Verse of the Day Devotion Mark 4:21
“And He was saying to them, A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?” – Mark 4:21
Today we will look at the Parable of a Lamp under a basket. Here is this parable as found in Matthew’s gospel.
“And He was saying to them, A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure (basket), is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear. And He was saying to them, Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides. For whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Mark 4:21-25.
In order to get a full understanding of this parable, we must look closely at our focus verse. In the New American Standard Bible (NASB) which I predominantly use, along with most other translations, the wording is “A lamp is not brought”. However, in the Greek the wording is much more interesting. It is literally saying, “The Lamp does not come”. The imagery is of the Messiah, coming down to bring the truth to mankind. We read the following in the Gospel of John. “Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. And, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. And again, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5. There are some who say the lamp represents the Kingdome of God. But based on Christ’s claim in various places that He was the light of the world, I believe it must be Christ
Therefore, the way the Greek puts it makes sense. He did not come into the world to be put under a basket or under a bed. He did not come to conceal His message. He came to declare it, and He uses parables many times to present them. Then He says, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light.” Mark 4:22. This verse seems to contradict verse 21. However, Jesus and His kingdom were concealed temporarily, for He was not fully revealed until after the resurrection. On earth He took on the form of man, just as any other man. But after the resurrection, He was fully revealed for who He truly was, the promised Messiah, the Son of God. However, the kingdom will not be fully revealed until the consummation of all things.
Then next he says, “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23. And then Mark clarifies what He meant. “And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides.” Mark 4:24. Jesus was telling them to listen carefully to what they are taught. However, they were not simply to learn themselves, but they were called to teach others what they learned. Because the mere hearing and receiving cannot be seen as measuring out, what He is saying is that as you teach others the truth, the more diligence you give in this teaching then their knowledge will also increase, which will allow them to teach even more. Basically, the willingness and effort that are necessary for paying close attention to Jesus’ parables will be proportionately rewarded. The next phrase and still more will be given you underscores the positive, rich reward that comes from careful consideration of Jesus’ parables.
In closing, Jesus came as a light to this world. When He left, He placed that office upon us. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16. The disciples were taught by Christ the truth of the gospel and were then called to go out and spread it. We are now those who are called to tell our world the gospel message. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. We are now the ones to reveal the truth of Jesus to all we come to. Are we diligent in this work?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.