Friday, February 15, 2008

Luke Chapter Eight

Reading:  Luke 8.1-56

Scripture:  But the seed in the good earth -- these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no mater what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.  Luke 8.15 (The Message)

Observations:  Jesus taught using stories that were simple to remember but sometimes difficult to understand.  In this parable we see that Jesus provides the meaning to his disciples who needed it spelled out to them clearly.  Simply put, he tells them that many hear the word of God but the devil, life's testing times and people's preoccupations with other things (busyness) prohibit the harvest that only perseverance over time can bring.  

Apply:  Although we don't live in an agricultural community, I can't help but think that this parable is even more relevant in our culture than it was back then.  How easily we can become distracted from the thing that is most important to us -- hearing and "sticking with" the message of Jesus!  How many people "try Jesus" as if they are trying a new diet only to quit before they see any results?  Following Jesus isn't a sprint, it's a lifelong journey, and only those who follow him for the long haul can get to experience the treasures of a life well-lived.

Prayer:  Lord, when the hot trials of life beat down upon my faith, or when my heart is being crowded by all the thorns of life, may I hang on to You no matter what.  

6 comments:

traci said...

funny - I was just talking to Jesus about this VERY subject...the process which turns pain (growing season) into purpose (harvest season) in our lives.
In this fast food world, I think it is sometimes hard to "hang in there" with a faith walk that has peeks, valleys and - long uneventful flatlands...which can sometimes proove to be the places where we need the discipline of hanging on most of all.
hmph -

Theophilus said...

I was praying that God would give me the wisdom to see the thorns in my life and to help me remove the log in my eye. To give me the ears to hear and the eyes to see. I need him. The more I see myself the more I love him and want to wash his feet with my tears.

Kathy said...

I have enjoyed participating in this web format since the beginning. It has given me the opportunity & structure which I need to grow in my relationship with our Lord through the daily Bible chapters and prayers.

Please keep up the good work Pastor Bill and fellow bloggers.

Gladys said...

V. 10 used to make no sense seemingly not fitting the circumstances, but Jesus no doubt knew the hearts of men even when a great multitude (v. 4) came out to hear him. There would always be those that would hear, the seed growing and producing, and others that wouldn't, that seed eventually dying through various means that Pastor Bill points out.

What Jesus said in this verse was a quote from Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiah was receiving his call from God, in having answered, "Send me!" and God telling him to tell the people those next verses. Next is commentary from the Bible.org on these verses that may help to explain it better:

"The message in these last few verses is a message of judgment. You will have to take a little time to show that God warns sinners of judgment. He does this in order that they will repent and become part of the "remnant" --the holy seed (rather than the "seed of evil-doers" of Is. 1:4). This generation had persisted in sin for so long that God was going to judge them. And he will begin to do this by hardening their hearts at the hearing of the Word of the Lord, just as He did to Pharoah of old. The theology of this is heavy: if people live under the influence of the Scriptures and continue to reject its message, Paul says that God gives them up. There is a point of judicial rejection. We do not know when that is, so we can not say; we keep on preaching. Isaiah was told in his case. And then it was the actual preaching of the Word of God that hardened them even more. We can see that even today when the Word offends even the ones who appear "religious."

Lancelot Andrewes said it very well: "It is not our task to tell people what they want to hear; we must tell them what in some sad future time they would wish they had heard."

Isaiah is not happy about this; it is much nicer to have a positive message. But the positive message is meaningless if there are no "teeth" in it. Both in the prophets and in the ministry of Jesus there is the same refrain, "repent or perish." The denial of judgment, the rejection of the idea of Jesus' death being atonement, begins with the denial of sin and evil. Modern theologians cannot explain evil, let alone resolve it." *

* http://www.bible.org/page.php?page id=2085 (Read entire article here)

Father, my prayer is that I be able to see and to hear and not have Your Word land on ground that won't produce. Whatever you have to do to this soil of mine to accomplish that . . . so do. Amen

drdale said...

Luke 8, v25: ..."Who is this?"...
Amidst parables, Jesus putting ministry before family, and three miracles is the story of Jesus calming the storm.
He and the disciples are in a boat crossing a lake when a squall blows up and theatens to swamp them and drown them. The disciples wake Jesus who is sleeping and he "rebukes" and calms the storm and then challenges his disciples saying "Where is your faith?"
The disciples in "fear and amazement" ask each other "Who is this?" who can do this thing. The winds and the waters obey him.
The disciples follow and obey Jesus, and learn from his teaching, but they are still stunned and say "Who is this?" They don't understand what is happening, who is leading them, and where it is going. They follow in amazement a leader and teacher with miraculis abilities. He heals the sick, answers religious leaders with words that take his critics aback and silence them. His teaching touches the disciples deeply but faced with a new demonstration of his power they clearly do not understand what is happening..."Who is this?"
True understanding and faith is still to come, and only in the eleventh hour will they start to understand. But here in the boat at this point Jesus says to them "Where is your faith?" and they are fearful and amazed.
I think the writers of the books of the gospel are not just chronologists but wrote with conviction to tell an important story. So when Luke says the disciples ask this question, "Who is this?" I think he wants his readers, including us, to wonder who Jesus is. It is "the" important question.

Michael said...

There is a song I know about Luke 8:22-25. The lyrics go: "All you had to do was raise your hand, speak the words, 'Peace be still', and all the anger, all the fury of that raging storm surrendered to Your will."

First, a raging storm; next, three simple words; then, calm! My immediate response: no way can it be so simple! Doubt. Doubt results in lack of faith, which results in lack of hope, which results in fear...

Do we believe in the simplistic (my yoke is easy) power of our Lord in our lives? Or, do we succumb to fear?

Lord, let us not fear, but rather believe in your simplistic yet majestic power to calm the raging storm (whatever it may be)...

Amen!