Vol. 18, No. 40 – October 27, 2019
The Gospel of Luke
6. Ministry illustrated through parables, Luke 8:4-21.
a. The seeds sown on various soils, vs. 4-15.
b. The Lamp not covered, vs. 16-18.
c. Our true family members, vs. 19-21.
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a. The seeds sown on various soils, vs. 4-15, (continued).
Remember, everyone is accountable to God for the truth he hears, Rom 14:12, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Each person must cultivate his own soil / heart of his soul. If one has no faith at hearing or applying the Word, it is because he does not give the seed any opportunity to grow within him, Mat 13:31, 32; 17:20. Hard-packed soil can be plowed and made ready for planting; rocks can be removed from stony soil; thorns and weeds can be plucked out by the roots. With proper attention, there is no reason any soil Jesus mentioned cannot become productive. Every believer can prepare the soil of his life, making it a place where the seed of God’s Word can grow and produce abundant fruit.
That is why our Lord said in vs. 8b, “… As He said these things, He would call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’.” This reminds us of the “great SHAMA,” for Israel to receive the Word of God and live by it daily. Obviously, our Lord meant more than the physical act of hearing with your ears. He was talking about hearing with your heart. Like Simon the Pharisee, Luke 7:36-39, many people have already made up their minds about who Jesus was and what their relationship to the kingdom of God would be.
2 Tim 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
Those who do not close their spiritual ears are the “good soil” souls, the ones who enter the kingdom of God, as a true disciple never stops listening to his Lord.
Luke 8:9-10, “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. 10And He said, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’ (Isa 6:9).” Cf. Mat 13:11-17; Mark 4:10-12.
The title, “mysteries of the kingdom of God,” is used in all three synoptic gospels, Mat 13:11; Mark 4:11 and here. The word “mystery,” is the Greek word MUSTERION, μυστήριον that is transliterated into our English word. After these three uses, it is only used in the Epistles of the NT. Three main verses include Eph 3:1-6; Col 1:25-26; Rom 16:25-26. In the 5th century BC, a number of fraternities were developed in Athens and in other Greek city states, and these fraternities had a system of doctrine, (a.k.a., secrets), which they understood after their initiation to the fraternity that was not revealed to the outside world; therefore, the outside world did not understand them at all. They called their doctrines mysteries, which only they as members of the fraternity understood, yet people on the outside did not understand. This is actually the use of the word as we find it in the NT, Mark 4:11.
Mark 4:11, “And He was saying to them, ‘To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables’.”
Our “fraternity,” is called the Body of Christ, which is made up of individual believers. Because every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they have the ability to understand the “secret things,” (mysteries), of God that are told and explained in the Bible, cf. Deut 29:29; Job 12:22; Psa 25:14; Dan 2:19-23, 28. Yet, because the unbeliever and reversionistic believer are not led by the Spirit, they cannot understand the Scriptures, even though they are in plain view, Mat 13:34-35; 1 Cor 2:9-10.
Mat 13:34-35, “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world’.”
1 Cor 2:9-10, “But just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him,’ (Isa 64:14). 10For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”
In explaining this principle, Jesus quoted Isa 6:9-10. In that context, God foresaw Israel’s rejection of Isaiah’s message. It would be as though they never heard at all. Parables clarify nothing for those who choose to reject truth. It is not that God is deliberately hiding truth from them. They just do not have the spiritual desire or power to grasp the truth presented to them, cf. Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2. Unless a person in faith allows the Holy Spirit to anoint his understanding, the things of God are foolishness to him, 1 Cor 2:7-8, 12-13, 15.
1 Cor 2:7-8, “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
1 Cor 2:12-13, 15, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.”
Unwilling ears will not hear the Kingdom’s secrets, and covered eyes will not see it, Mat 13:11-15, because the message of the Kingdom is a summons to repent and believe., 1 Cor 2:14.
1 Cor 2:14, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Therefore, Jesus said His disciples would “know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” A “mystery” is a fact or truth revealed only to the initiated. Those who have no spiritual discernment cannot understand God’s truth. Thus, the disciples would see truth in the parables; others would only see them as entertaining stories.
Basically, there are nine mysteries which are found in the NT, (i.e. doctrines which are known to those who are on the inside, but not known to those on the outside).
- The mystery of the Body, Eph 3:1-11.
- The mystery of the Bride, Eph 5:28-32.
- The mystery of the Church, Eph 3:9; 5:32; Rev 1:20.
- The mystery of the indwelling of Christ, Eph 3:3-4; 5:32; Col 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3.
- The mystery of faith and/or godliness, 1 Tim 3:9, 16, that is linked to the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, with the famous Christ-hymn that summarizes the gospel story of Jesus, vs. 16.
- The mystery of the translation/Rapture of the Church, 1 Cor 15:51-57.
- The mystery of the blindness of Israel, Rom 11:25.
- The mystery of the kingdom of heaven, Mat 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10; Eph 6:9; Col 2:2; 4:3.
- The mystery of Lawlessness, 2 Thes 2:7; Rev 17:5, 7.
In our synoptic passages, the facts of the parable were simple and familiar, and the disciples needed to discover its application. Yet, we also see that opposition to Jesus had already begun by this time, and of the multitudes that followed Him, it was clear that many were not genuinely interested in spiritual truth. So, Jesus spoke in parables so that the “insiders,” the positive believers, would understand the spiritual content of the message, where the “outsiders,” unbelievers and reversionistic believers, would not, because their souls were trampled underfoot, rocky, or thorny.
This parable also reassures the “good soil,” (positive believers), that even if some of their efforts seem to be wasted, in the end there would be a great harvest. Those who sow must not become disheartened, 1 Cor 3:6-8.
1 Cor 3:6-9, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Finally, Luke leaves out the last part of Isa 6:10, that the other two synoptic record, Mat 13:15b, “… otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” And Mark 4:12b, “…otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” This is the alternative to their rejection of not hearing and seeing. If they would just have a little faith, they would see the Christ / Messiah / Savior / King, have their sins forgiven, and be healed for salvation, thereby understanding the “mysteries,” and given entrance into the Kingdom of God.
6. Ministry illustrated through parables, Luke 8:4-21.
b. The Lamp that is not covered, vs. 16-18.
In Luke 8:16-18, though a new analogy and parable, this one concludes our Lord’s response to the disciples when they questioned Him about the parable of the “Four Soils” in vs. 9. We could call this one, “The More we Hear, The More we Receive; The Less we Hear, The More We Lose.”
After teaching the parable about the “Four Soils,” Luke adds our Lord’s parable about the lamp on the lampstand, that Mark also writes about it in the context of the four soils, Mark 4:21-25, yet Matthew records it after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount in Mat 5:14-16, right after vs. 13, that talks about the one who rejects the Word being “trampled underfoot.” Matthew emphasizes the practical application of the imagery.
Mat 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Luke also records our Lord’s use of this parable in Luke 11:33-36, in the context about what we put into our souls, either God’s Word, (i.e., light) or the ways of the world / Satan’s cosmic view point and sin, (i.e., darkness).
Luke 8:16, “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.
“Lamp,” is the Noun LUCHNOS, λύχνος that is used 14 times in the NT both literally and figuratively. It is used literally in our passages and the ones noted above, being a clay jar or dish filled with olive oil and having a wick that burns the oil to produce light. Yet, it has the analogy of the Word of God that powers the spiritual life of the positive / “Good Soil,” believer, which is to be exhibited within your soul to others outwardly. It is also used in Rev 18:23; 21:33; 22:5, for our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who will be the only light of the eternal state.
Rev 21:23, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
Rev 22:5, “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”
Therefore, the true light is God and His Word, (our Lord Jesus Christ and His mind, Bible Doctrine), that should be resident within your soul, John 8:12; 9:15.
John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’.”
John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
Now that Christ has ascended and is seated at the right hand of the Father, He indwells every believer of the Church Age and gives them His Word, so that they can “carry the torch,” and be the “lights of the world,” Mat 5:14a, “You are the light of the world.” The “good soil” believer fulfills this responsibility.
“Lampstand,” is the Noun LUCHNIA, λυχνία. It was the stand on which the jar of clay filled with oil to burn would be placed on, to elevate the lamp so that it increases the lights illumination in all directions. This is the elevation of the positive believer to witness the Word to those in darkness.
The vital function of lamps and lampstands in the ancient world was taken for granted. It was in such a context that Jesus illustrated the role of His disciples in the world, Mat 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; 11:33. The disciples are to have an illuminating effect upon their environment,” even as the lamp set on its stand lights up the darkness. As Mat 5:14-16, tells us, anyone who has heard the Word of God must let his light shine to those who are still in darkness. And the Lampstand elevates the lamp so that more can be illuminated. In other words, the higher the lamp the more people see, the higher your spiritual growth, the more others will receive of the Gospel and God’s Word.
In Rev 1:12-13, 20; 2:1, 5, the seven churches are spoken of as “seven golden lampstands.”
Rev 1:20, “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
Rev 2:5, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand (i.e., church) out of its place—unless you repent.”
If the people of a church go into reversionism and remain that way, God will remove that church either literally, or by taking away that Pastor who is teaching the truth of the Word, allowing falsehoods to be taught instead.
Therefore, we should not “cover up,” KALUPTO, (cover, hide, or conceal), the light that is being taught to us by putting it under a “container,” SKEUOS (any earthen vessel, i.e., the flesh) or putting it “under a bed,” HUPOKATO KLINE, (an object to recline or lie on, i.e., laziness in the spiritual life). Therefore, we should not be lazy about our spiritual walk, living for the cares of this world instead, in the neglect of our intake and application of God’s Word.
Instead, our Lord instructs us to make the light in us visible to all, “put on a lampstand, so that those who come in (EISPOREUO) may see (BLEPO) the light (PHOS).” In other words, for those you come in contact with daily, you should be illuminating their souls with the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, either through your words or your deeds, as good soil believers, whether it be within the church or outside the church.
Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
“Hidden,” is the Adjective KRUPTOS, “hidden, secret, or concealed.” Here it is linked with the negative Particle OUK. “Secret,” is its cognate synonym, APOKRUPHOS, that is only used here, Mark 4:22, and Col 2:3, that tells us in Jesus are “all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” i.e., Bible Doctrine.
Col 2:2-3, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Therefore, the hidden and secret things are Jesus and His Word, (i.e., Bible Doctrine), that should be resident within your soul. This plays off of vs. 9, “the mysteries of the kingdom of God,” that can be known by men when they know God’s Word through faith and the leading ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus says that these mysteries, “hidden and secret things” will be, “known and come to light,” GINOSKO in the Aorist, Passive, Subjunctive, and ERCHOMAI, in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, with PHANEROS, “visible, clear, plain, or known.”
This passage can speak to both the righteous things, (light / holiness / the Word), and the unrighteous things, (darkness / sin), eventually becoming visible or known in the life of that person. Yet, the main idea is that the Word of God in your soul, will one day come to be known by all, as God, in His timing, will make it known to those who have rejected Him, His Son, and His Word. One day, (the day of God’s judgment), those who have rejected Him will come to know His great plan of salvation and the only means of the spiritual life. But, at that time, it will be too late for them.
Yet, the Word reveals everything. We cannot hide things from God. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all,” 1 John 1:5. And, He sends His Word into the world and it exposes the darkness, John 3:19-21. As such, God shares His secrets with us, not for us to hide them, but so we can teach them to others.
Luke 8:17, “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
This is a promise of blessing for the “good soil,” believers, and a warning of judgment against the “trampled,” unbelievers, and “rocky and thorny soil,” believers.
In principle it means, the more of God’s Word we hear, the more of it we receive. The more we neglect God’s Word, the more of it we lose. If we receive carelessly, we will have nothing to give. We will be like a lamp without oil.
It begins with BLEPO POS AKOUO, “See/watch/notice how you hear/listen/learn.” It is an exhortation to self-examine our mode of operation for taking in and applying God’s Word. We must be honest with ourselves about how we are learning God’s Word and applying it in our lives; looking for ways of improvement.
The blessing and warning are as follows: If we are doing a good job of consistently learning and applying God’s Word with perseverance, we will have a greater spiritual life in time and eternity with added rewards and blessings. Yet, if we are doing a bad or poor job of learning and applying God’s Word, there will be loss in our lives: loss of an effective spiritual life and loss of blessings and rewards in time and eternity.
Interestingly, “shall be taken away from him,” uses the Future, Passive, Indicative of the Verb AIRO, αἴρω that was also used in vs. 12, for the birds of the air, i.e., Satan, who “takes away the word from the heart” of the unbeliever. Therefore, if you allow Satan to take the Word away from your soul, then God allows him to take away whatever Word that remains in your soul, along with any rewards and blessings you otherwise would have received. Therefore, if we think that we are a “good soil” believer, yet are not taking in and applying God’s Word as we should, we truly will not be a good soil believer and will become a thorny or rocky soil believer with all that goes along with those analogies.
“Imagine a man sitting in a dark room, proudly clutching what he believes to be a massive stack of bills which he estimates to be worth at least ten thousand dollars. Then imagine someone turning on the overhead light to reveal that nothing is printed on the paper. The fool suddenly lost his illusion of wealth. The light of truth took from him what he thought he had.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
Jesus cautioned that we could lose the Word and spiritual power He previously gave to us. A “good soil” person is faithful to keep the Word. Only “good soil” hearers are able to overcome the enemy, Satan, and reap the blessings God’s Word promises.
Mat 5:16 adds the exhortation for the believer to, “Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Therefore, the disciples who hear Jesus’ teachings are to reveal them to others, to give the “light,” (truth), they have received.
It is not like we hear the Word at one time and can live on it for the rest of our lives. We have to keep replenishing the store, stocking the shelves of our heart, so that we always have something to feed on. We are either going forward in the things of God or we are going backward. There is no neutral ground. The more we hear, the more we receive. The less we hear, the more we lose.
Therefore, we must be careful what we do with what we hear. The hearing or receiving of God’s Word can be as ineffective as the seed sown on the trampled roadway, vs. 12. It can take root but soon die for lack of depth in our spiritual lives, vs. 13. It can be choked by the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, vs. 14. Or it can find good soil in us and produce much fruit; Divine Good Production. The sower’s responsibility is to share God’s Word, especially the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The hearer’s responsibility is to have the soil of his heart prepared to receive the Word and use it most effectively. Therefore, while the truth of the Gospel will be vindicated in the end, the primary point is the accountability placed upon the hearer to respond correctly. As such, Jesus concludes with another somber warning to emphasize the grave responsibility of choice. Those who respond to the light they have been given, will receive more light. Those who reject the light they have been given, choosing darkness instead, will lose what light they think they have.
So the lesson is; we need to continually pour the Word of God into our souls to keep our tanks filled. The more we receive God’s Word, the more of it we get. The more we develop an appetite for Scripture the more we hunger for it. The more we give ourselves, the more we receive.
“Isn’t this a perfect description of how we sometimes find ourselves spiritually dry? We did not intentionally set out for a desert place. We woke up one morning a little late, running behind for work, so we skipped our quiet time. We could still smell the fumes from the gas of yesterday’s quiet times, so we had a pretty good day despite not reading and pondering the Word that morning. The second morning we thought, It went well yesterday, so I’ll sleep in again. On the third morning we felt a little guilty so we thought we’d at least get a little snippet of the Word into the morning. We rush our spiritual feeding like a man grabbing a piece of toast for breakfast as he runs out the door. The fourth day you have your quiet time, but it’s less rewarding than it was last week. Now reading God’s Word feels harder. Praying is more difficult. So you miss another day or two before trying to press your way back into the Bible. Before you know it, a couple weeks have passed since you fruitfully received God’s Word. You had just a little of the Bible, and more of it was taken away. You’ve been losing all the while and now you’re wondering, How do I get it back? The promise of the first half of verse 18 is that if you start with at least getting some of the Bible, then you will want more of the Bible. Water the dry places of your heart with the Scriptures, and the desert will bloom with truth. The more you water, the more you flower. The more you flower, the more you water.
Feed on God’s written Word. Feed on it daily and several times a day. Let us not rest on sermons and studies from yesterday or last week or last year. Let us keep a fresh word in our hearts and minds by reading it and hearing it every day.” (Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Luke).
6. Ministry illustrated through parables, Luke 8:4-21.
c. Who are your true family members, vs. 19-21.
This completes the lessons regarding the Four Soils, where in vs. 19-21, Luke uses the interaction of Jesus and His earthly family to teach us of our greater family which is the heavenly one, i.e., the Royal Family of God.
This lesson is paralleled in Mat 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35. It reinforces both the parable of the Four Soils, vs. 14-15, and the image of those who have the Word in their soul as light, in vs. 16-18.
Luke 8:19, “And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.”
Here, we see that Jesus’ “mother,” METER, Mary and His “brothers,” ADELPHOS, were following His ministry. This most likely occurred in Capernaum. This reminds us that Jesus had half-brothers and sisters, according to Scripture, as Mary had multiple other children with Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, Mat 1:25; 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; John 2:3-5, 12; 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 12:17; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19; James 1:1.
Mat 13:55-56, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56And His sisters, are they not all with us?”
Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”
John 7:3, “Therefore His brothers said to Him, ‘Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing’.”
John 7:5, “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.”
Interestingly, Scripture indicates that Jesus’ half-brothers were unbelievers prior to His crucifixion and resurrection, but afterwards became believers and great workers of the early church, Acts 1:14; 12:17; 1 Cor 9:5; James 1:1; Jude 1:1. There unbelief may be why they wanted to remove Him from the crowd in Mark 3:20-21.
In addition, we see that Mary was not a “perpetual virgin,” as the heresy of the Catholic Church teaches, as they pray to her and venerate her as the “Mother of God,” in their false man-made religious doctrines. God has no mother. God was not created or born. She was the mother of the humanity of Jesus Christ, and she had 4 other sons and at least 2 daughters. It is remarkable that in the only two instances in which Mary figures in the ministry of Jesus prior to His crucifixion, here and the wedding at Cana, John 2:1-11, she is seemingly reproved by Him. This fact not only rebukes those who worship her, but corrects their false doctrine of her immaculate conception.
Jesus’ brothers’ unbelief and Mary being reproved gives context for what is to come.
Luke 8:20, “And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You’.”
“Standing outside,” is the Perfect, Active, Indicative of the Verb HISTEMI with the Adjective EXO. The Perfect tense gives us a sense that they had been waiting for some time, as they “wished / desired” THELO, to “see / meet with,” EIDON, Him. This goes with vs. 19, “to get to Him,” that uses the Hapaxlegomena Verb SUNTUNCHANO, συντυγχάνω in the Aorist, Active, Infinitive that means, “to meet with.” Therefore, they wanted to meet with Jesus and had waited for Him, but the “crowds,” OCHLOS, prevented them.
The use of EXO here is interesting, as it is literally used in the NT for a place or position in reference to another. In this case, they were outside the house Jesus was teaching from and behind the crowd around Him. But, it is also predominately used in a spiritual sense for not believing in Jesus Christ, being outside in faith as it were, cf. Mat 23:25-27; Mar 4:11; Luke 11:39-40; 13:25; 1 Cor 5:13; Col 4:5; 1 Thes 4:12; 1 Tim 3:7; Rev 22:15.
Mark 4:11, “And He was saying to them, ‘To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables’.” And remember that Jesus was crucified for our sins “outside the gate of Jerusalem,” where the unbeliever should seek Him, Heb 13:11-13.
So, here we see the unbelief from His brothers, who were “outside,” rather than inside listening to the message He was teaching.
After Jesus “was told,” APANGELLO, that they were outside and wanting to see Him, our Lord made the following statement in vs. 21. The other Gospels, Mat 12:48; Mark 3:33, record He first asked, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?”
This may seem like a harsh response from Jesus, but He knew why they had come. They did not come to hear Jesus preach. In fact, they did not even go into the house, although the crowd may have been the reason for that. From other Scriptures, it is possible they felt embarrassed by His extravagant claims and assertions of messiahship and authority, and wanted Him to come home, away from the crowds. Some think this was to protect Him from those who did not believe, but they might have been embarrassed regarding His ministry, Since 4 brothers, two or more sisters and His earthly mother came to get Him. Force in numbers!
Nevertheless, this is not an insult, a “dig,” or a “slight” towards His family members, but was intended for an encouragement to the other disciples and followers who were there. Without dishonoring His human family, especially His mother, Jesus elevated the status of those who receive the gospel and put it into action. He was merely using the occasion to announce how anyone can gain access to Him.
Luke 8:21, “But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it’.”
Jesus’ replies with a proverbial-style remark that indicates where His family can be found. He does not get up and go see His family. Instead He remains and preaches to the people this important lesson. This is a similar response He had told His mother in His youth, “I must be about my Father’s business,” Luke 2:49. It was no different now. Preaching the gospel of the Kingdom was more important than pleasing His mother, especially if pleasing her would have kept Him from fulfilling His mission.
As we noted above, it is very likely that Mary and the others were concerned for Jesus’ safety and well-being, or for their own reputations. But Jesus was not building reputations. He was building spiritual relationships. Mary and her other children would have to learn this the same way anyone else does.
This underscores the importance of responding to the Word of God in faith, not just with intellectual understanding, but with application in your life. Those who “hear the Word of God, and do it” are His spiritual kinsmen. The Bible states that those who want to walk with God need to have their thinking refashioned along biblical lines, Rom 12:2.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Jesus makes the point of the necessity of hearing and doing the Word. And those to whom He feels closest to, those He considers His family, are those who do God’s will by applying the Word / Bible Doctrine in their lives.
“Those who hear the Word of God and do it,” are His family members. Luke uses, AKOUO for “hearing,” which means, learning through the ear gate, and POIEO for “doing it,” which means, application of the “Word of God,” LOGOS HO THEOES, i.e., Bible doctrine resident within your soul. This emphasis on hearing and doing is common, Luke 6:47-49; James 1:22-25. So, those who take into their souls and apply Bible doctrine to their lives are the ones who are considered by Jesus to be His family.
The application of this passage is simple enough: Do not just listen to God’s Word or study it, but apply it. The walk of faith does not involve an intricate knowledge of theology for debate. It involves engaging life with an incarnation of the character of God as revealed in His teaching. God’s will for us is that we be so responsive to Him that we reflect His character. This is being conformed to the image of Christ, which is our mission.
Luke 11:28, “But He said, ‘On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it’.”
Our Lord’s reply might have been shocking to some, but very encouraging to others. At this point, Jesus sets aside earthly family relationships for eternal/heavenly family relationships. When He says, “Who are my brethren?” He is saying, “With whom will I be related to forever?”
The first aspect of being in the family of God is to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believe in Jesus as Savior. That is the first “doing” of the Word as we believe in faith the Gospel, in relation to our sins and lives.
One reason He included His mother here, is that motherhood is an intimate relationship that comes by physical birth. He is related to all of these through physical birth. And when He says, “These are My mother…,” he is referring to the fact of spiritual birth where anyone who believes becomes part of His family, John 3:3-7. He is saying, “these” are born again, and that “His mother and His brethren are those who are born again.” In addition, those who are born again are those with whom He will have an eternal fellowship.
Remember, at the time He says this, none of His four brothers and none of His sisters are saved. And so, they are unbelievers, but the disciples to whom He refers to here are born again. Therefore, His real family is not the family of physical birth, but the family of the new birth. And once again, He hits the Pharisees who were there, according to the other gospel accounts, right between the eyes.
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes: How did they get their jobs? They were born of aristocratic families. They were related to the proper people, they were in the proper families, they were in the social register which was nothing more or less then the Sanhedrin. And Jesus is saying once again to the Pharisees, “You are aristocrats, you have family relationships, you were born from an aristocrat.” My true aristocracy is made up from regeneration. It is not who your father and mother were from physical birth, it is “What you think of the Christ?”
At salvation, the Holy Spirit enters us into union with Christ which makes us Royal Family. The baptism of the spirit is identification with Christ as royalty, John 14:20; Acts 1:5; 2:3; 11:15‑17; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:26‑28; Col 2:12. Therefore, for the Church Age believer, we are members of the Royal Family of God. The result of the Baptism of the Spirit is positional truth. Positional truth means the believer is positionally with Christ at the right hand of the Father. We are accepted positionally as royalty just as Christ is accepted in fact as royalty. We share all that Christ is and has as royalty in union with Him.
So here, Jesus pointed out that this family relationship does not come through birth or even the circumstance of having heard the gospel. To have heard God’s word is of no value, Luke 8:4–7, 11–14, unless accompanied by “faith.” Yet, even faith for salvation is of only temporary value, as Luke 8:13-14 reveals, unless it is a faith that puts God’s Word into practice continually with perseverance, vs. 15. Their Luke described this kind of faith as a faith “with a noble and good heart” which perseveres.
Therefore, entrance into the Family of God begins with faith that the Gospel has paid for your sins and through it you have eternal life. That faith must then continue to flourish in your soul, as you learn more and more of God’s Word and “do it,” / apply it to your life. True faith endures. It perseveres. It puts into practice the teachings of that faith. Luke believed that we are indeed saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves will never be alone in the life of the “good soil” believer. That faith is accompanied by action, James 2:17, expresses itself through love, cf. Gal 5:6, and puts God’s Word into practice, vs. 21.
It is one thing to read the Bible or hear a sermon. It is quite another thing to put it into practice. Obedience to the Word of the Lord comes easiest to the one who has a love relationship with the Lord of the Word, Jesus, and with His Father. And today we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to make that Word real in our hearts, John 14:23-26. When that happens, we become noble and good members of the Spiritual Family of Jesus Christ.
The Objective of the Royal Family on Earth.
- The first objective of the believer is to take in doctrine on a consistent basis until he begins to have a personal love for God. This develops spiritual self‑esteem.
- Next, the believer must continue to grow spiritually by the intake of doctrine until he has developed spiritual autonomy, the virtue of impersonal love toward other members of the human race.
- Then he must pass the momentum tests: people testing, thought testing, system testing and disaster testing.
- Finally he must reach spiritual maturity, where he is blessed by undergoing evidence testing, thus becoming a witness against Satan.
- At spiritual adulthood, we receive our blessings which were deposited in escrow in Christ in eternity past, Eph 1:3‑14. These blessings glorify God to the maximum. God may even test us concerning these blessings as evidence against Satan. This is the objective of the Royal Family while on earth.
Now, both Matthew and Mark record our Lord’s added emphasis to this lesson. For example, in Mat 12:49-50, “And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! 50For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother’.”
Mark’s differs only by using “God,” rather than “My Father who is in heaven,” as Matthew does. Both record this teaching earlier in Jesus’ ministry, right after selecting the 12, being accused of being possessed by Beelzebul, (i.e., Satan), because He was casting out demons, teaching on the unpardonable sin of rejecting Jesus as Savior, and in Matthew, rebuking the Pharisees along with the current generation for not believing in God’s plan of Salvation.
When Jesus stated, “For whoever does the will of my Father,” the will of the Farther is defined by 1 John 3:23, “That you believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.” Therefore, it begins by believing in Jesus Christ as your Savior. The emphasis is on regeneration, this is how we enter the new Royal Family.
We are also exhorted to “do the will of God,” in Eph 6:6; Heb 10:36; 1 Peter 2:15; 4:2, 19; 1 Thes 4:3; 1 John 2:17. This is our post-salvation exhortation, to persevere with the intake and application of God’s Word.
1 Peter 4:2, “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
Eph 6:6, “Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Heb 10:36, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
John 7:14-18, “But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15The Jews then were astonished, saying, ‘How has this man become learned, having never been educated?’ 16So Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him’.”
God has three wills we see in the Bible: Directive, Permissive, and Overruling, see Num 22, the story of Balaam. All three glorify God, yet only by being in the “directive will” of God do we glorify Him and are blessed.
“Doing it,” also reminds us of Mat 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-111 & 19-112 & 19-113
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!