Summary: From Jesus’s point of view, what does it take to be related to him?
Intro: A doctor goes to a party one night and sees one of his patients out on the dance floor with a beautiful woman. The doctor goes up to his patient and asks, “What are you doing?” The patient responded, “I’m just following your advice!” “What advice?,” the doctor replied. “You told me to find a hot mama and be cheerful.” The doctor responded in disbelief, “That’s not what I said. What I said to you was that you had a heart murmur and you need to be careful.” (Paul W. Powell, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Retirment)
I want us to make sure that we have our ears open this morning and listen to the challenge God has for us.
Read Luke 8:19-21
In order to understand these three verses you have to take them in light of the entire chapter of Luke 8. In the first 15 verses Jesus teaches a parable. A parable was a story that had a spiritual meaning to it. It was a story about seed being sown on different kinds of soil. In verses 16-18 Jesus talks about a lamp and how a lamp is not supposed to be covered up or slid under a bed. Rather, it is to be put on a stand so that those who come in may see the light. In both of these instances the see and the lamp represent God’s word. The thrust of the Parable is found in verse 15: “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.” The thrust of the quick story of the lamp is found in verse 18: “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.” Understanding that background helps us put verses 19-21 in perspective.
Can you imagine how Jesus’ mother and brothers felt when they heard what Jesus had said. Here they waiting to get in to see their son and brother. There is a great crowd outside the place they are at. Jesus shocks them by the statement, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Jesus wasn’t being mean he was communicating a very important truth.
Both the gospel of Mark and Matthew give a similar account of this story. In Marks gospel 3:20-21 it says, “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind!” Mark 3:34 goes on to say, “Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” If you put Luke and Mark’s accounts together you don’t see a contradiction simply their twist on the account: Hearing God’s word and putting it into practice is God’s will!
I. Those closest to Jesus are those that hear God’s word AND put it into practice.
You would have thought that Jesus should have stopped what he was doing to see what his family wanted. Of course, Jesus knew their hearts. The Message Translation says, “Obedience is thicker than blood.” Just because they grew up with Jesus and were related by blood did not assure they were in proper relationship with him spiritually. Many people have embraced that kind of mentality. Now, I don’t think there are very many people around today that claim “I’m a great, great, great, ….cousin of Jesus. But some people are convinced that just because they’ve done certain church requirements or they have done what their preachers or parents said to do makes them in good standing with God. Many people believe that just because they have been baptized they are in proper relationship with Jesus. Or because their parent is a pastor or leader in a church. “Must mean, I’m right with God” I’ll just hang on to their coat tail.” This is not true. Being baptized, being confirmed, being related to a leader in a church is all good but if we are not hearing God’s word and putting it into practice we are simply standing outside to see Jesus.
Now when we talk about God’s word what do we mean? It means God’s word spoken to man. God spoke specifically to man and a lot of those encounters are recorded in the Bible. God’s word also means his speaking to you and I directly today. I believe that God speaks to people today. Of course there are a lot of people who think God has spoken to them but it wasn’t God—it was bad pizza. God’s word also means the Bible. Although it is not all a direct quote by God himself we call it God’s word to us. It is a collection of all kinds of divinely inspired writings that make up the Bible.