Saturday, October 8, 2016

8 October 2016
Luke 8:1-25

Good morning, welcome. Since I didn’t get this blog out yesterday, today we will consider yesterday’s and today’s lectionary readings. Luke covers a lot of ground here; my focus will be a little more limited.

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. (vs.1-3)
Jesus has embarked on a preaching tour. He has His twelve, and ‘some women’. These women represent the full range of society from a demon-possessed outcast to the wife of an official in Herod’s court. Two points are noteworthy. First, the women heard and responded to Jesus’ message. Second, they support Jesus’ ministry from their own resources. The Greek word for provided implies not only financial support but serving, meeting needs; it is the same word used of the angels who ministered to Jesus in the wilderness, and of Peter’s mother after Jesus cured her of her fever. These women are demonstrating the response to Jesus’ teaching described in Chs.6:17-49 and 8:4-21. In so doing they take their place alongside the twelve, becoming part of Jesus’ family of believers.

He said, “to you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that
‘looking they may not perceive,
and listening they may not understand.’
Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9. The women traveling with Jesus-and the twelve, even if they did not always understand it-have heard the word and, holding it fast in honest and good hearts, are bearing fruit. The secrets of the Kingdom of God are revealed by God alone. Here Jesus Himself reveals them. For others, God will reveal to whom He will, and will withhold from whom He will. The soils reveal a hard truth-the forces arrayed against God and His Kingdom are many and powerful and just as active today as they were in Jesus’ time. Holding fast to Jesus-who Himself is God’s Word to us-is imperative. There is no substitute.

No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light…he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (vs.6; 21)
Jesus requires believers to demonstrate His presence. Those who do become part of His extended family. Take a couple minutes to let that sink in. At some point history will end and eternity will begin. The family of which we are now a part will gather for a great banquet, a wedding feast. We will become what we already are-the Bride of Christ. Might as well get an early start on the celebration-I don’t think God will mind. Of course, in order to do that, there are a few people we may need to acknowledge as family members who might make us a little uncomfortable. That’s ok. God has already brought them in; we’re just getting caught up.

They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” (v.25)
Who is this, indeed. Jesus doesn’t just command the winds and water. He created the winds and water and the disciples in the boat. He is directly responsible for every single thing that exists and everything that exists belongs to Him. This is not an option. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. (John 1:11) And what was His response? He could have trashed the whole experiment and started all over. He could have sentenced us to an eternal punishment. Actually, I do not believe He could have done those things at all; that is not how love operates. He did the only thing He could have done, from a love perspective-He became human-fully human-and went to the cross. Fully human, fully God, restoring what He did not steal (Ps.69:4). Restoring us. We are His family now. We are His presence now. People are watching, now.

To God be the glory forever and ever. JRG  

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