) was not to conceal the truth for those who “listen and understand” but to reveal it. For those who are “not listening”, however, the parables become a stumbling blocks for them and thus “what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
Jesus was telling the disciples that the benefits of knowing him were to be passed on, like light shining in darkness. They should “pay close attention” so they would know the truth and be able to share it with others. Jesus added that those who “listen and understand” would continue to grow because they let God’s Word make a difference in their lives; but those who listen casually would miss the point entirely. What can you do and ask from God to “pay close attention” to Jesus and his teachings?
Think about this: Christ’s Message about God’s Kingdom is intended for everyone. At times, believers seem to hide their faith from the watching world, as if putting their light under a basket. But Jesus calls us to spread the truth about the Kingdom, scattering seeds (Matthew 13:3-12) and shining light. We can only share what we know, so we should be diligent about listening and learning from the Master. In due time, God will lead us to those whom we can help with what we know. Regardless of your level of spiritual maturity, “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).
Ask God to help you as you focus you attention on him (In prayer and reading of the Word).
Ask for the Holy Spirit to quicken your understanding and interest. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.