God’s Word for You
Mark 4:21-25 The Lamp
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, April 23, 2022
21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
This is what being a Christian is like day to day: Let your lamp shine out its light. The light of your faith is not for hiding. It’s for showing, sharing, giving, and growing. The stand your light is set upon is every part of your life and your circumstances: Your job, your family, your church, your drive home, the things you do on your weekend, even the things you say and do when you’re grocery shopping, filling up your gas tank, taking a walk with your dog, and especially when it’s time for us to gather together in worship.
Consider what the lampstand did in the tabernacle. It was the only source of light. It displayed the table of the showbread, the little altar of incense, the curtain of the Holy of Holies, and of course the curtain that led back outside again. This was the innermost sanctuary for worship for any of the priests in Israel except for the High Priest alone. Most ordinary Israelites could only hope to get a glimpse inside this Holy Place when they brought offerings to the altar.
The lamp of your life also shines on everything you know about your Savior. For some people who know you, your life, words, and actions (and reactions) are the closest they will ever come to being in worship or to hearing the words of Christ. Will you shine a lamp so that they can see?
24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (NIV)
Every teacher and parent understands that sometimes you just need to pause and say, “Listen carefully.” Even an attentive group can sometimes get caught up in the moment of a remarkable lesson and start talking among themselves. This doesn’t mean that the disciples were getting rowdy at this point, but Jesus wanted them (and us) to consider the following sentence carefully: The measure you use will be used for you.
How will we treat the instruction of Jesus? This is the measure we use. We want to treat the word of God seriously, to take it to heart, to forgive those who sin against us. We know that we are forgiven by our gracious God and we want to do the same thing. We want to explore God’s word more deeply, to use it as a guide for our lives and study it knowing that the angels themselves are reading over our shoulders and delighting in the notes we take and the discoveries we make (1 Peter 1:12). The Lord Jesus Christ will provide guidance through his word, and the most important pillar of the whole Christian Church: that we are justified by Christ alone who died to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:18).
But what about those who listen and pay attention to everything but Jesus? They will become confused but the ravings of the world, and they will open themselves up to lies, and they will be torn away from Christ. Even what they have (the comfort of their baptism and their elementary childhood faith) will be taken from them, since they turned away from Christ. That by itself should be warning enough for every Christian: Do not let what you have be taken from you. Don’t think of your earthly blessings, the content of your living room and your garage and whatnot. Think of the content of your heart; your confidence in the place you have in heaven because Jesus died for you. Do you want that taken from you? Of course not. “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). But the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out (Job 18:5, 21:17). Pray that God would keep your lamp burning, turning your darkness into life (Psalm 18:28), and preserving your faith to life everlasting.
Pastor Timothy Smith