“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, that those who come in may see the light.”
I have read the verses preceding this one numerous times, but never really given a lot of thought to it. A cursory reading of it looks like Jesus was talking about various things, but upon closer examination, I believe each example He uses is related to the next. I think He is actually expounding on one thought.
Luke 11 begins with an example of how to pray, as the disciples said to Him, “Teach us to pray,” where Jesus gave them the model Lord’s prayer that we are familiar with. Then He went on to expound on persistence when He spoke about the friend coming at midnight needing food. After that, He gave instructions to keep asking, seeking, and knocking. If you want to know how to receive from Heaven, Jesus gave this example. God is not a reluctant Father; it is we who lack faith and the devil who opposes our answer.
After that, He cast a demon out of a man who could not talk, and the people began to accuse Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. He responded with, “Every house divided against itself cannot stand,” indicating their accusations didn’t make any sense because demon would be fighting demon, and the obvious truth is that the Kingdom of God was the one doing it. There were also those in the crowd who asked Him for a sign from Heaven. I wonder what they thought just happened when the man began to talk, the man who had been mute his whole life?
In verse 29, He began to chastise them, saying they were an evil generation that sought a sign, saying no sign would be given it except for the sign of Jonah. At this, I’m reminded of the story of the rich man and Lazarus story. Luke 16:19-31. The rich man died and went to hell and saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. He then asked Abraham to send Lazarus to go tell his brothers about hell and warn them. Abraham replied “They have Moses and the Prophets, and if they don’t believe them, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” I believe He was saying, if they don’t believe the scriptures, a sign won’t change that because their hearts are too hardened. Remember, He has been casting out demons and people are accusing Him for it, revealing their own hardness of heart.
Then He said in verse 33, “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, that those who come in may see the light.” (I believe He is referring to Himself as the Light, which He tells us in the book of John, and how it is brought out for the benefit of others.)
Vs. 34: “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”
He is comparing people who have “clear vision” (their eye is good, they understand truth and they live in truth) to a lamp that is turned on that gives light to all. People who are born again have the Light of the world living in them. They are no longer in darkness. God wants to “turn the lights on” for the world because the world can’t see! They live in darkness. Their understanding is darkened because of sin. They cannot find their way. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our world today.
John 8:12 says “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus says in John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” But Jesus is no longer here, so now what? Is His light gone? No! It is now in His people. He has not left us without the light or a witness of Himself.
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”
Ephesians 5:8 says “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light….
So, let’s think about it…..Jesus was “hidden” for 30 years until He was brought out to be the Light. When God brought Jesus out for his public ministry, the spiritual kingdom of God began to be revealed….He cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, and did other miracles. Jesus began to fulfill His ultimate purpose after His baptism by John, to reveal God’s kingdom and then to die for our sins.
I can think of some other examples of the hiddenness and training God’s people go through. Moses, was 40 years in the desert, still a seeker of God I believe since he turned aside to see the bush that burned. Then he was brought out of obscurity to be the Light to Pharaoh with the word of the Lord on his lips…”Let My people go.” Moses went on to fulfill the purpose for which he was born, which was to deliver Israel from their bondage.
Joseph also was hidden, first sold into slavery, despised by his brothers, then went to prison for something he was not guilty of…until the day he was brought forth from prison to be the salvation of Egypt (a type of the world) and of his people. Joseph was promoted to give God’s light and wisdom to the existing world which would have perished without it.
So too, we are hidden, in training, being molded and tested until the day that God brings us out publicly to be light to some part of society and fulfill the purpose for which we were born. Like Moses and Joseph, we need to endure the hiddenness, striving daily to live in His light, His truth, bringing the illumination of the kingdom of God to wherever we live. That kingdom inside of us carries the qualities of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, and the world is desperate for it.