Hello, and welcome to a new week of Foundations Daily. My name is Liam, I’m part of the team here at STC and it gives me great pleasure to be with you this week as dig into God’s word and seek to discover Him more. Last week, my colleague Casey shared some of his reflections from Luke’s Gospel. If you missed those, do take the time to listen back.
A bit of context. We’re in the middle of Luke’s Gospel account where Jesus is headed towards Jerusalem – the place where his mission here on Earth culminated. His mission, as we discover in Luke Ch 4 is to seek and to save, to restore and redeem, to make a way for people to know God and live the life they were created for. Much of this section focuses on what Jesus says and what he teaches people – those who are following Him and those that he encounters along the road to Jerusalem. His teachings helps us better understand what it means to know God, to grow in our relationship with Him and to do the things he does. Excitingly, this is something we as a church are actively engaging with through some something called the Grow Project. With this in mind, let’s look at our focus verse for today:
v33: “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
Jesus, who’s primarily talking to his disciples here, begins by making the point about a lamp and a stand. The lamp itself is probably a metaphor for Jesus and his mission. A mission we too are given when we receive God’s forgiveness, invite him into our lives and our welcomed into his family. We, the church, join with others in receiving Jesus great commission to go and make disciples, to grow God’s kingdom.
We, followers of Jesus, are the lamp. Each of us, as little Christ’s, carry Him with us, in us and as we live like him reveal something of who he is – wherever we go and whoever God has placed around us. We shine as a light to the world. It’s probably a very well known analogy to us. We read this and we think about Jesus teaching about us being salt and light in the Sermon on the Mount.
What is God saying to us today through this? Well, I think it has something to do with living an authentic life of faith.
I recently saw a video clip of a Christian leader talking about evangelism – about how we share our faith and he started by asking this question. Do others know I’m a follower of Jesus? My family? Friends? Colleagues? Class mates? Does what I say, what I do point to the fact that I’m his disciple? Do they match up?
That’s a really tough question isn’t it? Because if truth be told, and maybe this is just me, we sometimes find ourselves holding back, hiding what it is that we believe, who that it is we are – when we are in certain situations, places or around certain people. We hide the light. I know I sometimes do! Jesus says this is not the way God wants us to have to live our lives – to live our life in boxes. To shrink back. God wants us to grow!
He wants us to grow. To grow in our relationship with Him. To grow in our confidence in who He is. To trust Him. To learn from Him. To be like Him. And being like Him means representing Him. Paul talks about it in these terms – we are Christ’s ambassadors, as if he were making his appeal directly through us.
Transformation with God is always from the inside out. He puts his Spirit in us and therefore we are changed. Look at the Pharisees and the lawyers that Jesus addresses later on in this passage whilst at a meal. What’s projected to the outside world does not match what’s happening in their hearts.
As we come to Jesus, and receive his forgiveness, and invite his Spirit into our lives each day we are changed, from the inside out. We are filled with him – the light of the world- and as we live for Him we reveal that light to a broken, hurting and dark world.
So let’s ask the question: how can we put our lamp on the stand this day? What does that look like?
It might be talking about the fact that I was at church this weekend – yes I went there and it was great. It might be offering to pray for a colleague. I heard of someone in our church recently doing this in their school for their boss and it massively inspired me. It might be through being an encourager, through being generous, through being welcoming. Through going to my Christian union – go on youth church! For each of us, it will look different depending on our context and the people we interact with but… here’s something I was taught recently and it has stayed with me – disciples represent Jesus in the public space.
Where and how can we represent God this day? Where can we put our lamp on the stand?
Jesus, thank you so much that you love us, that you forgive us when we shy away, when we hide our faith from others. Lord, help us to live for you today – to serve, to love, to speak of the hope we have found in you to others, to those you have placed around us this day. Amen.
READING: Luke 11:33-54
‘No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.’
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you – be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practised the latter without leaving the former undone.
‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the market-places.
‘Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.’
One of the experts in the law answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.’
Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
‘Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.” Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
‘Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.’
When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.