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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
Luke 8

 

 

Verse 1

This verse is Luke"s summary of Jesus" next preaching tour (cf. Luke 4:44). Like the first summary statement, this one also states Jesus" ministry as consisting of itinerant preaching primarily. Luke noted the presence of the Twelve with Jesus to qualify them as reliable witnesses of His teaching, death, and resurrection.


Verses 1-3

1. The companions and supporters of Jesus8:1-3

Luke"s account stresses that concern for the multitudes motivated Jesus" mission. Mark , on the other hand, presented opposition from the Jewish religious leaders as a reason for His activities. Matthew stressed Jesus" desire to present Himself as the Messiah to the Jews. All these were factors that directed Jesus in His ministry.


Verses 1-21

E. Jesus" teaching in parables8:1-21

The present section of Luke follows the same basic pattern as the former one. There is a block of teaching ( Luke 8:1-21; cf. Luke 6:12-49) followed by another account of Jesus" mighty works ( Luke 8:22-56; cf. ch7).


Verse 2-3

Luke"s mention of the women in this section prepares for his citing them as witnesses of Jesus" resurrection later (cf. Luke 23:49; Luke 23:55; Luke 24:6; Luke 24:10; Acts 1:14). This is Luke"s third recent reference to women who benefited from Jesus" ministry to them, several of whom responded by ministering to Him (cf. Luke 7:12-15; Luke 7:36-50). Their example provides a positive example for female readers of Luke"s Gospel.

". . . traveling around with a religious teacher conflicts strongly with traditional female roles in Jewish society. [Note: Footnote55: B. Witherington III, Women in the Ministry of Jesus, p117.] Such behavior neglects a husband"s rights and a wife"s responsibilities to her family. It would probably arouse suspicion of illicit sexual relationships. In his later teaching Jesus will repeatedly tell his disciples that his call requires a break with the family ( Luke 9:57-62; Luke 12:51-53; Luke 14:26; Luke 18:28-30). The last two of these passages speak of leaving "house" and "children," which could apply to either a man or a woman, but these statements are male-oriented in that they also speak of leaving "wife" but not husband. [Footnote56:] However, Luke 12:53 indicates that the division in the family caused by someone becoming a disciple will involve women as well as men. [End of footnote.] Nevertheless, Luke 8:2-3 refers to women who have evidently taken a drastic step of leaving home and family in order to share in the wandering ministry of Jesus. The discipleship of women is conceived as radically as for men-perhaps even more radically, since women of that time were very closely bound to the family-involving a sharp break with social expectations and normal responsibilities." [Note: Tannehill, 1:138.]

Many people have concluded that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute. However the text gives no warrant for this idea. It simply says that seven demons had indwelt her. In other cases of demon possession in the Gospels the results were typically mental disorders rather than immoral conduct. "Magdalene" evidently refers to her hometown of Magdala (lit. the tower). It stood on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, south of Gennesaret and north of Tiberius. Joanna was present at Jesus" crucifixion and empty tomb ( Luke 23:55-56; Luke 24:1; Luke 24:10). She is the first of Jesus" disciples identified as connected with Herod Antipas" household. Chuza ("Little Pitcher") was evidently Herod"s manager or foreman, some high-ranking official in Herod"s employ (cf. Matthew 20:8; Galatians 4:2). He may or may not have been the royal official who came to Jesus in Cana and requested that Jesus come to Capernaum to heal his son ( John 4:46-53).

"It may be that the special knowledge of Herod and his court reflected in Lk. came through him; he and his wife are no doubt named as well-known personalities in the church and are evidence for the existence of Christian disciples among the aristocracy." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p317.]

Susanna ("Lily"), otherwise unknown to us, may also have been of special interest to Luke"s original readers. The support of these and other similar unnamed disciples explains how Jesus was able to continue His ministry financially. These women and probably some men provided money by giving sacrificially out of love for what Jesus had done for them (cf. Luke 7:36-50). It was apparently unusual for Jesus to have female followers (cf. John 4:27), though this was more common in the Hellenistic world than in Palestine. [Note: Liefeld, p905.]


Verse 4

Luke omitted reference to the setting for this teaching. It was the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Instead he stressed the large and diverse crowd that Jesus addressed. Perhaps he wanted to picture the crowd as the various types of soil Jesus referred to in this parable.


Verses 4-8

The giving of the parable8:4-8 (cf. Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:1-9)

As in the other Synoptics, Jesus gave the first parable to the crowds and then interpreted it for His disciples.


Verses 4-15

2. The parable of the soils8:4-15

Luke"s account of Jesus" parables by the sea is the shortest of the three, and Matthew"s is the longest. Luke limited himself to recording only two parables, namely, the parable of the soils and the parable of the lamp. He thereby stressed the importance of hearing, obeying, and proclaiming the Word of God.

"Unlike Mark 4and Matthew 13 , where entire chapters are devoted to kingdom teaching via parables, Luke concentrates on the one theme of faith both here and in the two short passages that follow ( Luke 8:16-21)." [Note: Bock, Luke , p228.]


Verses 5-8

The main focus of this parable in all the Synoptics is not on the sower (Jesus and His disciples) or the seed (the Word of God), as important as these are. It is the soils on which the seed falls. Evidently in Jesus" day, at least in some situations, sowing preceded plowing. [Note: Liefeld, p906; Fitzmyer, p703; Morris, p151.] Consequently it is not unusual that the sower scattered his seed where he did. The presence of thorn seeds would not discourage the sower from sowing seed among them if he knew they were there. Rocks under the surface would only become visible when the farmer plowed the seed under.

Luke probably omitted the lesser harvests and mentioned the largest yield to encourage his disciples with the ultimate result of His and their work. Only Luke mentioned that people trampled the seed under foot ( Luke 8:5) perhaps to indicate people"s contempt for God"s Word (cf. Hebrews 10:29). His unique reference to lack of moisture ( Luke 8:6, cf. Jeremiah 17:8) explains why those plants had "no root" ( Matthew 13:6; Mark 4:6). Jesus" final appeal urged careful listening.


Verse 9-10

The reason for using parables8:9-10 (cf. Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12)

Luke focused the disciples" question on the one parable he recorded so far. Matthew and Mark had them asking Jesus why He was speaking to the people in parables (plural). "Mysteries" were secrets previously unknown about the kingdom (cf. Daniel 2:20-23; Daniel 2:28-30). The Greeks had their mystery religions the secrets of which only the initiated knew. Consequently Luke"s original readers would have had no trouble understanding Jesus" meaning. The parables intentionally revealed some truth to everyone who heard them, but only Jesus" disciples, who took a serious interest in their meaning, could understand the deeper significance of what they taught. One of the principles of spiritual growth is that when a person studies Revelation , God gives him or her the ability to understand more truth. However when one does not seek to understand it, God hides further truth from him or her ( Luke 8:18; Isaiah 6:9; cf. Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:12; Romans 9:17-18). "In order that" ( Luke 8:10) indicates divine purpose more than result ( Luke 8:10).


Verse 11-12

Luke alone wrote, "So that they may not believe and be saved." This inclusion reflects his intense interest in salvation. Luke viewed the preaching mission of Jesus and His disciples as essentially calling people to salvation. Satan"s purpose is the exact opposite of God"s purpose (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). In Jesus" ministry the word of God that saved people was the message that Jesus was the God-man. When people trusted in Him as such, they experienced salvation.


Verses 11-15

The meaning of the parable8:11-15 ( Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20)

Jesus now gave His disciples information that enabled them to understand the deeper teaching of the parable. The proclaimed Word of God does not in itself yield a uniform response of faith. Human response to it is all-important.


Verse 13-14

In both of these cases there was some initial faith in Jesus and later a turning away from Him in unbelief. Notice that Jesus did not mention if they were saved or lost. That was not His point. The point is how they responded to the word of God. Some of them may have been saved and others lost. Jesus did not say they lost their salvation. That is impossible (cf. Romans 8:31-39). He said they turned away in unbelief.

In Jesus" day some of His hearers believed on Him ( John 8:31) yet were still unsaved ( John 8:44). Similarly today some people respond to the gospel superficially by accepting it, but then turn from it in unbelief. In Jesus" day others genuinely believed on Him and then stopped believing (e.g, John the Baptist). Jesus used the phrase "fall away" (Gr. skandalizomai) of John the Baptist in Luke 7:23. He used a different Greek word here ( Luke 8:13, aphisteme) but only because he preferred it, not because it has a different meaning. [Note: See Schuyler Brown, Apostasy and Perseverance in the Theology of Luke , p30-31.] Today true believers sometimes stop believing because of information they receive that convinces them their former faith was wrong (e.g, youths who abandon their faith in college). Luke"s treatment of this passage shows his concern for apostasy (i.e, departure from the truth) under persecution.

Those of us who have grown up in "Christian" countries sometimes fail to appreciate the fact that genuine Christians have renounced their faith in Jesus under severe persecution (e.g, Peter). We may tend to think that people who do this were never genuine believers. That may be true in some cases. However we need to remember that for every Christian martyr who died refusing to renounce his faith there were other believers who escaped death by renouncing it. To say that their behavior showed that they never truly believed is naive and unbiblical (cf. Luke 19:11-27; 2 Timothy 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 4:10 a).

The people in view in Luke 8:13 stop believing because of adversity, but those in Luke 8:14 do so because of distractions (cf. Matthew 6:19-34; Luke 11:34-36; Luke 12:22-32; Luke 16:13). Notice that Jesus said that these "believers" ( Luke 8:13) produce no mature fruit (cf. John 15:2). In the light of this statement we need to examine the idea that every true believer produces fruit and that if there is no fruit the person must be lost. Fruit is what appears on the outside that other people see. It is what normally, but not always, manifests life on the inside. It is possible for a fruit tree to produce no fruit and still be a fruit tree. Most fruit trees bear no fruit for the first few years after their planting, some stop bearing fruit after a while, and others never bear fruit. Today the testimony of many Christians would lead onlookers to conclude that they are not believers because they do not produce much external evidence of the divine life within them. However, Jesus allowed for the possibility of true believers bearing no mature fruit because they allow the distractions of the world to divert them from God"s Word (cf. John 15:2). Luke alone mentioned the pleasures of this life, which were a special problem for his Greek readers.


Verse 15

Luke described this believer as having an honest (or noble) and good heart thereby stressing the character of the individual. He adapted an ancient Greek phrase denoting singleness of purpose. [Note: Liefeld, pp907-8.] Matthew described him as understanding, in keeping with his emphasis on comprehending the mysteries of the kingdom (cf. Matthew 13:11; Matthew 13:14-15; Matthew 13:19; Matthew 13:23; Matthew 13:25). The kind of person Luke describes will follow Jesus faithfully and bear fruit.

"Jesus" emphasis here is not so much on whether a person perseveres but on the kind of person who does persevere." [Note: Ibid, p908.]

In summary, Luke 8:12 seems to view the lost, Luke 8:13-14 both the lost and the saved, and Luke 8:15 the saved. However in each case the emphasis is on their present response to the Word of God be it belief or unbelief, not the ultimate outcome of their response, namely, their eternal salvation. Jesus encountered all four types of responses during His ministry, and so do modern disciples. Some people refuse to believe at all (cf. most of the Pharisees). Others follow Jesus temporarily but because of persecution or love for other things stop following Him (cf. John 6:66; Luke 18:18-30). The salvation of these people is the most difficult to evaluate. Still others believe and continue following faithfully (cf. Luke 8:1-3).


Verse 16

This was evidently a favorite saying of Jesus" (cf. Matthew 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 11:33). In view of the context here the lamp refers to a person who has the light of God"s Word within him or her. Such a person has a responsibility to let the light illuminate those around him rather than concealing it from them.


Verses 16-18

3. The parable of the lamp8:16-18 (cf. Mark 4:21-25)

Jesus continued speaking to His disciples.


Verse 17

Jesus next commented on the parable of the lamp indicating its significance. Disciples should not suppose that because God had kept the truth that Jesus had revealed to them secret He wanted it to remain hidden. He wanted it declared publicly now.


Verse 18

Jesus concluded by urging His disciples to listen carefully to what He taught them. If they believed what He told them, God would give them more truth. However if they disbelieved, God would remove what truth they thought they had from them.


Verses 19-21

4. The true family of Jesus8:19-21 (cf. Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35)

Apparently Luke moved this teaching from Jesus" earlier controversy with the Pharisees over His authority to provide a conclusion for this section of teaching (cf. Matthew 12:22-50; Mark 3:19-35). It continues the theme of the importance of obedience that has been dominant in the preceding context.

Jesus was not dishonoring His human family members but honoring those who obey God. Some people feel close to God when they read the Bible, pray, hear a certain type of music, contemplate nature, or sit in a great cathedral. However, Jesus taught that the way to get close to God is to listen to and obey God"s Word (cf. Luke 6:46-49; James 1:22-23). Obedience brings the believer into intimate relationship with Jesus. This saying would have helped Luke"s original readers understand that Jewish blood did not bring believers into closer relationship to Jesus than Gentile blood did. Probably Luke omitted "and sister" ( Luke 8:21), which Matthew and Mark included, simply for brevity. His account of the incident is the most concise of the Synoptics.


Verse 22-23

Evidently Jesus mentioned crossing the lake to His disciples before and after He entered the boat (cf. Matthew 8:18; Mark 4:35). Jesus" command to cross constituted a guarantee that they would arrive safely. The other side was the east side (cf. Luke 8:26). Luke introduced the fact that Jesus fell asleep before he mentioned the storm breaking, perhaps to heighten the contrast between Jesus" peaceful condition and the storm. He stressed the severity of the storm by mentioning the wind three times ( Luke 8:23-25) as well as by describing it.


Verses 22-25

1. The stilling of a storm8:22-25 (cf. Matthew 8:18 , 23-27; Mark 4:35-41)

This story pictures Jesus in complete control of Himself and His environment. Its climax is not the stilling of the storm but the disciples" question about Jesus" identity ( Luke 8:25). This is the first miracle that Luke recorded that did not involve a person. It showed that Jesus had the power of God over nature that God demonstrated in the Exodus ( Exodus 14; cf. Psalm 89:8-9; Psalm 93:3-4; Psalm 106:8-9; Psalm 107:23-30; Isaiah 51:9-10). The disciples turned to Jesus for deliverance at sea just as people had called on God for salvation in similar situations.


Verses 22-56

F. Jesus" mighty works8:22-56

This section is quite similar to Mark"s account. Luke chose miracles that demonstrated Jesus" power over nature, demons, and illness and death to show Jesus" authority as the divine Savior. Again he stressed the powerful word of Jesus. These miracles also revealed Jesus" compassion and willingness to save people in need.


Verse 24-25

This time of testing was a challenge to the disciples" faith in Jesus" word (cf. Luke 8:13). They stopped believing momentarily. Their double address, "Master, Master," showed their urgency. Jesus reminded them of their unbelief with His question. Luke recorded a milder rebuke than Mark did ( Mark 4:40) perhaps showing that faith is a dynamic quality that grows and shrinks (cf. Luke 8:13-15). The disciples" question showed their lack of perception of Jesus" true identity (cf. Luke 9:20). They had believed that He was the Messiah, but they had thought of Him as their contemporaries did. Now they saw that He could perform works that only God could do (cf. Psalm 107:28-30). The disciples should have trusted in Jesus" word.

"Assuredly, no narrative could be more consistent with the fundamental assumption that He is the God-Man." [Note: Edersheim, 1:600.]

Christians have often seen this storm as typical of the storms of life we encounter that threaten our faith (cf. James 1:6).

"The point of connection is not in the precise situation the disciples face in the boat, but in the feelings of helplessness they have about where Jesus has led them. Events in our lives sometimes leave us feeling at risk, whether it be in a job situation that calls us to take a stand, in the severe illness of a loved one, in an unexpected tragedy, or in the breakdown of a relationship. Any of these can be a storm in which we doubt God"s goodness. We may feel God has left us to fend for ourselves." [Note: Bock, Luke , pp237-38.]

Experiencing deliverance in such situations should expand our appreciation for Jesus.


Verses 26-29

Mark and Luke called this area the country of the Gerasenes, but Matthew called it the country of the Gadarenes. Gergesa (also referred to as Gersa, Kersa, and Kursi) was a small village about midway on the eastern shore of the lake. Gadara, one of the Decapolis cities, was a larger town six miles southeast of the lake"s southern end. [Note: Jack Finegan, The Archaeology of the New Testament, p62.] This incident apparently happened somewhere near both towns on the southeast coast of the lake. A third town with a similar name, Geresa, was probably the same as Jarash, farther to the south and east. [Note: Bailey, p119.] As Luke described the situation, the demoniac met Jesus and His disciples as they arrived at the shore. He was one of two demoniacs, but Luke and Mark only mentioned one of them (cf. Matthew 8:28-34).

Doctor Luke mentioned several symptoms of this man"s demon possession. These included disregard for his personal dignity (nakedness), social isolation, retreat to an unclean shelter, recognition of Jesus" identity, control of speech, shouting, and great strength ( Luke 8:27; Luke 8:29). This man was under the control of spiritual powers totally opposed to Jesus and God"s will.

The demons in the man acknowledged that Jesus was God (cf. Luke 1:32; Genesis 14:18-22; Numbers 24:16; Isaiah 14:14; Daniel 3:26; Daniel 4:2). They were not worshipping Jesus as God but were appealing to Him as their judge for mercy. They wanted to escape premature torture in the abyss ( Luke 8:31; cf. Matthew 8:29; Revelation 20:1-3; Revelation 20:10).


Verses 26-39

2. The deliverance of a demoniac in Gadara8:26-39 (cf. Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20)

The raging of this demoniac was even worse than the raging of the waters of Galilee (cf. Psalm 65:7). Demonic power was evident in the Hellenistic world of Luke"s original readers. The fact that this incident happened in predominantly Gentile territory suggests that Luke may have seen in it a preview of the church"s ministry to Gentiles (cf. Acts 26:18). In his account of this incident Luke stressed the saving of the man ( Luke 8:36), the fear of the spectators ( Luke 8:37), and the abyss as the final destiny of the demons ( Luke 8:31). As Jesus had calmed the sea, He now calmed this demon-afflicted man.


Verse 30-31

Jesus was probably asking the name of the demon who indwelt the man for His disciples" benefit. "Legion" was not a proper name but the name of a Roman military unit that consisted of about6 ,000 soldiers. The name "Legion" communicated that thousands of demons indwelt the man (cf. Luke 8:2; Mark 5:13). The "abyss" refers to the final confinement place of the devil and his angels (cf. Romans 10:7; Revelation 9:1-3; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1-3). The Jews thought of it as a watery deep below the earth (cf. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). Only God can send demons to the abyss. This is another indication that the demons recognized Jesus as God. The disciples should have learned from them.


Verse 32-33

Jesus granted the request of the demons that involved a temporary stay of execution thus demonstrating His mercy. Instead He sent them to another watery place. There is no evidence that demons indwell water, so evidently Jesus killed them in this symbolic way, though their final judgment is still future ( Revelation 20:1-3).


Verses 34-37

The latter condition of the man contrasts with his former state. He now sat at Jesus" feet as a disciple. The power that Jesus possessed to effect such a transformation terrified the people. Luke"s use of the Greek sozo ( Luke 8:36, "made well" or "cured," lit. "saved") suggests that the man became a believer and a disciple of Jesus. Fear of Jesus led the residents to reject Him, unfortunately. Thus Luke showed his reader disciples that this is a reaction they could expect.

"Their fear may have been a superstitious reaction to the supernatural power that had so evidently been in operation. It may also have been associated with the material loss involved in the destruction of the pigs. If Song of Solomon , they saw Jesus as a disturbing person, more interested in saving men than in material prosperity. It was more comfortable to ask Him to go." [Note: Morris, p157.]


Verse 38-39

The man begged Jesus to allow him to follow Him. His desire was admirable, but Jesus ordered this disciple to remain where he was as a witness to Jesus" person and power at least temporarily. The man responded as an obedient disciple and spread the gospel in this previously unreached Gentile area. Luke probably intended the reader to identify what Jesus had done with what God had done ( Luke 8:39). The man more than obeyed Jesus. He Isaiah , therefore, a good model for Gentile converts to emulate.

"The story is a paradigm of what conversion involves: the responsibility to evangelize." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p341.]


Verses 40-42

Jairus" request8:40-42a (cf. Matthew 9:18-19; Mark 5:21-23)

Jesus returned from the southeast side of the lake to its northwest side where this incident happened. Multitudes welcomed Jesus because He had become popular in that area by working many other miracles. Jairus" position as a synagogue ruler shows that some influential Jewish leaders had believed on Him. Luke alone wrote that the girl was Jairus" only (Gr. monogenes, cf. John 3:16) daughter. This detail adds to the pathos of the story. At "about12" years of age a Jewish girl was on the brink of become a young lady of marriageable age. [Note: Liefeld, p916.] She was apparently going to die just as she was about to begin to live as an adult, a further tragedy.


Verses 40-56

3. The healing of a woman with a hemorrhage and the raising of Jairus" daughter8:40-56

Luke , as the other synoptic evangelists, recorded this double miracle in its historical sequence. These are the only intertwined miracles in the Gospels. One miracle involved providing deliverance from disease and the other deliverance from death. Both of them demonstrated the power and compassion of Jesus and the importance of faith in Him. The tension created in the Jairus" story by the interruption of the woman challenged the faith of Jairus and the disciples on the one hand and their compassion on the other. Both incidents also deal with females for whom the number12was important. This number was important in each of the female"s lives for reasons explained below, but it probably has no typological significance. Jesus" willingness to cleanse unclean people at the expense of His own ceremonial defilement also recurs (cf. Luke 7:11-17). This showed His superiority over the Mosaic Law. These two miracles, as the preceding two, revealed the identity of Jesus primarily.


Verse 42-43

The crowd that Luke described graphically as pressing against Jesus and almost crushing Him created the scene in which the woman approached Jesus. The exact reason for her continual bleeding is unknown and unimportant. This condition resulted in her discomfort, inconvenience, ritual uncleanness, and embarrassment. Some commentators believe that Luke"s omission of the fact that she had spent all her money on doctors who could not cure here was his attempt to guard the reputation of his profession. However it may have been a simple omission of a detail he felt was unimportant in view of his purpose. The point is that no one could heal the woman for12years, but Jesus did in an instant.


Verses 42-48

The healing of the woman with a hemorrhage8:42b-48 (cf. Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:24-34)


Verse 44

The woman"s superstition has also created problems for some readers. However, God honored even stranger expressions of faith than hers (cf. Acts 5:14; Acts 19:11-12). Even though her knowledge was imperfect she believed that Jesus could heal her, and Jesus honored that faith.


Verse 45-46

Jesus" question did not reveal lack of knowledge but the desire to identify the woman so He could strengthen and encourage her faith. Occasionally Jesus chose to heal people who expressed no faith in Him. Here someone with faith drew on His power without His conscious selection of her. Evidently God healed the woman through Jesus without Jesus" awareness. Likewise God sometimes brings blessing to others through His children without those believers being aware of it. Jesus meant that God"s power had gone from Him to another person, but not that He consequently felt a lack of power. Luke alone identified Peter as the spokesman of the disciples here perhaps to make the narrative more concrete and vivid.

"It was good for her, indeed it was necessary for her that her cure be widely known. All her acquaintances must have been aware of her permanent state of ceremonial uncleanness. If she was to be received back into normal religious and social intercourse, it was necessary that her cure become a matter of public knowledge. So Jesus took steps to see that people know what had happened." [Note: Morris, pp160-61.]


Verse 47-48

The woman"s embarrassment was undoubtedly due to her illness and to her presumption in mingling with a crowd even though she was ritually unclean. Her falling at Jesus" feet recalls the sinful woman in Simon the Pharisee"s house ( Luke 7:36-50) who had a kindred spirit of thankfulness. Another reason Jesus insisted on identifying the woman was to secure her public confession of faith in Him. Perhaps Luke included this public confession after a private deliverance as a good example for his readers to follow (cf. Romans 10:9-10). Jesus then corrected a possible misunderstanding that her healing had been the result of magic by ascribing it to her faith. Jesus" benediction also ties this story in with the earlier one involving the sinful woman (cf. Luke 7:50).


Verse 49-50

Jesus" words of encouragement as well as His recent demonstration of power prepared Jairus for what followed. He had just witnessed Jesus overcome ceremonial defilement and disease. He needed to believe that Jesus could overcome ceremonial defilement and death. Luke stressed the sad finality of the occasion by using the perfect tense Greek verb translated "she has died" and by placing the verb in the emphatic first position in the sentence. The messenger"s command also implied that there was no hope, but Jesus immediately fortified Jairus" faith.

"Whereas the woman"s faith needed bolstering because it was shy, Jairus"s faith needs to be calmed, persistent, and trusting....

"We often struggle to understand God"s timing. In fact, much of faith is related to accepting God"s timing for events." [Note: Bock, Luke , pp248 , 249.]


Verses 49-56

The raising of Jairus" daughter8:49-56 (cf. Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 5:35-43)


Verses 51-53

Jairus" faith is evident in his continuing on with Jesus and allowing Him to enter his house. Perhaps Jesus only allowed Peter, John , and James (cf. Luke 9:28; Acts 1:13) to accompany Him and the girl"s parents because the girl"s room was probably small. Perhaps Luke used this order for these disciples because of Peter and John"s prominence and partnership in the leadership of the early church. Another reason Jesus admitted only these few people may have been to make the little girl feel less conspicuous when she "awoke." [Note: Morris, p161.] More significantly His command to keep this incident quiet indicates that He did not want the unnecessary publicity that would inevitably accompany a second resuscitation (cf. Luke 7:11-17). By saying euphemistically that the girl was asleep (Gr. katheudei) Jesus was implying that her death was only temporary (cf. John 11:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Jesus was expressing God"s view of death, not man"s. Obviously she had died because her spirit had departed from her body ( Luke 8:55). It is interesting that these mourners who knew of Jesus" prophetic powers and gift of healing refused to allow the possibility that He might be right. This attitude shows their lack of faith.


Verses 54-56

Jesus called the girl"s spirit back to her body (cf. 1 Kings 17:21; Acts 9:41). He evidently extended His hand to offer her assistance in sitting up rather than to transfer divine power to her. Luke wrote that the girl rose up off her deathbed immediately and was able to eat, facts that preclude a gradual or only spiritual restoration (cf. Luke 4:39). Her parents" amazement (Gr. exestesan) also witnessed to the reality of this miracle.

"The Gospels record three such resurrections, though Jesus probably performed more. In each instance, the person raised gave evidence of life. The widow"s son began to speak ( Luke 7:15), Jairus" daughter walked and ate food, and Lazarus was loosed from the graveclothes ( John 11:44). When a lost sinner is raised from the dead, you can tell it by his speech, his walk, his appetite, and his "change of clothes" ( Colossians 3:1 ff). You cannot hide life!" [Note: Wiersbe, 1:204.]

This double miracle brings this section on Jesus" mighty works to a climax. The point Luke was stressing throughout was the identity of Jesus whom he presented as exercising the prerogatives of deity (cf. Psalm 146:7-9).

"The most fundamental lesson in this passage is the combination of characteristics tied to faith. Faith should seize the initiative to act in dependence on God and speak about him, yet sometimes it must be patient. In one sense faith is full speed ahead, while in another it is waiting on the Lord. Our lives require a vibrant faith applied to the affairs of life, but it also requires a patient waiting on the Lord, for the Father does know best." [Note: Bock, Luke , p250.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 8:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-8.html. 2012.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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