Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Daily Reading: Luke 8v1-3 'Forgiven and not forgotten'

One of the questions we should be asking as we read the Bible is why is this here?  Why in Luke between the account of the anointing of the sinful woman and the parable of the sower does the Spirit inspire Luke to record v1-3?  I guess we can see why verse 1 is there but what about v2-3?  Why this detail?

Often we gloss over such things rushing to the action.  In fact my hunch is that many of us speed read (let our eyes drift over) the lists of names in the Bible, especially the hard to read ones.  But they are there for a reason.  So why is it here?

It tells us of the scope of Jesus ministry and preaching, "After this, Jesus travelled from one village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God."  Jesus puts a priority of proclaiming the kingdom is come.  That in him it is (4:18-19) “the year of the Lord’s favour”.  Jesus comes to tell people that they can be forgiven their debts with God.  Jesus priority was teaching.  So much so that he travels from place to place doing so, making sure that as many people hear ad have opportunity to respond to this good news.

Secondly we see that the twelve were with him(1).  Why does that matter?  Because this is how they learnt to preach and teach.  This is preaching school 101 for Peter, James, John and the others, what they teach flows out of what Jesus taught.

Thirdly we see that no-ones service of Jesus is forgotten and the uniting effect of the gospel.  You couldn't get a much more disparate group.  Mary Magdalen had been demon possessed, Joanna had held a relatively high position in the royal household, and others have been healed.  Jesus unites, the gospel unites, the kingdom will be composed of those from every tribe, class, nationality, economic background.  And no service is insignificant in the kingdom, these women are remembered as they support the ministry of Jesus and his Apostles at cost to themselves.  This is not denigrating the role they played this is highlighting it.  Don't think of this in terms of stage staff and backroom staff - that is our crass celebrity desiring culture speaking - that culture has no part in the kingdom of God.  This is loving devoted responsive service to the one who has saved them.

What has God called us to do in his service?  God knows, God sees, God is delighted in service of him.  No-one else may ever know but we do not serve for man's praise but for the glory of the God who does not forget his servants.  We need these little correctives because we live in a culture that craves recognition, that feels it deserves credit, that longs for the limelight.  It is so helpful to reminded that God never forgets his faithful servants it liberates us from the need to seek human significance.  It enables us to be humble like our Saviour, to descend rather than seek elevation just like the one who descended for us.

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