Have you ever entered a room only to learn that the light bulb has burned out and you stand there in the darkness wondering if you are alone or not? Or maybe you’re halfway into the room when someone turns out the light and you have to stumble and fumble your way back to the light switch. Or perhaps in still another situation you find that multiple bulbs have failed and only a few lights remain, so the room is dimly light and even dark in places. Which situation is more frustrating to you? To me it’s the dimly lit room because I can see but not well enough. I’m present, but my effectiveness is impeded because my vision is impaired.
Imagine how it must have felt for Jesus to see people who were once brightly lit with the knowledge and presence of the Word of God but the light has flickered, fluttered and burnout. That’s the situation we encountered in our focal passage today from Luke 8:16-21. Jesus, following on the heels of His explanation of the parable of the soils, is now trying to help His disciples understand the importance of being doers of the word and not just hearers. He likens it to a lamp that was once lit but has since been hidden. It may still have oil inside but it is producing no light and helping no one see.
I hope you will join us as we hear Jesus declare His allegiance to—and approval of—those who hear and put into practice the Word of God. Those who listen to Him with an honest, believing and sincerely obedient heart and obey His commands. To those He promises deeper and more intensive spiritual insight and understanding. But to those who are indifferent and disobedient He warns that they will lose even the little measure of spiritual knowledge and joy they may possess as their lives become darker and poorer. You see, we either mature as Christians in our spiritual understanding or we regress, there is no middle ground.
Only one type of soil produces maturing Christians—an honest, good heart attuned to God as he reveals the meaning of His word to us. And nothing in our physical birth or environment determines our relationship to God—only our response to His Word. Let us heed the words of the Apostle James and be doers of the Word and not just hearers only.
For more information on this Bible study series please see Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.