My greatest desire whenever I teach or share something I find in the Scriptures is for the hearers and readers to feel like they have met the Lord in a new and fresh way. I want us to know the Lord intimately. I realize that I am simply a tiny candle in a world of bright lights, but as A.W. Tozer wrote, “. . . if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.”
Recently, as I read again in the 8th chapter of Luke, I had the opportunity to catch a new image of the events and the people there. It says that “He traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God’s kingdom, spreading the Message. The Twelve were with him. There were also some women in their company who had been healed of various evil afflictions and illnesses: Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s manager; and Susanna—along with many others who used their considerable means to provide for the company” (Luke 8:1-3)
So Jesus had the twelve, several women, probably others not mentioned who followed him around. We don’t know if they were invited, like the twelve, or if some powerful force drew them. After everything Christ had done for them, they could help but follow Him. Neither can we. Those of us who have been freed don’t need to be talked into serving Him. Like Paul said in II Corinthians 5:14, the love of Christ compels us.
But there were some who weren’t so adoring . . . Jesus’ own family came to see Him:
Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.”
Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”
Now when Jesus said that, He wasn’t rejecting His family as much as He was redefining it. His family was probably trying to take Him home to keep Him from being seen as a fool (maybe they were concerned about the family’s reputation, too). They certainly weren’t going there to cheer Him on. John reported an incident when His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either (John 7:3-5)
Now probably, in Luke’s account, the brothers were there to confront Him, and His mother came along to keep the peace (mothers often do that kind of thing).
Now the revolutionary things that Jesus had just said, redefined His family dynamics, and it’s something critical for us to catch. According to Luke 8:21, our relationship to Christ is directly revealed through what we do with the Word of God. If you continue to ridicule and make fun of it . . . you’re ridiculing and making fun of the Christ. But embracing and honoring God’s Word isn’t just a good idea, it’s the very warmth and vitality of the family bloodline—proof that we are family to Jesus Christ.
James, one of the brothers of Jesus who changed his opinion of Jesus, caught hold of this reality and said, “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action” (James 1:22-25).
My prayer is that this can be said me, and of you, the reader, as He continues to transform our hearts . . .
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