Parable: Lamp On Lampstand


Following Jesus

Related Pages

This parable, in various forms, is found in Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 4:21-25, and Luke 8:16-18.

In fact, are there two different parables. See what you think.

Looking at more than one gospel

Matthew 5:14-16

Mark 4:21-25

Is the parable in Mark and Luke the same as that in Matthew? They all use the image of a lamp being put on a lampstand (as opposed to being hidden under a cover) but are they all teaching the same thing via that image?

Matthew's version is about Jesus' hearers letting their light shine. Mark and Luke do not talk about that. They talk about how Jesus' followers hear! Are these parables not about people being lights but people being lit, not about Christians revealing things but Christians receiving revelation? Is it more about the impact of the word of God on us? Not ethe context. The previous parable of the sower was about how we respond to the word of God or the gospel.

Jesus used the ridiculous image of putting a lamp under a bucket. No one would do that. But some people bring a Bible into their house and then do not read it.

Equally, Jesus might have been talking about how people respond to Him. He is the light of the world. That light is not hidden. God has revealed Himself in Jesus. But we might be inclined to block Jesus out - to put a bucket over Him so that we cannot see Him or do not have to take any notice of Him. That is as ridiculous as putting a lamp under a bucket.

Many Christians learnt in Sunday School that the parable is about letting our light shine. We sang "This little light of mine; I'm going to let it shine". That is faithful to the parable in Matthew but do we then make an assumption and read that interpretation into the mark and Luke versions, when they actually do not talk about that?

Some of the speakers below seem to be reading the Matthew lesson into the Mark and Luke versions but is that what those two writers are saying?

Luke 8:16-18