Why would Jesus, make a comparison between hearing and light?
I mean light is something you see, not something you hear right? Other places, we’ve read Jesus’s words and he says: “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Lk 8:21)
So, why would Jesus make a comparison between hearing and the light?
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”Luke 8:16-18
As I was studying this passage, I really wanted to understand what Jesus was getting at here. So, I kept on reading. I went back and read more before and more after looking for more references to hearing. I discovered that hearing wasn’t only referenced in Jesus’ illustration about light and his mother and brothers, but essentially the rest of chapter 8 is about hearing.
If you read the chapter, you’ll read about how Jesus commands the winds and waves and they listen to him.
Jesus commands thousands of demons to go into a herd of pigs and they go.
Jesus commands a dead girl to come back to life and she sits right up.
That’s when he connection stood out to me. Jesus said that his family are those who listen and obey. Those who listen to his words and put them into practice are his mother and brothers.
In all of creation, God speaks and it is. In the beginning, God spoke and it was: light, dark, land, sea, sky, animals, people. etc. God spoke and it was. In the boat with the disciples, Jesus spoke and the wind and waves instantly obeyed. The demons went into the pigs (though not quite instantly). The girl sat up. In all of creation, God speaks and it is.
Except for with us. We hear God’s word but often times before we get to the point of putting it into practice it dies the death of a thousand qualifications. “Is that what Jesus really meant?” “That doesn’t really apply to me.” “That’s not what I take that to mean.” The whole of creation immediately obeys God’s commands, except for his most precious creation.
So, back to our question. Why would Jesus make a comparison between hearing and the light? Well, I think there are a couple of reasons.
1.) Hearing the word and not putting it into practice is like lighting a lamp and hiding it with a basket.
We’re sitting in a dark living room, recognizing the need for light. So, we get up and light a lamp. But instead of letting the light illuminate the room, we cover it with a basket.
In the same way, we recognize dark areas of our lives that need God’s truth. We go to God’s word to find the truth we need to illuminate that area of darkness. But, we stop short of putting that truth into action in our lives. We use God’s promises as some sort of temporary therapeutic device. But, since we got the immediate hit we needed, we walk away without letting the word change how we live. We light the lamp and put a basket over it.
Time goes by until we eventually find ourselves struggling with the same problem. We go back to God’s word, sometimes reading the exact same passage, like going back to the lamp and taking the basket off so we can see the light. Maybe we obey this time, maybe we don’t.
2.) The Echo.
That little word “has” in Lk 8:18 is the greek word echo. “Whoever has (echo) will be given more. Whoever thinks he has (echo), what he thinks he has (echo) will be taken away.”
That greek word echo doesn’t just mean to have. It’s where we get the idea “to have and to hold”, to possess, to wear, companionship, those joined in the bond of marriage.
Whoever has will be given more. If you have it, if you possess it, if you are married to it, if you wear it you really have it. You might say that listening to God and not obeying is like getting married, but hiding your marriage from the whole world.
An echo is pretty much an exact replication of an original sound. Yell hello into a valley, and you hear your voice bouncing off the walls of the valley. There isn’t a battle or argument. Not justifications. No qualifications. Just an echo. What was said is repeated.
To whomever echoes, more will be given. Whoever doesn’t echo, even what they think they have echoed will be taken away.
There is no middle ground with listening and obeying. If you’ve heard God, you obey and do what He says. This is why Jesus says, consider carefully how you listen.
How have we been listening to God lately? Do we listen to accumulate information? Or, do we listen to let the truth transform our lives?
1 John 1:6 “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.