Archive for May 26th, 2008

What’s Going On Here?

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 8:16-18 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Keith Phillips):

I read these three verses, and I wonder, “What’s going on here?”

I remember having read verse sixteen somewhere else, and I find it right after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:15). And verse seventeen is in a scary section that talks about everybody’s secrets being shouted from the rooftops (Matthew 10:26), offering little hope for those of us still closeted. Lastly, I remember that verse eighteen follows the parable of the talents, where the servant who buried his talent had it taken away (Matthew 25:29). Each of those verses seem to fit just fine where they are in Matthew’s Gospel, but initially I wasn’t too sure how they fit here in Luke’s Gospel.

Fortunately, this quarter I’m taking a Discipleship class, “Understanding the Bible Better,” taught by Deb Doty, who told us that redactors probably put together certain Biblical books. (At one time I might have thought they were communist thespians.) Apparently, both Matthew and Luke were using a third book about Jesus that was circulating at the time, and it was mostly just lists of his sayings. Matthew and Luke each put them in different places.

These three sayings/verses make sense to me in Matthew. Each is different and fits in the different places that Matthew locates it. But what about in Luke? Fortunately, Deb also told us about Biblical interpretation and checking out a passage’s context.

Lo and behold, these three verses in Luke follow the telling of the parable of the sower and the different kinds of soil in which the Good News is planted. So possibly Luke wants to continue telling us something about the importance, the power of the Good News of Jesus. Maybe like its ability to light up our lives so that we can see where we are (verse 16). Maybe like its ability to be accessible to everyone, not hidden from any who seek it (verse 17). Maybe like its ability to produce extraordinary growth, when it’s planted in prepared soil, or to shrivel up and die when it’s not nurtured (verse 18). Using principles from “Understanding the Bible Better” (a way to nurture the Good News), I realize these verses are Luke’s further comments on the parable of the sower and the different soils. How simple…

Thought for the day: I’m grateful that God doesn’t expect me to know everything. God provides teachers and resources that I may understand better. Thank you, God. And thank you, teachers and creators of resources.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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