In 2002, Ben and John set out on the trip of their lives, to hike through the Australian Outback. Spending months in planning, they had all the gear they needed to survive out in the middle of nowhere. No phones, no cars, no hospitals, and no help if something went wrong. One of their greatest fears would be getting bit by one of the many poisonous snakes or spiders known to Australia. Knowing getting bit was a real threat, the two men packed anti-venom; one problem, they only packed enough for one of them. What are the chances of both of them getting bit at the same time?
One day, their worst fear became their worst reality. Hiking on the path they mapped out for that day, John was bitten by an Eastern Brown Snake, one of the most poisonous snakes in all of Australia. Instinctively Ben searched through their packs to find the anti-venom. Knowing a bite from the poisonous Brown Snake was potentially deadly in minutes, Ben knew he had to act quickly. Standing over his friend, syringe in hand, Ben stopped. He began to think to himself, what if I need it? I’m in the middle of nowhere, what if I get bit by something and need to save my own life?
Needless to say, Ben sat there holding his friend John watching him die a slow painful death.
You might be thinking, is this story true? It sounds to ridiculous to be true. What type of person would willingly hold back the one thing their dying friend needs in order to live?
Luke 8:16 (NLT) 16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
The disciples would have understood more plainly the Parable of the Lamp. Lamps were common in their world and critical to their ability to navigate a dark house or streets. The disciples may have even laughed and thought Jesus was being a comedian to suggest that people would keep their light covered up with a bowl or hidden under a bed, especially when they needed to use it. It’s obvious to them, a lamp is not meant to be hidden, it’s meant to be on the lamp stand to bring light to a room.
It was intentional for Jesus to share this parable after His explanation of the Parable of the Soils. The disciples may have begun to understand how the two are linked together. The disciples would be tasked to be like the farmer, sowing seed in a world that would be hostile towards them.
As the light of God’s Truth through Jesus began to illuminate their life, their ministry would be to shine that light in a dark sinful world. Their ministry would be a very public ministry, not meant to be hidden under a bowl or placed under a bed.
When the light of Jesus’ truth illuminates a person, it is their duty to shine that light in the darkness around them. Being a witness for Jesus, like a lamp on a stand, should be made public, not hidden or kept to oneself. If we keep it just to ourself we become like Ben… having the anti-venom that can save a friend, but refuse to use it because we need it more.
Truth is, we do need it, not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of those around us and the world.
As a Christian, the light of Christ goes with you no matter where you go, the question is, is it hidden to the people around you, or have you placed it on the lamp stand to bare it’s incredible light?
P.S. The story of Ben and John is true, just not in the way you think it’s true.