Well what an interesting end to the parable of the soils this is. Luke follows Mark’s account and adds the same elements but he inserts some of his own additions. Matthew on the other hand has used the lamp under the basket segment already. But only the basket and not the bed. He used this linked to the salt of the earth, light of the world sayings in chapter 5. The part about nothing being hidden Matthew has placed in 10:26 and the verse related to “whoever has shall more be given” is found in Matthew 13:12. In other words Matthew has repositioned it earlier in the parable of the soils. The original position of it is the end in the place Mark has it. Luke has followed Mark’s order. Matthew keeps one verse and repositions the other two in different places but attaches the remaining one at the beginning of the parable of the soils and not at the end. By not following Mark’s order Matthew comes up with a new transition for the end of the parable of the soils. I will look at what Matthew appears to be doing in the next Gem in attempt to explain the Matthew’s reordering of 30 – 60 – 100 sequence. But as I have said before, the focus for us at this point is not Matthew but Luke. Note what segments Matthew uses to follow the parable of the soils. The connection is strong.
But what is the connection between the parable and what follows it in Mark and Luke? How do we make the connection between these segments? Mark’s pattern is a little more complicated. In my thinking Luke has made it simpler. The flow is a little easier to work out. After the parable of the soils we have:
- No one covers up the light
- Nothing is hidden that won’t come to light
- Watch how you listen; what you have may be taken away.
All of this fits together well. Remember the sower is both Jesus and the disciples. Once the disciples have received revelation to the mysteries of the Kingdom then it stands to reason that those revelations would be shared. The light you receive to the mysteries of the kingdom is for sharing. Knowing the world around you isn’t privy to the same revelation makes it necessary for you to be the bearer of the Good News. Thus no one takes light / revelation and hides it. In normal life, Light is made for revealing. Imagine the absurdity of lighting a candle and covering it with a basket or container when you need light. Even more so imagine lighting a candle and putting it under the bed. Ah you are thinking, that is no different from putting it in container. Hiding it under the bed is just the same. Oh that is true if the bed is a four legged bed base with mattress on top as you might use. Even that is a little crazier than putting it under a container. What happens to the fumes? How safe is the mattress and bedding from the candle flame? But it is even more absurd when you consider the beds of the time. They were simply sleepng mats or mattresses which were rolled up in the morning and stored. No one in their right mind would put a lit candle under the bedding. Aside from the need for light in the room it would be dangerous. Point taken. Light is made for sharing; so share it.
Way back in Bible Gem 4, many sunrises ago, I drew attention to the significance of
“He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”John 1:8
John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message.John 5:35
Some translations have he was not the light (1:8) he was the light (5:35). Well was John the light or wasn’t he?
It is all hanging on the difference between two words: Luknos and Phos. John contrasts himself with the light of Christ. John was the luknos (the small oil burning lamp) but Christ is the phos (bright shining light of the sun). The luknos is the lamp you may consider put under the container or the bed in a moment of stupidity. The light of sun you would never consider doing that with. The revelation in the light of Jesus Christ is made for sharing. How can you do otherwise? Especially when you know “they” have not been given the revelation of mysteries that you have. To take the revelation and hide it is like putting a lit candle under the mattress. Crazy and dangerous for you.
Nothing is hidden that won’t come to light. Especially so when the light of that revelation concerns end times when ALL will be revealed. But also in the NOW with the revelation and understanding the gospel itself brings. There are two possible ways of interpreting this statement. Both are correct and probably it was intentional for us to apply both. At that point in time in sharing the gospel and at a future point in time when we shall know as we are known and all is open and laid bare before the King of Kings. It is both . . . and.
Notice the next Lukan element. “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” It goes right back to the hearing the word talked about in the parable. Take care how you listen. Don’t allow any of those negative things to happen which result from the path, the stoney ground and the thorny ground. Make sure you hear with all your heart and put it into practice. Or you may imagine you know, but in fact you don’t know at all. And even what you think you know will be taken from you. The irony or absurdity that is present in putting candles under bed clothes is present also in wrongly handling the Word of truth. To hide it is to risk losing it. Light was made for a lamp stand, the sun was made to shine forth as a sign. Be a conduit not an extinguisher.
There is another little element that is worthy of comment. It is the line in Luke’s “so that all who come in (or enter) the house”. Is Luke saying this in reference to Gentiles? The ones who enter a house are the guests. We are talking about the Jewish household. The guests to a Jewish household are outsiders – Gentiles. Luke is a Gentile and his Gospel was written for Gentiles. Yes this light is also for the Gentiles. Paul was designated as an apostle to the Gentiles. Yes this light of revelation is for all people coming into the world, as John reminded us. Are you doing your part in sharing the light of the revelation you have received? It might just ensure you get to keep it and don’t lose it. The which is “hidden away” [apokruphon] is made to “come to light” [phaneros]. To hear the Word is to share the Word.
For to him who has will more be given. Those who listen with a believing, surrendered, obedient heart will be given a deeper and more insightful appreciation of the Word of God and the secrets of the spiritual life. Mysteries will be revealed to them. It all depends on hearing right in the first place. Hearing and putting into practice. Being doers of the Word and sharers of the Word. By not appropriating truth when we recognize it we risk losing our hold on it. And if that is the case we have less power or ability to recognize it in the future. It is like Paul writes in Phil 3:16 “we should live up to what we have attained or grasped hold of”. Oh how true is that. To not action it or grasp it more fully is to risk letting the revelation slip through your fingers.
There is one more element I would like to draw your attention to. [Actually there is much more than one but I am controlling myself.] There is a veiled theme in this link to the riches and wealth and yield of the seed. Maybe it is this thinly veiled allusion which encourages people to turn this passage into a prosperity doctrine show piece. I hope you can agree with me now that prosperity doctrine is not what lies at the back of this passage. Far from it. It is all about the way we must pay attention to the Word of God, the seed is the Word, practice it and share it. The purpose of the variety of soil types is to depict our heart condition. Once we know that, we know what we have to do is to listen correctly. We all have ears indeed but are we using our spiritual ears correctly? Listen with discernment. When we do we will gain riches! There is an abundance theme running through this.
- Ears of wheat that multiply 100 X [when even 30x is a great harvest]
- worries for riches which grow up to choke us,
- to him who has more; more will be given.
Granted all of it focus on the abundance in Christ. But spiritual abundance and fruit from the Word of God not material riches! They have no part in this abundance. The worry for material wealth chokes spiritual growth, it doesn’t enhance it.
Next Gem we will close this whole section by looking at why the difference between Matthew’s 100, 60 30 scale as compared with Mark 30 60 100 scale, while Luke sits in the middle on 100 and doesn’t use either an ascending order like Mark or a descending order like Matthew. Despite the fact that he knows of both, I am sure. He is the one who has gathered all the accounts and sought to write and order account of these things for his God Lover friend, Theophilus. See you back here next Gem when I know many of you want to compare what you have come up with on the 30/60/100 with what I see.
Heavenly Father, make me a billboard of your grace, a living advertisement for the riches of your compassion.Max Lucado
One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.Friedrich Nietzsche
Lord, whatever you want, wherever you want it, and whenever you want it, that’s what I want.Richard Baxter
The universe is full of magical things waiting for their revelation as our wits to grow sharper to find them.Anon
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to spend time alone with God and hang on His every word.Ian Vail