Will It Come to Light? | Mark 4:21–23
21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
One technology ubiquitous to the history of man is the lamp, for we always have need to shine a light in the darkness. This brand of lamp would have consisted of a small clay container, some oil, and a wick—placed most effectively and safely on a shelf for the sake of the whole room. Jesus teaches that His disciples are to also to shine the light of His truth to the world.
God’s pattern is to reveal, even what we don’t want known. At the right time, He shines His light on the secrets and intents of the heart (1 Cor 4:5). While the “sins of some people are conspicuous,” God reveals other sins later (1 Tm 5:24). Jesus says in Matthew 10:26–27 that “nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (see also Lk 12:2–3).
That brings us to the next point:
Jesus’s disciples will reveal His secret. Indeed, they do just that in the writing of Scripture. This passage resembles Matthew 5:14–16, where Jesus explains, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (v. 16). The context here is that, while the parables remain hidden to some, the good work of the disciples will be to tell the world of these words.
Disciples today and their local churches must continue to share what the world can’t discover through its own wisdom (cf. 1 Cor 1:21). We have the lamp of God’s Word in our churches, which is why Revelation 1:20 identifies churches as lampstands. However, heed His warning that He’ll remove the lampstand of those who are not faithful to His Word (cf. Rv 2:5)! Whether gathered corporately in church or dispersed into the world, may His Holy Word remain on our lips to guide the lost through the dark.