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Mark 4:21-25 Light Will Shine

Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 7, 2012


Mark 4:21-25 NLTse Then Jesus asked them, “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. (22) For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. (23) Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (24) Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. (25) 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.”

Earlier in the day Jesus taught the parable of the sower while standing in a boat cast a little way out from shore. That evening, after a bit of discussion, the disciples asked Jesus what the parable meant. The act of asking showed Jesus they were not only willing, but ready to learn. He explained what the symbols He used represented. The sower, or farmer is the one who takes God’s Word, the seed to others. Birds represented Satan and the people he uses to steal God’s Word away. Stony ground represents people’s hearts when they turn to stone, where the Word cannot take root. And good soil represents people who hear the Word, understand it, and share it with others. When they do it results in more seed, more understanding and sharing.

Jesus watched the flames from the fire dance off the faces of His disciples. He had so much to teach them and He knew His time was limited. Every eye was focused on Jesus, waiting for His next lesson. Looking into the fire Jesus asked them; “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed?” Jesus waited a moment for an answer. Peter though to himself, “because it would start a fire destroying the bed or basket.” He didn’t bother voicing his opinion. Finally Jesus answered His own question. “Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” Jesus could see heads nodding in agreement, but did they understand? Could they figure out what light represented on their own? It was time to see what they learned from the parable about the sower scattering seed.

As everyone was thinking about a lamp on a stand giving light to a room, Jesus added another detail. “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” Jesus hoped His disciples were looking for the hidden meaning. Were they thinking about texts that would explain the symbols? Did they remember what He taught them a few minutes ago? Jesus studied every face looking for understanding in their eyes. Instead he saw a blank looks, so He added a little reminder. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Suddenly they all remembered Jesus used the exact same words when He told them the story about the seed and the sower. They also remembered what Jesus told them only a few minutes ago. “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?

Now they remembered, the answer must be in scripture. Peter began to remember a few verses he heard from Isaiah. “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become alight to the nations. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.” (Isaiah 51:4, 60:2-3 NLTse). Peter could easily see how light, which he thought represented only understanding is brought to life with new meaning when compared to other scripture. Now Peter could see how light also represented God and His justice and glory which shines over the whole world. His brother Andrew remembered a text from Daniel. “He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (Daniel 2:22-23 NLTse). Andrew thought of how the entire text related to what Jesus said, “When they hear what I say, they will not understand.” He could see how Jesus has been revealing mysteries to them the same way God gave answers to Daniel. Except now, the answers were here in the flesh.

John loved the Psalms and thought of a few of his favorites. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” (Psalms 119:105, 130 NLTse). John always liked the simple answers. It may have been a quality that helped prepare him for his future ministry. To John it was simple to see how God’s Word is always present, understanding brings light to the world. As he thought about learning enough to be able to share His Word, John let out a deep, emotional sigh. Jesus knew the Spirit was working in each of them. Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. 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.” Jesus hoped they were paying attention. He purposly repeated the answer a number of times. If they were listening, it would be impossilbe for them to miss the lesson. He had other parables to teach in the future to show how people satisfied with little understanding can loose even the little they have. Jesus hoped they remembered the birds and stony soil in the parable He taught during the day so they could begin to compare, pray, and see everything in a greater light than they ever imagined.

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