What does Luke 11:33 mean?
ESV: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.
NIV: No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.
NASB: No one lights a lamp and puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.
CSB: "No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see its light.
NLT: No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.
Verse Commentary:
Over this chapter, Luke has accumulated a series of frustrating interactions between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. Critics have claimed Jesus' power to cast out demons comes from Satan, and Jesus has responded that such an arrangement would be incredibly foolish on Satan's part. The religious leaders have demanded more signs, and He has said they have seen enough but He'll give one more: the spread of God-worship among Gentiles (Luke 11:14–32). After this section, He will enumerate the ways in which the Pharisees and lawyers misapply the Mosaic law and carry on the tradition of killing the prophets (Luke 11:37–54).

Here, Jesus uses the concept of light and darkness. "Light" is a common biblical theme representing truth, goodness, knowledge, and so forth. Jesus intends to show that His detractors have all the light—more than enough truth—needed to understand who He is. Yet their minds are so filled with darkness that they are blinded to what is obvious (Luke 11:33–36).

The "light" is the truth that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus has proved this by performing specific miracles that match the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah (Isaiah 35:5–6; Luke 7:21–22; 11:14). Instead of sharing this light with the Jewish people, the Pharisees and scribes hide it. They make false accusations and claim they need more proof (Luke 11:15–16). Jesus follows a progression: those who know the light will reveal it, not hide it; those who reject the light do so because their perception is darkened; their perception is darkened because they are filled with darkness. If they were filled with light, they would share it.
Verse Context:
Luke 11:33–36 stands between the Pharisees' and scribes' rejection of Jesus (Luke 11:14–32) and Jesus' passionate condemnation of their works (Luke 11:37–54). Their eyes should see that He is their Messiah, and they should spread the message as a lamp spreads light. Instead, their refusal to see that He the Messiah reveals that they are dark in their hearts and their understanding. Jesus covers similar themes in Matthew 5:14–16 and 6:22–23.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and explains God's intent to give "good" to those who ask. He then exorcizes a demon and refutes the claim that His power is satanic. Jesus explains that unreasonable skeptics will only see the "sign of Jonah." He then criticizes the superficial legalism of the Pharisees. In response, they plot against Him.
Chapter Context:
In what some scholars refer to as "The Travelogue to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51—19:27), Jesus prepares His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection and the establishment of the church. The description begins with Christ teaching the disciples how to spread the news of the kingdom of God and reaffirming how they will be blessed, culminating in the Lord's Prayer (Luke 9:51—11:13). Luke 11 finishes with accounts of leaders who reject Jesus. The remainder of the travelogue gives a pattern of teaching on the kingdom of God, miracles, and explanations of salvation. Then Jesus enters Jerusalem to face the cross.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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