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.”
Here in Mark 4 Jesus is teaching in parables. Parables are stories that reveal a hidden truth. Jesus could have spoken plainly with everyone but He chose not to. The secrets of God are precious and must be sought out:
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
If you are unwilling to seek God with all your heart, don’t expect to find Him. He doesn’t make Himself known to anyone but to those who are poor in spirit. The Gospel message is available to all but not all will understand; not all will repent and believe. Another reason why He spoke in parables is that the Jewish people who had been given the Word of God in the Old Testament did not highly regard Him. They should have been able to recognize the Christ when He appeared to them but they had already rejected God for who He really is and thus they also rejected the Christ. By hiding the truth in parables Jesus was pronouncing a form of judgment upon those who would not believe in Him. There were still some who followed Jesus that believed in Him but all the Jews should have recognized Him as the Christ and especially the religious leaders who claimed to know the Scriptures so well and were leading the people into the worship of a false god.
In this section, and the next parable described, the contrast with the first parable of the Sower described in Mark 4:1-8 is evident. After showing that not all who hear the Word of God will believe, Jesus declares that you don’t hide a light under a basket. This is obvious. The light of who Jesus Christ is could not be hidden. In spite of the fact that Jesus was now speaking in parables, it was obvious that Jesus is the Christ. He is the divine nature- the Son of God made flesh. Everything that He did revealed God to the people who saw Him. Every action, every word, absolutely revealed the perfection of God in a man who walked and talked and lived upon this earth. He is infinite love and mercy and goodness and truth and wisdom and justice. All the attributes of God are revealed in Him. He knows all things and will never change in all His infinite perfection and holiness. He came to save us from our sins and to reconcile us to God and there was absolutely no way that this could be stopped. The light could not be hidden.
But there was a time when the light was hidden under a basket. There can be purpose in hiding the light as Jesus’ use of parables revealed. For thirty years Jesus grew up in a family under His earthly parents Joseph and Mary. He was hidden after His birth and taken to Egypt to prevent King Herod from having Him killed. When they returned to Israel following Herod’s death, they did not return to Bethlehem which is near to Jerusalem but to Nazareth in Galilee- away from the religious elite in Jerusalem. He grew into a man in secrecy. And there was also a much greater span of time during which the light was hidden. Not only for thirty years but for thousands of years, from the very beginning of time, it was hidden who the Savior of mankind would be. How would God redeem mankind after the fall? Would the devil for all time be allowed to reign upon this earth after Adam’s rebellion? Would Satan remain victorious over God in defaming Him by overcoming mankind who was made in God’s image? The Old Testament is full of prophecies that predicted the coming of the Christ and of which were all fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. God had a purpose in this period in which the light was hidden as He raised up the nation of Israel and He decided the exact point in history at which the Christ would be revealed. God continues to progressively make more of Himself known to mankind in greater ways throughout all time and His timing and means are always perfect. There is so much to be learned about who God is progressively from the Old Testament to the New Testament and throughout the Church Age in which we now live before Jesus’ second coming.
But it would have been utter foolishness and it would have made no sense at all for God to promise a way of salvation and for it to never be fulfilled just as it makes no sense at all to bring a lamp into a dark room with the purpose of making things visible but instead covering up the lamp. Also, as in verse 22, Jesus points out there is no point in keeping anything a secret unless at some point it is to be revealed. He is speaking of a good secret like a surprise for your spouse or friend or child. There is no point in planning a surprise for them unless they receive it. (Jesus is not referring to a bad secret like the secret sins that people try to hide and hope will never be revealed).
And so in spite of the manner in which Jesus was speaking to them, He was in their very presence revealed. He was standing before them. He was proclaiming to all of mankind that He is the Christ and He would reveal this by dying on the cross in our place and rising from the dead. If anyone has ears to hear let him hear! This message is to be proclaimed everywhere and believed! And just as Jesus was revealed as the Christ, we who are born again by the Spirit of God will one day in the future be revealed to be in Christ.
Galatians 3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Anyone who has truly repented and believed in Jesus Christ is actually a son or daughter of God here and now and brought into the family of God through faith. While we may look the same as we did before, we are new creatures in Christ and will accordingly live in a different manner than we did before. We will reflect the glory of God and obey Him out of our love to Him and His Spirit at work within us. It is impossible for us to hide our new identity in Christ as the love of God is in us and revealed to others through us. But just as Jesus was in secret for many years and just as His identity and means of providing for our salvation was hidden, so too who we really are is yet to be revealed but one day it will be when Jesus returns:
Philippians 3:20-21 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
But for those who do not know Jesus Christ, they too will be revealed for who they really are. You cannot hide who you are. It will be revealed one day, one way or another. When Jesus returns at the final judgment all their secret sins will be revealed for they have not been changed. The true state of their hearts will be revealed. Do you long for that future day when Jesus returns or do you live in fear of His coming?
Pastor Murray Hack