What does Mark 4:21-25 mean—generally and in the context of the Gospel according to Mark?
As we read the parable in verses 21-22, we need to understand a few things:
Before electricity, a lamp was used the way we use a tube light or a bulb. It would be kept in an open place, on a stand, so that light would be available to everyone. Keeping it under a basket or a bed would defeat its purpose. When light is not blocked, it also helps us see other things in the same space.
Every person’s attitude towards Jesus Christ will be made visible
The parable in verses 21-22 must be understood in the context of the parable of the sower—and its explanation. In it, we find one saving response and three other responses to the sowing of the word.
Jesus meant to indicate that every response to the gospel of the kingdom of God will be brought to light. None of it will be hidden. In other words, every person’s attitude towards Jesus Christ will be made visible.
Jesus spoke another parable in verses 24-25 to those keen to know the meaning of the parable of the sower—specifically, the 12 disciples and a few others. He told them to listen, understand, and respond rightly to the message they had heard.
If the intention of their heart was to know about the gospel of Jesus Christ and submit to Him, they would be rewarded accordingly and given further clarity of the truth. On the contrary, if their intentions weren’t genuine, the true understanding of whatever they had listened to would be taken away. Given the record of many disciples who stopped following Jesus (John 6:60-71) and the betrayal by Judas (Matthew 26:47-50), we know that this eventually took place.
The latter parable offers us at least two practical reminders:
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