Bible Society of South Africa

Absolutely Alive: Radiance or Shadow? - 5 July 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

A Lamp under a Bowl

21Jesus continued, “Does anyone ever bring in a lamp and put it under a bowl or under the bed? Doesn't he put it on the lampstand?

Would you hide a lamp under a basket or under a bed? Or would you be more inclined to hide something under a basket that you wouldn’t want someone or something else to find – like the last piece of chocolate cake, or leftover roast potatoes? Under the bed, you may hide something practical, like shoes or a suitcase – but only till needed – these would all be interim measures. Jesus’ question may seem counter-intuitive, but he clearly had a point to make.

How alive to God are we? How much do we want to be a part of spreading the good news of his kingdom? Jesus, himself, was a living example of being alive to God in the way in which he embraced his Father’s work in his ministry on earth. This is key in understanding the significance of the light in the instruction that Jesus was giving the disciples here.

Jesus used an absurd image of hiding light to emphasise that it wasn’t meant to be concealed, but rather to radiate. He wanted to prepare the disciples, as soon-to-be bearers of the light of the gospel, to shine into the darkness of the world and bring hope to broken people. The world would see this and be drawn to their message of the Good News because of it.

Jesus began his public ministry simply, by going into Galilee, and “proclaiming the good news of God.” (Mark 1:14) He’d endured forty days of fasting in the desert and being tempted by the devil, and was filled with the Holy Spirit; his message was simple and vibrant: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

Jesus knew his heart was one with his Father and wherever he went the crowds thronged to listen to him. What John the Baptist had foretold had come true: “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Jesus, the Light of the world, brought his teaching into the world’s darkness and taught his followers, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Jesus’ light is for everyone and his call is to all to gladly receive God’s good news of salvation, and then, as a bearer of his light, to joyfully share it in the world, unashamed; to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”.(1 Peter 2:9) Never to hide his light away (under a basket?), or be self-effacing about our abilities that it should be stored away (under the bed?) for a “better” time.

How will you answer his call?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I grow more like you each day that the evidence of your light in me may bring your radiance into the world. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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