October 20 – Luke 11:33-36

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Luke 11:36-36 – The Light in You

Luke reminds us of Jesus’ earlier words: “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 8:16).  In this passage, the lamp refers to someone who has heard God’s word from Jesus and then responds.  In this passage, Luke is clearly telling his reader that the light comes from Jesus.

He has used light imagery before in describing Jesus’ ministry. In Luke 2:32, Simeon prophesied that Jesus was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” In Luke 1:78-79, Zechariah prophesies that his son, John, prepares the way for him who will “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

As the sign from heaven, Jesus is the one who brings light. He can’t be hidden. He can’t be killed. He will rise from the dead and will shine. Luke continues to point out that Jesus knows what is coming and cryptically tells us disciples and those who are following him on the journey to Jerusalem.

The second metaphor follows closely. Our eyes depend on light to see. As Jesus expands this metaphor, he speaks of the lamp within each person. When it is filled with him, it lights the entire body. Jesus is speaking directly to the Jews who asked him for a sign. If their souls were a lamp shining the light of God from within, they would have seen the signs for what they were and known him as the Son of God.

In Luke 11:36, Jesus says, “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

It is nearly impossible for us to achieve this state. This is what Peter, James and John saw at the Transfiguration of Jesus. He was fully overwhelmed by the light of God.  The glory of the Lord surrounded him and was in him.

Paul tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but he also says in the second letter to the Corinthians that, “…we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We are being transformed.  Jesus calls us to perfection. Paul explains how to get there. Our lives are a process, not an end result. But, we are continually called to illuminate the world from within with the light of Jesus Christ.