Luke 8:1 ¶ And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
Luke 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
Luke 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
The CJB clarifies the meaning of verse 1: “After this, Yeshua traveled about from town to town and village to village, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus is focused on His ministry of getting out the good news of the kingdom of God throughout Israel. The twelve apostles traveled with Him, and He benefited from the support of several women—including some who had been healed of evil spirits, Mary Magdalene whom He had delivered from seven demons, Joanna the wife of Chuza (Herod’s steward), Susanna, and many others.
I think Luke emphasizes the support of these women and the importance it had to the ministry of Jesus in light of the low esteem with which women were generally regarded in that culture. I think these women have much in common with the lady of ill repute from the previous chapter in that they felt their debt to the Savior to be great, so they responded in love to meet His needs as best they could. In everything He taught and in all His actions, Jesus treated women with compassion and respect.
I think it is also significant to note that He did not spurn their provision for His ministry. I think the Holy Spirit is signifying through Luke that their service was just as valid and important to Jesus’ ministry as was that of the disciples. They did not care that they were in the background doing the mundane; they were content to serve their Savior in love in any way they could.
Luke 8:4 ¶ And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
Luke 8:6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
Luke 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
It seems that Jesus tried to choose spots that could be accessed by the people of several nearby cities. After gathering a large crowd, Jesus would teach. On this occasion He teaches a parable—a story with a moral teaching.
Jesus tells of a sower that goes out to plant his seeds. Some of his seeds fell by the roadside only to be stepped on and eaten by the birds. Some fell on rocky ground and died shortly after beginning to sprout because of the lack of water. Some fell among thorns and were prevented from growing because of the thickness of the thorns that grew around it. Some of it fell on good ground and grew up healthy and bore abundant fruit.
After telling the story, Jesus encouraged the people to think about and understand what He had said.
Luke 8:9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
The disciples were obviously listening, but they did not understand; and if they didn’t, then you can be sure that most of the people listening did not. They showed wisdom in not being afraid to ask Jesus to explain it to them. (How many students sit in class and stay in the dark because they are afraid of appearing stupid by asking a question?)
Jesus explained to them that He was speaking in parables for a reason. God only gives spiritual understanding of His mysteries, spiritual truths that needed His enlightenment, to those who are seeking to serve Him. Matthew explains it a little more fully.
Matthew 13:11–17 “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
In other words, the disciples were among those who had chosen to believe in Jesus. Because they believed, their hearts were ready to receive spiritual truth. Those who had rejected Jesus had hearts that were hardened and stubborn. They couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying because they refused to accept what He said was truth. They already thought they knew it all and that Jesus had nothing to offer them. Jesus declared their response to Him to be in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Isaiah 6:9–10 “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”
This is another example of how prophecy can find near and far fulfillment or apply to more than one situation until it culminates in final fulfillment.
Matthew adds another interesting bit of truth. The prophets desired to see what the disciples of Jesus were seeing and to hear what they were hearing. They only got to prophesy of the coming Messiah; Jesus’ disciples were experiencing a personal relationship with the Messiah.
Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Jesus now explains the parable.
Seed = word of God
The different types of ground = the people hearing the word of God
The birds that take the seed away = the devil and his demons
The thorns = the cares and riches and pleasures of this life
It is interesting to note that the sower is scattering his seed everywhere, on all types of ground. Jesus set the example and others who share the truth of God’s word should follow that example; He shared the truth with all who would listen.
Some people hear the good news but immediately reject it because of the attack of the enemy. Others hear the word of God and put on a show of belief until testing comes and they are proven to have been insincere; they immediately abandon their professed faith. Some people claim to believe for a time until it interferes with their enjoyment of the things of the world; they never produce fruit that evidences true spiritual life. In some, however, the word of God finds rich soil that is ready to produce spiritual fruit. They are honest and sincere about doing what God says to do; they do it, and they are willing to wait for Him to reward their obedience.
The obvious question becomes—What kind of ground for the seed of God’s word does my heart provide?
Luke 8:16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Jesus continues to explain to the disciples their responsibility. When you light a candle, you don’t cover it up or hide it; you put it on a candlestick to provide illumination not just for yourself, but for others. Jesus intends the truth He is teaching to be known and understood, but only by those who are following Him and truly desire understanding to make application to their own lives. The time is coming when no one will be able to claim a lack of understanding, because the plan of God will be complete and His “mysteries” obvious for all to see. In light of that truth be warned—Take heed how you hear. You are in control of how you hear; you have a choice as to whether to accept Jesus and the truth of God’s word or reject Him. Those who accept Him will be given more. Those who reject Him will lose even what they thought they had.
I think in context these thoughts are referencing back to the seed that fell on the rocky ground and among the thorns. Those people give signs of having spiritual life but quickly die because they never take in spiritual food or do not produce fruit because they do not really possess spiritual life. They lose what they only appeared to have.
Luke 8:19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.
Luke 8:20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
Luke 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
Evidently, Jesus’ mother and siblings came to see Him, but couldn’t approach Him because of the great crowd surrounding Him. Finally, someone told Him that His family wanted to see Him. Then Jesus gave a very interesting answer. He said, “My mother and my brothers are those that hear the word of God and do it.”
Jesus never passed up an opportunity to teach a spiritual truth. He was declaring that those who chose to act upon the truth He was teaching them and do what God said to do were His family. He was not rejecting His earthly family; He was making the point that the greatest relationships were spiritual. He was also emphasizing that one’s life would give evidence of that spiritual connection through obedience to the word of God.
Luke 8:22 ¶ Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
Luke 8:23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
Luke 8:24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
Luke 8:25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Luke shares yet another vignette of the learning experience of the disciples as they followed Jesus. Jesus gets in the boat and tells the disciples to take it to the other side of the lake and promptly falls asleep. A great storm arose that put their safety in jeopardy. They woke up the “Master” and warned Him that they were about to die. He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and both the wind and the waves became calm.
Jesus then turns to His disciples and rebuked them with a question—“Where is your faith?” I have to admit that I didn’t really understand His response for years. Finally, I learned that the lack of faith referenced His original command to go to the other side. They had been with Him long enough that He thought they should have understood that if He was truly the Messiah, God would not allow Him to be drowned. They should have known that He would not command them to do something they could not do.
I still don’t think they got it; their response was focused on the miraculous power He displayed in controlling the forces of nature. Instead of being comforted, they responded with healthy fear and awe. Jesus had calmed the wind and the waves but not the hearts of His disciples. I’m thinking—Why would this impress them any more than raising someone from the dead or healing a leper etc. They all demonstrate supernatural control over the natural. I think the difference is in the fact that this miracle directly affected them; it saved their lives.
David Phelps sings a song that really speaks to my heart and expresses what I often feel—“Even the wind and the waves obey; why can’t I?”
Luke 8:26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
Luke 8:29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
Luke 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
Luke 8:31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
Luke 8:32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
Luke 8:33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
Once they reached shore they were in the country of the Gadarenes, near the town of Gadara, a mountain town about six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee according to Easton’s Dictionary. As Jesus walked on shore, He encountered a man that had been possessed by many devils for a long time. The man was naked and lived in the tombs. He fell down in front of Jesus and basically yelled at Him asking Him why He had come. He begged Jesus not to torment him. Verse 29 is confusing because it clarifies that Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Luke also explains how the demon caused the man to be so strong that chains were ineffective in holding him captive, and it often drove him into the wilderness.
Jesus then talks to the demon—though addressing the man—and asks his name. The demon declares his name to be Legion, indicative of the fact that the man was possessed by “many devils.” The demons begged Jesus not to send them into “the deep” because they recognized His authority as the Son of the most high God. Their request also indicates that they recognized that there is a place in which some demons are held captive. The Greek for “the deep” is the word abussos, a reference to the bottomless pit. This is the same word for the same place from which the demon locusts of Revelation 9 emerge and in which the devil is bound for 1000 years during the Messiah’s kingdom.
Revelation 9:1–3 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
Revelation 20:1–3 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
The demons begged Jesus to let them go into a herd of pigs that were feeding on the mountainside. He granted their request, so the devils left the man and entered the pigs; this caused the pigs to run wildly down the mountain and fall into the lake and drown. Mark tells us that there were about 2000 pigs.
I know this didn’t destroy the demons, so I guess it was just their means of getting away from Jesus. The question becomes—Why did He let them go? I think it has to do with the limited authority that has been granted Satan because of man’s sin until the Lord comes to establish His kingdom.
It stands out to me that God is often referred to in scripture as “the most high.” I think this is according to human understanding, because we know there is only one true God. It did stand out to me in my study of Genesis, however, that there are other “gods” in this world; and my study indicates that these other “gods” refer to the false gods of this world that are the spiritual forces of evil. When Satan tempted Eve, he told her that eating the fruit would make her “as the gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). I think he was referring to himself and those angels that followed him in rebellion against God…..but that is a whole other study.
It also stands out to me how often Jesus encountered people who were possessed by demons. It would make sense for Satan and his host of evil spirits to be extremely active during the time that Jesus was on earth. I don’t think that demon activity ceased, however, when Jesus returned to heaven victorious. In fact, it makes sense to me that these evil forces would redouble their efforts toward trying to thwart God’s plan—after all, their existence depends upon it. We know they are doomed to defeat, but I am not sure they have accepted that truth. Maybe they do know and are just determined to prevent as many as possible from following God and join them in misery for eternity. The point I am trying to make is that I think demons are responsible for many more things affecting people today than we realize. Many mental and physical diseases are caused by Satan and his demons according to the scripture.
Luke 13:11-12 & 16 “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity…. And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”
Matthew 8:16 “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick….”
Matthew 9:32-33 “As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”
Matthew 12:22 “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw”
Mark 9:17-18 & 25 “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not…. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”
The story of Job also reveals that Satan has power to cause diseases as allowed by God. Paul was very clear in declaring evil spirits to be our greatest enemies.
Ephesians 6:11–12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Luke 8:34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Luke 8:36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
Luke 8:37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
It seems that there were men in charge of the pigs that observed everything that had happened. They immediately ran to the city and surrounding area to spread the news. The people came out to see for themselves and found the man clothed and in his right mind sitting at Jesus’ feet. Instead of being happy for the man, they were afraid. They had been told that Jesus had delivered the man from his evil spirits, and they were afraid of someone with that kind of power. Instead of wanting Him to do more miracles, they begged Jesus to leave their country; so He did.
Jesus always seeks but never forces fellowship with man.
Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Luke 8:39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
The man who had been set free of the demons begged Jesus to let him go with Him, but Jesus refused to let him come. He sent him home to show the miracle that God had performed for him, and he did. He went around the whole city declaring his testimony. In fact, Mark tells us that he went about the whole Decapolis, a ten-city region, sharing his story.
That should be the response of every sinner saved by grace. We should be so thankful that we can’t wait to share the good news with others.
Luke 8:40 ¶ And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.
Luke 8:41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
Luke 8:42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
Jesus and his disciples went back across the lake, but the destination is not identified. He received a warm welcome from the crowd that was waiting for Him. They had evidently spotted His boat headed their way.
Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a twelve year old, was dying. It seems, however, that the crowd was determined to go with Him.
Luke 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
Luke 8:44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
Luke 8:45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Luke 8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
Luke 8:47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
Luke 8:48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
In the crowd was a woman who had a disease that had caused her to bleed continuously for twelve years. She had spent all her money on going to different doctors seeking relief, but without result. She didn’t try to stop Jesus or get His attention in any way; she was just determined to touch the hem of His garment. She must have heard about His power to heal and thought that if she could only touch Him, she would be healed. As soon as she touched Him, the bleeding stopped; she knew she had been healed.
Jesus immediately stopped and asked who had touched Him. Peter looked at the crowd surrounding Him and basically observed that many could have touched Him. How could He hope to single out one person?
Jesus then addressed the crowd. He told them that He knew that miraculous power had gone out from Him.
I think the woman, knowing His power, was afraid to keep silent. She came trembling forward and fell down at His feet. She testified before all the people why she had touched Him and how she had been healed immediately. Jesus then comforted her and declared that her faith had made her whole and she could now enjoy a healthy body and the benefits of spiritual peace with God. I believe this was a message to the crowd as well; if you will but have faith in me, you can experience the same.
This is a truth that constantly confronts me. Jesus most often answers us according to our faith. Oh for that mustard seed!
Luke 8:49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
Luke 8:50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
While Jesus was talking to the woman, someone from Jairus’ home came to tell him his daughter had died. There was no need for Jesus to come. Jesus heard what the messenger said and told Jairus not to worry; if he would believe (implied just as the woman believed), your daughter will be made whole.
Luke 8:51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.
Luke 8:52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
Luke 8:53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
Luke 8:54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
Luke 8:55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
Luke 8:56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
When they got to Jairus’ home, no one was allowed to go in with Jesus except Peter, James, John, and the parents of the girl. Everyone was crying, but Jesus told them that there was no need for them to cry; the girl was just asleep. The people didn’t believe Him. They knew she was dead. All the scoffers in the house were put out, and Jesus took the little girl by the hand and told her to get up. Her spirit immediately came back into her body and she got up; Mark tells us that she got up and walked. Jesus then told them to feed her.
Her parents were amazed—wouldn’t you be? Unlike what He told the man He had delivered of the demons, He told the parents not to tell what He had done. Why? He was back in Israel. He wanted the people to recognize who He was in God’s timing. He had already raised a young man from the dead in public, so I admit it’s hard for me to understand the difference. Maybe the difference was the attitude of the scoffers.
I think it is important to note that Luke is inspired to point out that her spirit returned to her. Our spirits are the eternal essence of our being; the part that leaves our body at death. It is the spirit that is immediately in the presence of the Lord when the Christian dies. Our glorified body, the body fit for heaven, will be ours at the rapture. I am hoping to be part of those that are “alive and remain” that are transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”