This is the Lent series and we’re reading through Luke, from the 40-days Jesus spent in the in the desert triumphing over temptation to His crucifixion and resurrection. We have read through Luke 4-7. Yesterday we read about faith and miracles. Today we’re reading through Luke 8.
In Luke 8 Jesus is joined by the 12 disciples, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others. Jesus teaches the parable of the sower, a lamp on a stand, drives out demons, raises the dead, heals the sick, and calms the storms in Luke 8.
The Parable of the Sower: Luke 8:1-16
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15)
Our hearts determine how we receive the word of God. A heart hardened by sin may hear but does not understand the Word, and Satan plucks the message away. A cold and stony heart may receive the Word, but when trouble comes the fickle faith disappears. A thorny heart may seem to receive the Word, but it is quashed by wordly pleasures and lusts. A heart bathed in salvation receives the Word, retains the Word, and acts on the Word.
If you want to hear God speak, cultivate an open mind.
Rick Warren writes “Jesus explains in verse 12 that “the seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.”
There are two characteristics of a footpath: It’s hardened, and it’s narrow. Do you know any minds like that? I know a lot of people who have a closed mind, a hard heart, and a narrow view of life. They don’t even give God a chance. Their minds are made up; they’re unwilling to listen.
The tragedy of a closed mind and a hard heart is that it’s barren. Nothing can grow there. Nothing can live there. Even if a little seed does happen to fall on a closed mind or a hardened heart, it can’t take root. People who have a closed mind are not really living; they just exist. But a bitter life is a wasted life. It just perpetuates the pain!
So how should you respond instead? The Bible says, “Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:21 NLT). The opposite of a closed mind is an open mind. You need to say to God, “I can’t do it on my own. The ways I’ve tried haven’t worked. So I’m going to listen to you and open my heart and mind to your possibilities. God, I believe in you and want to hear from you!”
A Lamp on a Stand: Luke 8:16-18
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:17)
As a Christian we are tasked with illuminating others with our faith and lighting their way to Jesus. God gave us talents and allows us to shine in good times and in difficult times because of our salvation, His love, and His peace.
Jesus calms the storm: Luke 8:20-26
In our life we will encounter storms, figuratively and literally. The disciples were in danger, feared for their lives, and ran to wake Jesus when the storm came up on the lake. As Jesus calmed the sea, He asked the disciples “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:18).
Fear and anxiety will assault us, just as it assaulted the disciples. When the storms come, rest in your faith. Jesus calms the storms in our lives. He has redeemed us and called us His own.
You amaze me
You call me as Your own. -Lyrics from “I am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe