LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Luke 11:27-28 And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked. But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Luke 11:33-36 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
In Matthew 12:41-45, Luke 11:24-32, we find Jesus condemning the scribes and Pharisees that had gathered in His presence. With contemptuous mocking they denounced Jesus as the promised Messiah. They also blasphemed the Holy Spirit, which God sent to guide Jesus in the things He taught, and empower Him with the ability to perform miracles that confirmed Him to be God's Son, Christ the Savior. Within this discourse, in which Jesus severely censured these unbelieving Jews, the Gospel of Luke adds these few, but extremely profound, verses noted in the lesson text. These verses seem to reinforce Jesus' condemnation of the Jews for their total disregard and lack of understanding Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah that would offer God's salvation to both Jew and Gentile throughout the world.
After He spake these things, a certain woman, among the multitudes surrounding Jesus, said this unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. It is evident from this woman's statement, which was highly critical of these unbelieving Jews, that she accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah and, with these words, evoked a special blessing from God upon her. A portion of this statement is one that is often used in the Catholic ritual of adoration for the mother of Jesus. However, in this scripture, He found nothing that indicated a higher respect for his mother than for any other mother having given birth to a child. To bear a child is certainly a blessing to any mother, but Jesus told her, and all that study this passage today, that there is a much greater blessing for all mankind. He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. It is simply not sufficient in the eyes of God to hear His word. It must be believed and kept. That is, to accept it as one's own guide to life's conduct on earth - a manner of life on earth that will lead to eternal life in heaven. This is God's blessing that we are to strive for. It is a blessing that far exceeds any other that our Heavenly Father has in store for His obedient children, and it is available only through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The second teaching of Jesus, found in the lesson text beginning with Luke 11:33, reads: No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. By this, Jesus is again condemning the scribes and Pharisees. They had access to many Old Testament prophecies that foretold of the coming Messiah, specifically identifying Jesus as the Savior of the world. Yet, this knowledge was hidden from the Jewish nation by their own spiritual leaders, who had, through their own self-serving interpretations, misled their people into disbelief and rejection of Jesus as the Son of God. The spiritual candlelight was made available to them, but, as this scripture tells us, they put it under a bushel, and no one was able to see it and be led by it. Although given on a different occasion and for a different purpose, Jesus taught this same lesson in His well-known Sermon on the Mount (See Matt. 5:15-16). Also a similar text to verses 34 and 35 is found in Matthew 6:22-23. The meaning here is that, with no self-serving intentions, the eye, through which the mind sees and comprehends things, will be single. That is, the mind will be clear and unbiased. And, with an open and receptive mind, one is able to search for the truth in God's word, understand it, believe it, and obey it. Illuminated by a single, open mind, one's whole body also is full of light; filled with the truths found in God's word. Christians, take heed; be filled with the light of the gospel of Christ Jesus; be not closed-minded, as were the scribes and Pharisees, who continued to be full of darkness.