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We have here an Account of some Women who ministered unto Christ. The Parable of the Sower. Jesus on the Water. The Man dispossessed of the Legion: the Daughter of Jairus raised from the dead; and the Woman healed of the bloody Issue.
(1) And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, (2) And certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, (3) And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others which ministered unto him of their substance.
It must have been very blessed to have followed the Lord Jesus in this circuit of his preaching. Our Great High Priest and Bishop going through his diocese, attended by the twelve, proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom. Reader! do not forget, however, that spiritually, the same is daily doing now. Matthew 28:19-20 . Concerning those women, it will be proper to observe, that having received from the Lord Jesus spiritual mercies to their souls, as well as temporal mercies to their bodies, they gladly ministered to Jesus of their time and substance. It is remarkable, that none of the Evangelists have recorded this great miracle shewn to Mary Magdalene, they only speak of the thing itself being done; but have not mentioned, as in other cases, the time. That this Mary Magdalene was not the woman noticed in the preceding chapter, hath been shewn there. And to which it may be added here, in confirmation of the same, that she is said to have gone about with Christ in this circuit of preaching: whereas Jesus dismissed the woman in Simon's house, when he said, Go in peace. Joanna and Susanna, no doubt, were persons of some property; and it is blessed to behold, such as the Lord hath dealt bountifully by, in temporals, as well as spirituals, ministering to the necessities of Christ and his family. The Corpus Christi, that is, the body of Christ, in his mystical members, is in every place; and Jesus takes every act done to them, in his name, as done to himself. See, in proof, Matthew 25:40 ; Mark 9:41-42 .
(4) And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: (5) A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. (6) And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up it withered away, because it lacked moisture. (7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it; (8) And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundred fold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (9) And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? (10) And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (12) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe, and be saved: (13) They on the rock are they which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (14) And that which fell among thorns are they which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (15) But that on the good ground are they which, in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (16) No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. (17) For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest: neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad. (18) Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (19) Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. (20) And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without desiring to see thee. (21) And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
The parable of the sower is so fully explained by our Lord himself, that it can need no farther comment. For the observations made on the whole discourse of Christ, in those verses, I refer the Reader to the parallel passages. Matthew 3:13 , etc. Mark 4:1 , etc. Matthew 12:46; Matthew 12:46 .
(22) Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. (23) But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. (24) And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish, Then he arose, and rebuked the wind, and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. (25) And he said unto them, Where is your faith? and they, being afraid, wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
In addition to the observations made on this situation of Christ and his disciples on the lake, Matthew 8:23-27 , I would only just remark, that exercises, like these, for trial, are among the most precious tokens of divine love. It is blessed to be brought into difficulties, where those difficulties afford a better opportunity for the larger display of divine strength, made perfect in human weakness. When nature is unable to help, grace becomes more sweet and valuable. And, however it may be a paradox to the world, yet it is not so with the people of God; they know the blessedness of the apostle's state, and can fully ascribe to his sentiments, when he saith, Most gladly will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me; for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 .
(26) And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. (27) And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs: (28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee torment me not. (29) (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) (30) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? and he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. (31) And they besought him, that he would not command them to go out into the deep. (32) And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them: and he suffered them. (33) Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. (34) When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city, and in the country. (35) Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (36) They also which saw it, told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. (37) Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about, besought him to depart from them: for they were taken with great fear. And he went up into the ship, and returned back again. (38) Now the man out of whom the devils were departed, besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, (39) Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city, how great things Jesus had done unto him.
I have so largely dwelt upon the circumstances of this history, in the parallel account given of it by Mark, that I think it needless to enlarge upon the subject in this place. I beg to refer the Reader to Mark 5:1-20 .
(40) And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him; for they were all waiting for him. (41) And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue; and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: (42) For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. (43) And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, (44) Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment; and immediately her issue of blood stanched. (45) And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter, and they that were with him, said, Master, the multitude throng thee, and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? (46) And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. (47) And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and, falling down before him, she declared unto him, before all the people, for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. (48) And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace. (49) While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead: trouble not the Master. (50) But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. (51) And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. (52) And all wept, and bewailed her, but he said, Weep not: she is not dead, but sleepeth. (53) And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. (54) And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise; (55) And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. (56) And her parents were astonished, but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
Both these cases here recorded, are incorporated one in the other; and so they are in the same history of each, given by Matthew and Mark. I have largely insisted upon the interesting particulars, Matthew 9:18-26 , to which I refer. If the Reader will allow me to make a short observation, in addition to what was there offered, it would be to say, that in the case of the woman touching Christ's garment, with such lively actings of faith, we may remark upon it, that such will ever be the result of that true faith, which is the operation of the Spirit of God. Those who attend ordinances, who express delight in them, and seemingly love to hear of Jesus: but in whose heart no saving change from nature hath taken place; may press upon Christ, as the throng here did: but the personal knowledge of Christ, and faith in Christ, is like this woman truly touching him.
The miracle of Christ, in raising the ruler's child, not only became a decided testimony of his eternal power and Godhead, but it served to teach all his redeemed family, that amidst all their dead and dying circumstances, that power secures for them the resurrection of grace here, and glory hereafter.
Behold! ye poor and afflicted of the Lord's tried ones, how Jesus, the Son of God, when he humbled himself to be made man, condescended to have his wants supplied by the bounty of his people. Oh! how hath he dignified the path of honest poverty by his bright example! Never, then, forget what Paul was commanded to tell the church: Ye know, said he, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be made rich. Blessed Lord! while I read thy sweet parable of the sower, oh for grace to discover that the pure seed of thy Gospel is sown in my heart, by thy sovereign power: and, from the fallow ground of my poor heart being turned up, and planted with thy grace, the fruit of thy righteousness may, in thee, and through thee, be brought forth an hundred fold. Enable me to embark with thee, thou dearest Lord, in the roughest sea, never being alarmed as long as God-incarnate is with me in the storm; who guides the helm of all my affairs, and will rebuke both wind and tide. And blessed be my God, my Saviour, my Holy One! Jesus, the Son of God, hath dispossessed the enemy from my heart; and now let me, as this poor Gadarene, sit at the feet of Jesus, cloathed in my Lord's robe of righteousness, and in my right mind. Yea, Lord, if, like the poor woman, deeply and long diseased, or even as the ruler's daughter, dead, Jesus can and will recover. He saith himself, I am the resurrection and the life. He that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Amen,
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany