Reading for Wednesday, March 14: Luke 8
The theme of this great chapter is the power of the Word of God for those who believe.
Luke records one of Jesus’ most well-known parables, the teaching of the sower and the seeds. As Jesus explains to His disciples, the seed represents the Word of God. People receive this Word differently; some receive it only to fall away, others never fully hear the Word because of the circumstances of life. “As for the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience,” (v15). The Word’s power is demonstrated most fully in patient hearts that are “honest and good”. There’s a teaching here for those of us who are journeying with the Lord to be patient, trusting in His power to sustain in times when we wish it would bear fruit immediately. As with most situations in life, the patient path is the prudent path. The same holds true as we walk with Jesus. Our part to play is to patiently allow his Word to illuminate our path (vv16-18), echoing Ps. 119.105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
The next episode was surely heartbreaking for Mary: she and her children approach Jesus, only to find the multitudes surrounding Him. As they attempt to draw near to Him, Jesus uses this an opportunity to exhort the crowd to greater faithfulness: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it,” (v21). James apparently takes this to heart, for he later echoes the teaching of his Brother: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only,” (James 1.22).
And the further episodes in this chapter continue this thread: Jesus calms the storm by speaking peace into turbulence; Jesus heals the Gerasene demoniac through the power of His Word; the impaired woman is healed by reaching out to Jesus in faith, yet she receives confirmation of this blessing by Jesus’ spoken words, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace,” (v48); and finally, Jairus’ daughter is miraculously reanimated through the glorious demonstration of Christ’s command, “Child, arise,” (v54). In each of these encounters, it is the Word of God that leads to healing, restoration, and new life. In the case of the previously demon-possessed man, Jesus sends him back home with a new declaration: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you,” (v39). No doubt Jairus’ daughter and the bleeding woman also become ambassadors for Christ, living emblems to the power of God’s Word at work in our lives.
And, of course, the same is true for us as well. When we receive God’s Word, we respond in like manner: with hearts full of joy and thanksgiving, moving forward to declare to others the power of this One who has brought us new life, both now and into eternity.