Friday, November 04, 2011

New Year: Luke 8-9 for Oct 31

When Jesus spoke "by way of a parable" to the "large crowd" in Luke 8:4, it wasn't His first parable in Luke (cf. 6:39), but it was the first major one, and His interpretation (8:11-15) is significant.

(Matt 13:1 - 19:1 and Mark 4:1 - 10:1 are in the same time sequence as Luke 8-9 when we read them synoptically.)

Paul's words are similar to Jesus's in Luke 8:12, about believing and being saved, when Paul says that the gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rm 1:16): when in this parable, "seed fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of heaven ate it up" (8:5), in the explanation, "the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart," and we should watch for this in real life, because the real-life purpose of the devil is "so that they will not believe and be saved" (8:12). To be against the devil is to be against his purposes.

One application of this, to those who are spreading "the word of God," (8:11), is to recognize that it if it is true of the sower's seed that "some fell beside the road" (8:5), it may well be true of some spreading of the word of God. Whenever and however long this truly happens with the spreading of the word of God, neither the word of God, nor "those beside the road," neither, interact with the other ... except in one way: they too are those "who have heard" (8:12). This is true of all four cases (8:12,13,14,15).

The conclusion to the parable (8:8, "he who has ears to hear, let him hear") applies to the understanding of the entire parable. What kind of statement is this? Since 8:10 also brings up sight, therefore, comparing 8:8 to "let there be light," it is a similar statement to that: a broadcast of a "let it be true," to all with the physical possession of ears, for their ears to function in the matter of hearing, for the event of the sowing of the word of God. Therefore it is a "fiat," a "let it be true, divinely done by pronouncement, thus done in fact!" It has, then, the broadest success possible regarding the hearing of the word of God: all possessors of ears where the word of God is sown, by this fiat, hear. This not a restriction of the invitation. All four cases hear. In support, we see later, that all four cases explicitly hear: thus 8:8 applies to all upon whom the word of God is sown: they explicitly hear.

We should consider whether this statement means something more as well, especially in light of 8:10. That verse is paradoxical: they are to hear, but not in every way. What way not? As the verse describes it: "hearing, they may not understand" (8:10).

After reading this parable, if we feel like a big mountain has just placed itself next to us, which cannot be dislodged or climbed, that is true! The parable is regarding "the kingdom of God," and its "mysteries." The disciples are divided by the parabolic method from "the rest" (8:10). They are not "the rest": "to you it has been granted to know," Jesus tells them. And Luke has been published throughout the whole earth, almost. Therefore not only has the hearing occured, by fiat, wherever it has been read, but we see, in seeing so many disciples throughout the whole earth, that many have also understood.

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