Luke 8:16-25 “The Truth Will Out”
We have two separate but famous phrases about truth from Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice.” Both famous phrases are spoken by the character Launcelot to his blind father. One is the “The Truth will come to light.” The other is “The Truth will Out.” In both cases we see that Truth is anthropomorphized. That is to say, Truth is not just a thing; it seems to have a life of its own. With “The Truth will come to light” phrase we could imagine “truth” being like an insect coming towards the light. “The Truth will out” phrase may have us think about a caged animal that will one day be breaking through the bars that confine it.
When Shakespeare was writing this, already the truth about Shakespeare was in question. Many people still today do not believe that Shakespeare actually wrote the plays that are attributed to him. So, when we read these lines in his own plays, we ourselves are still wondering if we know the truth about Shakespeare.
Shakespeare was not the first to anthropomorphize the concept of Truth. We need only refer back to John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Indeed, I believe that Truth has a life of its own. It is also singular and Godly. And, even if you try to bury the Truth in a tomb with a giant stone at the door, the stone will be rolled away, and the Truth will find the light of day again. Yes, the Truth will out.
Last week in the message, we heard the idea that the secret of the Kingdom of God is that it will be taking over the world. This is a profoundly important message to the people at the time of Luke’s writing. Luke’s original audience was already beginning to worship in hiding or even undergorund. The persecutions of the early saints of the church were well underway, and so many church groups were beginning to meet in secret places, even in the catacombs where the dead were being buried.
I have been blessed in my life to be able to go down into some of the ancient catacombs in Rome. Inside I saw not just the graves of so many early Christians, but also the benches that were carved in the walls for people to sit and even an altar for sharing the early rite of communion. To be sure, we have benches in our cemetery outside of the church, but they are not for the dead people. They are for the living. We do not have an altar in our cemetery; however, if we did, we could be sure that it would be for the living, not the dead! So, the catacombs really were used by Christians for worship.
Today we are so blessed to be able to worship publicly in a beautiful bright church; when Luke was writing his gospel, already many Christians were worshiping in the dark by lamp light.
Excuse me while I throw some Greek from the original text at you. I have to do this because Luke himself chooses words that can be read one way or another. They are very revealing and enlightening words. The first of these is the word “cover” as in “No one covers a light inside a vessel once it is lit.” This is verse 16 of our text for today. The word to cover is καλυπτει which I am sure has no meaning to you all except if I use it in the reverse meaning and say that to uncover in Greek is “apocalypse.” Yes, Luke is talking about that time when not only will the Christians who are worshipping underground be discovered, they will be dis-covered, meaning everyone will hit the light of Christ coming again in the time of the Revelation. Super, no?!
The other bit of Greek that needs to be looked at is in verse 17. The word in the Greek for “secret,” as in “nothing shall be made secret that will not be made manifest,” is κρυπτον or “crypt.” Everything that is in the crypt, will come out.
The translation again is a little shaky when translated as “made manifest” as the Greek here literally can be translated as “born again of light.” Imagine again that you are literally worshiping Jesus underground in the catacombs surrounded by crypts with the Christians that have gone before you when you read this scroll from Luke telling you that all these bodies around you will be born again to the light.
The only way we can interpret this is to say that the world outside of the worship of Jesus lies in darkness. But, the Truth will out. The light of Christ has come. The deception of this world will be awash in the light of the glory of the Revelation of Christ which is to come.
In verse 18 we have this admonition: “Pay attention to how you listen. . . .” Luke himself seems to be telling us that there is more to his writing than what he seems to be writing! One last bit of Greek: “Pay attention” is the word in Greek βλεπετε. This word is the verb “to see” in a command plural form. Therefore, we should read this as “See how you listen.”
Wait a minute, we hear with our ears and see with our eyes. How do we then “see” what we are supposed to be listening to if not simply by seeing Christ already as the light of our lives!
All of our lives we have been worshipping here in the church and hearing about the wonders and glory of Christ. But, we are being told by Luke to “SEE” what it is that we are hearing. Have you heard about miracles from Jesus happening? Great! Now see those miracles happening, too.
Too often I see folks walking around or even driving with ear buds and a computer device screen in their face. I have seen people not even react when police with their sirens are driving by. I was almost killed recently by a driver who was looking at his screen rather than the road—that is until I leaned on the horn and he finally looked up to see he had crossed into oncoming traffic. He finally saw because he heard! That saved both our lives!
After Jesus is done talking that day, he gets into a ship with his disciples. Obviously he is tired. He takes a nap as the fisherman disciples bring the boat across the lake. Just then the sea becomes violent. The disciples fear that they will perish in the storm. Somehow Jesus is just sleeping undisturbed in the ship. He must have been exhausted from all of the talking he has done already. In a short moment as Jesus is awakened, he calms the storm.
The disciples finally see what they have only heard before. Jesus is able to make even the storms and sea obey his word. I do not think that the disciples really fully understood what Jesus was to their lives until that very moment. They all feel as if they are about to die. The bible says that they awaken Jesus because they are afraid that they will perish.
Yes, it was not too long ago that the disciples saw Jesus raise a man from the dead in the town of Nain. It is different this time. Now death is hunting them down, and they have the sense to turn to Jesus. The experience is different when it is YOU that is facing the tragedy! It is different because we realize how quickly our little world, our lives, can be taken from us.
Have we already forgotten about that missile scare Hawaii had last month? In any moment the alarm could go off again with the message that our world as we know it will be gone in twenty minutes.
It does not have to be a missile from foreign adversaries that reminds us of this. On Christmas Day, 1992, we were driving to Grandma’s house on the 60 Freeway in Los Angeles when a bullet hit the side of our car. If the bullet had hit even six inches over, well, I would not be here talking with you this morning. The police later explained that kids get guns for Christmas and go out onto the freeway bridges for target practice.
Just a little over two weeks ago Waimea High School had its “Live Shooter Practice Drill.” I know this because we were having Bible Study here at the same time. We had no idea what was going on. Yet, at least we had the comfort of knowing that we were reconciled and in church if this was to be our last breathing moments.
Like the early Christians huddled in darkness underground, never knowing if the Roman guards would be coming to take them to martyrdom in the next moments, we rely on that Truth of Jesus Christ that he has all power to save! We have the faith that informs us that all we have heard about hear, we will see for ourselves in that day and time. We will see what we have heard.
The Truth of the Kingdom of God will out! It is the light that has been covered by this world that cannot be contained. It will out! I just want to close today with familiar words that we usually only hear around Christmas time. Listen to John 1:1-6, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being through him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
This is the Truth that will come to the light! The Kingdom of God is at hand for those who accept it. Jesus will calm our storms. He will bring us to safety. The light of the world will be uncovered and revealed to all.