“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.
Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.
If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”Luke 11:33-36
There is a very interesting combination of thought tied up in this sequence. There is a doublet of thought here or a combination one – two punch. The first is that no one lights a lamp and hides it, but the light is there for all to see. Then there is the thought of the light applied to the individual. Your eye is the entry point of light to the body; make sure you have light and not darkness. Jesus has used a quote or illustration that He has used before, as I laid out for you in the previous Gem, but has applied it to something totally different. Jesus is continuing to address the request for a sign. Only here the application of the lamp lit and hidden under a bushel, is not related to the disciples and their light of witness to others. Rather in this case it’s the light is that God has given in Christ. Here is God’s Light on display for all to see. Namely Christ, the Light of the world. The Light has been given to bring revelation, to bring light to the house. The lamp is put on display or placed in a prominent position in the room, in order to shed its light everywhere.
This light that God has given, is the Light for all mankind. It is the difference between the phos and luknos that I spoke about in Bible Gem 4 way back in the beginning of John’s Gospel. “John contrasts himself with the Word, the Christ. John is the luknos (the small oil burning lamp) but Christ is the phos (bright shining light of the sun). This light cannot be hidden. Jesus’ light will shine whether you Pharisees want it to or not. You will not be able to keep it hidden. But what is happening inside you Pharisees and experts in the Law? Is this light penetrating your being, or are you refusing it entry, and in so doing, you are locked in your self-imposed darkness? The reason these Jews were still trapped in darkness was not because the lamp was covered up (the luknos– the small oil burning lamp). The inference is, that would be dangerous. You don’t cover an oil burning lamp up. It will set fire to whatever covers it. You pharisees beware, you are playing with fire. This Light of the world is not the luknos, it is the phos which burns with the intensity of the sun. The Pharisees and others were in the predicament they were in, not because the light was covered, but because they refused to allow the light to penetrate their stubborn hearts.
Their request for a sign was not in order to gain enlightenment. Rather, it was as a result of their stubbornness to believe and their refusal to accept the truth about themselves and about the Christ. So Jesus says to them, “Make sure the light you think you have is not actually darkness.” In their own eyes they had the light of enlightenment which they kept from everyone else. In fact in Matt 23:15 Jesus states their proselytes were twice as much “sons of hell” than what the Pharisees themselves were. On the outside they looked fine but inside they walked in darkness. This is made clear throughout Matthew chapters 23 and 24. They believed they had the truth and therefore the light but in reality their “light” was darkness because they refused to repent and turn from their practices of hypocrisy. You Pharisees and you Jews were meant to share the Light of the World, the Truth of God. But instead, you have kept it for yourselves and have covered it up. And in doing that, you have not got the light even within yourselves. You think you have, but in reality you are devoid of spiritual enlightenment and you are trapped in your own self-deception.
The Light of Christ and of God is constantly shining on the hearts of mankind. But whether they receive it or not, depends on the receptivity of their hearts. In this case, Jesus uses the analogy of the physiology of the body. The entry point of light is through the eye. The eye, in this case in terms of truth, is the entry point of light and revelation of truth to the heart. Jesus was not talking literally but figuratively. If your eye is sound [haplous] single, simple, sincere, healthy, clear – in other words sincerely seeking after truth, then the light of God’s revelation will fill your being. If a person is single-mindedly receptive to the light of the gospel, they will be receptive to the truth and they will walk in the light. (To borrow analogies from John’s Gospel). You will know where to place your feet because the light is shining on your pathway. But if your eye is not single-minded, clear and sincere, then you will walk in darkness, stumbling along in your own darkened understanding. You will not have the light, and therefore not be able to walk in the light. This effectively sums up the predicament of the pharisees.
There is a major play on words. The phos [the intense light of the son of God/man] cannot be skotos [darkness – the darkness of moral destitution, the gloom and darkness of sin]. How can the light (of the sun [phos]) be darkness. Darkness cannot be light. If there is light, there is no darkness. Light drives darkness away by definition. The pretence of darkness trying to be light is ridiculous as Jesus highlights with His statement, “make sure your light is not actually darkness”. It is obvious to everyone else, especially to “heaven”, but somehow you continue in your deception. And sadly you draw others into your deception (Matt 23:15). God is offering you light, in Christ. Your leaders, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are calling darkness light. They offer you darkness in the name of light. If the phos [the Light of God] were really filling you, it would be apparent. It would not be the flickering light of an oil burning lamp [luknos], it would be the floodlight of heaven.
What is interesting is that at the beginning of this response, Jesus has been using the plural “you” but in these verses the “you” has become singular. These verses are no longer a collective reference to the Pharisees and the leaders or to theJewish crowd as Luke began the section. Now the focus has come down to the individual. Each of us as individuals must make sure our eye is clear and focused and single-minded for the Truth of God. This includes the Pharisees and the experts in the Law each as individuals, each member of the crowd and each of the disciples of Jesus’ present at the time. In addition to that, it is directed to those of His disciples who would be reading this record of Luke’s, in years to come. You and me.
- Do you have the light? Is the light in you? Is your soul illuminated by the truth of God?
- Or do you think that you are filled with light, but in reality your light is actually darkness?
By confining truth to a small verbal part of our lives we condemn ourselves to being fragmented and full of internal contradictions, which is to say we condemn ourselves to being untrue.Art Katz
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. Be true to yourself.Andre Gide
I don’t have to know all truth; I have to be true, inside and out.Ian Vail
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.Martin Luther King
Don’t be afraid, darkness cannot put out the Light. It can only make God brighter.Sidney Mohede
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.Plato