New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – The Lamp on a Stand

The last two parables were “twins” of sort, but this one is a stand alone type of parable. This parable is couched in the Sermon on the Mount and describes the believer as a lamp. A lamp that is open to view by all.

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Lamp on a Stand

Matthew 5:14-15

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Matthew 5 starts out with Jesus on a mountain, seeing the crowds and the disciples being with Him. It appears that the sermon was intended for the disciples, since Luke 6:20 informs us that

…he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God

The intended audience is the disciples during this time in the Lord’s ministry. So let us understand this parable as being addressed to His followers.

When did the Lord give this parable?

The Sermon on the mount was one of Jesus earliest messages, and many believe it was given in the first year of His ministry.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

No one knows exactly where the mount is, but we can know that this sermon was on “the mount”

Tradition speaks of it being delivered on Mount Eremos, on Galilee’s northwest shore between Gennesaret and Capernaum.

Why did the Lord give this message?

This message, or parable was not given out of answering a question, such as the last two teachings. This parable came directly from the Master, speaking to His followers.

I have understood the beatitudes in different ways at different times in my Christian journey, at one time thinking it didn’t apply to the Christian life, but only to those during a literal thousand year reign of the Lord on the earth.

At this time in my life, I find that teaching to be weak, and that the sermon was given to His followers, or disciples, in order to be understood and followed.

The lamp on a stand applies to disciples. The Lord gave this message to believers.

What was the message for the original audience?

Let’s consider the lamp as a fixture in a room. In the days of the first century, there were likely one lamp in the house, as a single source of light. The purpose of the lamp was to give light. Why would anyone put a lit lamp under a basket?

The lamp produces a certain amount of light, or in our world, the term is a certain number of “lumens”. (Remember a 40 watt bulb? This is the amount of power a light bulb uses to produce light. The light produced from a watt of power is measured in lumens. But I digress!)

No matter where the light is situated, the amount of lumens is the same. Under a basket or on a stand.

Advantageous Use of the Lamp

Placing the lamp on a stand is speaking of the advantageous use of the lamp.

One other item that occurs to me is the number of beneficiaries a lamp can supply light to.

It takes no more power to produce 100 lumens of light to one person as it does to 10 people. The lumens are not used up by the “consumption” of one person or a hundred.

The light expressed from the lamp is effortlessly blessing those who come within sight of its source. The power is not dealt with in this parable, and will not be commented on, but I bet you know Who the power is.

What is the message for us today?

There are two messages that every believer needs to consider from this parable, that I need to hear.

To be a light that is on a stand is the believers place in the kingdom. It is the purpose of the light, and the purpose of the believer, to bless those in their vicinity with their light they have been freely given by the Master.

Find the Power

When I say find the power, I’m not asking anyone to dig deep and find that inner strength. I am becoming more and more convinced that my power is the weakness of my soul, the abject infirmity that keeps me down. My power is a replacement of the true power of God, that I realize I have so little of.

Stand up for Jesus

Stand up for Jesus. Take a stand, in humility and with grace.

I have often made a stand for the Lord Jesus out of pride and hostility, out of fear or religious arrogance. How may I gently, and firmly stand for Jesus, depending on His power and grace? Lord, I ask for your hand and guidance.

You, my Savior, are the only One I can find strength in.

It is my continual proneness to depend on my strength, and I thank you Father for the aging process, where my strength is waning, showing me the emptiness of that source of strength. You are all strength. You are of eternal power. Your strength, Your power, You are the source of all light and life.

Psalm 38:9-10, 21-22

9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes–it also has gone from me. …

21 Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!

22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

David’s heart sought the Lord. This passage speaks to me and hopefully to the reader, that our strength will fail us, and the light of our eyes will fade. But our salvation is the Lord, and in Him is our strength.



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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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