In Luke Chapter 8 we have several interesting stories that focus on hearing and obeying the Word of God as well as trusting and having solid faith in Jesus. The “Parable of Sower” is an important one. It describes different types of people and how they hear, understand, believe and nourish the Word of God. But first we learn about the women that followed Jesus…
Women Who Followed Jesus
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
This is the first mention of Mary Magdalene. Note that there’s nothing — NOTHING — about her being a prostitute! That’s a title that the early church leaders gave her, combining this mention with other women in the Gospels that encountered Jesus.
This next part is important. Jesus does preach a lot in parables — secrets of the Kingdom of God — and usually He doesn’t explain the meaning. Not so with this one. He provides us with an explanation making this one message that He want’s all of us to understand….
Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed
4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they look, they won’t really see.
When they hear, they won’t understand.’ (Isaiah 6:9)
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
What kind of soil are you?
Have you heard the Word of God, yet have listened to the devil and followed him instead? That’s being a sinner. Your heart is so hardened by life that nothing good can grow in it. Humbly ask God to soften your heart and invite Him in.
Has temptation taken you away from God? Then you don’t have deep roots. Again, the answer is to invite Jesus into your heart and let the Holy Spirit take over your life.
Are you more interested in what’s going on in the world than paying attention to the Word of God? Then you can never become a mature Christian. You’re going with the cultural flow. Focus on God first.
If you’re heart is fertile soil, then you love hearing the Word of God, you embrace it and you want to share it and bring more people to the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ. That’s what He means by producing a good harvest or good fruit. Continuing….
Parable of the Lamp
16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 17 For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
18 “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”
Important! And this is the truth! All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open! I pray that every day!
Then, Jesus could not be clearer — pay attention to His Word!
The True Family of Jesus
19 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you.”
21 Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”
I quoted this one in my post on the Truth about Mary. However, what Jesus is saying here is that we all become His brothers and sisters — His family — Children of God — when we hear God’s Word and OBEY it.
This next story is also important — pay attention!
Jesus Calms the Storm
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. 23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”
The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”
The point here is trusting Jesus. Jesus told them, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” You’d think they’d believe and trust Him that they would actually get to the other side of the lake. But, no, they lost faith. They got scared. They panicked.
God may not always get you out of a storm, but He’ll always get you through it.
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Man
26 So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town.
28 As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.
30 Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. 31 The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.
32 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs.
So Jesus gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned.
34 When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. 35 People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 36 Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them.
So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. 38 The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, 39 “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.
Note here again, the demons knew WHO Jesus was. Just knowing that Jesus is the Son of God does not save you! You have to invite Him into your heart.
Jesus Heals in Response to Faith
40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42 His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.
As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. 43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
49 While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
50 But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”
51 When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. 52 The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
53 But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. 54 Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” 55 And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.Luke 8 NLT
There are a few important points here…
- The woman with the bleeding problem has been unclean for 12 years. That means she could never participate in Jewish temple worship.
- She had tremendous faith. She didn’t call out to Jesus like others, she was convinced that by just touching His garment, she would be healed.
- Jesus didn’t rebuke her, but praised her for her faith.
- Jesus then tried to convince Jarius that his daughter would live even though they were just notified of her death.
- This is the first time we see Jesus taking His “inner circle”, Peter, John and James, with Him.
- After He revives the girl, He tells the people to not say anything about what happened. Like all the people who just witnessed Him raise someone from the dead were going to stay silent.
When you think about it, miracles like that are performed every day by modern, medical science. People go into cardiac arrest, their hearts stop beating, but if treated right away, they can be brought back to life. Back in Jesus’ day, this was truly a miracle.
So the messages in this chapter are…
- Don’t be shy about following Jesus, like all the women.
- Open your heart to accept God’s Word, believe it, nurture it, let it grow and then share it.
- Nothing that is secret will be kept hidden — face it.
- When we accept Jesus as our savior, we become part of His family!
- Trust Jesus to get you through the storms of life.
- Even the demons know who Jesus is.
- Have faith.