posted on Aug, 3 2018 @ 05:01 PM
“For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light”- Mark ch4 v22
How do we take the prospect of hidden things being revealed? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
The ambiguity of this premise may be illustrated by the fact that it appears in the words of Jesus as a command, as a promise, and also as a
In Mark’s account, it follows on from the simile about the lamp and the bushel.
The same simile appears in Matthew and Luke, but here it is in the form of a rhetorical question. Surely nobody brings a lamp into the room for the
purpose of keeping it hidden? Don’t they set it up in a prominent place, so that the light will shine out?
In the same way, nothing has been hidden or made secret except for the purpose of being made manifest, coming to light.
In the context, this has to be applied to the revelation of good news in the teaching of Jesus.
Matthew turns it into a promise.
“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known”- Matthew ch10 c26
Jesus has just been warning his disciples about the hostility of those who hate his mission. The enemies of the teacher will malign his pupils, the
enemies of the master will malign those who serve him.
But “do not fear them”, because their malice and their hypocrisy will be exposed for what it is, and you will be vindicated.
But the presentation of the gospel is also a kind of “revealing”.
That thought association prompts the next verse;
“What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops”. This assumes, of course, the low flat
rooves of Palestine, the perfect speaking platform.
So the disclosure of what is bad is given as a promise, and the disclosure of what is good is given as a command.
Luke seems to know both versions of the tradition. One popular academic theory is that Luke gets part of his information from Mark’s gospel, and
part from a collection of “sayings of Jesus” which Matthew would also have used.
In an early chapter, Luke simply repeats the combination of statements found in Mark (ch8 vv16-17).
At a later stage (ch12 vv1-3), he puts together a combination of thoughts resembling the passage in Matthew.
He begins with the warning “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”. This has been borrowed from an episode recorded by Matthew
Then, as in Matthew, the words “nothing is covered up that will not be revealed” are a promise about the final exposure of that hypocrisy.
Finally, he gives a different twist to the words that follow;
“Therefore what you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be
proclaimed upon the housetops”.
So this outcome is not an instruction, as it is in Matthew, but another prediction, a warning addressed to the hypocrites themselves.
This complex of statements offers two angles on the basic thought.
On the one hand, the good things that are hidden are to be brought out into the open.
This is primarily about the proclamation of the gospel.
On the other hand, the bad things that are hidden are also to be brought out.
This is primarily about the time of judgement.
Surely both angles are needed.
Between them, they are part of “the eschatological reversal”.
What is bad about the world is to be overturned, what is good is to take its place.
In this case, it is the concealment of truth (together with the publication of falsehood) which is to be reversed.
Depending on our own relationship with truth and falsehood, this expectation may be a warning, or it may be a promise.
In the meantime, the Christian is to take it as a command.