The reading notes this week have been provided by Hannah Hallett.
We’re on a roll! Another really challenging one. This one seems to be about the way we listen. Dan (my husband), take note. The passage is available here.
It’s handy that we read the previous section yesterday as it seems like Jesus is still talking to his disciples here. I think he’s providing more explanation on the things he said about those who are committed being able to understand and those who are (on the other hand) thinking that he’s telling farm life anecdotes.
Jesus talks about a lamp and makes the point that there’s no point in having a lamp if you hide it (cue “this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine”). What he’s saying is that he’s not deliberately hiding the meaning of what he’s preaching from the people who are unreceptive; the truth is a light which is shining out. His main purpose is to put the lamp on its stand, it’s up to us whether we choose to take any notice. The next bit, where he talks about those who have some will be given more and those who don’t have will have the remainder taken from them is also about what we hear and understand. For those who have an open heart and understand, they will understand even more of God as they grow in their relationship with him. If we avoid the light and refuse to take notice, the understanding we have will be taken from us.
So, what about the section where Jesus leaves his family outside? It seems like strange behaviour. Again, Jesus is making a point here (I wish that everything I said was this considered and thought out). Whenever we go to Soul Survivor they make an appeal for people to walk to the front of the big top (in front of 10,000 people) and make a commitment to follow Jesus, it’s incredibly moving to see hundreds of young people walk up so bravely and with so much determination. When Mike Pilavachi prays with them he always says that there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that heaven is having a party and that God’s heart is filled with joy, the bad news (he makes them turn around to face the crowd) is that the people in the crowd are now their brothers and sisters in Christ. This always gets a laugh. I’m always really moved to think about the church growing and more people being welcomed into the family. I’m more moved though, that Jesus considers me his sister. That’s what this is about. Hebrews 2:11 says that he is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters. Hallelujah, he doesn’t call us his siblings because he has to but he’s unashamed, he loves us because he loves us because he loves us. It’s not rational, it doesn’t make sense in any logical way but he loves me and he loves you. We have no reason to feel lonely, afraid, depressed or anxious – Jesus, our brother, is not ashamed of us.
The light that he talks about in the beginning will expose things in us which need to change, we’re a work in progress. We have to remember that just because he loves us doesn’t mean we’re the finished article. Something which was said to me when I was about sixteen which has really stayed with me was, “He loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way”. Praise the Lord.
Thank you Lord for loving us, in our mess, in our sin and in our hopelessness. Help us to want more of your light, even when it makes us realise the things we need to change. Thank you that you are not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Help us to be courageous and brave in our love for you.