A Glad Reception
Here’s a wonderful, Biblical account of the Lord, his Word, his hearers, and the receptivity of HIS message proclaimed. “And it came to pass, that when Jesus returned, the people gladly received him: for they were waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). A remarkable observation can be lifted from Scripture: living faith is obviously seen in an active and glad reception of our Lord and his Word. That open heart for the Lord is definitely linked to a personal waiting for Him, and his Spirit’s ministry destined for our faith to be enlivened in HIM. That spiritual exercise of waiting is not inactivity on our part, but rather a “binding of one’s soul together with the Lord.” That most important spiritual activity was certainly true of the Psalmist: “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, more than they that watch for the morning” (130:5-6). David then adds this precious refrain to that song in his heart: “In his word do I hope” (v. 5). That hope is addressed to the Lord’s born-again child, with hope defined as HIS confident expectancy of HIS promise, HIS power, and HIS performance with HIS person actively ALIVE in hearts transformed. The blessing is yours; HE GIVES IT: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). The Lord gives HIS gladness to those receptive to HIM and HIS Word.
Yes, there is Holy Spirit empowerment of HIS joy and HIS peace when we gladly receive his Word. The reason: well, in “real time” spiritual reality, it is a joyous reception of Jesus HIMSELF. You cannot separate Jesus, the LIVING WORD from his WRITTEN WORD, as regarding our hearts being receptive to both. Getting back to the joy and peace in believing as seen from the Roman letter (15:13), that joyous experience is only possible through our surrender to the Lord, and submission to his Word. Then, as the Gospel writer Luke tells us, there is gladness of heart for those with an open receptivity to the Word of God; they “gladly received him” (8:40). Such a true spiritual life, true to spiritual reality in the true believer, was not only seen in Jesus’ day, but also in the early church. “Gladness,” the “Word,” & “receiving” all came together for a grand reunion as seen in the spiritual expression of the Jerusalem church: they “gladly received his word” (Acts 2:41). So, where are we when it comes down to joy, gladness, and peace when the Word of God is read, taught and preached? Can we identify with the spiritual experience of Bible believers and their desire for the Word of God to be ALIVE with gladness in their hearts? Luke’s Gospel can help direct us to the preciousness of God’s life-changing JOY-FILLED Word. Jesus addressed a question to His disciples, with the same challenge to you: “Where is your faith?” (8: 25). Upon witnessing “the glad reception,” I believe their answer was “in your Word Lord, received gladly!” Oh, direct you mind and heart back to the early church: “They GLADLY received his Word” (Acts 2:41).