Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Eight
Transcript: Today we are going to continue our interactive Bible study and we are going to cover Luke Chapter 8. After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching Quiz on Luke Chapter 8 that I have prepared on the website. It is on the right hand side and it matches this teaching. Thanks to all that have taken last week’s quiz. Let’s get started:
Luke Chapter 8 beginning in verse 1 reading from the World English Bible: Soon afterwards, he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of God’s Kingdom. With him were the twelve,
Jesus went through every city and village. This is thought to be the second tour that Jesus took through the region of Galilee. The first one is described in Luke chapter 4:42–44. During the first tour, the twelve Apostles had not yet been formally chosen, now they were with Him. Jesus probably went to the same cities and villages more than once in His preaching trips. These are just some of the locations that we know about. Jesus preached the good news of God’s Kingdom, and He trained the Apostles for what was coming, their own ministries.
2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuzas, Herod’s steward; Susanna; and many others; who served them from their possessions.
Women were an important part of Jesus’ ministry, and they helped to support Him financially. That was unheard of in that society. The Rabbis even refused to teach women and they were not even given an education at the time. At about twelve years of age, they were on the market and available for an arranged marriage. In John 4:27, the disciples were amazed that Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well: “at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, ‘What do You seek?’ or, ‘Why are You talking with her?’”
One of these women was Mary called Magdalene, from whom Jesus had cast seven demons out. This Mary came from Magdala, which is a Galilean town located on the northwestern corner of the Sea of Galilee, roughly halfway between Tiberias and Capernaum. This Mary is not the sinful woman of Luke 7 or Mary of Bethany, who is mentioned in John 12. Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower of Jesus, and the gospel of John records that He appeared to her after His resurrection (John 20:11–18). There are many women named Mary in the Bible; it was apparently a very popular name.
When Jesus was crucified, there were at least 3 Mary’s present. John 19:25 reads: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (who was named Mary), and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. While women at the time were mostly confined to home, Jesus expanded their roles, and when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, the women were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, for He is the Great Equalizer, and not a respecter of persons.
Something else that we can see here is that Jesus, who could have created and multiplied anything, willingly made Himself dependent on the gifts of others. He certainly did not have to. He could have created all the money or food that He needed, but He was humble enough to receive from others. I believe that, as usual, Jesus was setting an example for how His ministers would live. Many of us are too proud to receive help from others. Sometimes the ability to humbly receive is a better measure of Jesus in our life than the ability to give. Giving sometimes puts us in a higher place, but receiving may put us in a lower place. It was that way for us. All my life I have been a giver, now we find ourselves living off the donations of the people that support RHM.
4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.
Jesus drew crowds from every city, a “great multitude.” Sometimes the crowds were so large and pressed around Him, that He had to teach from a boat (Matthew 13:1–3 and Mark 4:1–2). Jesus spoke a parable. The idea behind the word “parable” is “to throw along side of.” It is a story thrown along side the truth intended to teach. Parables have been called “earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.”
5 “The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. 6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. 8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and produced one hundred times as much fruit.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
This parable is known at the “Parable of the Sower” but actually it is a parable of soil types. There are four different kinds of soil, and the differences in the outcome is never the Sower, nor the Seed, but always the type of soil that the seed landed on.
A sower went out to sow his seed: Jesus spoke of farming in His day. In those days, seed was scattered across the ground first, and then it was plowed in. You really didn’t know the quality of the ground until after the seed was sown. Today that process is reversed, for I grew up on a farm and we plowed the ground, then planted the seed.
There are four types of soil that Jesus talks about:
1. The wayside was the path where people walked, and nothing could grow there because the ground was too hard.
2. On rock was where the soil was too thin. On this ground the seed sprang up quickly because of the warmth of the soil, but the seed was unable to take root because of the rock underneath. The soil was too shallow.
3. Among thorns described soil that is fertile—perhaps even too fertile, because thorns grow there as well as grain. The thorns choked out the good grain and did not make a productive crop. For some reason, weeds grow quickly.
4. Good ground is the soil that was both fertile and free of weeds. A good, productive crop grew in the good ground. This crop could bring a hundredfold increase to what was originally sown.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” was a call for those who were spiritually sensitive to take special note to what He was saying, and about to say in the next few verses where He explained the purpose of parables.
9 Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?”
Apparently the meaning of this parable wasn’t immediately obvious to the disciples so they asked Him about it.
10 He said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, but to the rest in parables; that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
The parables of Jesus were more like puzzles, or riddles than illustrations. Only those who had the right “key” could understand them. The disciples of Jesus, who wanted the things of God, were given to know the mysteries of the kingdom - they could be spoken to plainly. Others were taught in parables.
The mysteries of the kingdom of God - yes, God has “mysteries.” In the Bible, a mystery isn’t something you can’t figure out. It is just something that you would never know unless God revealed it to you. Paul said in 1Corinthians 4:1 that they were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” We can know the mysteries of God. “Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand” is from Isaiah 6:9. Parables were a way to get a coded message to the people of God, while they stood right in the middle of a crowd.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
There is always a key to a parable, the Key to this one is: “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). If you miss that key, then you will never understand the parable. For example, there was a giant multitude listening and all types of people.
* Without the key, the farmers listening may have thought: “He’s telling me that I have to be more careful in the way I cast my seed. I guess I have wasted an awful lot over the years.”
* The politicians listening may have thought: “He’s telling me that I need to begin a farm education program to help farmers more efficiently cast their seed. I can use this in my re-election campaign.”
* The newspaper reporter listening may have thought: “He’s telling me that there is a big story here about the bird problem and how it affects the farming community.”
* The salesman listening may have thought: “He’s encouraging me in my fertilizer sales. I could help that farmer get a better crop if he would just use my fertilizer.”
Understanding what the key is, allows you to understand the rest of the parable. If you think the seed represent money, you miss the parable. If you think the seed represents love, you miss the parable. If you think the seed represents hard work, you miss the parable. You can only understand it by understanding that the key is: the seed is the word of God.
Something interesting about seed, is that it all comes from God. Man cannot create even the smallest grain of seed that ever grew on the earth. Seeds contain life within them. Preachers are like the sower, in that you cannot make the seed. It is given to you from above, and during the right seasons.
12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
The devil takes an active part when the word of God is taught, and tries to steal away what they heard. Preaching to them is like water running off a duck’s back: it has no effect.
13 Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
In time of temptation, they fall away. As seed falling on the thin soil on top of the rocky places quickly springs up and then quickly withers and dies (Luke 8:6), some respond to the word with immediate enthusiasm yet soon wither away. We see many get on fire for God, but then fall away when “the time of temptation” comes. Yes, Jesus says there will be a “time of temptation” and that those without root, will fall away. The only thing wrong with them, was they lacked moisture. Water in scripture almost always represents the flow of the Holy Spirit who brings the balance to our lives, and helps us grow.
14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
There is competition in your life whether you know it or not. Everyone has 24 hours in their day, and the cares of the world can quickly choke God completely out of your life. If they consume your thoughts and you are that distracted, you cannot grow spiritually. We all need balance.
15 Those in the good ground, these are those who with an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and produce fruit with perseverance.
Finally, we have the good ground that can produce the maximum return. I don’t believe that we are one of the four types of soil, but that we are a combination of them. I have had all 4 going in my life at different times and I believe that each of us can say that:
* Like the wayside, sometimes we allow the Word no room at all in our lives.
* Like the stony places, we sometimes have flashes of enthusiasm in receiving the word that quickly burn out.
* Like the soil among thorns, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness.
* Like the good ground, some words bear fruit in our lives.
We all move through different seasons. I don’t think that any of us are 100% good 100% of the time, or that any of us are 100% bad, 100% of the time. Its more seasonal than that.
16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed; nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
The lamplight is illumination from darkness. When we understand the truth, the key to the parable, then we share it with others as God opens the door for that. He does not reveal His truths to us so that we can hide them; they are meant to be shared with others.
18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has.”
When we hear the word of God, and receive it with gladness, more of God’s riches and understanding of His mysteries will be given to us.
19 His mother and brothers came to him, and they could not come near him for the crowd. 20 Some people told him, “Your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it.”
We would think that Jesus’ family would have special interest in His life, that they would come first. But from what we can tell, the brothers of Jesus never seemed to be supportive of His ministry before His death and resurrection.
John 7:3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
Mark 3:20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
“His own people” here refers to the family of Jesus and sometimes they thought that He was out of His mind. Something that I should point out while I am here, is that Jesus plainly had many brothers and sisters. The Roman Catholic idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary contradicts the plain meaning of the Bible. The most natural way to understand “brothers” is that the term refers to sons of Mary and Joseph and thus to brothers of Jesus on his mother’s side.” In the second century, teachings came about that Mary was forever a virgin and this has led to Mary being worshiped as divine, as a goddess, and she is even said to make appearances from time to time. Mary was a good woman that gave birth to Jesus; that is all. Even Jesus gave her no higher position than that when He said: “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it.” That means that we can be closer to Jesus, than His own family was, by hearing the word of God, and doing it. Those are His words, not mine.
22 Now on one of those days, he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples, and he said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. 23 But as they sailed, he fell asleep. A wind storm came down on the lake, and they were taking on dangerous amounts of water. 24 They came to him, and awoke him, saying, “Master, master, we are dying!” He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and it was calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” Being afraid they marveled, saying to one another, “Who is this then, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
The Lake of Galilee is thirteen miles long at its longest, and eight miles wide at its widest. This journey was probably about five miles long as they crossed the sea of Galilee. As they said, Jesus fell asleep! He was a man just like one of us. He worked, He ate, He got tired and He needed to take a nap. Also, He was at complete peace and sleeping during a terrible storm as they were taking on dangerous amounts of water. He wasn’t concerned. The Sea of Galilee is well known for sudden, violent storms, but what makes this one especially bad is that the seasoned fishermen with Him were terrified and they woke Him up with “Master, we are dying!”.
This whole scene has the hand of satan on it. Jesus didn’t merely quiet the wind and the sea; He rebuked the winds and the sea this time. Add that to the disciple’s great fear, and the demons that Jesus would confront at their destination, and this storm was probably the work of the devil. Jesus and all the apostles were all in a boat together, what could be a better time than to drown them all in the sea. Fail. Your boat cannot go down when Jesus is onboard. The storm did not upset Jesus, but the lack of faith His disciples displayed did.
26 They arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man out of the city who had demons for a long time met him. He wore no clothes, and didn’t live in a house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torment me!” 29 For Jesus was commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For the unclean spirit had often seized the man. He was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters. Breaking the bonds apart, he was driven by the demon into the desert. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered into him. 31 They begged him that he would not command them to go into the abyss. 32 Now there was there a herd of many pigs feeding on the mountain, and they begged him that he would allow them to enter into those. Then he allowed them. 33 The demons came out of the man, and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned. 34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.
Here we have the most detailed account of demonic oppression in the Bible: a man who had been home to a legion of demons for a long time. He wore no clothes and he lived more like a wild animal than a human being. He lived alone among the decaying and dead, in the tombs. The man had supernatural strength and was able to break chains. He was tormented and self-destructive, crying out and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:5). He had uncontrollable behavior, and no one could tame him (Mark 5:4). The demon spoke through the man and talked to Jesus.
Technically I call this demonic “oppression” instead of demon “possession” because I do not believe that a Christian can be possessed by a demon. Possession implies ownership, and a Christian cannot be owned by the devil. We are bought with a price, by the blood of Jesus Christ. Also, Jesus told the demons to leave the man, and they had to obey even though they did not like it. They were confronted by The Owner, and had to leave. This means to me that they were trespassing on the property of Jesus. That said, can a Christian have a demon? Absolutely. I have seen many cases of demons coming out of the best dressed Christians that you would ever meet, while others just silently kept theirs. Deliverance is a real thing and it is still valid today. Superstition, fortunetelling, occult games and practices are gateways to the demonic. The demons here did not want Jesus to send them into the abyss, which is the bottomless pit that is mentioned in Revelation 9:11. Apparently, it is a prison for certain demonic spirits, and these wanted to continue on.
When Jesus cast them out, the demons went into a herd of swine. Why Jesus allowed this is hard to say, but quite possibly He allowed it because the time of the total demonstration of His authority over demons had not yet come—it would come at the cross. Colossians 2:15 tells us that at the cross Jesus disarmed demons in their attacks on believers, He made a public spectacle of their defeat, and He triumphed over them in His work on the cross.
Strangely, some Christians think that the Holy Spirit works in a similar way as demons, by overwhelming them and making them do strange things. The Holy Spirit does not override your free will. Many people struggle with praying in tongues because they wait for Him to do it all for them, but He will not. Your mouth is yours and you are in control of whether anything comes out of it. You begin praying, and He will begin providing the words. If you wait for Him to force you, it is never going to happen. When I begin to minister to people in prayer or prophecy here, He only gives me a sudden thought or a picture. Then when I begin to speak, more will come like water flowing through a hose, and it is often so simple that you will completely miss it.
35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who saw it told them how he who had been possessed by demons was healed. 37 All the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were very much afraid. Then he entered into the boat and returned. 38 But the man from whom the demons had gone out begged him that he might go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your house, and declare what great things God has done for you.” He went his way, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Here we have an odd story. The people were with a demoniac living there, but Jesus, they could not have. They were more comfortable with satan living there. When people are more afraid of what Jesus will do in their lives than what satan is already doing, they will often push Jesus away - and He will leave when asked to. The people there asked Jesus to leave, and He did. He got into the boat and left them. Jesus does not force His way into your life. You invite Him and He will come, You ask Him to leave, and He will go.
40 When Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 Behold, a man named Jairus came. He was a ruler of the synagogue. He fell down at Jesus’ feet, and begged him to come into his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes pressed against him.
The ruler of the synagogue was somewhat like a modern pastor. He managed both the spiritual and the business affairs of the synagogue. Jairus came in desperation to Jesus, fell down at His feet and begged, because his 12 year old daughter was dying. Earlier in Luke, the Centurion asked Jesus to just speak the word and his servant was healed, but here Jesus went with them back to their house.
43 A woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her living on physicians and could not be healed by any 44 came behind him, and touched the fringe of his cloak. Immediately the flow of her blood stopped. 45 Jesus said, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes press and jostle you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch me, for I perceived that power has gone out of me.”
This woman had been bleeding for twelve years, and had spent all of her money on doctors, and not been healed. She was considered “ceremonially unclean” and not allowed to touch anyone, much less a Rabbi. She came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched the hem of His garment, and she was instantly healed.
The “Who touched Me?” question made no sense to the disciples. Luke told us that the multitudes thronged Him (Luke 8:42), and they thought that Jesus was annoyed that someone had touched Him. When the woman touched Jesus and was immediately healed, Jesus felt something happen. He felt that power go out of Him. That is the flow of the Holy Spirit. This is real and it still happens. I have prayed for people before and felt something like electricity go down my arm and out of my body, and the person that I was praying for would feel it, too.
47 When the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, cheer up. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Jesus called her “daughter” and said “cheer up”. That is beautiful. Jesus called her out so that she, and all those around, would know that she was healed. Poor Jairus was having to watch Jesus minister while his daughter was at home deathly ill.
49 While he still spoke, one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house came, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Don’t trouble the Teacher.”’ 50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe, and she will be healed.” 51 When he came to the house, he didn’t allow anyone to enter in, except Peter, John, James, the father of the child, and her mother. 52 All were weeping and mourning her, but he said, “Don’t weep. She isn’t dead, but sleeping.” 53 They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he put them all outside, and taking her by the hand, he called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 Her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately. He commanded that something be given to her to eat. 56 Her parents were amazed, but he commanded them to tell no one what had been done.
Jesus put all of them outside and took Peter, James, and John in with Him. They were considered His “inner circle”. He told them “Only believe, and she will be made well”. The only thing that Jarius needed to do was to believe Jesus, but everything else told him that his daughter was gone forever. Jesus raised the girl from the dead, then told them to give her something to eat.
There are some oddities in these back-to-back stories of the woman who was healed of the flow of blood, and the daughter of Jairus. There are at least 7 stark contrasts between them:
1. Jarius had twelve years of sunshine (Luke 8:42) that were about to be extinguished. The woman had twelve years of agony that seemed hopeless to heal.
2. Jarius was an important man, the ruler of the synagogue. The woman was a nobody. We don’t even know her name.
3. Jarius was probably wealthy, because he was an important man. The woman was poor because she spent all her money on doctors.
4. Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
5. Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch Jesus’ garment.
6. Jesus responded to the woman immediately. Jesus responded to Jarius after a delay.
7. Jarius’ daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly.
One thing they did have in common was that Jesus healed them all.