Luke 8:16–25 . . . Bible Study Summary with Videos and Questions
Floodlight, Family, and Faith
Just as last week's study focus was divided into three segments, we and Luke will divide today's ten verses into three digestible segments. This week's first passage (vv. 16–21, shown below) provides the implication and application of last week's Parable of the Soils (or "of the Sower" or "of the Seeds" or "of the Souls"), starting with (1) "the reason for hiding the truth" (vv. 16–18), followed by (2) "the Lord's real family" (vv. 19–21), and "Jesus quiets a storm" (vv. 22-25).
The Reason for Hiding the Truth (16–18)
Our first segment today — three verses long — isn't obviously understood at first reading. Consider this possible meaning, if yours differs after reading that passage.
In vv. 9–10 from last week's study focus, Jesus has told his disciples that he meant to hide the truth of the kingdom from the masses, while revealing it to his intimate followers. In today's verses, 16–18, Jesus makes it clear that this "hiding" of the truth was only temporary. The truth, Jesus taught, was like a floodlight; it's not intended to be hidden, but to be brought into the open, where men in darkness could benefit from it.
In v. 17, Jesus goes on to say that nothing presently hidden is to stay hidden for long, but would be brought out into the open. Jesus wasn't revealing his secrets to his disciples so that they could keep these things to themselves. He was revealing his secrets to them so that they could very soon broadcast them to the world. The disciples were thus urged to listen well, for as they proclaimed what the Lord had entrusted to them, they'd be given even more. The secrets that they were told were to be publicly announced; as the truth was broadcast, more truth would be revealed.
Why, then, were the truths and secrets of the kingdom temporarily concealed from the masses? Why were only the disciples told? Perhaps, what was to be kept "secret" to the masses was that which pertained to the sufferings and sacrificial death of Christ. Likely, the Israelites were the ones who'd publicly deny Christ and demand his execution, since: (1) the nation Israel hadn't accepted Jesus as their Messiah; (2) their leaders had rejected him and decided to put him to death; and (3) the people had demanded miracles and signs. So, Jesus began to veil his teaching, aiming it more at his disciples, revealing to them more and more about his upcoming rejection and sacrificial death.
Luke has boldly laid down Jesus' truth principle in v. 18: Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them. The question is, "What constitutes 'having' or 'possessing' the truth?" The answer, in essence, is this: We have that which we possess only when we practice it. The "inner circle" of our Lord's followers not only heard our Lord's teaching, they took it to heart, leaving behind everything to follow him. Those who didn't practice the truth only heard it; sadly they didn't apply it. Jesus is teaching us that the one who possesses Jesus' teaching is the one who acts on it, who puts it into practice and makes it his (or her) own, and who thus perseveres, grows to maturity, and bears fruit. To those disciples who actively practice the truth, more is given. However, to those who only hear it, even what they appear to possess is taken away — their hearing only would be for naught. (Think how well you're acting on and putting into practice Jesus' teaching today. . .)
[You can see in Warren's commentary on the Parable of the Lamp on a Stand why Jesus tells us that you don’t light a lamp and then hide its light. That would be foolish. Rather, you place that light (your inner Light) where it can be seen and provide light to everyone.]
The Lord's Real Family (19–21)
That "principle of possession by practice" is applied by our Lord in a very practical way in vv. 19–21. Jesus' mother and brothers came to the house where he was staying and asked to see him. People brought word inside to the Lord, informing him that his family waited outside. Jesus responded by saying that his "true family" was made up of those who heard his word and put it into practice. Genuine disciples — real followers of Jesus — are those who have ears to hear and hearts that actively respond to what he teaches. When it comes to possessing the truth of God, we must use it or lose it!
Might it be a good time soon for you to have another checkup of your ears, eyes, and heart? If you can't easily answer that question, personally ask the Spirit of Jesus how well and very active those vital organs of yours are today.
Jesus Quiets a Storm (22–25)
For some, the "stilling of a storm" passage is an easy text to interpret and apply. It encourages us to "trust Jesus in the storms of our life." But how's that done? How does one practice faith in life's frantic moments? If you'd been in his boat during that storm, how should you have responded if you were actively practicing your faith? It's not easy answering those questions correctly. While the stilling of a storm story is a terse account, it's one that requires a good bit of thought, consideration, a wise response, and of course ________.
Numerous commentators understand this "storm stilling" account to have a principle focus on faith, or rather the lack of faith, as evidenced by the disciples' response to the storm. There's no doubt that the obvious emphasis of these four verses is on the need for faith, per se. However, this text also supplies us with a great deal of insight into the nature of faith. Let's try to learn and appreciate from this third segment what faith really is, how it works, and how its absence can be detected. [May God use this lesson to increase your faith.]
In context, this "storm stilling" account is the first of three miracles recorded by Luke in chapter 8. It will be followed next week by the healing of the demoniac (vv. 26–38). The following week, the third manifestation of our Lord's miraculous power is recorded in the account of the miraculous raising of Jairus' daughter, interrupted by the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. All of these precede the sending out of the disciples, to do the very things the Lord has done: drive out demons and cure diseases; preach the kingdom of God; and heal the sick (9:1–2).
The miracle of the stilling of a storm is found in all three of the synoptic gospels, each approaching the life of Christ in the same general way, as distinct from the approach in John's gospel. Each of the three contributes a unique facet or element so that our study of the event from Luke's perspective is enhanced by a reading of the accounts of (Matthew 8:23–27) and (Mark 4:36–41).
The stilling account It was the day that Jesus had taught the crowds by telling them parables on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Crowds lined the shore, while Jesus taught from a boat, anchored just off shore. It was evening (Mark 4:35), our Lord had finished his teaching, so he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake by boat. Although they left the crowd behind on shore, some listeners on board other little boats set out to cross the lake (Mark 4:36). It was during the peaceful part of this trip that Jesus fell asleep in the back of the boat, on a cushion (Mark 4:38).
Without warning, a storm arose. Winds blew fiercely, whipping the water into mountainous waves. The boat and its passengers were in serious danger. The seasoned sailors on board understood the threat even better than the rest; all were frightened. No doubt they did everything possible to secure the ship and attempt to weather the storm, but the boat was being swamped by waves sweeping over the bow. Jesus, at the rear of the boat, was least affected; the violent up-and-down motion of the boat was much more pronounced at the bow of the boat than at the stern. So, too, with the water flowing over the bow while Jesus slept, the disciples were scared to death, fearing that they'd drown.
This is a simply told story. No embellishment is evident in any of the synoptic gospel accounts. Yet, many questions likely come to the reader's mind as a result of its brevity. The event focuses on faith — or perhaps more accurately the absence of faith on the part of the disciples who were afraid; their words and actions toward Jesus were less than what he expected of them. Jesus spoke to them only about the faith they should have had.
Let's identify the principles taught by today's third segment, which pertain to faith; then discuss aloud their importance in your life and how you plan to apply and practice them.
The Importance of Faith . . . Principle 1: Faith is fundamental for those who choose to become followers of Christ. Principle 2: Failing to trust in Christ dishonors and displeases him and is detrimental to man.
The Nature of Faith . . . Principle 1: Faith involves a decision for which we are responsible. Principle 2: Faith takes action: sometimes by waiting, sometimes by working. Principle 3: Faith is tested and proven by adversity and trials. Principle 4: Faith is the opposite of fear. Principle 5: Faith faces danger and risk head on. Principle 6: Faith is trusting God. Principle 7: Faith is trusting God alone to do the impossible. Principle 8: Faith is trusting in God alone for salvation. Principle 9: Faith always has a firm foundation. Principle 10: Faith is trusting the presence, purposes, power, and character of God, founded on God's Word.
The "Bedrock Basis for Our Faith" God is good. He is powerful. His purposes will stand firmly. And, even when we fail in faith, he won't fail in faithfulness.
- Q. 1 Segment 1: What or whom does the lighted lamp in v. 18 represent? A disciple? Jesus? The gospel message? ________?
- Q. 2 Segment 2: Are you truly a member of God's family, as defined in v. 21a and 21b?
- Q. 3 Segment 3: What's the critical lesson that Jesus intended to teach his disciples in his "calming" segment?
New International Version (NIV) [To view it in a different version, click here; also listen to chapter 8.]
† Watch this passage-specific video clip from Jesus Film Project titled "Parable of the Lamp."
A Lamp on a Stand
16"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. 17For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18Therefore 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."
Jesus' Mother and Brothers
19Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."
21He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."
Jesus Calms the Storm
22One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."