As the Christmas holiday approaches, the Christian zealots begin the cry of “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And so it is. I agree with this in theory but the practice in our beloved USA is far from it, even among Christians. Tell me if this is true in your family as it is even in my own, I confess:

  1. Christmas is about spending time with family.
  2. Christmas is about giving (and about receiving to a lesser degree) depending on your age.
  3. Christmas is about Santa Clause and his elves.
  4. Oh yeah, there will be a Christmas Eve service at your local church. There will be several services to accommodate your busy schedule.

I got to thinking about this and what came to mind was the question Jesus asked, “Who is my family?” More specifically;

21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

I included the bible verses below for two reasons. Primarily, I included them so you can understand the difference between the written word of God and my opinionated (but not educated) blogging. 🙂 My thoughts are italicized among the bible verses. If you get confused, just ignore the italics and meditate on the scriptures. The second reason I included this whole section of Luke 8 is for context. Otherwise, you might conclude that Jesus is telling you to reject your family if they do not believe in Him. Nothing could be further from the truth so stop it.

The Parable of the Sower Explained

11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

How is your hearing, spiritually speaking? Do you hear but allow the enemy to lie to you just before you receive Christ and believe? Do you hear the word on a rock and quit the first time you are truly persecuted or tempted? Did you hear and then let your seed fall among thorns and get choked out by worrying or riches or the cares of this life? Or did your hearing and your seed get planted among good ground? I don’t know about you but I have received Christ on all four accounts. I have quit because the devil lied to me. I have fallen into sin and quit. I have been led away by the cares of this world. But most importantly, I have received the everlasting seed that was planted on good ground. And no man shall pluck me out of the Father’s hand.

The Parable of the Revealed Light

16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

Are you hiding the light Christ has revealed in your life? Many many preachers and zealous Christians will use these verses to say “Your sin will find you out.” Different context, preacher. Different scripture, zealous Christian. Read these three verses with the light in mind. In other words, you can not hide the light of Christ, so stop trying. You can’t hide the light of Christ, so take heed how you hear. Make sure it is on the good ground, not on a rock or among thorns or left to die on the wayside.

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Come to Him

19 Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”

21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Here is the verse I quoted in the beginning. It’s Christmas. You are busy shopping and preparing and worrying about the holiday. You barely have time to work with all the holiday madness. Then your mother calls. Your brother or your sister reaches out. Are we going to see you this year? Hmm… How is your hearing? It’s December 18th and there is still much to do. Have you heard from Jesus lately? If you have heard from Him, did you do what he said?  

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”

And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

I have read these four verses a dozen times. I have heard them taught and preached a dozen more times at least. Yet I have never connected these four verses with the 14 verses that followed. Jesus commanded the wind and the raging waters to cease. One could connect this to the storms of this life. One could preach a sermon on trusting Jesus in the midst of our battles. 

Today, and just now, I was asked the question why. What was the purpose of this wind and this raging set of waves? Could it be that the devil did not want Jesus and his disciples to reach the demon possessed man of the Gadarenes? What if Jesus was just a good sailor like Peter and changed his heading? Let’s go back to shore and try tomorrow so we don’t get hurt. Would any of the disciples have blamed Him? Many times I ask God to remove the storm. Many times God does remove the storm as He did in this case. But Jesus did not change direction. And he will not change His word. How is your hearing?

A Demon-Possessed Man Healed

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes,[c] which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes,[d] nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” 29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.

30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?”

And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. 33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.

34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes[e] asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

This is one of the few instances where Jesus told the one who was healed to tell everyone what I did for you. And just as God cleansed the demon possessed man, God has cleansed us and he wants us to tell everyone. 

Merry Christmas!!

Jason

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