John T. Willis

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Obedience, Trust, Light--Luke 11:27-36

In response to the story about the conflict between Jesus and Beelzebub in Luke 11:14-26, Luke relates three brief pericopes about sayings of Jesus found in Luke 11:27-36. These sayings fall into three parts. I. God blesses the obedient. Luke 11:27-28. a. While Jesus was teaching about the unclean spirit that went out of a person, an anonymous woman in the crowd declared: "BLESSED is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you." This clearly refers to Jesus' mother, Mary. The feeling expressed by this woman is typical of a mother, as demonstrated in Proverbs 23:24-25. Luke 1:48 states that Mary, the mother is Jesus, is blessed. 11:27. b. Jesus agrees with this thought, but goes beyond it. Jesus declares: "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and OBEY it." To hear God's word is one thing; to OBEY God's word is another thing, and the most important. This emphasizes further the same truth in Luke 8:19-21. 11:28. II. Jesus rejects signs. Luke 11:29-32. a. The crowds following Jesus grew and grew. More and more they asked for signs. Jesus responded that this concept comes from an "evil generation." The only sign God will give is "the sign of Jonah." And "the sign of Jonah" is nothing but Jonah's message that the people of Nineveh must repent. In the same way, Jesus summons all people to repent. 11:29-30. b. Jonah, an Israelite, went to non-Israelites to repent and turn to the true God, Yahweh. Similarly, Jesus calls on all people of all nations to turn to the true God, Yahweh, our heavenly Father. 11:29-30. c. Jesus uses two examples to emphasize that non-Israelites often put so-called followers of God to shame. (1) The Queen of the South, that is, the Queen of Sheba, listened to the wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus is greater than Solomon. See 1 Kings 10:1-29; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12. (2) The people of Nineveh repented when Jonah preached, but Jesus is greater than Jonah. 11:31-32. III. The eye is the light of the body. Luke 11:33-36. a. Now Jesus uses a metaphor. The eye is the light of the body. He is not referring to the physical eye, but to the spiritual eye. The spiritual eye symbolizes a genuine, honest heart. A healthy is is a genuine heart. 11:33-34. b. The light in the eye is God's revealed word. When anyone receives God's message correctly understood floods into the heart so that a person can serve God. 11:35-36. Share YOUR thoughts and insights and fears and concerns with others. Let me hear from you. John Willis