|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:21-34 These declarations were intended to call the attention of the disciples to the word of Christ. By his thus instructing them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick, that they may give light to a room. This parable of the good seed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makes progress in the world. Let but the word of Christ have the place it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good conversation. It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear; after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, it will go forward. The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now, while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is perfected in heaven!
Verse 21. - Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, etc.? The Greek is ὁ λύχνος, and is better rendered the lamp. The figure is recorded by St. Matthew (Matthew 5:15) as used by our Lord in his sermon on the mount. It is evident that he repeated his sayings, and used them sometimes in a different connection. The lamp is here the light of Divine truth, shining in the person of Christ. Is the lamp brought to be put under the bushel? It comes to us. The light in our souls is not of our own kindling; it comes to us from God, that we may manifest it for his glory. "The bushel" (μόδιος), from the Latin medias, a measure containing flour, was the flour-bin, a part of the furniture of every house, as was the tall lampstand with its single light. St, Luke (Luke 8:16) calls it "a vessel" (καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει). The light is to be set on "a lamp-stand," and in like manner the light which we have received is to shine before men. As Christians, we are Christ's light-bearers. By this illustration our Lord teaches that he was unwilling that the mysteries of this great parable of the sower and of other parables should be concealed, but that his disciples should unfold these things to others as he had to them, although at present they might not be able to receive them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said unto them,.... At the same time, after he had explained the parable of the sower; for though the following parabolical and proverbial expressions were delivered by Christ at other, and different times, and some of them twice, as related by other evangelists; yet they might be all of them expressed or repeated at this time, by our Lord, showing why he explained the above parable to his disciples; and that though he delivered the mysteries of the Gospel in parables to them that were without, yet it was not his design that these things should be always kept a secret, and that from all men: for as the Gospel might be compared to seed, so likewise to a candle, the design and use of which is to give light to men: wherefore he asks,
is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick? when a candle is brought into a room, in the night, where company are together, to converse, or read, or work; is it proper that it should be covered with a bushel, or any other hollow vessel? or when brought into a bedchamber, is it right to put it under the bed? is it not most fitting and convenient, that it should be set in a candlestick, and then it will be of use to all in the room? so the Gospel, which is the candle of the Lord, he had lighted up in the evening of the Jewish world, in the land of Judea; it was not his will that it should be always, and altogether, and from all men, covered with parables, and dark sayings, without any explanation of them; but that the light of it should be communicated, especially to them his; disciples, who were to be the lights of the world, and which were to shine openly before men, for their good, and the glory of his heavenly Father; see Matthew 5:14.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. And he said unto them, Is a candle—or "lamp"
brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?—"that they which enter in may see the light" (Lu 8:16). See on Mt 5:15, of which this is nearly a repetition.
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