Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:19-21 [ESV]
Once again, we have a follow-up comment by Jesus in the context of ‘The Sower’ parable. When I first read this passage, I was caught off guard and quietly said under my breath, “Jesus! That’s harsh!” What cannot be lost in the reading of these passages is the focus on LISTENING.
By Jesus’ reckoning, true family relationships are no longer represented biologically but now spiritually. Only those who hear the word of God and do it, as the parable of The Sower tells us, can claim rights as Jesus’ mother and brothers. In Luke’s way of speaking, the moral weaknesses of Jesus’ family not only dampen any potential propensity to glamorize members of the holy family (outside of Jesus – think of how the Catholics idolize Mary) but also serve to establish the circle of obedience as the fundamental community in the emerging kingdom of God.
The scenes in these passages are all about hearing. Jesus tells a story about four types of seeds and soils. The first seed falls beside the path and represents people who don’t hear because of demonic forces. The second seed represents people who hear the word but give up when they face persecution. The third seed represents people who don’t hear because of life’s distractions. The fourth seed represents people who hear the word and bear fruit. The most important thing is whether they obey his teachings and bear fruit. For Luke, the quality of one’s life is the most accurate way to measure one’s standing in the Kingdom of God. And the quality of one’s listening to Jesus is the crucial predictor of whether they will bear fruit or not. Even Jesus’ own family members could not guarantee their position inside his family if they failed to listen.
Am I LISTENTING?? I am so thankful for the work the Lord has done in my life and I cannot overstate the pure joy and love I have for the Holy Spirit as He reveals God’s TRUTH to me. The most important part is whether I apply what I am hearing Him reveal to me day in and day out. Additionally, am I straining to hear everything He has to say? Looking for how the Lord might be speaking to me has been a very big part of my study as of late and more and more it is a repetitive tap on the forehead of my spirit to pay attention.