Insight from a Lamp, a Bowl and a Bed


light under bushel

Luke’s Gospel records one of Jesus’ shorter illustrations that involves a bed and a pot, jar, basket or vessel, depending on which version you read. In the past I had thought my understanding of this illustration was complete, but today I noticed something new that isn’t new at all.

Unless the lamp was electrically powered, placing it under a bowl would soon extinguish it. Since Jesus’ illustration was from Biblical times, I think it’s safe to assume that the lamp wasn’t plugged into a hundred and ten volt receptacle. That being the case, placing a lamp under a bowl would be rather a stupid strategy for lighting ones house. And then there’s the (assumedly, not electrical) lamp placed under ones bed. “Toasty” would not be an overstatement for ones night’s sleep.

Jesus’ most obvious point with this illustration is what He stated directly in verse seventeen: For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. The fact of the matter is no one would do these things, for the reason that no one turns on a light so it won’t be seen (unless you’re nine years old and reading a comic book under the covers).

The balance of Jesus’ illustration is an even more difficult lesson; if one were stupid enough to place his lamp under a bowl he might think his light is safe for when he needs it, but when the time comes the flame will be gone. And hiding ones light under the bed will cause such a blaze that everyone will know of his foolishness.

The bowl and the bed are both attempts to conceal the truth one has taken unto himself. Verse eighteen opens up the nutshell for all to enjoy:

Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

I must take this to heart by faithfully sharing my humble insights any way I can. If they are from God He will make them germinate, grow, and produce fruit in someone’s life. If they aren’t from God they will simply lie there producing nothing. To God be the glory, regardless how He uses me.

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