The Sower And The Seed -- Luke 8:1-15
“And it came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance. And when much people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable: 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. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 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. And His disciples asked Him, saying, What might this parable be? 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. Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. 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. 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. 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. 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”- Luke 8:1-15.
This parable of the Sower and the Seed should be both a warning and an encouragement to all who endeavor to labor in the gospel: a warning against the folly of taking at face value every profession of faith in Christ, but an encouragement when many who profess prove unreal, as we remember that even when the divine-human Preacher was the Sower of the gospel seed there were many who heard in vain and who never brought forth fruit unto perfection. It is our business to sow under all circumstances (Ecclesiastes 11:6), knowing that the seed is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23), and that, though many give but momentary thought to the message, it will accomplish the purpose of God (Isaiah 55:11), and that all who hear in faith will be saved (John 5:24).
The Word tests as well as saves. Where the heart is occupied with other things-such as the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches-there will be little appreciation of that message which speaks of another scene altogether and of riches that can never pass away. Where possible, the preacher is to break up the fallow ground and sow not among thorns (Jeremiah 4:3). On the other hand, he is to be instant in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) even though this involves some seed falling upon hard, unprepared hearts, only to be devoured by the birds of the air, fit pictures of Satan and his demon host, who are ever on the alert to hinder the progress of the gospel, because they know that if men believe the message they will be saved. It is well, too, for those who profess faith in Christ to test themselves and make sure that their’s is a faith that works by love and not mere empty credulity.
The first three verses of this portion of Scripture serve as an introduction to that which follows and give us the circumstances of Christ’s setting forth the truth of God in this parable form. We are told that the Lord Jesus went about preaching and showing the gospel. He was declaring the gospel by word of mouth; He was showing the gospel by manifestation of the marvelous things that were accomplished in those who believed. That is what God is doing today.
The word of the truth of the gospel is likened to a seed because it is a living thing. It is the means God uses to produce the new birth (James 1:18). The Holy Spirit causes it to fructify in the heart of the believer and so it produces fruit unto life eternal. This is not true of the proclamation of mere human theories or doctrinal systems. The preaching of the Christ has power. It is the dynamic of God unto salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).
Oh, what a wonderful testimony this brings before men and women. It is our privilege not only to preach the gospel but also to show forth the power of it in redeemed lives. Here is the testimony of some who had been healed of evil spirits. They had been actually under the power of demons who had controlled and spoken and acted through them. The Lord had set them free. Mary Magdalene is mentioned first, “out of whom went seven devils.” The word should be demons-“out of whom went seven demons.” There is only one devil. We do not know what kind of a woman she was. There is no reason to believe that she was an unchaste woman. A great many people have tried to identify her with the woman spoken of in Luke 7, but there is no proof of this. She had been a demon-controlled woman, and she found deliverance when Jesus set her free. Then we read of Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, who gladly turned her back upon her place in society to become a simple, humble follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Susanna and many others also became followers of Him, and ministered unto Him of their substance. Our Lord was a carpenter and doubtless helped to support His mother until the day when He went forth to carry out His Father’s ministry. From that time on He deigned to be sustained by the gifts of those who followed Him.
When the Pharisees came one day and asked, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?” instead of drawing out a coin from His pocket, He had to ask for someone to show Him a penny. He entered into our poverty in order that He might sympathize with us. He and His disciples needed food and clothing. Where did the money come from? These dear devoted women ministered unto Him of their substance. Judas was trusted to handle the money for the group as they went about doing their work of ministry.
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable.” It was down by the seaside as we are told in the 13th chapter of Matthew. “A sower went out to sow his seed.” Perhaps even as He talked they could see a sower on one of the hillsides. Jesus drew His illustrations from incidents of everyday life. That is why they live, and that is why they appeal still to human hearts today.
“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.” That is a picture readily understood. A sower going out to sow, scattering precious seed as he goes up and down through the field. A great portion seems to be lost and does not bear fruit. “And it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.” The people might even see the fowls following the sower. “Some fell upon a rock, and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.” There were many such folk on the Palestine hillsides. “Some fell among thorns.” And the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. “And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.” One little seed produces one hundred seeds! What a wonderful miracle that is! Men talk of the impossibility of miracles, but all around us there are miracles. Everywhere in nature we see wonderful evidences of the power of God. “And when He had said these things, He cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” It is so possible to hear something with the outward ear but never to get it in the heart. That is the way many people listen to sermons. They hear words, but no impression is made upon the heart and conscience. If the Word of God is proclaimed, we need to listen and take it in.
When they were alone, away from the crowd, the disciples put the question to Him as to what the parable meant. They did not understand just what it was that He was telling them. “And His disciples asked Him, saying, What might this parable be? 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.” Now that seems perhaps a little bit strange. First He tells them that they shall know if they want to know. If you want to know the gospel, you may know it. If you will only come to Him in faith, He will give you understanding. He who comes to Christ with an honest heart shall know. The mysteries of the kingdom of God are sacred secrets which the Lord delights to reveal to honest souls.
This refers to God’s ways with men since His Son has been rejected. He is now making known secrets hitherto unrevealed; things kept secret from the foundation of the world. In Matthew’s Gospel the term “kingdom of heaven” is used, and there only. It is never mentioned by that name in any other part of the Bible. It is Heaven’s rule over the earth, to be manifested openly when our Lord returns, but now only recognized by those who are Spirit-taught. The present phase of the kingdom is the sphere of Christian profession-that which we call Christendom. In this sphere many are unreal; so these will be gathered out of His kingdom when our Lord returns (Matthew 13:41). They will then be devoted to judgment.
Our Lord used parables in order to arouse the attention of men. They would want to know the meaning if they were really interested. But of the great majority He said. “Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not understand.” So the Lord Jesus used this parabolic teaching in order to make clear things that He wanted them to understand and to challenge them. But where there was no exercise of soul the parables would only serve to harden them.
To the disciples He explains all. “The seed is the Word of God.” Let us be clear about this. We are to give God’s Word, not our own thoughts and imaginations. The seed is the Word and those who are children of God should sow the seed. What about the different classes of hearers? “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.” They undefined undefined undefined undefinedlisten casually, pay attention for a few months and then become occupied with other things. “Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” You remember Paul’s words to the Philippian jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” People say that it is too simple; that it is too easy a way. One cannot be saved just by believing the gospel. But even the devil knows that you can! Notice what it says, “Those by the way side are they which hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” We are told that “he that believeth on Him hath everlasting life.” Do you object to this? Stop and think what has transpired that you might have everlasting life by believing. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You see you cannot separate the last part from the first part of that verse. God has already given His only Son to settle the sin question. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” The Son of Man had to be lifted up on the cross in order that you might be saved. The devil knows this, and that is why he tries to take the Word away from you. That is why we who are servants of God are so eager to have you trust Christ at once because we know how the devil will bring in other things to try to get you not to believe. “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.” It is not always a good sign when people seem to receive the Word with joy. A dear friend of mine told me of a young woman who was frivolous and careless all during a meeting one evening. When he returned the next night someone came up and said, “You remember that girl who was in the service last evening; well, she has found peace at last.” The preacher inquired, “Did she ever find trouble?” The servant of God must present to the people the truth of God so that they may see their need of repentance, then judging themselves in the sight of God, He gives peace when they believe the Word. But when people receive the Word only with joy, it is often like the soil in which seed is sown which is just barely covering the top of the rocks. It is generally an evidence of shallowness when people who have known no real exercise about their sins profess to receive the message of the gospel with gladness. God’s way is to wound that He may heal (Deuteronomy 32:39). Men need to see their need in order to appreciate the remedy. It is a great mistake to try to lead souls to make a profession of faith in Christ who have never known what it is to face their sins in the presence of God. This is the root-cause of much of the falling away after so-called “revivals,” where many, under emotional stress, or over-persuasion, have made a profession of faith, but with no conscience-exercise or repentance.
“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.” They have heard and really been quite concerned, but they are so occupied with the cares and pleasures of this life that they bring no fruit to perfection. These are people who have been interested to some extent in the gospel message, but are far more interested in the things of this life such as pleasure-seeking, money-making, and similar things. Many of these objects may be innocent enough in themselves, but if you become so occupied with them that you forget your responsibility to God, you will be sorry all through eternity that you did not put the things of the Lord first.
“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.” An honest and good heart! Does not the Bible say that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked? What then is meant by a good and honest heart? It means one who knows he is wrong but by the grace of God is going to get right, a person who says, “I know I have been wrong and occupied with the wrong things, but I am going to face these things and acknowledge my sins and confess them to God.” When a man takes that stand, then he is honest before God.
When a man condemns himself and says, “I have sinned,” then the rest is easy. At last he has reached the place where God can justify him.
The four classes of hearers are found wherever the gospel is preached. Some pay no attention and the devil plucks away the good seed. Some give apparent heed, but there is no realization of their guilty condition before God. They accept the gospel mentally, even gladly, but soon give evidence that there was no conscience-exercise. Others are seriously perturbed and appear to be earnest believers, but the things of this world are soon seen to be far more important in their eyes than spiritual realities. A fourth group face their true condition before God, confess their sinfulness and acknowledge their guilt. Trusting in Christ they enter into peace, a peace that abides, and the fruits of which are seen in the life.
The seed is the same in each instance. It is the attitude of the hearer that is different. Some are utterly careless, others effervescent and easily moved, but vacillating. Others again are in earnest to begin with, but allow other interests to crowd out spiritual things. Then there are those who are seeking to know God and are ready to receive His Word when it is presented to them. These bear fruit to perfection, and so glorify the Father. Fruit-bearing is the proof of spiritual life. If there be no fruit, profession is a mere sham, as the after-experience will soon make manifest.
Shining For God -- Luke 8:16-21
“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. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 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. Then came to Him His mother and His brethren, and could not come at Him for the press. And it was told Him by certain which said, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to see Thee. And He answered and said unto them, My mother and My brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it”- Luke 8:16-21.
Every believer is called on to witness for Christ; he is to let his light shine before men. Our Lord Jesus uses here an illustration of which He was evidently very fond. We get hold of certain illustrations that seem to have weight, and help to clarify the truth which we are giving out, and these illustrations we are apt to use again and again as occasion arises. We all recognize our Lord as the Master-Teacher, and it is interesting to note how wonderfully He illustrated His addresses. Some preachers today are averse to such a method, but they need to remember that in criticizing the method they are, whether consciously or not, criticizing the Lord Himself. Spurgeon has said, “The sermon is the house, the illustrations are the windows that let the light in.” Our Lord never told stories just for the sake of stirring up the emotions of His hearers; every such incident was a parable, even though it was actually true in fact. We are told that without a parable spake He not unto them. He had a double purpose of using these parables: in the first place, many of them helped to make clear the truth He was seeking to impart; and in the second place, they were a challenge to His hearers, testing them as to whether or not they had any real interest in the truth. If unconcerned, they would listen to the story and go carelessly on their way, paying no further attention to it; if really exercised, they would inquire as to the meaning He wished to convey. We see this frequently in connection with the apostles who came to Him, asking the meaning of stories or illustrations He used. Most of His illustrations had to do with things that were exceedingly commonplace and well-known. It was thus with that of the candle or lamp-stand, which He used on several occasions. We need to learn that the candle was not such as we know, but the word really means one of those metal or pottery lamps which many of us have often seen in pictures or in museums, the bowl of which is filled with olive oil, and a wick protrudes through the spout. When this wick is lighted the lamp (or candle) is placed upon a lamp-stand, or in some other prominent position, in order to illumine the house. So Jesus says, “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.” This is very suggestive. Elsewhere He speaks of hiding the light under a bushel, which answers to the vessel here. Now the bushel naturally reminds us of business, since it was used to measure food; and many Christians, I fear, have hidden their lights under a bushel; they have allowed their business to so occupy them that they have failed to witness for Christ as they should. You may have sometimes heard the expression, “I never mix my religion with my business.” Well, it is a very sad thing if you do not, because you are failing altogether in being the kind of businessman the Lord expects you to be. All Christians are not called upon to take an official place, as ministers or public teachers, but God needs Christian business-men to shine for Him. I am always so thankful when I hear people say of some of my brethren who are engaged in various commercial lines, “I have known Mr. So-and-So for years, and I could trust him anywhere; he carries his Christianity into his business.” This is letting one’s light shine for God in his daily life. A professed Christian who tries to carry on his business without giving Christ the rightful place in his life is a failure.
Then our Lord suggests the possibility of hiding the light under a bed. Now the bed, of course, speaks of taking one’s ease. Have we not known many like that? They are interested in the things of God so long as those things do not interfere with their own comfort. How many forget that Sunday is, in a very definite sense, the Lord’s Day, and yet they will stay out late on Saturday night, wear themselves out in business or pleasure, and then lie in bed on Sunday morning until it is too late to gather with the people of God, on the plea that they must have rest for body and mind. Surely, a little forethought would suggest carefully conserving the last hours of the week in order that one might be at his best on the Lord’s Day, to use the full time for God in such a way as to bring glory to His name by participating in the worship of His people and in the various activities connected with the gospel testimony. It is so easy to hide one’s light under the bed and excuse oneself on the ground of physical weariness. Many might have far more active participation in the things of Christ if it were not for slothfulness. I would to God that we Christians might be as much in earnest about witnessing for Christ as are the devil’s embassies in serving him. What a stir there often is when a gospel meeting runs over nine o’clock, and yet worldlings can be out at the theatre, or other ungodly places, until midnight and think nothing of it. It is a shame that Christians are so slack in manifesting devotion to Christ. In studying Chinese years ago, I noticed that one of the Chinese characters for “evil” is made up in this way: the upper part is for that which is secondary, and the lower part is the ideogram for “heart;” the meaning is that when that which is highest is given secondary place, it results in evil. May we not all challenge our hearts as to whether we give Christ the first place and make the things of God our immediate aim; or whether, after all, we think first of our own comfort and put the things of God in a secondary place. Our Lord tells us that “nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Elsewhere we are told that some day we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ in that solemn day when all the purposes of the heart are manifest. How many of us will look back with grief on our lack of real devotion to Christ when we were in this scene! What we need to do is to live more and more in the light of that day of manifestation.
Next we have a word from the Lord to His followers concerning discipleship: “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.” There are many indifferent hearers; there are people who listen with the outward ear but do not really hear the message at all. We need to remember the sevenfold challenge in the book of Revelation: “He that hath an ear, let him hear.” We should listen to the Word of God as the very message of the Lord Himself to our own souls; to do otherwise is to insult Him who thus speaks to us for our instruction and obedience. On the other hand, we need to be careful about listening to that which is false. In the book of Proverbs we read, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” If men profess to be servants of Christ and yet deny the great truths of Holy Scripture, God holds us responsible. If we continue to listen to such deniers, we not only waste time by doing this but we dishonor God whose Word is thus rejected.
The Lord Jesus stresses the importance of using aright that which is communicated to us: “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.” It is a very easy thing to become an utter pauper, spiritually, and yet to be quite unconscious of one’s true condition. We have an example of that in the Laodicean church, the members of which said, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;” but the Lord, you remember, said to them, “Knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked?” They thought everything was well and that they were rich in every way, when, actually, everything was wrong with them. They were in deepest spiritual poverty, because they were not appropriating the riches of grace which God had put at their disposal. So it is with the one who fails to hear and heed the Word of God, and yet congratulates himself on being in a good spiritual frame of mind.
While our Lord was giving this instruction to His hearers, an incident occurred which emphasized the importance of the very thing He was stressing. Someone came suddenly up and interrupted Him, “Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to see Thee.” Some people, you know, have no sense of the proper time and place for things, they think nothing of interrupting even the most precious unfolding of divine truth; it is often hard for preachers to bear such interruptions. One is inclined to become impatient, but it was otherwise with our blessed Lord. Instead of stopping to greet His loved ones or reprove the one who came to apprize Him of their presence, He used this as a means of pressing home the truth He had been uttering: “My mother, and My brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it.” I think I see Him raising His hands and looking out upon that audience as He exclaims, “These are My mother and My brethren.” Those who love God’s truth belong to Him in a peculiar way, they are His intimate relatives. Are you and I numbered among them? On another occasion He said to His disciples, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” How precious to be a friend of His, to be one who delights in His company and who seeks to obey His Word!
It is true we are saved by grace alone. We could not do anything to merit our salvation; no work of ours could avail to blot out even one sin, but He who has saved us is now looking for good works in us. He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We who have believed in God are responsible to be careful to maintain good works. This is the test of discipleship. It is in this way that we shine for Christ, letting the world realize how much He means to us. Perhaps I am speaking to some today who have never yet trusted the Lord Jesus Christ; if so, I plead with you, take heed how ye hear! The Word says, “Hear, and your soul shall live.” I remember a lady who said to me years ago, “I went to church all my life but I never heard a sermon till I was fifty-eight years of age.” I inquired whether she had been physically deaf. “Oh, no;” she replied; “I sat in church, took part in the singing and listened to the sermons, but I never really heard one in my own soul until one day, for the first time, I realized the message was for me. When the preacher talked of sinners, I used to wonder what wicked people were in the church-building; when he talked of saints, I couldn’t imagine who might be there good enough to be so designated. But I’ll never forget the time when I realized that I was a lost sinner and needed a Saviour. Then my heart was opened, and I listened earnestly in order to find out how I might be saved, and as the gospel was proclaimed 1 received it in faith, and ever since I have known the Lord for myself.” Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Have you heard Him in the gospel message? As Christians we need to have our ears attentive to His Word day after day that we may learn His will for us, and so manifest our discipleship as we walk in obedience to His truth. “While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being” (Psalms 146:2).
Lord Of The Winds And Waves -- Luke 8:22-25
“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. 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. 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. 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 the water, and they obey Him”- Luke 8:22-25.
Before our Lord went away He said to His disciples, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” Many have understood from those words that we as Christians would be able to do greater miracles than He did. If that were what He meant, then the centuries since have proved that His words have failed. So far as the things of nature are concerned there have never been any miracles so great as those which He performed when He was here on earth. Very frequently God has come in, in grace and healed sick ones, and in answer to the prayers of faith, has often wrought most blessedly, but we have never known of anything like that which is recorded here.
The greatest miracle that our Lord performed in regard to the natural world was this one, when He rose up in that boat and commanded the winds to cease and the waves to be still. He manifested His power as Lord of all creation in a way that no one else has ever surpassed or duplicated. His greatest miracle in regard to the human body was the raising of Lazarus. The little child, the daughter of Jairus, had barely closed her eyes when Jesus came and woke her; the son of the widow of Nain had but lately died and his body was being carried to the tomb; but Lazarus had been dead four days and corruption had already begun, when our Lord came to that sepulchre, and in response to His command, Lazarus came forth alive. That was the greatest miracle Jesus ever performed so far as the human body was concerned.
No one else has ever stilled the waves as Jesus did; no one else has ever raised to life one who had been dead four days. Certainly, then, our Lord did not mean that we were to perform miracles like He did, or greater than He did while He was on this earth. It must, therefore, I take it, be in the realm of the spiritual that works are to be wrought which are greater than those our Saviour accomplished when here on earth. No one who came to Him for physical healing was turned away. He opened the eyes of the blind; unstopped the ears of the deaf; loosed the tongue of the dumb; cleansed the lepers; made the lame man to leap as the hart; provided bread in the wilderness for thousands of people; and, in many other ways manifested His mighty power, witnessing to His Messianic claims. But the amazing thing is, that after all His wondrous works and claims, so few received Him in faith and confessed Him as Messiah and trusted Him as Saviour. After those three and one-half wonderful years of His ministry, we read, only a few hundred gave evidence of personal faith in Him. When He rose from the dead there were some five hundred brethren at the last who gathered about Him, and saw for themselves that He was alive again. Where were all the rest who had heard Him preach, and seen His miracles as He went through Judaea, Galilee, Samaria, and Perea, preaching, teaching, and healing the sick? Doubtless here and there, there were individuals who had trusted Him and were not found with that throng at the last, but comparatively few in Israel had owned His claims and definitely committed themselves to Him, by receiving Him as their Redeemer. But think of what has taken place since: On Pentecost three thousand received the message and were baptized in His name; a few days later, we are told, the number of those that believed became about five thousand; then, as the months and years went on, vast numbers of Jews, and later of Gentiles, accepted the testimony of the gospel and were saved through His matchless grace. All down through the centuries since, millions have come to know Him. Within three centuries after the Twelve first went forth to preach, the idolatry of the Roman Empire was practically destroyed. I do not mean that people everywhere had become Christians, but that Christianity had become the dominant religion, and paganism had almost disappeared throughout the land surrounding the Mediterranean. Some lives since have been a marvelous demonstration of the truth of our Lord’s words: “Greater things than these shall ye do, because I go to the Father.”
Let us then consider with some degree of care this wonderful account of our Lord’s authority over nature. While an actual fact, it is also a beautiful parable, a lovely picture, and brings before us the power of our Saviour to give deliverance under the most difficult and pressing circumstances.
We have first of all a definite, divine purpose here in Luke 8:22. Our Lord was not acting haphazardly. “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.” Notice the words, “Let us go over.” He knew what He was about to do; His plans were made, and He was going to the other side of the lake to minister there, and taking His disciples with Him. How suggestive this is! We do not know what dangers and difficulties we have to face and what hidden rocks and shoals are ahead of us as we go through life, but we do know our Saviour, and we may be sure He will carry out His purpose and will see us safely over to the other side.
In the words of the closing verses of that wonderful eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, every believer can say, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
His love will never be satisfied until all His own are at home with the Lord Himself in the glory. Every Christian should be able, therefore, to say, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” It is a great thing to rest on the promises of God, and to know that He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Christ.
He has already gone to the Father’s house, and yet He abides with us in the power of the Holy Spirit. He is going to take us through all the perplexing circumstances of the voyage of life until we are landed safely on the other side.
I remember the early years of my Christian experience when I knew that the Lord was with me for the moment, but did not know that He was to be with me forever. I would dread what might happen which would separate me, perhaps, forever from the love of God. I felt somewhat like that Irishman who had been converted, and one day the awful thought came to him, “Suppose I fall into sin and I lose it all!” He felt it would be better never to have been converted at all. One day in church the preacher read, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Pat forgot for a moment where he was, and shouted, “Glory to God! Whoever heard of a man drowning with his head that high above water!” So we can praise Him for every evidence of His love and care, knowing He will see us through to the end.
Notice, in the next place, our Lord’s quiet serenity. He was in perfect peace in the midst of the storm. That which caused such distress to His disciples and filled them with terror, did not in the slightest degree disturb His heart. He knew that Satan, the prince of the power of the air, had raised that storm in order to seek to destroy Him before He could go to the cross and accomplish the work of redemption, but there was no possibility of the enemy’s plans being carried out. We are told that “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.” The angry wind and fierce gale seemed as though they would wreck the little boat, and yet, there lay the blessed Lord, sound asleep. Mark tells us He was asleep on a pillow. I wonder if some kind, loving woman, who had been blessed through His ministry, had not made that pillow for Him and given it to Him. At any rate, there He lay undisturbed; no anxiety, no fear whatever, because He knew that all nature was subject to Him, and as Man here on earth, He rested implicitly in the consciousness of subjection to the Father’s will. Oh, that you and I might enter into the same peace and rest that characterized Him! We may if we take heed to the words: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Christ Triumphs Over Demons -- Luke 8:26-40
“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 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. 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. (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.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the deep. 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. 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. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 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. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 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. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought Him that he might be with Him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 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. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him: for they were all waiting for Him”- Luke 8:26-40.
This is one of the many passages which bring our blessed Lord before us as absolute Victor over satanic power. Many people today refuse to accept the Bible teaching as to the personality of Satan and his hosts. Many think of the devil as simply the personification of evil, but the Word of God shows us clearly that he who is now the devil was at one time a pure spirit, a holy angel, attendant on the throne of God, but who fell through pride. Jesus says of him: “He abode not in the truth.” It is evident that many other angels were involved in his rebellion and are now in league with him in his opposition to God and Christ. There is only one devil, but there are many demons. When, therefore, the plural form “devils” is used in the New Testament records, it should always be understood as referring to demons, for it is a translation of the Greek word which means just that, rather than devils.
In our Lord’s earthly ministry He frequently met with people who were under demoniacal possession. We might not be able to understand fully what was involved in this terrible power over men and women, but we know that our Lord was always victorious over it.
Here we learn that when Jesus had arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee, a man met Him whose dwelling was in the tombs, who was possessed with, not one, but many demons. Gadara itself was a rather forbidding country, outside the land of Canaan proper, and inhabited by a mixed population. Many of the people were renegade Jews who engaged in customs that were repellent to the more orthodox, some even raising and selling swine. It is evident that the power of Satan was more manifest among these people than in the Land itself. Note the dreadful condition of this possessed creature. Luke tells us he “had devils (or demons) long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.” He is a picture of fallen man under absolute satanic control. Again and again his friends had tried to restrain him from the power that had imprisoned and bound him, but by superhuman power he snapped his shackles asunder and fled from the ordinary dwelling-places of men and found a refuge for himself among the dead in the tombs.
It is a terrible thing when Satan gets such control of a man that he is no longer amenable to respectability, or even decent restraint; when evil habits so dominate and control that one is outside the pale of ordinary law-abiding circumstances. Yet how many are thus subject to sin and Satan.
We do not know in what way the demons fully gained control of this poor man, but it is evident that sometime or other in his early life, he had opened the door to them; perhaps, by persistence in sins that the law of God condemned, and as a result he was a slave to these evil spirits and had lost the power to control himself.
His friends could do nothing with him. If his parents were living, their hearts must have been broken as they saw him in this hopeless condition. But the day at last came when he was brought into contact with our blessed Lord Himself, and then everything was changed. Jesus was the only One who could help him, and He was there for that very purpose. It is evident that the demons within him recognized the Lord at once, for we are told that when this man 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.” The demon was speaking through human lips. This unholy, fallen spirit knew exactly who Jesus was; he recognized in Jesus, the Son of God who shall yet sit on the throne of judgment, and already he feared the hour had come when he was to be cast into the lake of fire. The demons all believed that Jesus was the Christ, it was only unrepentant men who questioned this; Satan himself knew that Jesus was the Son of God, the only Saviour. The only persons in the universe who dare to deny that Jesus is the Son of God are Christless men and women who are yet the objects of His favor. But while demons acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, they are not entitled to find in Him a Saviour for themselves. The demon in this man recognized Christ as the Judge, and pleaded for an extension of time ere his doom would be consummated. Jesus did not really answer his question, but put another question to this vile spirit: “What is thy name?” He demanded. And the answer came, “Legion;” because we are told, many demons were entered into him. A Roman legion was ordinarily made up of six thousand men. Perhaps we need not take the legion here literally, but at any rate it indicates that a vast number of demons had entered into this man. He himself was unable to reply personally because he was so completely under their control.
It would seem that these demons, who are disembodied spirits, yearn to come into possession of the bodies of men in order that they may stir them up into unlofty and dreadful passion, which will cause them to insult the God who created them. When the Lord Jesus commanded the legion to leave the body of the man, they begged to be able to take possession of the bodies of a herd of swine which was feeding nearby. The Lord gave consent. Expelled from the man they “entered into the swine: and (note the amazing result) the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.” How amazing is sinful man’s ability for evil! Two thousand hogs could not hold the demons that had possessed one man.
Instead of this remarkable evidence of the Lord’s power over Satan’s kingdom making an impression for good upon the hearts of those who beheld what was done, we are told that “they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.” They related to their fellow-countrymen the story of the loss of the swine, as well as the deliverance of the demoniac. So troubled were these people by the financial setback involved that after they had come out to see what was done, we are told they “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.” What then? Did they fall at His feet confessing their own sins and seeking deliverance through Him? Not at all! It was the very opposite. They besought Jesus to leave their country. Sorrowfully, we may be sure, He acceded to their request. Luke says, “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.” Jesus never remains with people who do not want Him. Men are permitted to choose in such circumstances whether they will receive Him or not. But though He left these Gadarenes at that particular time, we can be thankful to the Lord that the day did come when He returned to the same country and found a wonderful welcome. It was brought about in this way: The delivered man was so happy over the great change that had come to him that he pleaded with the Lord Jesus that he might be with Him. This man would have joined the company of the apostles and gone with the Saviour from place to place. Evidently his heart was so filled with love and gratitude because of his miraculous deliverance that he wanted to remain as near his Redeemer as he could; but Jesus had something else in mind for him. Instead of taking him away with Him, He said to the man, “Return to thine own house, and show how great things God hath done unto thee.” He who had been a raving maniac a short while before was now so reasonable that the people listened to him with amazement. He became an evangelist, and went throughout all that region telling the throngs of what Jesus had done for him; from village to village his story was carried. And so, we learn that later on when Jesus went back to that district, known as Decapolis, the multitudes thronged to meet Him and their entire attitude was changed. They did not want Him before; they were too occupied with the loss of their swine and with other evil things which kept them from opening their hearts to Him, but now they were glad to see Him. They brought out their sick in great numbers, and in loving-kindness He healed them all.
Such was the result of the faithful testimony of one man set free from Satan’s power by Christ the Lord.
Christ Triumphs Over Sickness And Death -- Luke 8:41-56
“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: for he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as He went the people thronged Him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 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? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me. 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. And He said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 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. But when Jesus heart it, He answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 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. And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and He commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done”- Luke 8:41-56.
There are two incidents in this passage of Scripture which are closely connected. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue, that synagogue which had been built for the Jews by a Roman centurion, whose ruins have been recently discovered, and are still to be seen. The ruler, with a sad heart, came and fell down at Jesus’ feet. He had only one daughter, about twelve years of age. I imagine every parent of a sick daughter can share his feeling. This daughter was the light of her father’s eyes and the joy of his soul. It seemed as though no power on earth could save her. But Jairus believed that Jesus had power and could heal his daughter, therefore he sought Him out, and in an attitude of supplication, pleaded with Him to come to his house and heal his daughter. The Saviour immediately started to go with him. On the way, as the crowd thronged Him, a woman who was suffering from a constitutional illness, having heard that Jesus was in the way, said in her heart, “Perhaps He could do something for me.” So she endeavored to reach Him.
It is a remarkable fact that Luke the physician should write that this woman had spent all her living upon physicians. Many of the physicians were of an honorable character, but they could not heal her. Luke recognized the case and the futility of it. She had suffered from the use of all kinds of medicines and drugs of those days which were used in her type of disease; she “had suffered many things of many physicians,” Mark records, but found no relief; rather, she became steadily worse.
When she learned that Jesus was in the city, she recalled the many instances in which He was reported to have healed people suffering from all kinds of illnesses. Faith sprang up in her soul, and she determined to contact Him. He is the Great Physician. No one came to Him for healing on earth and was rejected. His power is just the same now: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. He who of old could speak the word and even death would flee before Him, is still Lord over sickness and death. On the other hand, it is well to remember that there is no promise in Scripture that He will always deliver those today who come to Him suffering from physical ailments. If this were true, no Christian need ever be sick. Sometimes, instead of healing, He does something better, as in the case of Paul, who sought deliverance from the thorn in the flesh which was causing him so much physical anguish. The Lord said, as it were, I will not free you from suffering, Paul, but I will give you grace to bear it. Some day He will come in glory and we will be delivered from all the effects of sin, sickness, and suffering of every description. That will be the day of the redemption of the body, when these bodies of our humiliation will be made like unto His body of glory. But even now we are at liberty to come to Him and ask Him to heal us, and to pray one for another that we may be healed; but always in subjection to His holy will. It was in this spirit that Jairus came to Him, and in the same way this poor tvoman sought to get in touch with Him.
Evidently she shrank from coming out in the open and telling her story, knowing that all those people were looking on; but she said within herself, “If I can only touch the hem of His garment I shall be healed.” Every orthodox Jew wore a blue border on his garment in accordance with the instructions given in the law of Moses, which indicated that he belonged to the God of heaven. This blue border, undoubtedly, was seen upon the garment of our blessed Lord, who was subjected to the law of God in all things. And so, this poor, sick woman, pressing her way through the crowd and reaching out her trembling hand, touched that blue border; and in a moment she felt in her body that she was free of her disease. Filled with thankfulness to God, she would doubtless have returned to her own home to fall down before Him in prayer and give Him glory for what He had done for her through the Lord Jesus Christ, but our Saviour did not permit her to go away privately. Jesus turned about and asked, “Who touched Me?” All denied, and we are told “Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?” It was as though they would reprove Him because of His apparently unreasonable question. With so many people crowding about Him, He must have been touched by numbers of them; but He drew a very definite distinction between the thronging, and touching Him in faith. He replied, “Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me.” Notice that whenever the blessed Lord healed anyone, He entered with them into their troubles and pains. That is what Isaiah meant when he said, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” It was not on the cross that He did this but in His life here on earth, as He went about doing good and healing all who came to Him. It cost Him something to deliver people from their sicknesses; He took the burdens, as it were, the suffering, and the grief upon Himself; and so, literally, He gave of Himself in order that they might be healed.
We are told that when the woman saw 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.” It was a wonderful testimony to His power and compassion, and no doubt, brought a great blessing to this woman’s own soul when she made her open confession. It always brings blessing when one confesses the goodness of the Lord; that is why we are told in Romans: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
In this instance the Lord Jesus, having heard the healed woman’s grateful acknowledgment, said to her tenderly, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” What blessed assurance these words must have given her, added to the thrill that had gone through her body when she had touched the garment of Jesus. She knew her healing was complete and she was never again to suffer what she had in the past, for she had contacted the Great Healer Himself. Her case is a beautiful illustration of how men and women today, afflicted with the incurable disease of sin, may find deliverance when they reach out their hands in faith and touch the blessed Lord Himself. Reformation will not give this deliverance, neither will joining the church, nor participation in sacramental observances; but Jesus Himself received in faith gives immediate salvation. We cannot see Him now with the visible eye, but He is close beside us nevertheless, near enough for us to reach Him in faith. For that which is seen is not faith: faith consists in taking Him at His word, even though our mortal eyes do not behold Him. He stands beside every sickbed; He is present in every prison-cell; He walks through the mart of commerce; He passes up and down the aisles of every school-room; He is close at hand in every home; and He says, as it were, to every troubled soul: “Just reach out the hand of faith and trust Me; I will make you whole.” Think of His words uttered so long ago to a weary, restless world, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
If these words come to any who have not yet contacted Him, I plead with you, even now, look up in faith into His blessed face and trust Him for yourself, and hear Him say, “Be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
But now we turn to consider the second incident in the passage we have before us. We read that while the Lord was on His way to the house of Jairus, one came from that home, saying, “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.” In other words, it was a sad message. It is now too late for Jesus to do anything-if He had gotten there before He might have helped, but now the little one is dead and nothing more can be done. But they were to learn that it is never too late for Jesus; it is never too late for Him to hear the prayer of faith. Jairus had come to Him with earnest purpose of heart, counting on Him to heal his little girl. It looked as though all hope was gone, but he was soon to realize that not only has Jesus power to deliver from sickness, but He is Himself the resurrection and the life. He spoke words of quiet assurance to give rest to that anxious father, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” I wish I could so stress those four words, “Fear not: believe only,” with such power that any beholding them might feel their force and look up in faith to Jesus. It is so easy to become concerned about the perplexing things of life and the sorrows that we have, that we lose sight of the blessed Saviour and forget that we have to do with One who is omnipotent. If Jesus cannot help in every time of trouble, He is not the Saviour whose coming the prophets of old had predicted; but, He has demonstrated over and over again His power to give deliverance to all who believe His Word.
If these words come to anyone who is suffering because of bereavement, or of a broken home, or on account of wayward children, or severe sickness, or great sorrow, let me plead with you to look up to Him who says, “Fear not: believe only,” and be assured that He will undertake for you. You wrong your own soul if you do not bring your griefs to Him.
It is well to remember that nothing takes our blessed Lord by surprise. When He started for the house of Jairus, He knew exactly all that was going to take place. He knew the little girl would die before He reached the home, but He was going there to restore that child to her parents. So when He came to the place of mourning death fled away, as it will when Jesus comes again to call His own to be with Himself, when death will be swallowed up in victory.
Entering the house, the Lord Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John into the room where the body of the little girl lay. Hired mourners had already been brought in, and in their oriental fashion, they were wailing and weeping and making a great deal of noise and confusion; but the Lord Jesus bade them leave, saying, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” Unwillingly they left the room, laughing Him to scorn, we are told, knowing in their hearts that she was dead. They did not understand that all live unto Him; that even though the body may be dead He recognizes the spirit as alive, and He saw in the cold form of that little girl, just a sleeping child soon to be awakened. To Him death was only that. When Lazarus died, you remember, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” The disciples did not understand and they said, “Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” Then Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” And so He said of the little girl, “She is not dead, but sleepeth.” When all had left the room save the parents and the three chosen disciples, the Saviour took that little girl’s hand in His and said, “Maid, arise.” Or, it might be, “Little girl, wake up.” Instantly, the flush of life came back into those hitherto pale, cold cheeks; the warmth of blood circulating anew went through the entire body, for “her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and He commanded to give her meat.” What a moment of joy it must have been to the parents as they clasped their darling in their arms again alive and fully recovered from her disease.
While all this took place literally just as it is written here, it is also a wonderful picture which depicts the way in which those who are dead in trespasses and sins are brought into life through Christ. When a boy or girl puts his trust in the Lord Jesus, immediately he receives divine life; or, whether it be an adult, after years in which it has been demonstrated that the person is dead in trespasses and sins, when Jesus speaks and he hears the Saviour’s Word, he is quickened into newness of life.
But the young convert needs food in order to be strengthened and built up; and so, just as the Lord Jesus commanded that something to eat be given the little one, so today young Christians need the sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby.
As we think of the joy of Jairus and his wife when their little one was restored to them, we may well look forward with eager expectation to the wondrous moment when millions of parents are going to rejoice when the tombs give up their dead, and their dear ones, who have been taken from them here on earth, shall be given back to them in that glorious day of Christ’s triumph. All who have died in Christ will be in that resurrected company, and we may be assured that loved ones will seek each other out and will know even as they have been known.
“When I shall meet with those that I have loved,
Grasped in my eager arms the long-removed,
And know how faithful Thou to me hast proved, I shall be satisfied.”
How sweet the words of Jesus, “I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die!”
Just one added thought, and it is this: There are experiences so sacred between the soul and the Lord that others could not comprehend, and might thoroughly misunderstand if we said much about them. The Lord Jesus charged these astonished parents that they should tell no man what was done. It was to be something between Him and themselves; it was altogether too sacred to be talked about, unless, indeed, as commanded of the Lord. And so, there are precious things revealed to the soul in communion with Christ that are not meant for the outside world. His gospel we are to give to everyone, but there are somethings too precious to pass on to those who have no knowledge of Christ.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Luke 8". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany