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Bible Gemz 979 - Using the Light sayings in Different Ways (Luke 11:33-36)

June 20, 2019

"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)



Most of us would think that Luke has simply included another small pericope here that is unrelated but slipped in at this point. Nothing Luke does is by chance or without purpose. That is one of the reason why I chose to gem Luke. Let’s look at the arrangement of this material assuming that Luke has a purpose for including it here. There is another question we have to ask ourselves: - Is Jesus using the light sayings in different ways or is Luke arranging the material in thematic ways and grouping together Jesus sayings to suit his purpose? 


Let’s investigate further:

Mat 5:13  "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.


Mat 5:14  "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.


Mat 5:15  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 

Mat 5:16  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. 

Mat 5:17  "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 


Mat 6:21  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 

Mat 6:22  "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 

Mat 6:23  But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 

Mat 6:24  "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.



Take note of the two different ways Matthew uses the theme word “light”. Ah but is it Matthew who is doing it or Jesus? I think it is clearly Jesus. Jesus is using the sayings and the themes in ways to convey His message to His hearers. One moment He uses “light” to remind the people they need to be sharing the good news they receive with others. Then He is using “light” to focus on their own shortcomings and the need to expose their inner heart and thoughts to the “light”. Luke has picked up on that exact same difference in the use of the theme word “light”. Clearly it is Jesus use of “light” that has caused both Matthew and Luke to include two very different uses of the word “light”. This theme of hiding the “light” and the effect of the light within us has been recorded by both Matthew and Luke, but in very different contexts. So we need to investigate the context in which this particular usage of “light” occurs in Luke.


Luke used the “light” saying related to hiding it under a bowl or a bed in the early passage of Parable of the Sower or the Soils. I dug into that in Bible Gemz 879. Matthew’s use of that saying is in an entirely different context in a collections of sayings.  The place the sayings appear in the gospel accounts are not necessarily the place where Jesus has spoken them. They may be used as links to glue certain pieces together. Or alternatively Jesus used these sayings many times, indicating that Luke picked up on one of the times Jesus used it and Matthew selects a quite different occurrence.


And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. 

"So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them." 

Then Jesus' mother and brothers came to see Him, but they couldn't get to Him because of the crowd. (Luke 8:15-19)


We need to pay careful attention to the use of the light theme in this section of Luke relating to opposition and criticism that Jesus is facing. 


Notice that Luke includes the “light” theme again in the beginning of Chapter 12.


Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to His disciples and warned them, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. 

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 

Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! 

"Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. (Luke 12:1-4)


Is it Luke’s editing in evidence here or is it Jesus' use in the context of His teaching? That is the task before us. Essentially why is this light saying appearing in the passage we are investigating. Many of us are lulled into a false sense of separateness with the pericopes that are stacked one after another in the gospels.  We tend to think of them as being a collection of unrelated sayings. But most often that is not the case. The short elements are most often linked in some way, not detached and separate as many printed Bibles seem to indicate by separating them and giving them a title. Look for the connections and the ways in which they link together. Especially in Luke, who has told us that he has written an ordered account for God lovers. His account is not necessarily ordered chronologically as we have seen but rather in terms of links in the teaching.


What is Jesus’ or Luke’s point in including these kinds of elements where we find them?


That is our task to find out. So as you read look carefully at the reason why these light sayings are interspersed between the sections related to growing opposition.



Aim at heaven & you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth & you get neither. C.S. Lewis


GOD will never put more on you, than you will have in you


7 days without prayer makes 1 WEAK! Rick Godwin


Maturity has nothing to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. Ian



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