17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
1901 ASV Translation:
17 For nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest; nor anything secret, that shall not be known and come to light.
18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath.
I. The Explanation For the Parable.
A. The major issue is "projecting light".
1. In the words of the parable, Jesus said people light lamps so that "those entering may see the light".
a. This is a natural figure of speech that means more than it says. Few actually "see the light" in the sense of actually looking at the burning flame; most see what the light reveals. But, what they are actually "seeing" is the image bearing light. Thus, they "see the light", but they see more than the light. And, in keeping with Jesus' declaration about the intentions that result in igniting a candle/lamp, He was not saying that people light lamps so that people who come in will look at the flame of the lamp. He was, as is shown by the immediately following words about secrets being revealed, actually saying that the purpose for igniting lights is to make it possible for people to see what is hidden by the darkness.
b. This "seeing what the light makes manifest" is a double-edged sword. On the one edge, light makes seeing what others attempt to hide much easier. On the other edge, light makes hiding things from others much more difficult. Jesus acknowledged this reality when He said, " For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God " (John 3:20-21).
2. Thus the natural result of projecting light is that what is hidden is suddenly known.
3. It is unnatural to attempt to keep light from revealing.
a. Jesus' declaration that there is nothing hidden that shall not be made manifest indicates that some actually think that they can hide things.
b. Jesus' disciples need to understand that, when they go forth to declare the word of God, they will be ripping the covers off the secrets of men. They need to understand that this is a part of God's reason for their being seed-sowers. In the words of the apostle Paul, "...if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth" (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). In this text, Paul actually uses the same words Jesus did ("secrets" and "made manifest") in Luke's text.
B. The major problems are two.
1. Trying to hide what cannot, ultimately, be hidden.
a. The question: to what is Jesus addressing this declaration?
1) Is He addressing His disciples as those in need of understanding that they cannot hide anything?
2) Is He addressing His disciples as those in need of understanding the impact of their ministries of sowing the word?
b. Toward an answer ...
1) The issue of the overall content of the chapter is Jesus' preparation of the disciples for being sent out as His representatives.
a) He was sent to preach (Luke 4:43); He was "preaching" (8:1); and He was planning to send His disciples out to preach (9:1-2).
b) Such preparation, however, fundamentally involves dealing with their involvement in things that hinder fruitfulness. It really does not matter to a disciple what his "impact" is unless he is caught up in false values and beliefs. Thus, the parable of the sower is of no consequence unless the disciples are involved in attitudes (values/beliefs) that will "qualify" their obedience to His commission. Thus, we must assume that they are compromised in a way that makes the parable necessary for their own edification. [A legitimate disciple simply does as he is sent to do without any "qualifications" that arise out of "how others respond".]
2) The issue of the parable of the soils is the explanation for why the various responses to the words of God are as they are.
a) This has a "reflexive impact" wherein a "disciple" might consider himself as a "soil type" so that he may better understand his own reactions to the words of God.
b) This has an "object impact" wherein a "disciple" might understand why people respond to his words like they do.
c) The question is this: was Jesus attempting to edify His disciples by seeking their introspection, or was He attempting to edify them by seeking to give them an understanding of the varied results of their proclamation? The answer is: both. Their understanding of the varied results of their proclamation is immaterial to them unless it helps them to be more fruitful.
2) The focus of this parable is the fact that no one lights a light to keep it from shining.
a) This declaration strongly implies that Jesus was aware that men have some erroneous attitudes regarding the impact of light. It implies that some men think that they can manipulate the results of light in spite of the fact that no one lights a light to keep it from shining.
b) This declaration would be completely unnecessary if there were no men who attempt to curtail the impact of light.
c) A sidebar to this declaration is that the impact of light is rooted in God's intentions for light and He does not allow men to frustrate them.
d) But the point of this declaration is that sending out disciples (whether it is the Father sending the Son, or the Son sending the Twelve) to sow the words of God is for the purpose of compelling men to deal with the question of whether they will attempt to continue in their varied "status quo settings", or receive the words.
3) The direction of this parable is toward the issue of "keeping secrets".
a) Jesus' words strongly imply that many think that they will be able to keep the light from doing its work in regard to themselves.
b) Thus, the fact that both disciples and all others need to clearly understand that there will be no final secrets is primary to Jesus' intent.
d) This direction, then, has to do with anyone who seeks to hide things from exposure.
e) Herein we have the general direction of Jesus' parable: fruitlessness or fruitfulness will be determined by one thing; the way men deal with their secrets.
4) Summary: the "mysteries" of the Kingdom of God consist, so far, in (1) the fact that the "Kingdom" methodology is "sowing the words of God" and (2) the fact that the reactions to that methodology will be determined by whether men will yield to the function of light. This means that the big issue in the mysteries is one: how/whether men will participate in God's Kingdom.
2. Listening without understanding the consequences.