The Light in You
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Observations and Reflections
This saying of Jesus is quite similar to the one in Luke 8:16-18.
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (Luke 8:16-18)
However, it seems to have been adjusted slightly for a different application. Not only that but the second iteration of the lamp teaching includes an application at the end of the teaching. The second iteration also includes a phrase that is only seen in the Bible once.
When Jesus says that “no one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar” the phrase “εἰς κρύπτην” is used. This is a Greek word that give origin to our English word “crypt”. It’s most basic use means something hidden or secret. However, the idiomatic use that developed was for underground cellars, catacombs, or even just a small storage recess in the floor or wall.1 It would appear that Luke’s choice of words might have been intentional, adding to the motif of hiding the light.
The message of putting one’s light on display is closely linked to the idea of not just seeing but doing, as Jesus’ brother James would say. To understand this parable we must remember the context. Jesus had just finished rebuking the people for rejecting Him and said that they would be judged by the Ninevites for even they heard the word of God and repented. Yet, these people have the light of the world in their presence and wish to place it under a basket or place it in the cellar. They wish to hide the light cast by Jesus and His gospel.
As Christians we are called to daily reflect the light of Jesus Christ living in us. If we truly have Jesus Christ living in our hearts then we ought to let the whole world know about it. The knowledge and joy of the Gospel is not of any use if we keep it to ourselves. The light that we have in us has the potential to impact many hearts that are darkened and taken over by sin.
This passage puts forward two challenges. The first is to examine our hearts if we truly are possessing the light of Christ and the second is to spread it to the rest of the world.
When we claim to be Christians, we must always be careful to examine whether or not we are being guarded against the darkness of sin’s snares and temptations. We are not immune to sin and Jesus calls for us to stand watch against anything that is in our hearts that is prone to lead us towards sin and darkness.
If we take the time to examine our hearts and are daily keeping watch over the sin in our lives, our hearts will then truly and easily reflect the light of Christ. Like the brightness of a lamp that is able to light up an entire room, so should our lives be shinning and blazing with God’s love living in our hearts and spread that to those around us.
[Featured image of Jesus shown as the alpha and omega, painted in the Catacombs of Rome.]
1. [Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35b: Luke 9:21–18:34, p657]↩