121-109 Luke Chapter 8
Liberating Women 1-3
Along with His twelve disciples Jesus was also accompanied by some women. These woman had been healed from various affirmatives and freed of evil spirits. The women were contributing their own resources to support the ministry of Jesus. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark while describing the crucifixion these woman are mentioned. (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41) In Luke’s gospel he often emphasized the role that women played in the work of Jesus. In the midst of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee Luke gives us a significant reference to the women who were with Jesus.
It is said that this is a man’s world but here Luke elevates the women to a higher plain than most give to them. Only men were allowed to participate in the Synagogue services. But Jesus treated women as persons in their own right. Jesus had not only liberated them from their afflictions but included them as His followers. Jesus was not only a help to them but they were a help to Jesus and to others.
Parable of the Soil 4-18
In the parable of the sower there are three groups of people mentioned. One of the groups was the religious leaders with their hardening opposition towards Jesus. There was the disciples of Jesus, not only the twelve but the larger number that were following Him. The last group were the crowds in general.
This parable is often call the parable of the sower but a more accurate name would be the parable of the soil. The difference between the groups is not the sower but the soil that the seed falls into. During the telling of this parable Jesus would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” The parables that Jesus spoke were signs of the Kingdom and so were the miracles that He performed. The parables were for the ears and the miracles were for the eyes.
Jesus taught in parables so that the people would have the best opportunity to respond to His Word. Jesus went about teaching as a sower that all His seed would bear good fruit. But as in the case of the first group the seed fell upon hard ground. These were the people who were the enemies of Jesus who had closed their eyes to the light and their ears to the truth. Some of the seed of the sower, Jesus, fell unto shallow soil who were superficial followers, people whose enthusiasm would fade over time when they faced trouble in their lives. Other seed fell in amongst the weeds as sympathetic hearers that never bore fruit because they were caught in the pleasures of this world. Then there was the seed that fell onto good soil and gave forth much fruit. Some of those who followed Jesus were genuine in their faith and testified to the truths that Jesus was teaching.
In a way the parables of Jesus separated the true followers from the crowds who were just curious bystanders. All who were there heard the same teaching from Jesus but only some of them grabbed ahold with faith and commitment.
Some even missed the point of this parable and continued to be ineffectual in their walk with Jesus. Even the twelve disciples did not fully understand everything that Jesus was teaching. But they persisted in seeking the truth from Him.
There was another advantage to the use of the parable story form. Many a listener remembered the story even if they did not fully grasp the point. There was the hope that someday they would see the moral and spiritual truths of the parable and their minds and their hearts would light up with His divine truth.
The word secret in verse 17 does not mean that Jesus wants to hide the truth from the people. In the New Testament the word of truth is to be made know by divine revelation. The ultimate intent of God is to reveal His truth, not hide it.
The parable of the lamp are found in three other places in the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 11:33; Luke 12:2; Luke 19:26) Their context here reinforces that the message of the parable of the soil. Those who have the words of Jesus in faith and commitment will have the light. We are to share this light with others that they may see the truth of God’s word. It is important then that we hear the Word of God as He intended. In these passages we learn that there are two responsibilities we have in hearing God’s Word. Hearing and sharing the light.
The Christian Family 19-21
These verses further reinforce Jesus’ teaching about hearing. The members of Jesus’ larger family are, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
This occasion happened when His mother and brothers had come to see Him. In the Gospel of Mark we learn that His mother and brothers had come to take Him home because they had thought he was losing His mind. (Mark 3:21, 31-35) This is in accordance with what John wrote in his gospel. “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” (John 7:5) Jesus was everything that a son should be to His mother and He was everything that He should be to His brothers. But when they had come and posed a threat to His mission He put the will of His Father first. (Luke 2:48-51) The positive point of this incident is that we all can be a part of the family of God. We all can be His family.
Faith and Fear 8:22-56
In this larger passage we see four miracles of Jesus, the stilling of the storm, the deliverance of the demoniac, the healing of a woman who had a flow of blood, and the restoration of the life of Jairus’ daughter. As we have said the parables were for the ear so the miracles were for the eyes. Both were signs of the Kingdom of divine grace and power. We see in these four miracles a show of God’s grace and power in four areas which threaten life and welfare. Nature’s destructive force, the enslaving power of Satan, the pain and suffering from illness, and the fear of death.
Over each of these areas we see that Jesus has divine power. It is also a demonstration that God will eventually remove and destroy each of these threats. The final deliverance is the coming of His Kingdom. The power and grace of Jesus show God’s grace and power are already at work in and through His Son.
Fear mixed with Faith 22-25
Of this incident on the sea at the heart of it is Jesus’ question to His disciples. “Where is your faith?” This was a rebuke to His disciples for not trusting God to watch over them as they were about doing His will. God does not always shield us from the destruction of the storms in life but He can always be trusted. The disciples showed their lack of trust when they woke Jesus with their cries of fear.
The fear of the storm was replaced with a different fear. After Jesus demonstrated His power over the storm they felt the fear of amazement in their presence of one who could command obedience from the winds and the water.
Fear that Rejects Jesus 26-39
As Jesus and the disciples were approaching the shoreline of Gentile territory. The place where they were about to land was a cemetery. When they stepped on land a wild man came out from the tombs and ran towards them.
The man was under the power of evil forces that he had no control over. Society had chained the man in an effort to restrain him, but he had broken the chains and fled to the desert. The man had no home except the tombs. The demonic powers that had taken control of him were so many that he called himself Legion, a name associated with a Roman army unit numbering six thousand men. The man was drawn to Jesus but the demons knew that Jesus was their enemy.
It has been difficult to explain why Jesus allowed the demons to enter into the swine. One reason may be that Jesus wanted the man to know that the evil powers had departed him.
With the loss of the swine the people of the area asked Jesus to leave. Many of the people knew of the man and that he was demon possessed. They came out to see what had happened to him and found him sitting at the feet of Jesus. He was no longer naked and was in his right mind. They could have had any one of many reactions to this incident. They could have been grateful and happy for the man. Instead they were afraid. Luke tells us that it was their fear that they asked Jesus to leave. The superstitions of people will cause a rejection of Jesus and the help that He can offer.
The man himself wanted to go with Jesus. He may have felt fearful in trying to reenter society in a land where the people knew what he had been. But Jesus told him not to go with Him but to return to his home and tell the people what He had done for him. This man who was a Gentile was the first Gentile witness for Christ in a Gentile territory. This is a sign of what was to come after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the Book of Acts Luke tells us the story of the gospel spreading to the Gentiles.
Faith In Spite of Fear 40-48
Jesus then returned to Galilee and found the people were waiting on Him. Jairus came to Him and fell at His feet. Jairus wanted Jesus to come to his house and help his only daughter. But along the way a woman who had a flow of blood that could not be healed for twelve years put her into a pitiful plight.
Her illness of flowing blood made her permanently unclean by the Jewish people. Therefore, she was treated much the same way as a leper. To make her situation worse the people assumed that her illness was the result of immoral behavior.
The crowd was pressing close to Jesus but she entered in and touched the hem of His garment. Jesus immediately asked who had touched Him. Peter noted that nearly everyone in the crowd had touched Him. Jesus replied that He had felt the power go out from Him at someone’s touch.
The woman became terrified and wondering what the people would do if they found out what she had dome. She was an unclean and an untouchable person and had dared to touch Jesus. In spite of her fear she came to the feet of Jesus and confessed what she had done and told the people why she had touched Jesus and testified that she had been healed.
Jesus then said to this woman the same as He had said to the woman in Luke 7:50 that her faith has made here well.
A Faith that Casts Out Fear 49-56
Jairus had heard the word of the woman’s testimony. And when the news came that Jairus’ daughter had died Jesus built on the experience. Those who brought the news effectively said that death has spoken the last word. They told Jairus not to bother the teacher anymore for her life had passed. Jesus replied to Jairus, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” Jairus had just seen the woman healed by her faith in Jesus. And now Jesus challenges Jairus to have the same faith. With Jairus’ faith Jesus could save his daughter from the clutch of death.
Many a person died who Jesus did not bring back to life. They probably loved there departed ones as much as Jairus loved his daughter. And some of them had as much faith as Jairus. The raising of the widows son, Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus were exceptional miracles. They each showed the authority of Jesus over death. What they experienced points to the hope of the Christian faith, the final victory over death, this is the promise of Jesus’ resurrection. The mourners laughed at Jesus when He said she was not dead but sleeping. They laughed at Jesus because death always has the last word. They were wrong that day as Jesus proved that He has the last word.