[Jesus said,] “Go back home and tell people how much God has done for you.” So the man went all over town telling how much Jesus had done for him. Â Â Luke 8:39 (NCV)
The years 1995-2000 were wonderfully, terrible years for me and my children. Wonderful because we witnessed a revival in our town that saw over three million people come from all over the world and join in worship. What we saw and learned about our LORD brought us into committing our lives to Jesus Christ. Terrible because we went through divorce, deaths, and the diagnosis and treatment of my youngest son for cancer. I was remembering some of these times as I was reading Luke 8 last night.
There are several times in this chapter that Jesus does not do or respond the way those around Him are expecting.
Jesus tells parables â€“ why? vv 1-10 Jesus tells the parable of the seeds and sowing. He says, â€œLet he who has ears to hear, let him hear.â€ It is as though Jesus is telling me that I have all that I need to be able to understand what He is saying but do I want to understand? Then when the disciples ask for an explanation, Jesus repeats the prophet Isaiah that sometimes we have eyes and ears and still do not comprehend what is in front of our faces. Jesus told parables to make His principles more relevant and simple to the people to whom He was speaking. And He is still doing that if I really want to see and hear.
Jesus brings Light. vv 16-17 Jesus came to bring a relationship to God to all people. It was not an exclusive club for the wealthy or the educated. The Father loves and wants to spend time with all His children. Everything that Jesus brings into my life is to shed light, just as the sun causes plants to grow. It is Satan that skulks around in the shadows and tempts me to do things behind closed doors that I wouldn’t do for everyone to see. Jesus reveals.
Jesus’ family. vv 19-21 Jesus’ mother and brothers come to visit Him but can’t get near because of the crowd who want to hear and see Jesus. But Jesus does not push the crowd away so He can visit with His relatives. He explains to those around Him that family is defined as those who hear God and obey. This can be a difficult thing to hear and accept in my heart. I miss my children but I know that we all live and are at work where we are supposed to be. And so we ask God to show us the family we have where we are.
Jesus gets exasperated. vv 24-25 It is good to read that Jesus Himself wondered if this plan of God to have His Good News be spread by us was really going to work. He and the disciples are in a boat and a storm comes up and the disciples are afraid. They are with the One that they believe to be the Messiah â€“ and they are afraid. I see the storms in my own life and I know that Jesus is right here â€“ and yet I am afraid. Where is my faith? It’s right here â€“ Jesus is here to help me build my spiritual muscles.
Jesus wants disciples. vv 38-39 The man who wandered the tombs because he had a legion of demons inside of him was now free and had his mind back. He wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went. The man was so grateful and he saw such love in Jesus. When I came to know Jesus, it was such a sweet, life-changing experience that I just wanted to keep coming to church and singing and listening, no soaking, up His word! It was all about Him and me. No, that was only the beginning. Jesus wants more than just blind followers who just sit thinking about their own comfort and joy. He wants disciples who will go and bring more home to Him and teach them to go bring more.
People laughed at Jesus. v 53 Jesus came to heal Jairus’ daughter. The people laughed at Him when He said the child was asleep, not dead. Have you ever been doing something to help someone and had others laugh at you for it? I’m reminded of a girl I know who befriended someone in her school who was not pretty or smart (so others said) and was laughed at for sitting with this girl instead of her popular friends. She sat with the girl and showed her what Jesus would do. She’s a grown woman now and knows to choose her friends not based on their looks or status but on Jesus and His plan.
Sometimes Jesus does NOT want me to tell. v 56 Jesus has just raised Jairus’ daughter from death but He tells the parents and His disciples not to spread that story. WHAT??? Why would Jesus not want people to know the power of God? We aren’t told. And so there is a lesson for me. Sometimes God teaches me things, shows me things, that are not to be shared now. Maybe later. Maybe not. To tell when Jesus says to be quiet is just as disobedient as to not tell when He says to speak.
This chapter is stuffed full of Good News. There is so much to learn. And most of us have several copies of this wondrous book in our home. How often do we pick it up and read a chapter, a few verses? When the darkness of this world tries to press in and confuse, where do I look for light and clarity? Wonderful days, terrible days. Jesus is there in them all.
Thy Word written and sung by Amy Grant