BE CAREFUL HOW YOU LISTEN AND RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD
How does this parable relate to the parable of the soils we just covered?
This parable seems to tie directly to the parable of the soils just above.
Deals with our response to God’s revelation; looking at human responsibility instead of divine sovereignty.
One could have gotten the wrong impression from Jesus’ teaching regarding His use of parables that God’s intent was mainly to hide or conceal truth.
Geldenhuys: So by these words the Lord completely forbids the thought that He speaks in parables in order that the Gospel message should remain hidden. On the contrary, His final purpose even with this veiled form of preaching is to let the light of the Gospel shine – for the illumination of His followers and thereafter through them also for that of others.
I. (:16-18) PARABLE OF THE LAMP – BE CAREFUL HOW YOU LISTEN TO THE WORD OF GOD = KEY TO GAINING ADDITIONAL SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
A. (:16-17) God Ultimately Desires Illumination Rather Than Concealment
1. (:16) Basic Function of a Lamp = Illumination
“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, in order that those who come in may see the light.”
Who would think of buying a light and then hiding it so it cannot perform its intended function?
Who or what does the lamp represent here?
Wessel: The lamp represents Jesus who “comes,” and the definite article “the” serves to identify him. … the present hiddenness of Jesus will not always be . . . God intends that one day Jesus will be manifested in all his glory, at the Parousia. But who Jesus really is, is now hidden.
James Edwards: In the OT, a lamp is not infrequently a metaphor for God (2 Sam 22:29) or the Davidic Messiah (2 Kgs 8:19; Ps 132:17) or the Torah (Ps 119:105). Not only does Mark distinguish the lamp by making it the acting subject, but he refers to it with the definite article, the lamp. Finally, reference to the lamp coming is more suitable of a person than an object, and has indeed been used of Jesus earlier (1:7; 3:20). These particulars signal that this is no ordinary lamp. The image points to Jesus as the implied agent, for whom the lamp is a metaphor. Jesus is the lamp of God who has come to bring light and revelation (John 1:5, 8:12).
Jesus came as the Light of the world –
John 8:12 “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”
We are called to live as children of light – Ephes. 5:8
Application: “this little light of mine; I’m going to let it shine”
2. (:17) Ultimate Goal of God = Revelation and Illumination
“For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident,
nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.”
Revealed in due time
Much was hidden in OT times that Jesus came to reveal = the mysteries of the kingdom of God; much still remains hidden that will be revealed when He comes in His full glory to physically reign over the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem
God is not ultimately in the business of hiding truth – He is interested in making truth known; in bringing everything to the light
B. (:18) Degree of Attentiveness Determines Degree of Spiritual Insight
1. Responsibility Falls on the Hearer
“Therefore take care how you listen;”
Jesus is not just talking about understanding the words He says … but obeying all of His commands.
James 1:22 Prove to be doers of the word and not hearers only …
We need to hear with hearts and minds and wills inclined towards obedience
This is our responsibility – nobody else can do this for us; not putting the blame on God if we don’t respond with fertile hearts … if we have hearts of stone or rocky hearts or thorny hearts … puts the blame squarely on us – we should be attentive to God’s Word
2. Degree of Spiritual Insight Compounds — Both in Positive and Negative Sense
“for whoever has, to him shall more be given;
and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
Principle of compounding interest
TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU LISTEN WELL YOU WILL BE BLESSED WITH ADDITIONAL SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
What are some of our modern day sayings that communicate this same principle
Van Parunak: Like the “measure” saying, this is probably a commonplace saying or proverb, originating in an economic context. Our modern-day equivalent is “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer,” or, “It takes money to make money.”
Donald Miller: Verse 18 lays down the universal law that the man who has will get more; and that the man who has not will lose what he has. If a man is physically fit and keeps himself so, his body will be ready for ever greater efforts; if he lets himself go flabby, he will lose even the abilities he has. The more a student learns, the more he can learn; but if he refuses to go on learning, he will lose the knowledge he has. This is just another way of saying that there is no standing still in life. All the time we are either going forward or going back. The seeker will always find; but the man who stops seeking will lose even what he has.
II. (:19-21) INCIDENT WITH HIS FAMILY — BE CAREFUL HOW YOU RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD = KEY TO INCLUSION IN THE FAMILY OF GOD
A. (:19) Family Situation
“And His mother and brothers came to Him,
and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.”
Geldenhuys: Here again it is clear that Luke compiled his Gospel in a logical and aesthetic sequence and not primarily in strict chronological order. From Matthew and Mark it appears that this occurrence was linked up with the Beelzebub address which Luke reports later on in xi. 14-28. But because this occurrence (verses 19-21) is a fitting conclusion to verses 1-18, he records it here.
B. (:20-21) Spiritual Lesson
1. (:20) Family Issue Reported
“And it was reported to Him,
‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’”
[Aside – this passage has relevance to the Roman Catholic claim to the perpetual virginity of Mary]
Geldenhuys: They were afraid that He was overtaxing Himself completely through Hi constant exertion in word and deeds; so they desired to remove Him, practically by force, to their home, away from the thronging multitudes.
2. (:21) Family Identity Marked by Obedience to the Word of God
“But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’”
Our duty to perform the will of God must take precedence over everything
Lenski: To do the Word is to believe it, to trust it in our hearts, to obey all that it tells us, to hope all that it promises us.
Steven Cole: He uses the story to show that the key to a relationship with Jesus is not birth or other natural privileges, but obedience to God’s Word. Those who obey Him are truly Jesus’ family. Jesus was not repudiating family ties or obligations, but He was setting priorities. Allegiance to God’s Word must be first, even more important than family. Jesus is most intimate with those who hear and obey His Word. As He told His disciples, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21). If you want Jesus to disclose Himself to you, you must hear His word with a view to obedience. He calls such ones His mother and His brothers! The wonderful privilege of being close to Jesus is open to anyone who walks in obedience to Him!
J Vernon McGee: Christ is declaring a new relationship in this passage. He was not denying His family relationship but was getting ready to declare one infinitely deeper, higher, and more permanent, transcending by far any blood relationship. This brings a believer mighty close to Him.