Jesus often uses the same parable or saying multiple time and in different ways. The Lamp under a basket shows how Jesus did this. The parable is found in Matthew 5 where Jesus makes clear that our faith is to be conspicuous. In mark it is used to say something quite different. In Luke 8 and in Luke 11 It is used in a different context. You have most likely heard it from Matthew more often than the others. We will look at Marks usage of this parable.
In Marks context the parable less clear. Here Jesus is the Lamp that is to be put on the stand for all to see. It is connected with the declaration that everything that is hidden or secret will be brought out into the open. Jesus could be talking about the plan of God, or the mysteries of God. But the way it is connected to the warning about the measure and the one who has, more will be given, seems to mean that our actions are more in mind here.
Therefore Jesus is the light that shines in the hidden and secret places and reveals our whole life. Jesus reveals our depravity. Jesus’s forgiveness and grace is not a coverup kind of action. The light reveals the sin within us and then like a surgeon removing a tumor, His forgiveness cuts it out of our life.
Even when taken this way there are different ways to take this. Often the interpretation is that Jesus will shine a light on your secret sins. Jesus knows where you hide your playboy and He’s going to hold it up for everyone to see what you were trying to hide. Jesus has your password and is going to publish your email, messages, and your web history.
I look at it in a different way. Jesus is like the bright lights of the surgery room. Under it all things are reviled not to shame us but that they might be removed. Psalm 139 end with “Search me o God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The light reveals our sin that it might be repented of and forgiven. Our sin is not revealed to bring guilt and shame but healing.
Put the holy light of Jesus on a stand and let it shine into all parts of your life. Ask God to reveal all the sickness in your life and cut it out that you may be healed. Jesus is the light it’s time to stop hiding and time to start healing.