Lesson 153-May 6, 2018
Lesson: “Lend Me Your Ears”
Scripture: Mark 4:21-25
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of the truth-”What am I doing with what I have?”
Introduction: How would you define the following terms: “grace opportunity” and “grace privi- lege” (writers terms)?
Jesus had previously explained to His disciples that they were blessed and afforded with opportunities that even the prophets had not received. He told the disciples (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11), “it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven.” In todays lesson Jesus shifts the emphasis from privi- lege to responsibility.
“In the parable of the lamp, Jesus tells His disciples that they are not only privileged but also responsible for that very truth. Jesus tells the disciples to be like a lamp, namely, to shed God’s light and thus reveal truth. We have been entrusted with it not so we can keep it to ourselves, but so that we can share it with oth-
Mark 4:21 In this verse Jesus ask three very short pointed questions. Two of these questions are asked render- ing responses in the negative.
- “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket?”
- “Is a lamp brought to be put under a bed?”
The other remaining question is asked soliciting a response in the affirmative.
“Is it not to be set on a lampstand?”
The lamp (“luchnos”) that Jesus spoke of and those of ancient Israel was a lighted wick in a clay bowl that contained oil or similarly a saucer shaped clay vessel with a spout and a handle that contained oil and a wick to provide light.
Jesus’ emphasis of the first two questions are offered with the intent of seeing and understanding the absurdity of such an action. The very idea and purpose of a lamp is not that the lamp be stored away or hidden. It is ra- ther to be placed in the open, up high or elevated, so it can give light. “Is it not to be placed on a light stand?” To receive Jesus meaning of these three points of emphasis, we do not have to over analyze or elucidate His words. I would just suggest some plain, down home common sense (Town Creek) understanding.
Question: What happens when you place a lamp under a container, such as, a bushel or peck, or for that mat- ter a basket?
Question: What happens when you place a lamp under the bed?
Neither of these places are suitable for a lamp. For the lamp to be useful and purposeful, it must be placed where its light can shine.
Question: What is a lampstand?
The lamp is to be placed on a stand where it is visible and can give the most light. Question: When is a lamp needed or useful?
Before we continue with our study focusing on the remaining verses of todays lesson, I want to share some- thing very interesting with you. In most of our English translations the words of verse 21 concerning the lamp translates “Is a lamp brought…” but in the literal translation of the original language the wording “is come the lamp.” Making it “is come the lamp to be but under a basket or under a bed?”
(v22) Because of the unbelief of the multitudes, the parables were designed to hide the truth while at the same time the parables were designed to reveal truth to the believers and those earnestly seeking Jesus. As Jesus instructed His disciples and taught them these truths it would not be long until they would be the instruments used to preach, teach, and reveal these hidden truths to willing hearts. McGowan explains it this way, “In oth- er words, Jesus was telling the disciples that the primary purpose of a parable was not to conceal truth, though it did do that, but ultimately to reveal it.” Jesus said, “for there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”
We must remember that in the spiritual realm the Lord Jesus Christ is the light that dispels the darkness. He is the Light! But we also must remember that when we trust Him as our personal Savior He kindles the light within us. We are truly to let our light shine for Him!
Question: How has your light been shining these past few days?
(v23) Again Jesus reminds us and challenges us that we need to be listening! The Message paraphrase states verse 23 as: “Are you listening to this? Really listening?” Over and over Jesus repeatedly calls for us to listen, really listen! On a scale of 1-10, 1 being indescribably bad and 10 being indescribably good, how would you rate your listening skills?
In verse 24, Jesus is emphasizing two very important points. In listening it is important to understand both the how and what! The follower of Jesus Christ is instructed to listen attentively to those things that they are to understand as truth but they are also instructed to give regard to what they hear.
Question: On the same scale of 1-10 how would you rate the what of your listening? What are you listening to? The scale’s number 1 being from the forces of evil, and 10 reflecting completely God glorifying.
Question: On the same scale of 1-10 now rate the who of those you are listening to? The scale’s number 1 being the voice of darkness pulling you away from Jesus or 10 reflecting a God honoring walking in the Spirit daily? Please explain your answer.
Hiebert offers this wise insight: “Truth received and carefully assimilated enlarges one’s capacity to receive more truth. Disuse of spiritual ability results in spiritual atrophy.”
Dr. Curtis Vaughn shares, “In other words verses 21-25 put together teach that the follower of Jesus Christ has the responsibility to disseminate the truth; as one does so he will get a better grasp on the truth himself. If he fails to unfold the truth to others, his own ability to understand it will seem to shrivel. How often those of use who train teachers have heard ‘I never really understood it myself until I had to explain it to someone else’ or ‘when I began to teach I really started to learn, or ‘when I give to others, knowledge becomes so much more exciting for me.’”
“If anyone has ears to hear let him hear”, we are to pay attention to what we hear when it is the voice of truth that speaks to us. Such as Mark Anthony spoke to the Romans while attending Caesar’s funeral, “Friends, Ro- mans, and countrymen, lend me your ears.” Shakespeare.
Simple truth-What is said to us personally has no meaning or value to us unless we are listening!