The Parable of the Lamp

Written by Rhonda Neal

Scripture to Read: Luke 8:16-21

Jesus frequently taught about the kingdom of God by using word pictures. In this section of Luke Jesus pairs God’s message to light. Our modern experience with light stands in sharp contrast to that of Jesus’ audience. We manufacture so much light that light pollution is a concern. Areas of earth may be identified from outer space by the amount of light emanating from the location. We utilize halogen lights, florescent lights, incandescent lights and LED lights. Generally speaking, light is easily acquired. Jesus’ listeners would have imagined small clay lamps that burned oil and offered a small flame. Lamps were placed on an elevated space to cast as much light as possible.

Elevated light is easily seen. Yet the clarity light provides was allusive when Jesus spoke in parables. Jesus explained parables to his disciples, but their understanding would develop as the plan for redemption unfolded. Jesus would complete his earthly ministry of reconciliation: take the punishment for sin, defeat death through resurrection, return to the Father to prepare a place for those who believe in Him and send the Holy Spirit. Disciples and those who received Jesus as Lord would reflectively understand Jesus’ teaching through the parables.

Jesus caution in verse 18 is an equivalent of ‘pay attention’. Jesus said, “Take heed then how you hear…” All will give an account for their response to the Light. Some will live deluded, thinking they have the Light, but “even what he thinks he has will be taken away.” When Jesus walked the earth, He was the light of the world. The Light now lives in His people, the church. His Light in us is to bring glory to the Father. We can never underestimate the power of Jesus’ Light on lives around us.

Naomi listened intently as the teacher related dismay over an incident Naomi’s first grade son orchestrated earlier that day. A seasoned teacher, every class year she would demonstrate humility and love by washing each student’s feet. Then today, when the teacher had completed washing the student’s feet, Jude asked, “Can we wash your feet?” The children became animated and joyfully shared in washing the teacher’s feet. In all the years of washing student’s feet, no one had ever asked permission to wash her feet. What came next was even more stunning. Jude fixed his gaze on his teacher, “Now your feet are clean, but your heart is pure. And our hearts are purer because of you.”

Take heed.

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