John T. Willis

Friday, April 06, 2012

Lamp, Family, Storm--Luke 8:16-25

After stating and explaining the parable of the soils in Luke 8:4-15, Luke relates three teachings in the life of Jesus in Luke 8:16-25. This section falls into three sections.

I. The responsibility of Christians being WITNESSES to others. Luke 8:16-18. [Compare Matthew 5:15; 10:26; 25:29; Mark 4:21-25].
a. Jesus now uses the figure of a LAMP. A person lights a lamp, not to hide it, but to put it on a stand so that it will shine to others all around. To cover a lamp with a jar was the ancient means of extinguishing the light. In the ancient Near East, a lamp was circular, spouted, partly covered with oil, made of terracotta. 8:16 b. Jesus now uses two contrasts: the hidden will be disclosed, and something secret will be made known. 8:17.
c. Having used this language, Jesus speaks directly to his audience: "Pay attention to HOW you listen." YOU have received God's message; NOW, it is YOUR responsibility to witness to this message by sharing this with other people. "Those who enter" in 8:16 are people who had not previously heard God's message. 8:18.

II. Jesus' REAL FAMILY is those people who HEAR and DO Jesus's message. Luke 8:19-21
a. At some point, Jesus' mother (Mary) and his brothers (James, Joses, Judah and Simon--Mark 6:3) came to Jesus, but could not get to Jesus because the crowd was so tightly knit. Somone in the crowd told Jesus that his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to see Jesus. 8:19-20.
b. Jesus immediately and pointedly responded that his mother and brothers were those who HEAR the word of God and DO it. This does not mean that Jesus denies his blood family or criticize them, but that a HIGHER RELATIONSHIP, a spiritual relationship, is much more important than one's blood relatives. 8:21.
*Many people do not understand or accept this concept. They favor their blood relatives above God, Jesus Christ, and committed believers of God. This is tragic, but true.

III. Jesus calms a storm on the Lake of Gennesaret. Luke 8:22-26.
a. One some unnamed day, Jesus and his disciples [the Twelve and the women described in Luke 8:1-3] got into a boat and set off toward the other side of the lake. 8:22.
b. Jesus, now a human being, had worked hard and was very tired, so he fell asleep as they sailed across the lake. The Lake of Gennesaret in north Galilee is surrounded by hills with gorges which rush into the lake. Usually the atmosphere is calm, but quite often gusts of cold air from the west rush down the gorges and create storms in the lake. A windstorm arose, the boat was filling with water, and all the people were in danger. 8:23.
c. Jesus' disciples came to Jesus and woke him up. They were very afraid and SHOUTED, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Jesus awoke an rebuked the wind and the raging waves, spirits which were causing the storm. The wind and the waves ceased, and there came a calm. 8:24.
d. Then Jesus turned to his disciples with this pointed question: "Where is your faith?" Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I-IX, The Anchor Bible 28, page 728, observes aptly:
"A disiple of Jesus, faced even with the worst, must realize where his basic relation to God and Jesus really lies."
Jesus' disciples were "afraid" and "amazed." Then they dialogued with one another: "Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?"
Anyone who studies the Bible knows the close connection between Luke 8:22-25 and Psalm 107:23-32. Luke is deliberately using language from Psalm 107 to emphasize that Jesus is divine. God the Father enables Jesus to overcome the most serious storms. As divine, Jesus has the power to command the winds and the waves. The obvious answer to the question, "Who is this?" is that Jesus is divine. God the Father works through his son Jesus Christ. 8:25.

Share YOUR insights and aspirations and problems and trials with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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