Reading Scripture: Mark 4: 21-25

Everybody get out your torches for the parable of the lamp in Mark 4: 21-25.

I have to admit that I do not put a lamp under a bed or in a box because it is intended to give light. The needed interpretation here is, what is the lamp? I imagine that it can safely be surmised that the lamp is as the seed was in the previous parable: the word. In this case, then, the word, or Jesus’ teaching, is not to be whispered only to a few, but its truth is meant to shine out as a beacon for humanity. How could this be accomplished though!? (Maybe we’ll find out later?)

So, Jesus here says, “Nothing is hidden except to be revealed, and nothing concealed except to be brought to light.” And I have to wonder at the veracity of this statement. There are many things that people hide for the strict purpose that it will never again be revealed or brought to light. On the other hand, what if Jesus is speaking here of something that the context does not make clear? Light is a common euphemism for divine revelation, and darkness is a common euphemism for ignorance. Perhaps Jesus is speaking here that his teaching is meant to enlighten the mystery of God, to lay it all bare, and to leave nothing of God hidden?

Right after this though, he says, “Take care about what you hear.” So… should we now question what he has just told us? “The measure you use will be the measure you receive, and more will be added to you.” This sounds an awful lot like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Perhaps some vocal and violent Christians ought to read this parable again before they spew their “God hates…” rhetoric. At the same time, even those less violent who claim that people who don’t believe will go to hell should be cautious. Perhaps this is a measure by which we can understand how to speak about God? Be careful who you tell people God is, for that may be the God you receive?

In this way, Jesus’ words continue to be about revelation. Jesus is here to reveal all of who God is, so you better listen! However, be careful about how you interpret that revelation, because when you judge others, you judge yourself more so. Because whoever has the correct understanding of God will go on to learn more of him through Jesus, but those who only have it a little correct, or who have it out of context, will lose it entirely through doubt or persuasion?

The use of reason seems to be of little help here in the world of parables. This reminds me of the dreams from the old testament where there were cows coming out of a river and moving ears of corn that meant things no one would have guessed. I like to think that I have touched on the truth of Jesus’ message here, but the question then becomes, it is the careful truth upon which more will be added, or is it the little which will be taken away?

Perhaps time will tell. Until then, grace and peace to you all.


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