Monday, January 3

Reader: “So pay attention” 

Response: “to how you hear.”

Scripture: Luke 8:16-21  (Jesus speaking)

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing 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.”

Some thoughts:

One of the main ways Jesus taught was through parables. The truths of the parables were for those who could “see” and for those who couldn’t, they remained hidden, a mystery. In Jesus’ own words regarding the latter, “When they look, they won’t really see. When they hear, they won’t understand.”  Rejecting the gospel results in being blinded to the truth. Being blind is believing you understand when in fact your mind has been darkened. Many people today who have rejected Jesus believe they have understood him. Because of their rejection, even what they think they know about him will be taken away. That is an awful position to be in.

Jesus uses the same example he taught in his Sermon on the Mount concerning displaying the light of a lamp. Eventually everything will be made light and known to everyone. But in some cases, it will be too late. What he is driving at is the need to pay attention to how you hear now. Those who listen and act on what Jesus has said will be given more understanding. 

Luke reiterates an event that further illustrates Jesus’ point of acting on what Jesus has said, in other words, putting our faith into actions. Jesus teaches that truth in an interesting and surprising way. His mother, Mary, and several of his brothers (some manuscripts add “and sisters”) came to see him and talk with him. In fact, Matthew and Mark both tell us his family members wanted to talk with him. Their oldest brother had gained considerable fame and there was some thought from Matthew and Mark’s account that they thought Jesus was overdoing it with his constant teaching and healing nonstop and they wanted to take him back home for some rest. Notice that Jesus was so tuned to his Father in heaven’s voice that not even his mother and brothers and sisters could push him off the call of his mission. 

This instance is a wonderful example of humans’ limited understanding of God’s direction in a person’s life. In Jesus’ response, he is not putting down familial relationships but rather putting them into a godly perspective. Certainly Jesus has said enough about honoring parents, caring for children and widows and marriage to know that he greatly valued the family structure. Compared to hearing God’s word and doing it, family takes second place. In other words, no relationship, even family ones, supersedes hearing God’s word and obeying what you hear. So Jesus’ response was perfect. Those people who hear God’s word and obey it are our true adopted brothers and sisters in Christ. These words of Jesus are why the local church is so important and a part of God’s design. The church you go to is your family. Don’t neglect them. As the writer of Hebrews says, “Do not forsake the assembling together as is the habit of some.” (Heb.10:25)

Music: “Good Christian Men Rejoice”     King’s College Choir


Thou, who art the true Sun of the world, evermore rising, and never going down; who, by Thy most wholesome appearing and sight dost nourish, and make joyful all things as well that are in heaven, as also that are on earth; we beseech Thee mercifully and favorably to shine into our hearts that the night and darkness of sin, and the mists of error on every side being driven away, Thou brightly shining within our hearts, we may all our life long go without any stumbling or offence, and may walk as in the daytime, being pure and clean from the works of darkness, and abounding in all good works which thou hast prepared for us to walk in. Let me so pass through the misty desert of this world by thy light going before me; as I may neither be defiled with Satan’s wiles, nor be entangled with any errors disagreeing from thy truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.          ―Erasmus, The Book of Uncommon Prayer, p.65,66