Monday, July 21, 2014

Distraction at the door, part 4: Obedient Relations

And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You." But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8:19-21 NASB)

This is a difficult passage, but it has truth we need to understand, whether we want to or not. In our culture, there is a tendency to identify oneself as being a "Christian" without really understanding what that means. In these verses, Jesus took a teachable moment and shed a bit of light on the question of relation to Him.

His mother and his brothers were outside the crowd, wishing to see Jesus, who was in the midst of the crowd. Rather than push through the crowd, they had sent word, hoping He would leave the crowd and come to them. The reason for this is not known, but the implication is that understanding and obedience were not on their agenda. 

He turned to the message-bearer and explained that His mother and His brothers (His immediate, closely related family) were those who hear the word of God and obey it. Did you get that? If we are part of the family of Christ, then we hear the word of God and obey it. Looking at this another way, if we hear the Word of God and do not obey it (or do not even bother to know what God's word says), then perhaps we are not part of the family of God. Relationship brings obedience. 

These are hard words, straight from Jesus, and in our culture we tend to ignore or gloss over them. Who wants this to be true? No one. Not wanting it to be true does not make it any less so. The fact is, according to Jesus, His disciples, His family are the ones who hear and obey, not those who just claim to be related. 

The word translated as "hear" is one we have seen before. It is akouĊ and means to hear with understanding. This is not the kind of "in one ear and out the other" hearing that does not bring change. This is the kind of hearing that is accompanied by both understanding and life and heart change. 

We do well to ask ourselves how we respond to the Word of God. Is it like a spotlight on the dark places in our heart? Do we embrace the light and allow it to banish our darkness or do we shrink from it, avoiding any clarity and change?

It is not our Lord's intent to leave us as we are, but to make us more like Him. Pray today that we and our loved ones will willingly embrace the cleansing and change He longs to bring through His Word. 
Link to last night's post is here:
Our terrorist prayer focus this week is Abubakar Shekau. Meh is the leader of Boku Haram, a radical terrorist organization operating in northeastern Nigeria. He is particularly fond of kidnapping and murder, having kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls (many who are still in captivity). Just yesterday, his forces captured a civilian-controlled town, murdered at least 100 people, and made the town his new headquarters. More than 22,000 have been killed in battle between his forces and the Nigerian military in the last few years. Please pray for an end to his reign of terror and for salvation for him and his men.