Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20 - Luke 8

Today's reading in our daily plan is Luke 8. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Jesus tells a story about a farmer planting seed. This parable teaches us that different people respond to the gospel (the good news about Jesus) in different ways, and that how we respond to it means everything.
  • The story of the lamp is a reminder that our faith was never meant to be private. Just like we cannot see at night without a lamp, we cannot see life clearly without the light of Jesus. 
  • The disciples find themselves in a bad storm on the lake. They are terrified and beg Jesus for help. He questions their faith but still halts the storm. Interestingly enough, the men who spent every day with Jesus were astonished at this miracle. After all this time, they still weren't sure who he was!
  • Luke shares the story of a demon-possessed man begging Jesus for help. Jesus heals the man, sending the demons into the pigs. When the people see this, they go running into town to tell everyone about this miracle. The healed man begged to go with Jesus, but instead Jesus asked him to stay and share what God had done for him with others. You can read more in the post on Mark 5.
  • We also see Jesus heal a woman who had been sick for 12 years. When she realizes she is healed, she becomes very afraid. But Jesus assures her that it's okay and encourages her to go in peace.
  • The chapter closes with Jairus, the synagogue ruler, begging Jesus for help with his dying daughter.  His daughter dies before Jesus can reach her. But Jesus assures Jairus to "just believe." Jesus goes to the daughter and raises her from the dead. 

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The parable of the farmer shows us how easily we can be distracted from following Jesus with our whole heart. Even people with the best intentions can get lost. However, Jesus gives us clear instructions on how we can stay strong like the good soil:
    1. Be of good heart
    2. Hear and remember God's Word
    3. Do what it says and persevere. 
  • If we look at the stories of Jairus' daughter and the sick woman, we learn that all Jesus asks is that we believe.  We don't need to do anything fancy for God to hear us. All he asks for is true faith that he can do it.
  • In the story of Jesus' mother and brothers, we see that Jesus doesn't care about bloodline or biology.  Jesus says those who are truly in his family are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • In the story of the farmer, which type of seed are you? Are you planted in the good soil? Do you hear God's word and do what it says? If we are to follow God whole-heartedly, we must persevere and not just listen to his Word, but do it. Disobedience leads nowhere. Commit right now, with God's help and the help of Christian friends, to obey God in all things.
  • The disciples spent every day with Jesus, yet when he calmed the storm they still asked the question, "Who is he?" Do you ask that question today? Who is he? Is Jesus really the Savior of the World? If you struggle with the same questions as the disciples, continue reading the Bible every day to discover who Jesus is. This will help you discover who he really is. And most importantly, remember that God is not afraid of our doubts. He understands and still cares.