April 27

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them…is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock..” (Luke 6:46-48)

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)

Once upon a time there was a general in the Ethiopian army with a houseboy who had become deathly sick. His well-meaning neighbors told him about a healer who was traveling through their area. The general ordered his highest-ranking soldier to take a message to the healer, to come to him to heal his houseboy. The soldier pleaded the general’s case to the great man, saying that he was honorable, patriotic, and worthy of the healer’s attention. The healer followed the soldier to the general’s quarters but was stopped by some other soldiers, sent by the general, before he could enter. They told the shaman that the general wasn’t worthy of his presence but believed he could heal the houseboy from where he stood. After all, the general had command of his men who did his bidding; so, it would be with the houseboy’s healing. The houseboy was healed.

I am sure this story sounds familiar since it is a not-very-vailed retelling of Luke 7:1-10, with one crucial element left out. “When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith’” (verse 9). Without this verse the story would be retelling of a fabled encounter with a fetish priest of the African Traditional Religion. Without the power of the gospel, granted by the Holy Spirit, to transform our hearts to obey God, it’s just a story. But this is a true account in the book of real events. It’s not a parable. The centurion’s request is preceded in Luke’s gospel with the admonition to obey Jesus’s words like a builder constructing a house on rock (Luke 6:46-49). Jesus is the rock, the object of our faith.

Later, during the same period of teaching, Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were outside looking for him. At that time, they did not believe that he was the Son of God and therefore, would not necessarily obey him. Pleasing Jesus and serving him is a mark of the regenerate who have received faith–like the centurion. One of the greatest blessings of having this God-given faith in Christ is speaking his words of life to ourselves and others, which happens whenever we share the gospel. Jesus said, “I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me” (John 12:49-50). Accordingly, we can say, “I don’t speak on my own but share what Jesus has said; it’s on his authority that the gospel has power to transform our hearts.”

When you speak with someone today, will you think of the gospel with its power to change hearts? Will you ask God for the opportunity to speak with his words, with his authority? A short thirty-second response from a biblical worldview can throw the light of transformative wisdom on any situation, bring someone to the feet of Jesus, strengthen your faith, and give glory to God.

 

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