Dr. Luke and the Family and Health Living

The family is so important to healthy living.  Think about this a moment.  Why is this so?  First, children are born into families.  As helpless infants they are given basic food and clothing to live.  Then all of us were raised in families which provided us with identity, purpose, a place to live, love which provided security for us and with the start of basic skills to live life.  It was in a family where we first learned to read and write.  It was in families we learned the importance of values in society. 

What happens to people not in homes or families?  Many children are in orphanages and would love to have homes.  There are children in homes where they are hated and they learn to hate.  Some children live in homes where they are abandoned and then have to go on to the streets to beg.  This occurs in most countries of the world to some degree.  By officials counts there are now 150,000 street children in China with about 70% being boys, and the main age range is 10-14 years old.  Many of these children have bad homes.  Who would want to live such a life?

What does Dr. Luke have to say about the home and family and its importance?  The first part of Dr. Luke’s ancient writings talks about the birth of a man named Jesus.  It talks about his mother, father and the many generations of his family.   If Dr. Luke started out talking about the family then he must think that families and a home are very important. As a doctor it must mean he thinks families are important to health living.  It says that as a young boy Jesus was at another place but later he ‘went down to Nazareth (his home town) and was obedient to his parents. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.  And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men  (Luke 2.51,52).’

This passage of Dr. Luke’s writings tells us a lot about Jesus and his family.  First, he was obedient to his parents.  Second he grew in wisdom, stature (physically), favor with God (spiritually) and favor with man (he grew socially).  The environment for Jesus to grow in all of these areas, that is mentally, physically, spiritually and socially would have been provided by his mother and father.  However, what are we to make of the statement, ‘his mother treasured all of these things in her heart?’  What does this mean?

This young man Jesus appeared to have an unusual understanding of life.  One day his parents found him ‘sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers (Luke  2.46,47).’  What makes this so amazing is that Jesus at this time was only about 12 years old.  Even then he was able to amaze mature teachers with his understanding and insight.  Why was this?  Jesus was no ordinary young boy.  He was believed to be the Son of God. God himself who came to earth to live among man to reveal God to man.  Even though he was God come to earth as man Jesus was obedient to his parents and still had to grow physically, socially, mentally and spiritually.  If this was important for God himself then it is important to us.  Also, if it is important for Jesus, who was God, to live in a family while on earth then it is also important for us to do so as well.  Living in a family allows us to mature as healthy individuals in all areas of life.

As we have mentioned before in this series the writings of Dr. Luke are contained in a larger collection of ancient writings called the Bible.  The first book of the Bible, that is Genesis, which means ‘beginnings,’ talks about the origin of the family.  It says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them, that is man, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.  So God created main in his own image, in the image of God he created him; make and female he created them.’” 

What does this passage mean?  This is certainly an amazing passage as it talks about God’s creation of the human race.  First, it says that man and women were created.  The first family had a husband and wife, not two wives or two husbands.  Second, man and women were created in the ‘image of God.’  What does ‘in the image of God mean?’  It means that we think and reason like God.  This is what separates us from the rest of the animals.  We did not evolve from animals, God created man and women as special creatures to have a special relationship with him. 

The creation of the family was in a perfect setting.  If that is the case, then what happened?  How come there are divorces, angry parents, spouses beating other spouses, children without parents or on the street and so on?  This is a very important question.  For clearly today the families in any society have many challenges and problems.  Not enough money, college costs, clothes, lack of patience with children and so on. 

The Bible, also in the book of Genesis, says that the first man and woman sinned.  What is sin?  Sin is going against God.  Sin is not doing what God wants us to do.  The first man and woman were not supposed to eat from on of the trees God had planted in the Garden he created them into.  But they did.  This is disobedience and showed the first Man and woman’s rebellion against God and his plans and purposes.  However, the rebellion did not end there.  God is a god who cannot tolerate sin and thus he must separate and punish that sin.  It would be like a robber who stole money from a bank.  If he is caught he must be punished or he will do it again.  God had to do the same. 

So, what happened to this first man and woman, who were called Adam and Eve?  God had to remove them from this perfect setting.  But he also left them with some punishments.  Here is what he said, ‘I will greatly your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you (Genesis 3.16).’  Wow what a punishment!  Women will have much more pain in childbearing.  This is not only in the actual birth process, but also in pregnancy.  Also if she lost a child the pain of that would be greatly increased.  Thus even having children, though a great joy, will have much more pain with it as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin.  Also instead of the husband and wife being equal the wife will have a desire for her husband and he will rule over the wife.  Don’t we often see this as being abused when the husband physically or emotionally abuses his wife.  This is the second result of the sin of Adam and Eve. 

Did God say that forever things would be this bad and there is nothing that could be done to change things?  Yes and no are the answers.  Yes suffering and pain in childbearing will continue and the husband will continue to rule over the wife, at least for a time being.  However, this will change one day in the future.  One day in the future God will return to change the earth back to how he intended for things to be.  Until then though some things will stay the same. 

However, until God comes to make all things right again God through Jesus Christ has given us some things to do which will help us to have good family lives even amidst the sin and wrongdoings we all do.  What are those things God has provided?  First, he provided the basic family unit of a husband and wife to raise children.  That has not changed.  Second, God provided us with some guidelines for families to live together to help them to live and love each other better.  For example he asked wives to respect their husbands and for husbands to love their wives.  He also asked for children to honor and obey their parents.

 These rules are certainly helpful.  However, someone may say all civilizations have these rules.  That is true, but the Bible says they came from God.  Also don’t we all fail to live up to these standards?  Don’t husbands fail to love their wives, wives fail to respect their husbands and children fail to honor and obey their wives?  If you ask husbands and wives of any country all would say that they want good marriages, but many do not have good marriages.  Why?  Several reasons exist, but the main reason is that despite those desires many simply cannot love and respect as they want.  Again, why is this?  Why can’t people do what they want to do?  The Bible says this is sin or going against what God would have us to do. The Bible says we are slaves to the sins in our lives or the wrongdoings.  The sin controls our lives and we cannot control the sin or wrongdoings.

How can we get away from this?  The young man Jesus we mentioned at the beginning of the talk today grew to be a man and died for you and me.  He took our sins upon him so that we might become free from those sins.  He took God’s punishment for us on him so that we could have a new life.  That life is now free so that we now have power over sin.  After Jesus died for our sins he rose from the grave three days later to show that he had victory over sin and the death caused by sin.  What a great story.  You may ask, ‘how can I have that life of freedom from sin so that I can be a more respecting wife, loving husband or obedient child? 

Simply pray this prayer as follows:  Dear Jesus I know I have done wrong and that I cannot control what I do.  I know you died on the cross for me and took my sins on you.  I also believe that after you died and were buried you rose from the dead to conquer death.  If you prayed that pray you are now a child of God and can have a much better family life now and in eternity live with the eternal family of God.

The Bible also talks in another ancient book called Corinthians about how love is defined.  It says ‘love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails (I Corinthians 13.4-8).  This is the kind of love God has for you today through the saving love of Jesus Christ.  Will you have this kind of love for your family?

This type of love is not easy to have.  It is costly and hard to have.  It requires a lot of sacrifice and work.  About 3200 years ago a lady named Ruth married a man from a foreign country.  That man and his family had moved to Ruth’s country near what is present day Israel and Syria.  That man, his father and his brother all died in this foreign country.  Ruth’s mother-in-law, named Naomi, decided to move back to her home country.  Ruth wanted to go with Naomi but Naomi wanted Ruth to stay in her country with her own people.  This story is recorded in the Bible in the book called Ruth.

Here is what Ruth said to Naomi, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.  Where you die I will die, and I there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me (Ruth 1.16,17).   Ruth had learned from Naomi what sacrificial love meant and now she wanted to show it back to Naomi.  This is the type of love God can give your family through the love of Jesus Christ in your life.  It is this kind of healthy love in families that allows us to grow to be mentally, physically, spiritually and socially mature people.  This certainly shows that healthy families make for healthy people.