“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Without skipping a beat, Jesus moves from His explanation of the Parable of the Sower into another parable, the Parable of the Lamps. Just so we are all together on the context, here is what came just before today’s text:
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Look at the text above; see how after the word “crop” at the end of the sentence (v. 15) the quotes don’t close, and then at the beginning of the new paragraph the quote resumes (v. 16)? This tells us that Jesus did not stop talking between verse 15 and verse 16, thus His discussion in 16-18 is in the context from the Parable of the Sower. With that in mind, let’s go back and read about those lamps once again…
As I’m sure you will recall from the last section, the key verse was 8:8b:
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Jesus is still talking about hearing the Word of God, and the business about the lamps is now obvious: The Truth of God is going to find out all of the motivations of our hearts and those motivations are going to be exposed. A lot of people will never “get it” when it comes to the Word of God and particularly the Gospel of Christ and that is because the motivations of their hearts are to not know. As we see in these texts, there may be many reasons for this, it could be the influence of the Evil One, it could be the worries of this world, or the pleasures of this world, or something else. Yet in all cases, we control what those motivations are. Thus He says, “be careful how you listen”.
Think carefully: If the motivations of your heart were outside of your control, what would be the point of His having said “consider carefully how you listen”?
That’s exactly right: There would be no point at all.