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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 8:3

and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
  3. Bridgeway Bible Commentary
  4. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  5. Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament
  6. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  7. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  8. Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
  9. The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide
  10. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
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  13. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  14. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  15. Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament
  16. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  17. Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
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  32. The Bible Study New Testament
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  34. Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
  35. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  36. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
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  40. John Trapp Complete Commentary
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  50. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
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  55. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  56. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
  57. J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels
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  59. Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
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Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Chuza;   Demons;   Jesus, the Christ;   Joanna;   Liberality;   Love;   Mary;   Steward;   Susanna;   Thompson Chain Reference - Liberality;   Virtues;   Womanhood, Crowning Qualities of;   Women;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Devotedness to God;   Galilee;   Liberality;   Missionaries, All Christians Should Be as;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Joanna;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Deacon;   Mary;   Women;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Woman;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Communion (2);   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antipas;   Joanna;   Mary;   Nobleman;   Susanna;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Chuza;   Deaconess;   Education;   Herod;   Jesus Christ;   John the Apostle;   Judas Iscariot;   Mary Magdalene;   Nobleman;   Scribes;   Susanna;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Chuza;   Community of Goods;   Disciples;   Evangelism;   Guardian;   Joanna;   Luke, Gospel of;   Marriage;   Susanna;   Woman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chuza;   Joanna;   Luke, Gospel According to;   Manaen;   Steward;   Wealth;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Annunciation, the ;   Apostles;   Appreciation (of Christ);   Bag ;   Chuza ;   Discourse;   Humiliation of Christ;   James ;   Joanna ;   Logia;   Loneliness;   Magnificat;   Manaen (2);   Minister, Ministration;   Naphtali ;   Nicodemus;   Pillow;   Poverty (2);   Sisters;   Steward;   Steward, Stewardship;   Surname;   Susanna ;   Trial of Jesus;   Virgin Birth;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Woman (2);   Womanliness;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Chuza ;   Joanna ;   Mary Magdalene ;   Susanna ;   Woman;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Joanna;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   John the apostle;   Mary;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Chu'za,;   Jo-An'na;   Ju'das Iscar'iot;   Susan'na;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Joanna;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chuzas;   Hebrews, Gospel According to the;   Joanna;   Manaen;   Mary;   Steward;   Substance;   Woman;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Herod's steward - Though the original word, επιτροπος, signifies sometimes the inspector or overseer of a province, and sometimes a tutor of children, yet here it seems to signify the overseer of Herod's domestic affairs: the steward of his household. Steward of the household was an office in the king's palace by s. 24, of Hen. VIII. The person is now entitled lord steward of the king's household, and the office is, I believe, more honorable and of more importance than when it was first created. Junius derives the word from the Islandic stivardur, which is compounded of stia, work, and vardur, a keeper, or overseer: hence our words, warder, warden, ward, guard, guardian, etc. The Greek word in Hebrew letters is frequent in the rabbinical writings, אפיטדופום , and signifies among them the deputy ruler of a province. See on Luke 16:1; (note). In the Islandic version, it is forsionarmanns .

Unto him - Instead of αυτῳ, to him, meaning Christ, many of the best MSS. and versions have αυτοις, to them, meaning both our Lord and the twelve apostles, see Luke 8:1. This is unquestionably the true meaning.

Christ receives these assistances and ministrations, says pious Quesnel, -

  1. To honor poverty by subjecting himself to it.
  • To humble himself in receiving from his creatures.
  • That he may teach the ministers of the Gospel to depend on the providence of their heavenly Father.
  • To make way for the gratitude of those he had healed. And,
  • 5. That he might not be burthensome to the poor to whom he went to preach.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Herod's. This was Herod Antipas, the son of old King Herod, and the tetrarch of this part of his father's dominions.--Of their substance; of their property. This and other allusions show that Jesus did not throw himself upon the local and casual charity of the people among whom he travelled, but made, himself, a proper provision for the wants of his company, from the contributions of known and tried friends. From Luke 9:13, it seems that they were accustomed to travel with supplies of provisions and money. Perhaps Philip at one time, (John 6:5,) and certainly Judas afterwards, acted as treasurer and steward. In the same way, we ought, in all our religious enterprises, to make provision ourselves, in the most systematic and business-like manner, for all the wants which the most active sagacity can foresee; and never make faith a substitute for forethought, or expect aid, from divine interpositions, in emergencies which might have been provided for by prudential arrangements of our own.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

    Bridgeway Bible Commentary


    54. The sower (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-29; Luke 8:1-18)

    To visit all the towns of Galilee was a huge task. Jesus and his disciples were helped in this work by a group of women who went with them to look after their daily needs (Luke 8:1-3). Crowds of people came to see Jesus wherever he went, and were often a hindrance to the progress of the gospel. It seems that one reason Jesus began to teach extensively in parables was to separate those who were genuinely interested from those who were merely curious (Matthew 13:1-3a; Mark 4:1-2).

    The parable of the sower draws its lessons from the four different kinds of soil rather than from the work of the sower. The preacher puts the message of the kingdom into people's hearts as a farmer puts seed into the ground. But people's hearts vary just as the soil in different places varies. Some people hear the message but do not understand it because they are not interested. Others show early interest but soon give up because they have no deep spiritual concern. Others are too worried about the affairs of everyday life. Only a few respond to the message in faith, but when they do their lives are changed and a spiritual harvest results (Matthew 13:3b-9,18-23; Mark 4:3-9; Mark 4:13-20).

    Parables may provide a pictorial way to teach truth, but they are more than just illustrations. Their purpose is to make the hearers think about the teaching. Those who gladly receive Jesus' teaching will find the parables full of meaning. As a result their ability to understand God's truth will increase. But those who have no genuine interest in Jesus' teaching will see no meaning in the parables at all. Worse still, their spiritual blindness will become darker, and their stubborn hearts more hardened. Because their wills are opposed to Jesus, their minds cannot appreciate his teaching, and consequently their sins remain unforgiven (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12).

    Although the teaching of parables may cause the idly curious to lose interest in Jesus, the basic purpose of a parable is to enlighten, not to darken. A parable is like a lamp, which is put on a stand to give light, not hidden under a bowl or under a bed. The more thought people give to their master's teaching, the more enlightenment and blessing they will receive in return. But if they are lazy and give no thought to the teaching, their ability to appreciate spiritual truth will decrease, until eventually it is completely gone (Mark 4:21-25).

    Returning to the picture of the sower, Jesus shows that good seed will always produce healthy plants and good fruit if given the opportunity. The farmer sows the seed, but he must wait for the soil to react with the seed and make it grow. Likewise the messenger of the gospel must have patient faith in God as the message does its work in people's hearts (Mark 4:26-29).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Herod‘s steward - Herod Antipas, who reigned in Galilee. He was a son of Herod the Great. The word “steward” means one who has charge of the domestic affairs of a family, to provide for it. This office was generally held by a “slave” who was esteemed the most faithful, and was often conferred as a reward of fidelity.

    Ministered - Gave for his support.

    Of their substance - Their property; their possessions. Christians then believed, when they professed to follow Christ, that it was proper to give “all” up to him - their property as well as their hearts; and the same thing is still required that is, to commit all that we have to his disposal; to be willing to part with it for the promotion of his glory, and to leave it when he calls us away from it.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

    Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

    1. The Parable of the Sower
      1. Rich Towards God
        Luk 8:1-3 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.
        1. Luke 7:41-47 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.  42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?  43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.  44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.  45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.  46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.  47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
        2. In addressing this passage last week…we said, “People who recognize what Jesus has truly done for them love Him much!”
        3. Chapter 8:1-3 are a demonstration of this great love…they are rich towards God as they are supporting His ministry out of what they have.
        4. Out of the abundance of our hearts…we should give – Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
      2. The Soils​​​​​​​
        Luk 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
        1. “Para” means to come along side – a parable is a way of depicting a truth in terms that the people you are speaking to can understand.
        2. Sowing and reaping in a society like this would quickly be understood – if the people wanted to…
        3. Yet…down in verse 9, Jesus says, “Luk 8:9-10 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.”
        4. In the Bible, a mystery isn’t something you can’t figure out. It is something that you would never know unless God revealed it to you. In the Biblical sense of the idea, you may know exactly what a mystery is, yet it is still a mystery, because you would not have known unless God revealed it.
        5. The Soils…
          1. ​​​​​​​The Pathway
            Luk 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
            1. V. 11 tells us that the seed is the Word of God.
            2. Luk 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
            3. This speaks to those people who have a hard heart and a closed mind…they don’t want to hear; therefore they don’t hear.  Satan has successfully blinded them and stolen the Word from their ears.
          2. Rocky Soil
            Luk 8:6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
            1. Luk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
            2. This is the person who, in following their emotions, professes Christ yet only in their mind and not their heart.  To “quickly fall away” means that there was no true faith. 
            3. (v.6) says it withered because it lacked moisture – meaning it wasn’t truly connected to the true vine.  Jesus is the true vine and He is perfect and will not let us die.
            4. Rom 8:38-39  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39  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.
          3. Weedy Soil
            Luk 8:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
            1. Luk 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
            2. The weeds that choke are the cares and riches and pleasures of this life.  What are these?
            3. They are not necessarily sin items, rather they are things that we allow in our lives to distract us and divert us and cause us to choose them instead of God.
            4. One way to tell what your distractions are is to look at your thought life and your checkbook.  Are your thoughts on yourself; on what you want or what you think you need or your hobbies or your job?  Where does your money go?  Outside of necessities like rent and food, where does the majority of your money go?  Hobbies?  Toys? 
            5. God desires your relationship with Him to be more important that your cares, pleasures and riches!  Our focus should always be first and foremost on His will and His Kingdom.
            6. Mat 6:9-10 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
          4. Good Soil
            Luk 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
            1. Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
            2. Good soil requires a heart that is allowing God to transform it – a heart that desires and tries to obey faithfully over the long-haul.
      3. Our Choices
        Luk 8:16-18 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.
        1. Take heed – we are not to cover our light – and we can’t hide our hearts from the Lord!
        2. This parable can be received in two different manners – to the lost world it speaks to those who reject the Word, those who only receive on an emotional level, those who receive but don’t really repent from the world and those who follow Jesus with their whole heart.
        3. It can also, however, speak to the believer and the condition of his heart. 
          1. ​​​​​​​Do we hear the Word of God and reject it out of the hardness of our hearts? 
          2. Do we jump on the latest bandwagon and then jump back off the minute things don’t work the way “WE” think they should? 
          3. Do we walk through life allowing all the cares of the world, the lust of our flesh and eyes and our pride keep us in a state of immaturity in the Lord,
          4. Or, do we seek to follow the Lord with our whole heart?
        4. This passage clearly shows us that we have a responsibility to the Lord…
        5. If you are the person with the hard heart – it’s time for you to repent and turn back to the Lord!  It’s time to humble yourself and ask the Lord to both forgive you and renew your heart!  It’s time to ask Him to give you the desire for Him…He is faithful!
        6. If you are the emotional “jump here and there” person – it’s time for you to buckle down, slow down, seek the Lord and stay with what He shows you and quit following your flesh!
        7. We are called to continually evaluate our lives, our walk with the Lord and the leading of our flesh as compared to the Spirit.  Do we find our walk with Jesus choked out by the cares of the world?  If so, we are called to lay them aside…
        8. Heb 12:1-2 …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
        9. BUT…Jesus said at the end of the parable – let him who has ears, let him hear.  Thus, the real question for each of us is this:  “Do I want to be good soil for Jesus?”
        10. If we want to be people who honor God and please Him…we need to cultivate a live-style of walking, talking, loving, listening and obeying Jesus.  This is the idea behind “Abiding”.
        11. God’s heart is that we seek Him first…and that we love Him most – His heart is that we desire to find our help and hope from Him alone. 
        12. If we desire to be good soil, we will ask our heavenly Father what His desire is for every decision, for every direction and even for every word we speak.
        13. God’s heart is that we get to know Him – He has given us His Word to provide the opportunity for us to know His character, to hear His thoughts and to know His desires for His people.  He has given us the history of Israel – the Old Testament – so that we might learn from it and not repeat the mistakes but seek to emulate the successes.
        14. God has given us the New Testament so that we might see His great love, know His great salvation and seek a relationship with Him like no other.
        15. If we desire to be good soil we need to not only be open to hearing the Word, we need to be reading the Word EVERY DAY – man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every Word the proceeds out of the mouth of God.  We need strong meat!
        16. Finally, to be good soil, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit – the 3rd person in the Trinity.  Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would lead us in all truth.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome sin, it empowers us to minister grace and He will speak truth to our ears – truth that will never contradict the Word.
        17. Read through the book of Acts – the disciples didn’t accomplish anything outside of the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit!
    2. Conclusion
      1. ​​​​​​​As we conclude…have we received the forgiveness of sins that only Jesus can provide?  Have we considered the magnitude of our sin as it relates to our sinless and Holy God?
      2. We can only be forgiven, find our salvation, and go to be with God forever through faith in Jesus.  There is no other name in Heaven or Earth by which we can be saved.
      3. If we’re saved…what does our soil look like?  Are we good soil, weedy soil, rocky soil, or hard ground?
      4. What kind of soil do we desire to be?  Will we come to the altar and lay down all our cares, hindrances, weeds and thorns of life and ask God to make us good soil?
      5. Jesus is waiting at the door of your heart…and knocking – how will you respond?
    Copyright Statement
    Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". 2017.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    the wife. She may have been the cause of Herod"s interest. . Mark 23:8.

    others. Greek. Plural of heteros. App-124. See Matthew 27:55. which. Marking a class.

    of = from. apo as in Luke 8:2, but all the texts read ek.

    substance = property.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    Luke 8:3.Joanna, the wife of Chuza It is uncertain whether or not Luke intended his statement to be applied to those women in the same manner as to Mary To me it appears probable that she is placed first in order, as a person in whom Christ had given a signal display of his power; and that the wife of Chuza, and Susanna, matrons of respectability and of spotless reputation, are mentioned afterwards, because they had only been cured of ordinary diseases. Those matrons being wealthy and of high rank, it reflects higher commendation on their pious zeal, that they supply Christ’s expenses out of their own property, and, not satisfied with so doing, leave the care of their household affairs, and choose to follow him, attended by reproach and many other inconveniences, through various and uncertain habitations, instead of living quietly and at ease in their own houses. It is even possible, that Chuza, Herod’s steward, being too like his master, was strongly opposed to what his wife did in this matter, but that the pious woman overcame this opposition by the ardor and constancy of her zeal.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

    Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

    1. Intro:
      1. John Gotz – Machaca Camp in Belize [Steve & Selena(Aliya)]
      2. Prayer Cards: Michael & Summer Voss.
      3. Prayer: Nancy Wragg – Greg; Garret & Hilary.
      2. A little company of women of wealth, taking care of the group.
        1. Mary from Magdala; Joanna of the official class(her husband wasHerod’s financial minister); & Oh Susanna.
        2. I think these ladies will have a special reward for caring for their Lord in this way! [Yet, if you have done this to the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me!]
        3. Ever notice there is no record of any women hostile to Jesus in the Gospel accounts?
      3. Isn’t it interesting that the Son of Man was content to be supported in that way?
        1. It is more blessed to give than receive, & it takes more grace to receive than it does to give!
        2. He was content to live on charity, while he carried on His ministry!
    3. PARABLE OF THE SOILS! (4-18)
      1. THE PARABLE TOLD! (4-8)
      2. A parable is a teaching device in which a principle is concealed & a truth revealed!
        1. It gives the hearer 1st sight then insight!
        2. It is a mirror & a window: [1] A mirror that forces us to look at ourselves; [2] A window in which we see God & His truth.
      3. THE PARABLES TAUGHT! (9-15)
      4. G. Campbell Morgan opened my mind to something I haven’t thought of before.
        1. Q: Did Jesus adopt this parabolic method in order to prevent people from understanding Him?
        2. Not see, not understand…What?
          1. If it is not see nor understand “at all” then why is he saying it?
          2. It is not for those who “get it”; & not for those who don’t “get it”…then why tell it?
        3. Jesus, in speaking to the great multitude said, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Hear what? I thought they couldn’t?]
          1. Was he mocking them? “I have something you can’t hear (understand), so hear this?”
        4. The Not seeing & not understanding quoted from Isaiah is speaking to not understanding the deeper truths(cuz of their hard hearts)
          1. Of course “the natural man can’t understand the things of the spirit, because they are spiritually discerned.”
      5. A parable then is not to hide all but to reveal some!!!
        1. A parable was intended to arrest & lure by picture method, by story method.
        2. He was hiding the mystery of the kingdom from these men, not the fact of the kingdom. (G.Campbell Morgan; Gospel of Mark; pg.94)
          1. He was revealing the basics, & hiding the deeper mysteries.
        3. He was employing the last & only method possible in public teaching, in showing them as much as may be seen.
        4. By telling them a story He seeks to hasten their steps toward the heart of God.
          1. Prov.25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings to search out a matter.”
      6. EXPLAINED! (11-15)
      7. The Sower – Jesus 1st, Apostles, 2nd, us 3rd.
      8. The Seed – The Word as Jesus clearly defines.
      9. Sowing seed in bible times:
        1. The farmer carried a large bag of seed on his donkey. Then he would fill his leather bag that he would carry under his arm.
        2. The seed was broadcasted liberally, & then it was covered by the plowing.
        3. A footpath often times cut across his field which the public would use. As the farmer would scatter seed some would always land on this.
          1. The birds would be quick to score a free meal. Often times large flocks would often follow the farmer.
          2. Like the seagulls if you’ve ever been Deep Sea fishing.
        4. Rocks were under the soil & couldn’t be seen, thus no deepness of earth.
        5. Many thorn bushes were present. The native farmer would use these in the summer for outdoor fires for cooking meals. (Manners & Customs; pg.175)
          1. So, he wouldn’t have gotten rid of all of these.
        6. Also when they would burn a field, often times it would just burn them to the surface…but their root would remain!
      10. The Soil and its condition - is the human heart!
      11. Jesus’ emphasis was on the soil, rather than on the sower, or the seed…so that’s where we’ll place our emphasis!
      12. [1] WAYSIDE – THE HARD HEART!
      13. This seed had no shelter. It was exposed instead of buried within the heart!
      14. I have normally blamed Satan for this. But I loved Spurgeon’s perspective…
      15. It’s easy for birds to pick up seed which lies exposed on a trodden path.
        1. If the soil had been good & the seed had entered it, he would have had far greater difficulty.
        2. But a hard heart does the Devil’s work for him.
        3. There lies the un-received word on the surface of the soul, & he takes it away.
        4. The power of the evil one largely springs from our own evil!
      16. Then the Devil comes & takes away – We may be careless about souls, but the Devil never is.
        1. Although the seed lay there on the surface & had never penetrated the soul, & although that grain had been trampled, Satan was not satisfied.
        2. He said, “there may be life in it, & if there is, it is dangerous to have it lying there, for it may grow.” So he takes it away altogether. (Spurgeon At His Best! #1824)
        3. The thief hear is Punctual(“immediately” Mk.4:15); Powerful(“takes away”); Practical(“lest they should believe”).
      17. Biblical Examples: Pharaoh & Felix.
      18. Hard hearts can be plowed up!
        1. Hosea 10:12 " Break up your fallow(untilled) ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
        2. Q: Did the Lord have to plow up some things in your life to get your attention right before you got saved?
        3. Let’s pray this for our friends who have hard hearts. And for our own hearts when they go through calloused times.
      19. [2] ROCKS – SHALLOW HEARTS!
      20. Fat heads & short bodies! – My carrots in my garden, because I didn’t go deep in my rocky soil.
      21. An emotional hearer! - Easily swayed by “a tender appeal, a good sermon, or a sweet melody.”
        1. This person lives on “impulses, impressions, intuitions, instincts, & largely on their circumstances!”
        2. They joyfully accept God’s Word, but do not really understand the price that must be paid to become a genuine Christian.
        3. They’re like the Salmon that leaps out of the water w/great energy, but it would be foolish to think that he has left the water for good!
          1. In a moment the fish is swimming again as if it had never left the stream. The water is still his home.
        4. They’ve only been “brushed” by Christianity!
          1. It’s the person who was touched by a sermon on Sunday, but forgot it by Monday!
      22. Biblical Examples: Rich Young Ruler. The son that told dad “I go sir & went not”.
      23. You see great enthusiasm for days, weeks, months; but when the sun of persecution or difficulty comes out, enthusiasm wanes & the joy disappears.
        1. This is where so many of the enemies of the faith come from!
        2. Man is pretty good at counterfeiting religious feelings!
      24. [3] THORNS – CROWDED HEARTS!
      25. The preoccupied heart!
      26. Three is a crowd: Cares & Riches & Pleasures.
        1. Cares & Riches – (exact opposites)
          1. Riches – wealth, with the dissatisfaction it creates.
          2. Cares - poverty & the anxiety/worries it creates.
        2. Pleasures – the pleasures of life.
      27. Lack of weed killer! [They need a good dose of Round Up!]
        1. He or she receives the Word, but does not truly repent & remove the weeds out of his or her heart!
        2. See, a gardener must not only love flowers & fruit, But hate weeds!
      28. No fruit to maturity - “Fruitless Christians”…an oxymoron? [it never ripens!]
      29. Jer.4:3 "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.”
      30. Biblical Examples: Achan; Gehazi, Judas, Demas.
      31. Note the 3 fruitless hearts each were influenced by a different enemy:
        1. [1] Hard Heart – The devil himself snatches the seed.
        2. [2] Shallow Heart – The flesh counterfeits religious feelings.
        3. [3] Crowded Heart – The things of this world smothers the growth & prevent a harvest!
      33. Here are the fantastic Four: Ground cleared; ploughed; softened; watered.
      34. This is the Honest Heart! – Recognizing, Receiving, Returning, Reproducing.
      35. These are true believers…they have a changed life. They bear fruit which is evidence of the true believer!
        1. The other 3 hearts produced no fruit!
      36. None of these soils are hopeless!
        1. The fallow(untilled) ground – can be broken up.
        2. The rock - can be shattered.
        3. The thorns - can be uprooted.
      37. This parable helps us to examine our hearts to see how we respond to the Word.
      38. Q: How is the soil of your heart today! Can His word penetrate it?
        1. Note the 3 different prepositions: “by the wayside”; “on the rock”; “among thorns”; “into the good ground”(in the lit.).
      39. Q: What can you do to become the kind of soil Jesus is looking for?
        1. It is not just what we hear(Gospel message, good doctrine, inspirational challenge); but how we hear! (simply, sincerely, sympathetically)
        2. The seed of truth will grow only in receptive soil!
    4. PARABLE OF THE LAMP! (16-18)
      1. ​​​​​​​This parable is to reinforce the message of the parable of the Soils!
      2. The lamp is for seeing, & truth is for hearing!
      3. Those who have heard the word w/faith & commitment have the light, & the light is for sharing that others may see.
        1. God intends that light to be seen, not hidden

    Eugene O. Peterson wrote a book entitled Run With the Horses, that I dare you to read sometime.

    In the book he makes this statement: The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There's little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities, but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People aimless and bored amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness get headlines.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are the property of Brian Bell.
    Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Brian Bell Commentary". 2017.

    The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide


    Ver1.—And the twelve (apostles) were with Him, i.e. they accompanied Jesus as He went through the cities and villages preaching.

    Ver2.—And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils. These women followed Christ (1.) out of gratitude, because He had healed their diseases, and cast out the devils which possessed them. (2.) For safety, lest if they were away from their physician, their former ills might again overtake them. (3.) From pious motives, that from His companionship and preaching they might advance in holiness.

    Mary. In Hebrew, Mary signifies a "bitter sea" of repentance. Bede.

    Called Magdalene. As we have before explained, from the castle or fort near Bethsaida and Capernaum. S. Augustine infers that she was a married woman (Hom33), and therefore calls her not a harlot but an adulteress. But according to S. Jerome, the author of the commentary on S. Mark calls her a widow, which is much the same thing; so also Jansenius, Luke and others. That she was an inhabitant of Juda, and like Lazarus and Martha lived at Bethany, is clear from S. John xii1. Adricomius, in his description of the Holy Land, tells us that the Magdalene"s home was situated on the shore of the sea of Galilee, and towards the north-east looks out on an extensive plain, and that it was called Magdala from the battlements and towers, wherewith it was fortified. Hence Jerome asserts that she was rightly called Magdalene, that is to say, "turreted" because of her zeal and love. Josephus makes mention of this castle, and tells us that Agrippa fruitlessly sent an expedition against it.

    In the Hebrew then Magdalene signifies (1.) turreted, or tower-bearing, from the root ξβψμ migdol, a tower; for she was tall of stature, and of a yet loftier mind. "Thy neck is like the tower of David," Son4:4. (2.)Or "magnificent" (Origen), or "magnified," according to Pagninus, because, says Origen, she followed Jesus, ministered unto Him, and beheld the mystery of His Passion. For the root φψμ gadal, means, "to be great and magnificent," and the Magdalene was greatly exalted by Christ. (3.) Pagninus says that Magdalene means, "remarkable for the standard," "bearing, or raising the standard," from the root ψφμ deghol, which, when the letters ghimel and daleth are transposed, signifies a standard. For the Magdalene raised the standard of penitence and love, and of the contemplative life. Like as we read, "His banner over me was love," Son2:4. (4). Or otherwise, as the same writer remarks, the name means, "brought up, nourished," i.e. led by the teaching of Christ to a holy and a virtuous life. For the Hebrew αψμ gadal means the same thing as to nourish and bring up.

    Out of whom went seven devils, i.e. seven capital sins, pride, avarice, gluttony, luxury, anger, envy, and careless living. Bede, Theophylact and S. Gregory. For in a literal sense we are to understand that she had been possessed by devils or evil spirits, as I have before said, and that they had gone out of her, or (S. Mark 16:9) been cast out. So teach S. Ambrose, Euthymius, Jansenius, and others.

    We may conclude, therefore, that the Magdalene, because of her wickedness and sins, had been possessed by seven devils, and that with other demoniacs she had been made whole by Christ; that on her repentance she had obtained pardon and forgiveness, and, no longer under the power of Satan, but filled with the spirit of God, she devoted her whole after life to the service of Christ. John of Rochester and others.

    Seven devils, either seven in actual number, or "seven" in the sense of many, or all; for, as I have often pointed out, "seven" is the sign of multitude or totality.

    Ver3.—And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod"s steward (manager or treasurer, according to the Arabic version) and Susanna and many others which ministered unto Him of their substance. For they were rich, and grateful to their deliverer, and therefore sought to further His preaching, and to spread the faith.

    So SS. Plautilla, Priscilla, and many other rich and noble matrons ministered unto SS. Peter, Paul, Clement, and other Roman Pontiffs, and other orders of the clergy.

    And Susanna, an illustrious woman who, healed by Christ, had become His disciple. Her name in the Hebrew signifies "a lily." On, account of the sweet radiance of a heavenly life (Interlinear Gloss), and the golden fervour of her inward affection. Bede.

    Ver15.—Which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it. The Council of Basle observes that for the right hearing of the word of God there is required,

    1. A place fitted to receive it, i.e. an honest and good heart.

    2. A proper disposition, to "keep" the word when heard; and

    3. That best return, fruit brought forth with patience.

    A heart is honest and good, says Lyranus, because of the faith which illumines it, and good (optimum) in a higher sense because of grace working in it; or, as others hold, it is "bonum" because disciplined and exercised in virtue, and "optimum" because of inward peace and consolation. Again, it is "bonum" because purified from sin, and "optimum" because conformed to the will of God (Albertus Magnus); or "bonum" in discerning the truth, and "optimum" in its desire of that which is right (Bonaventura); or, according to S. Augustine on Ps. vii., "bonum" on account of the love it bears its neighbour and itself, "optimum" on account of its exceeding love for God.

    Hence we may take the Greek, ךבכח̃ ךבב̉דבטח̃, to mean the same as the Vulgate "bono et optimo," for the copula ךב, or "et," signifies gradation and increase. They, therefore, who keep the word of God in an honest and good heart bring forth fruit in proportion: good fruit if the heart is good, better if the heart is better, and the best fruit if the heart is perfect, i.e. thirty fold, sixty fold, or one hundred fold. S. Matt. xiii8. And it does not follow of necessity, as Toletus holds, that these words apply to different persons, for the heart of a believer may grow in grace, until at last it is "optimum," perfect in sight of God.

    With patience, ו̀םנןלןםח̃, i.e. in the endurance of labour, disappointment, and sorrow in the plowing, seeding, and harrowing of the soul, and in the long expectation of harvest.

    Ver26.—And they arrived at (sailed over to) the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

    Gadarenes. Gergesenes (S. Matt.), or as it is written in some MSS., Gerasenes. Some think that one and the same place is here signified, but Adricomius shows that Gadara, and Gerasa or Gergesa were two distinct cities, but that the surrounding country was named indifferently after either.

    The Vulgate translates "the country of the Gerasenes," because this was the best known name.

    Ver27.—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.

    "A man." S. Matt. says there were two. But as this one was the fiercer, and possessed by a legion, S. Luke and S. Mark mention him alone.

    But in the tombs1. The Jews, as I have before said, had their burial places without their cities. Their tombs were large and lofty chambers as it were, so as to afford burial to many, and to be easy of access to the friends and relatives of the departed. This is clear from what we read of the sepulture of Christ, of Abraham, Sarah, and others.

    This demoniac then was driven by the devils which possessed him to dwell among the tombs. For these reasons:

    1. In order to excite him to greater ferocity, and that he might be the cause of greater fear to the passers-by.

    Probably he was like what the French fable to be a "loup-garou," i.e. a man who after the manner of a wolf sallies forth by night and preys upon men and animals, while by day he hides himself in tombs and by hollows of the rocks. "So that no man might pass by that way" (S. Matthew 8:28), because passers-by were attacked and wounded by him. The evil spirits were mostly wont to attack those of a melancholy disposition of mind, as the more easily driven into the madness of despair.

    2. Because unclean spirits love to dwell in unclean places. Hence witches hold their sabbaths underneath the gallows.

    3. Because the devils rejoice at the death of men, and triumph over the souls of them who are condemned to hell.

    4. S. Chrysostom, Euthymius, and Theophylact add that he dwelt amongst the tombs, to persuade men that the souls of the dead are changed into devils, who abide in the sepulchres wherein their bodies are buried. Hence demoniacs from time to time have cried out, I am the soul of Peter, or of Paul, or of John.

    Ver28.—When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before Him. S. Mark (chap. v6), adds, "And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him," i.e. bent the knee before Him. Because he felt the power of Christ"s presence, and was therefore compelled to draw nigh and worship Him, for fear lest, if he acknowledged not the Lord, he might receive greater punishment; and again, Christ caused him to act thus in order that an opportunity might be afforded for his cure.

    Son of God most high. It would seem that the devil, who in the temptation had not recognised Christ, now after so many miracles acknowledged Him to be the Messiah, the Son of God; yet, blinded by pride and hatred, he hesitated to believe that the Son of God had stooped to take upon Him our flesh, and thought it impossible that by His death upon the Cross the whole human race could be redeemed, because, as Aquinas remarks, in many ways God had hindered him from recognising, the truth. See S. Mark 4:12.

    Torment me not. Do not cast me out and bind me for ever in bell. See S. Matthew 8:31.

    Ver29.—For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. From this and similar passages it is clear that the devils are permitted by God to dwell on earth and tempt mankind. Hence it is the custom of the Church to bury the bodies of the faithful in consecrated ground in order that they may rest therein free from the assaults of evil spirits, and may profit by the prayers of the living.

    Ver30.—And Jesus asked him, i.e. one of the devils, saying, What is thy name? For Christ willed that the evil spirit should declare his name, that from it the number of the devils, and thence the mightiness of the power which expelled them, might be known.

    And he said, Legion. A legion was composed of6000 men, and S. Ambrose thinks that this was the exact number of the devils; others, following the Scripture, take the word generally as meaning "many," "because many devils were entered into him."

    S. Gregory of Nyssa adds, "The devils, imitating the angelic host call themselves Legion; nay more, they would liken themselves to God Himself, who is called the Lord God of Sabaoth, i.e. the Lord of Hosts. For Satan is the counterfeit and mockery of God."

    Learn then how great must be the number and the malignity of the devils, that so many should possess one man. So we read in the life of S. Dominic, that very many devils were cast out of a man by his prayers and entreaties.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded on all sides by so many spiritual foes, we must give ourselves continually to watching and prayer, in order to obtain the victory over them, as Antony, who was wont to say that all temptations could be overcome by the Cross of Christ, by calling on Him, and by praying in the spirit.

    Wherefore if any one determines to serve God perfectly, 1et him be well assured that he has arrayed against him, not one legion of devils only, but many, even Satan himself, and all the dwellers in hell. Hence the Apostle ( Ephesians 6:12), "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

    Following the example of Christ, S. Hilarion is said to have healed a demoniac possessed by Legion. It is said that after he prayed to the Lord that He would release the afflicted man from his misery, there were heard various voices proceeding from the mouth of the demoniac, and as it were the clamour of much people. And straightway the demoniac was healed, and presented himself not long after with his wife and children at the monastery, bearing gifts in gratitude for his cure.

    Ver31.—And they besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the deep. For although the devils, whilst they go to and fro on earth, are consumed by the fires of hell, yet it is some gratification, to them that they are not shut up in prison, but are permitted to tempt men to sin, and make them sharers in their condemnation. For they hate God and envy men, because men are heirs of that kingdom from which they by pride fell. Emmanuel Sa very appropriately remarks, "God has appointed a punishment suited to each sin. Hell for the lusts of the flesh; gnashing of teeth for ribald laughter; thirst for self-indulgence and gluttony; the worm for an evilly disposed heart; darkness for ignorance and self deceit; the deep for pride, and therefore for the devil and his angels."

    Ver32.—And there was there an herd of many swine (about two thousand, S. Mark 5:2) feeding on the mountain (nigh unto the mountain, S. Mark, ibid.). But for what purpose were these swine, inasmuch as they were forbidden to the Jews by the law of Moses? Gadara, although a city of Judæa or rather of Galilee, had, according to Josephus, been assigned by Cæsar for a dwelling-place to the Syrians and Gentiles; who were not prohibited from keeping swine. And again, the Jews might have been feeding the swine, not for their own eating, but for other purposes: to sell them to the Gentiles for the use of the Roman soldiery, or in order to provide lard for the greasing of their chariot wheels.

    And they besought Him that He would suffer them to enter into them. The devils made this request:

    1. In order that, inasmuch as they were unable to injure men directly, they might injure them indirectly through their property or possessions.

    2. That, as actually came to pass, they might stir up the ill-will of the inhabitants against Christ.

    3. Because unclean spirits delight in unclean things. Hence the devil is said to be worshipped by the witches in form of a he-goat. But from this entreaty S. Antony, according to S. Athanasius, infers the powerlessness of the devils. "For how," he says, "can they who are feign to seek permission to enter into the herd of swine, have any real power over man, made in the image of God. Great, my brethren, are our means of defence against the hosts of Satan: an honest and pure life, and unfeigned faith towards God. Believe me, Satan fears the prayers and fasting, the meekness and self-denial, the humility and contempt of vainglory, the compassion and self-command, and above all the heart purified by the love of Christ, of those who are living godly lives. For the old serpent, the worst enemy of man, knows that he lies under the feet of the righteous according to the word of the Lord which saith, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy."" S. Luke 10:19.

    And He suffered them. Christ granted the request of the devils: 1. To show that He had power over the evil spirits, and that they without His leave could do no evil to swine, much less to men. Hence, as we have seen, S. Antony says that they are not to be feared2. To demonstrate the number, strength and malevolence of the devils, and to make manifest by their expulsion the greatness of His power and glory. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euthymius3. To refute the error of the Sadducces, who say that there is "neither angel nor spirit," Acts xxiii8. Hilary. Rupert adds, That the Gadarenes were Jews, who kept swine contrary to the laws, and that the destruction of the herd was a punishment for their disobedience; but this interpretation I have shown to be wrong.

    Mystically. Christ did this to show men, who, after the manner of swine wallow in fleshly lusts and pleasures, that they in like manner are rushing into the abyss of hell, and also to teach us that we must account the loss of our earthly possessions as of small account compared with the destruction of the soul. For He permitted the devils to enter into the herd of swine in order to free the demoniac from their power; and to show how impure were the minds of the Gadarenes, and therefore how fitted they were to be possessed by devils; and yet further to intimate that those who live after the manner of swine fall an easy prey to the power of Satan.

    Ver33.—The herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake (the lake of Genesareth or sea of Galilee) and were choked. S. Jerome writes that the place where this happened was well known in his day. The Syriac gives this rendering, "The whole herd hurried up the mountain, and thence rushed into the sea."

    Ver34.—When they that fed them saw what was done they fled (lest they also should perish. Titus), and went and told it in the city and in the country. To the owners, in order that they might demand redress from Christ, who had given the swine up to the power of the devils, and not blame those who were in charge of the herd for their loss.

    Ver35.—Then they (the inhabitants of the city and country round about) went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus. They first wished to ascertain the extent of their loss. Then they "came to Jesus," to see the author of the mischief which had befallen them, and the man from whom the devils had been cast out. For their loss was so great that they were anxious to see whether there was any possibility of redress.

    And found the man out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind. It is very probable that the man, as soon as the devils were cast out, fell on his knees at the feet of Christ to give Him thanks, and that when bidden to sit down, in reverent humility he placed himself at Jesus" feet.

    And they were afraid. Lest Christ should punish them because of their anger and murmurings against Him, and perhaps give them up to the power of the devils.

    Ver37.—Then the whole multitude (the whole city, S. Matt.) of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought Him to depart from them. They did not make their request out of humility, because they considered themselves unworthy of the presence of Christ, as S. Jerome thinks, but out of distrust and fear, lest His continuing amongst them might cause them further loss. For they knew that Jesus was a Jew by nation, a holy man, and possessed of divine power, and that they were Gentiles of an alien race. They therefore feared lest He might inflict further punishment upon them because of their different religion and their past sins. They feared as did the widow of Sarepta, when she exclaimed, "What have I to do with thee, 0 thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?"

    1 Kings 17:18.

    Therefore not from any ill-will, but rather from a reverential awe, they besought Jesus to depart out of their coasts. For sinners, knowing that righteousness and sin cannot exist together, fear the presence of holy men, because of the zeal with which they seek the correction of sinners and the punishment of sin.

    And He went up into the ship, and returned back again, from the country of the Gadarenes to Capernaum. S. Matt. ix. i. For He would not force Himself or His ministration on those who were unwilling to receive them.

    Ver38.—Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that He might be with Him. In gratitude for the mercy he had received, and in hope of further benefits.

    But Jesus sent him away, saying,

    Ver39.—Return to thy own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee, by means of Me, that therefore acknowledging Me to be the Messiah, and laying aside their bitter feeling because of the loss of their swine, they may believe and be saved.

    And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city (in Decapolis, S. Mark 5:20) how great things Jesus had done unto him. This city was in the neighbourhood of Gadara, and near it were the tombs in which the demoniac used to dwell. It is very probable that, besides Jews, some of its inhabitants were Gentiles and unbelievers; to them, therefore, he would tell of his belief in Christ, in order to lead them to acknowledge the Son of God. S. Ambrose and S. Chrysostom.

    Mystically. S. Gregory explains (Moral lib. vi. cap. xvii.), that Christ here would teach us to prefer the contemplative to the active life." For when our thoughts are once awakened to divine truths, we are unwilling to be taken up again with earthly concerns, and refuse to be burdened with our neighbours" wants and necessities. We seek the quiet of contemplation, and long for nothing but that which without labour refreshes the mind. But truth bids us return home, and show what great things have been done unto us in order that the mind may be first exercised in working, and then refreshed by contemplation.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Lapide, Cornelius. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. 1890.

    Chuck Smith Bible Commentary


    And it came to pass afterward, as he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene ( Luke 8:1-2 ),

    She was from Magdala, and because there were many Mary"s, she was identified as Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalen. Jesus was called Jesus of Nazareth because there were many people by that name also. And so to identify who He was, they referred to Him as Jesus of Nazareth. Common Jewish name, Joshua in Hebrew, and it was a common name for the little boys. And so to identify Him, it was Jesus of Nazareth. Here it is Mary of Magdala, and so they called her Magdalene because that was the city from which she came.

    And Jesus had cast seven devils out of her, and Joanna who was the wife of Chuza who was Herod"s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance ( Luke 8:2-3 ).

    In other words, these women that were following with the company of disciples were taking care of their needs with their substance. They were the ones that were providing the food and taking care of those needs.

    I am certain that in heaven these woman who sacrificed to minister to the physical needs of Jesus during His lifetime have a very special place up there. And I imagine that they are very special women. We don"t really hear much about them, not much is said concerning them. But they, no doubt, are very special women, and have a very prominent place there in the kingdom of heaven. And it will be interesting to meet them, and to get their side of the story. Because if they are anything like my wife, they can tell you so many more details of the color of their hair and eyes, and what they wore, than I can ever remember. And so the fact that we have men gospel writers, we"ve lost a lot of details that these women will, no doubt, be able to fill in for us, and it will be interesting talking to them indeed.

    Now Jesus went about every city and village preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.

    Paul the apostle, as he was talking to the elders of Ephesus there on the beach of Miletus, and knowing that this is the last time that he will probably see them, he said, "You know how that I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but I have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house." He is talking about his ministry there in Ephesus, and he said, "In my ministry to you, I showed you and I taught you."

    There is much that we can learn from a lecture. But there is much that cannot be learned from a lecture, but must be learned by observation. As a person"s life demonstrates what he preaches. Many times what a person preaches is totally negated because the life that he lives is not in harmony with the message that he preaches. Jesus both preached and showed. He demonstrated the message of the kingdom that He was preaching to these people. The message of the kingdom of God was the central message that Jesus had to declare to man.

    Many people are confused about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. And there are some people who have tried to make it difference, and make spiritual kind of meanings and mysteries, and, "Has God revealed to you," brother bit. "The kingdom of heaven verses the kingdom of God." But the terms are used synonymously. Matthew usually refers to the kingdom of heaven. And the other gospel writers to the kingdom of God. But you can cross reference the scriptures and find that they are used synonymously. The kingdom of heaven usually refers to the kingdom of God when it has come to the earth. But it is all under the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is that kingdom where God is King. So when Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is among you," He was showing to them the kingdom.

    He lived a life in complete submission to the Father. He showed them what it was like to live a life in submission to the Father. He said, "I do always those things that please the Father." And He showed them what kind of a life it was when you lived in complete submission to the Father as King. And when you live in submission to God as the King of your life, you are living in the kingdom of God. It"s just that simple. And there is no sense in trying to make some deep spiritual mystery out of it. It"s an extremely simple thing. So simple that a child can understand it. And so simple that unless you become as a child, you can"t enter it. You"ve got to get rid of all this hocus, pocus, mysteries, spiritualizing of stuff, because Jesus said it isn"t that. It isn"t some kind of difficult mystery, only revealed to some initiates. It is something that a child can perceive and understand. And you"ve got to come as a little child to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just as a little child says, "I love God, and I want to serve God." Bowing before God, acknowledging God as the King of your life, you"ve become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. That"s all it takes. Obedience to God, submission to God, and you"re a part of the kingdom of God.

    Jesus preached to the people of the kingdom of God. It was something that was central in their minds. They were anticipating God"s establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth at that time. Especially the disciples--they felt that when the Messiah came, He was going to immediately establish the kingdom of God upon the earth. But that was not God"s plan. But you remember that this was so important to them, that even when Jesus is saying to them, "Now I am going to go away, but I am going to pray the Father, and He is going to send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, that He may abide with you forever ( John 14:16 ). Now wait in Jerusalem until you receive this promise from the Father, which you"ve heard of Me. For John baptized you with water, but I am going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit in a few days." And they said, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom? Is this when you"ll set up the kingdom of God?" Jesus said, "Look, it is not given to you to know the times and the seasons that are appointed unto the Father, but you"ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you."

    They were anxious for the kingdom of God, and rightly so. Because they were living in miserable conditions as far as the world itself was concerned. We should also be anxious for the kingdom of God. And I tell you, there are times when I groan and cry for the kingdom of God. When I read the statistics of Orange County, the abused children for the month of September, and I read of all of these things that are happening to these little children, I tell you, my heart, it yearns for the kingdom of God. It cries for the kingdom of God to be established. How long, God, how long are You going to allow men to go on in his rebellion against Your kingdom? How long, God, will You forebear? And it is my prayer that the Lord come quickly and establish His kingdom. For I don"t think that mankind can go on much longer. I don"t think mankind will survive much longer. I think that it is imperative that God establish His kingdom soon. And as I look at the world today, my heart yearns for the kingdom of God. As I look at my little grandchildren, and I think of the world that they are growing up in, I tell you, my heart cries out to God. I don"t know what I would do, should some sex pervert touch one of my grandchildren. You probably would have to bail me out. I cry, "Oh God, come quickly. Things can"t go on much longer."

    But Jesus was preaching the good tidings, the glad tidings of the kingdom. And it is glad tidings. A glorious day is coming. A day when men will live with peace with one another. A day when God will reign. A day when we will see the earth as God created it and intended it to be for all times. Where the deserts are blossoming like a rose. And there are streams in the deserts. And rivers in dry places. The parched ground has become a pool. And the blind will see, the lame will walk, and leap as the deer and all. These were the things that Jesus was showing as He was healing the sick. As He was feeding the multitudes. He was showing the things that would transpire in the kingdom age. And He proclaimed how beautiful and glorious it is when a man lives in obedience to God and in submission to God.

    And so He preached and He showed to the kingdom of God. When Jesus was born and the angels announced to the shepherds, He announced it with these words, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" ( Luke 2:10 ). The angel was proclaiming the kingdom of God. "The King is born, He has come. He is over in Bethlehem. He is lying in a manger, you"ll find Him there swaddled." And suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" ( Luke 2:14 ). They were proclaiming the conditions of the kingdom. But the kingdom was to be brought by this child who the angel said, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord" ( Luke 2:11 ). And to those who have found Jesus as their Lord, they have entered into the kingdom of God. And you can begin to enjoy even now a part of the benefits of the kingdom. As God fills your heart with His love, and with His peace.

    Now there were many people that were gathered together, and they came to him out of every city, and he spoke to them by a parable: [And he said] A sower went out to sow his seeds: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 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 it sprang up, and it bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that has an ear to hear, let him hear ( Luke 8:4-8 ).

    Jesus was always saying that. And in His messages to the seven churches He repeated it to each church. "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches."

    How important that we have an ear to hear what God is seeking to say. I am constantly praying, "God, give me an ear to hear what You have to say." And that is more than just hearing, it"s understanding what God"s message to man today would be. "God, what is Your message to me? What are You saying to me? What are You wanting to say to me? God, give me understanding, give me an ear to hear." For I realize that unless the Spirit does teach me, I can"t learn. No matter how intelligent I might be, I cannot learn spiritual truth apart from the Spirit of God opening my heart to understand and to receive. For the natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned. God, give me an ear to hear.

    And so the disciples asked him, saying, What does this parable mean? And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others it is spoken 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 ( Luke 8:9-11 ).

    So we realize that the Word of God falls on different types of soil, or there is a different reception in the hearts of people to the Word of God. And the Lord is sort of illustrating the four types of people upon whom the Word of God falls.

    Now these are those that are by the way side, there are those that hear the word of God; and then the devil comes, and takes the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved ( Luke 8:12 ).

    Immediately there is just nothing, there is no penetration. The Word comes, but immediately Satan snatches it away, and it is as though they had never heard.

    They that are on the rock are they, which, when they hear the word, they receive it with joy ( Luke 8:13 );

    They have a great emotional experience.

    but these have no root, which for a while they believe, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among the thorns, is those, when they have heard, go forth, and they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and they bring no fruit to perfection [or completion] ( Luke 8:13-14 ).

    There is no real fruit that comes from their life. They hear, they receive, but the fruitfulness is choked out by pleasures, riches, cares.

    But that which fell on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and they bring forth fruit with patience ( Luke 8:15 ).

    Now as you look at your own life and examine yourself, on what kind of soil has the Word of God fallen in your life? In which of the four categories would you place yourself: A, B, C, or D? And it might be good to take a moment with an honest look at your own heart. Am I bring forth fruit unto completion? If not, why not? Have I allowed cares, riches, desire for pleasure, to choke out my fruitfulness? On what kind of a soil has the Word of God fallen in your own heart? God help us. That we might bring forth fruit, with patience. Be not weary in well doing, in due season we will reap, if we faint not.

    Jesus said,

    No man, when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under his bed; but he sets 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 you hear [be careful how you hear the word of God]: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have ( Luke 8:16-18 ).

    The importance of using what God has given to me for His glory. And if I do, God will add more. The Lord said, "Thou hast been faithful in a few things, now I will make you ruler over many things." That is always the process of God. Unless you are faithful in those little things that God has laid before you, He"ll never lead you any further. There are a lot of people who want to jump into something big, major work for God. That"s where they want to start. But they don"t want to, they don"t have time for teaching a Sunday school class. Or helping out in the nursery. "I want to do great things for God." And God always promotes through the ranks. Those who begin, and are diligent in those small things, God gives more. If you are not faithful in the little things, then who is going to entrust you the things of the kingdom?

    Then came to him his mother and his brothers, and they could not come in because of the crowd. And it was told him by certain ones which said, Your mother, and your brothers are standing outside, and they desire to see you. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brothers are these which hear the word of God, and do it ( Luke 8:19-21 ).

    Now in the previous parable there was that emphasis upon doing also. But here again, Jesus is declaring that that relationship that we have with Him who hear and do His word, is that of a brother. Close relationship.

    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 so they launched forth. And as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and they awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we"re perishing. And so 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 commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him ( Luke 8:22-25 ).

    It is interesting that Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith, when the ship was in jeopardy of sinking. Interesting, because from all appearances they were going to go under. "Where is your faith?" They weren"t listening when Jesus said in verse Luke 8:22, "Let us go over unto the other side of the lake."

    Now, when you have the Word of Jesus that you are going to go over to the other side of the lake, there is no way you can go under. "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear." But they weren"t listening carefully. And so when they were afraid that they were going to go under, He rebuked them because of their lack of faith, because He said, "Let"s go over."

    And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee ( Luke 8:26 ).

    The city of Gadara has recently been discovered in the last two years. And at the present time they are excavating the sight of the city of Gadara. Actually, they were building a new road up into the Golan Heights, and as they were building this new road, they began to come across these ruins, and so they halted their building, and called in the archaeologist, and they discovered the sight of the aged city of Gadara. And so they moved the road a few hundred yards, and are now excavating the city of Gadara. Interestingly enough, a couple of miles from the sight of the city of Gadara is the only place around the Sea of Galilee where there is a steep incline leading into the sea. So the very area where Jesus landed in His boat can be ascertained there today, and it is near the ruins of the ancient city of Gadara. So in this very area Jesus came with His disciples.

    And when they came to the land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils for a long time, and he wore no clothes, nor did he live in any house, but he lived in the tombs ( Luke 8:27 ).

    The rock tombs out there.

    And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice he 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, Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For many times it caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; but he broke the bands, and was driven by the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion: because many devils had entered into him. And they begged him that he would not command them to go out into the deep ( Luke 8:28-31 ).

    The word translated deep is the Greek word abusso, which in other places in the New Testament is translated the bottomless pit.

    There are four places mentioned in the scriptures as the places of abode for the wicked dead and for the disobedient angels and spirits. There is a place known as Tartaras, where certain angels are kept bound, awaiting the day of judgment. And they are bound in chains of Tartaras, awaiting that day of judgment. In the center of the earth, there is a place in the scriptures called Hades. In the Hebrew it is called Sheol. It is oftentimes translated grave, and many times translated hell. It is in the center of the earth. Prior to the death of Christ and resurrection, it was divided into two compartments, and in a few weeks when we get to the sixteenth chapter of Luke"s gospel, we will get a description by Jesus of what this place in the center of the earth is like, known as Hades.

    We know that it is in the center of the earth, because when they asked Jesus for a sign, He said, "No sign will be given to this wicked and adulterous generation, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" ( Matthew 12:39-40 ). And so when Jesus died, He descended into hell, into Hades, into this compartment in the center of the earth. And according to Peter, there He preached to those souls that were imprisoned. And according to Paul"s letter to the Ephesians, when He ascended He led these captives from their captivity, fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah, the sixty-first chapter, where He would "set at liberty those who were bound, and open the prison doors to those that were captive." And so Jesus led the captives from their captivity at the time of His resurrection. And they with Him ascended into heaven. However, Hades was divided into two compartments, of which there could be no concourse back and forth. And we"ll get that in Luke"s sixteenth chapter. And we"ll just wait till we get there, and talk a little bit more at that time.

    Now, somewhere upon the earth there is a shaft that goes from the surface of the earth down into Hades. This shaft in the scripture is called the abusso. It is translated the bottomless pit. And this shaft is the abode and incarceration of evil spirits. The antichrist will ascend out of the abusso, the shaft. When Satan is bound during the thousand-year reign of Christ, he will be cast into this same abusso, out of which the antichrist came. In the book of Revelation we read where an angel is given the key to the abusso during in the time of God"s Great Tribulation and judgment upon the earth, and he opens up the abusso, and when he does, these creatures that John graphically describes in the book of Revelation come out of the abusso and began to attack men upon the earth. These hordes of demons released, and attacking men during the Great Tribulation period. I mean, those who have made these fantasy movies haven"t seen anything yet. When you read of these creatures that will come out of the abusso, these demon apparitions, actually, and demons themselves who will come and attack men. And through the ultimate result, one third of the earth"s population will be destroyed. In the beginning they have power only to hurt men for six months. And then they begin to this other horse-like creatures have power to kill, and by them a third of the earth"s population will be wiped out.

    Now, when Jesus comes again and He destroys the antichrist and the false prophet, they will be cast alive into Gehenna. Gehenna is described as in outer darkness.

    Now how far out does space go? They say that they have discovered galaxies that are twelve billion light years away from the earth. When you get that far I don"t know how accurate your measurements can be, but give or take a view billion years. But if you continued out beyond the farthest galaxy and continued on into space until the light of our galaxy did not shine, it could be that Gehenna is out there. Or it could be that Gehenna is a black hole. Sucking everything into it, the gravitation is so heavy, that not even light can escape. But it is called in the scripture, outer darkness. This is where the antichrist, the beast, and the false prophet will be cast when Jesus returns to the earth. A thousand years later, Satan will be released out of the abusso, this pit. Now, Satan and the demons will be put in the pit during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ in the kingdom age, but then they will be released.

    Now notice, they are begging Jesus that He would not command them at this time to go to the abusso. They know that the time is coming when they will be consigned to the abusso. They"re begging further liberties now. Which, interestingly enough to me, Jesus gave to them. He did not at that time command them. "Torment us not, don"t send us to the abusso." And Jesus at that time did not send them to the abusso. However, they will have their time, when Satan is bound. Now, they will be released, and will create in the heart of wicked men a rebellion against God, and against the reign of Jesus Christ, and then they will be cast into Gehenna, where the beast and the false prophet are, and then the great white throne judgment of God when all men, small and great stand before God. And whosoever name was not found written in the Book of Life will also find his place in Gehenna.

    Blessed is he who takes part in the first resurrection, because he"s got it made, over him the second death will have no power. But this is the second death. It is God"s final consignment of the wicked. They hate the light, they will not come to the light, and so God honors their desire for darkness, and casts them into outer darkness.

    Way down in the depth of Oregon Caves they turned out the lights, and we experienced what the guide said was total darkness. And I mean, that was dark. We waved our hands in front of our faces to see if we could pick up any kind of a movement--you couldn"t. In fact, there is something that just sort of began to press in on you. I was glad when they turned the lights on. Because total darkness can freak you out in a hurry. Especially if you are a little kid and have a vivid imagination. They will be cast into outer darkness. And Jesus said of Gehenna, "Where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and the worm dieth not." And in the book of Revelation speaking of it, it said, "And the smoke of their torment ascended from the ages throughout the ages."

    So four places, by the grace of God, we don"t have to go to any of them. Because now he that lives and believes in Jesus Christ shall never die, we will be changed. We know that when this earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So we who are still living in these tents, our earthly bodies groan earnestly desiring to move out. Not to be unimbodied spirits, but we might move into that new building of God, not made with hands. For we know that as long as we are living in these tents, we are absent from the Lord, but we would choose rather to be absent from these tents, than to be present with the Lord.

    Some day you may read Chuck Smith died, don"t believe it, poor reporting. Chuck Smith moved out of an old worn out tent into a beautiful new mansion. A building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For Jesus said, "He who lives and believes in Me shall never die" ( John 11:26 ).

    But here they are begging not to be sent to the abusso.

    So there was a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain ( Luke 8:32 ):

    Now that"s illegal. These men were trafficking in illegal trade. It"s like growing cocaine or poppies. And so these demons, legion,

    besought him that he would allow them to enter them. And so he allowed them. And then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake, and they were choked ( Luke 8:32-33 ).

    Now my son would say this is the first account of deviled ham. I wouldn"t say that, but...

    Now when those who were feeding the swine saw what was done, they fled into the city, and they told the people what had happened. And so the people came out to see what was done; and they came to Jesus, and they found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, and he was sitting at the feet of Jesus, he was clothed, and in his right mind ( Luke 8:34-35 ):

    Healed, no longer naked and screaming and crying, and having to be bound with chains. But he is sitting there clothed, and in his right mind.

    and they were afraid. And they also which saw it told them by what means the man who was possessed of devils was healed. And then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about begged him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again ( Luke 8:35-37 ).

    Isn"t that tragic? The people were more interested in those swine than they were in this man"s deliverance. The loss of their swine was of greater concern to them than a man"s health. They begged Jesus to depart.

    But the man, out of whom the devils were departed, begged him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to your own house, and just show how great things God has done to you. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city the great things that Jesus had done for him. Now it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned [that is, back over the other side of the lake, Capernaum], the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him ( Luke 8:38-40 ).

    What a contrast, on the one side they were saying, "Would you please get out of here?" And on the other side the crowd is waiting.

    And, behold, there came a man name Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue; and he fell down at Jesus" feet, and he besought him that he would come into his house: For he had only one daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as he went the people were thronging him. And a woman having an issue of blood for twelve years, which had spent all of 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 was stopped. And Jesus said, Who touched me? And everyone denied, and Peter and those that were with Him said, Master, the multitude is thronging and pressing against you, and you say, Who touched me? Jesus said, Somebody has touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me ( Luke 8:41-46 ).

    It is interesting to me that in a multitude of people who are thronging and pressing against Jesus, there is one in the crowd who touches Him. Her touch was different from the pressing and thronging. It is interesting to me that how that the Lord can minister to people individually, even in a throng, even in a multitude. And here we are tonight a multitude of people gathered together, many pressing, many thronging. How many are touching, really receiving the touch of Jesus in your life, by faith reaching out and really touching the Lord?

    Here we have two cases, contrasting cases. Twelve years earlier, before the event that we read, this woman came down with a debilitating malady. She began to hemorrhage, and it would not stop. She had gone to many doctors, they treated her until her money had run out. But her condition did not improve, it was only worse. In that society, for a woman to be bleeding meant that she was unclean from a ceremonial sense and could not enter the synagogue or the place of worship. A woman afflicted with a malady for twelve years. The loss of the relationship with her husband, according to the law he could not touch her while she was hemorrhaging. She could not worship God in the synagogue while this condition persisted. And no doubt anemic and weakened as the result. For twelve years she lived in darkness, hopelessness, and was getting worse.

    On the other hand, twelve years earlier in the house of Jairus, a little girl was born, and as little girls, no doubt, brought great joy, and happiness, and light, and laughter, and beauty into the home. And for twelve years they enjoyed watching this little girl as she grew up, as her personality began to develop, and all of the cute wonderful things that she had done. In one household twelve years of darkness and despair, in the other, twelve years of laughter and beauty. And so they are approaching Jesus from different angles. In both cases, the light was going out. This woman was getting worse. She didn"t have any more money. She had only one hope. Get to Jesus, touch Him.

    To this dad, the light was going out. His little girl who had brought such life, and joy, and happiness into the home, was at home, and she was dying. And he had only one hope: get to Jesus. And as Jesus was going to his house, and it was urgent, the girl was dying. As He stopped, I imagine that Jairus was a little irritated that He had stopped over a triviality over, "Who touched me?" For as He was going, the crowds were going with Him and pressing Him and pushing Him, thronging against Him. And I can imagine Jairus saying, "Lord, let"s get unto my house; my daughter is dying. You don"t understand the urgency. Why stop over a triviality of someone touching you in this crowd?" But Jesus is persisting. And even the disciples are beginning to object, they said, "Lord, with people pressing and thronging You, what do You mean, "Who touched Me?"" Jesus said, "Someone has touched Me; I felt the virtue go out of from Me." And this woman stepped forth, and she knelt before Him trembling, and said, "I did it." And she told her story. Twelve years ago, twelve years that must have flashed on Jairus. "Twelve years ago I was stricken with a malady that ostracized me from the community, from my family, but I am healed. The moment I touched, I knew I was healed. I am healed; it stopped. I felt it, I know it." And Jesus continued on to Jairus" house, after saying to her:

    Be of good comfort, daughter: thy faith has made thee whole; go in peace ( Luke 8:48 ).

    Now as He was speaking, and Jesus no doubt knew this,

    As he was speaking to the lady, one of the servants came running up, and he said, Don"t bother the Master any more, [it"s too late,] your daughter died. But Jesus turned to him, and he said, Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole. So when he came to the house, he did not allow any men to go in, except Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the girl. And all of those that were weeping, and wailing because of her: but he said, Don"t weep; she is not dead, she is only sleeping. And they turned from their weeping, and laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And so he put them all out, and he took her by the hand, and called saying, Maid, arise ( Luke 8:49-54 ).

    The word in the Greek is my little child. Twelve years old, beautiful little girl, no doubt. Who has never seen a twelve-year-old girl who wasn"t beautiful? And He said, "My little child," very endearing term in the Greek, "arise."

    And her spirit came again ( Luke 8:55 ),

    You see, this indicates that at death our spirit departs from our body. Our spirit moves out of our body, and moves into that new body that God has. The real me is spirit, the real me isn"t this body. The body is only a tent in which I am dwelling for a while. It was designed by God to exist in the conditions of this planet earth. It was designed by God and purposed by God to be the medium by which I might express me. But the body isn"t me. Only the medium by which I express myself. The real me is spirit. One day my spirit will move out of this body.

    Now her spirit returned to her body. It had moved out. She was dead. The spirit had moved out of the body. But her spirit returned, came again in to her body.

    and she arose immediately: and he commanded that they give her something to eat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them [or commanded them] that they should not tell any man what was done ( Luke 8:55-56 ).

    Interesting little insights into the ministry of Jesus. The miracles that He performed, given to us by Luke, who being a doctor, was quite interested in these various healings that Jesus brought to the people. And interestingly enough, he uses terms that are medical terms in the Greek language, and can be found in much of the classical Greek in the very same types of diagnosis in records and classic Greek that Luke is describing here of those being healed by Jesus.

    Next week chapters9,10, as the Lord wills.

    May the Lord be with you and may the Lord bless you. May the Lord fill you with His love and give you His grace, His power to live and to be that God would have you to do and to be. For He would have you to live in His kingdom, the child of the kingdom, the joy and the peace and the love and joy that mark His kingdom. For the kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy.

    For extra credit get a concordance and follow up the kingdom of God and what the requirements are of that kingdom. You"ll find it a very fascinating study as much is written concerning the kingdom of G "

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    Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
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    Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

    John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

    Parable of the Sower. The Demoniac of Gadara

    1-3. Tours through Galilee. The ministering women (peculiar to Lk).

    2. Mary called Magdalene] see on Matthew 27:56.

    Seven devils] Mark 16:9. The 'seven' indicates the greatness of her disease, not of her previous wickedness. There is no evidence that the persons possessed with devils in the NT. were specially wicked, or that Mary Magdalene had ever been a woman of evil life.

    3. Joanna] see Luke 24:10. Our Lord did not, like the Pharisees,' devour widows' houses.' Those who contributed to His support were women of wealth and position. Chuza] probably the steward of Herod Antipas, who as such managed his house and estates. From Joanna St. Luke probably obtained much of his special information. Susanna] Of her nothing is known.

    Ministered unto him] This illustrates our Lord's precept (1 Corinthians 9:14) that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

    4-15. Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1; Mark 4:1). See on Mt.

    16-18. Further remarks on teaching by parables (Mark 4:21-25). See on Mk.

    19-21. His mother and brethren (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31). See on Mt.

    22-25. Stilling the storm (Matthew 8:28; Mark 4:35). See on Mt, Mk.

    26-39. The demoniac in the country of the Gadarenes (RV 'Gerasenes') (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:1). See on Mt, Mk.

    40-56. Jairus' daughter. The woman with an issue (Matthew 9:18; Mark 5:21). See on Mt.

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    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    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.

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    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    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).

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    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    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.]

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    Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

    Luke Chapter 8

    In chapter 8 the Lord explains the import and the effect of His ministry; and especially, I doubt not, its effect among the Jews.

    However great the unbelief, Jesus carries on His work to the end, and the fruits of His work appear. He goes to preach the good news of the kingdom. His disciples (the fruit, and the witnesses by grace, in their measure, in the same manner as Himself, of His mighty word) accompany Him; and other fruits of this same word, witnesses also by their own deliverance from the power of the enemy, and by the affection and devotedness flowing from thence by grace-a grace which acted also in them, according to the love and devotedness that attach to Jesus. Here women have a good place. (24) The work was strengthened and consolidated, and characterises itself by its effects.

    The Lord explains its true nature. He did not take possession of the kingdom, He did not seek for fruit; He sowed the testimony of God in order to produce fruit. This, in a striking way, is the altogether new thing. The word was its seed. Moreover it was the disciples only-who had followed and attached themselves to His Person, by grace and by virtue of the manifestation of the power and grace of God in His Person-to whom it was given to understand the mysteries, the thoughts of God, revealed inChrist, of this kingdom which was not being openly established by power. Here the remnant is very clearly distinguished from the nation. To “others” it was in parables, that they might not understand. For that the Lord Himself must be received morally. Here this parable is not accompanied by others. Alone it marks out the position. The warning, which we considered in Mark, is added. Finally the light of God was not manifested in order to be hidden. Moreover everything should be made manifest. Therefore they must take heed how they heard, for, if they possessed that which they heard, they should receive more: otherwise even that should be taken from them.

    The Lord puts a seal upon this testimony, namely, that the thing in question was the word, which drew to Him and to God those who were to enjoy the blessing; and that the word was the basis of all relationship with Himself, declaring, when they spoke to Him of His mother and brethren, by whom He was related to Israel after the flesh, that He acknowledged as such none others but those who heard and obeyed the word of God.

    Besides the evident power manifested in His miracles the accounts that follow-to the end of chapter 8-present different aspects of the work of Christ, and of His reception, and of its consequences.

    First the Lord-although, apparently, He takes no notice-is associated with His disciples in the difficulties and storms that surround them, because they have embarked in His service. We have seen that He gathered the disciples around Himself: they are devoted to His service. As far as man’s power to avert it went, they were in imminent danger. The waves are ready to swallow them up. Jesus, in their eyes, cares nothing about it; but God has permitted this exercise of faith. They are there on account of Christ, and with Him. Christ is with them; and the power of Christ, for whose sake they are in the storm, is there to protect them. They are together with Him in the same vessel. If as to themselves they might perish, they are associated in the counsels of God with Jesus, and His presence is their safeguard. He permits the storm, but He is Himself in the vessel. When He shall awake and manifest Himself, all will be calm.

    In the healing of the demoniac, in the country of the Gadarenes, we have a living picture of what was passing.

    As to Israel, the remnant-however great the enemy’s power-is delivered. The world beseeches Jesus to depart, desiring their own ease, which is more disturbed by the presence and power of God than by a legion of devils. He goes away. The man who was healed-the remnant-would fain be with Him; but the Lord sends him back (into the world that He quitted Himself) to be a witness of the grace and power of which he had been the subject. The herd of swine, I doubt not, set before us the career of Israel towards their destruction, after the rejection of the Lord. The world accustoms itself to the power of Satan-painful as it may be to see it in certain cases-never to the power of God.

    The next two histories present the effect of faith, and the real need with which the grace that meets it has to do. The faith of the remnant seeks Jesus to preserve the life of that which is ready to perish. The Lord answers it, and comes Himself to answer it. On the way (it is there He was, and, as to final deliverance, He is still there), in the midst of the crowd that surrounded Him, faith touches Him. The poor woman had a disease which no means at marl’s disposal could heal. But power is found in the Man, Christ, and comes forth from Him for the healing of man, wherever faith exists, while waiting for the final accomplishment of His mission on earth. She is healed, and confesses before Christ her condition and all that had happened to her: and thus, by means of the effect of faith, testimony is rendered to Christ. The remnant is manifested, faith distinguishes them from the multitude; their condition being the fruit of divine power in Christ.

    This principle applies to the healing of every believer, and, consequently, to that of the Gentiles, as the apostle argues. Healing power is in the Person of Christ; faith-by grace and by the attraction of Christ-profits by it. It does not depend on the relationship of the Jew, although, as to his position, he was the first to profit by it. It is a question of what there is in the Person of Christ, and of faith in the individual. If there is faith in the individual, this power acts; he goes away in peace, healed by the power of God Himself. But, in fact, if we consider in full the condition of man, it was not sickness merely which was in question, but death. Christ, before the full manifestation of the state of man, met it, so to speak, on the way; but, as in the case of Lazarus, the manifestation was allowed; and to faith this manifestation took place in the death of Jesus. Thus, here, it is permitted that the daughter of Jairus should die before the arrival of Christ; but grace has come to raise from the dead, with the divine power that alone can accomplish it; and Jesus, in comforting the poor father, bids him not to fear, but only to believe, and his daughter should be made whole. It is faith in His Person, in the divine power in Him, in the grace that comes to exercise it, which obtains joy and deliverance. But Jesus does not seek the multitude here; the manifestation of this power is only for the consolation of those who feel their need of it, and for the faith of those who are really attached to Him. The multitude know, indeed, that the maiden is dead; they bewail her, and do not understand the power of God that can raise her up. Jesus gives back to her parents the child whose life He had restored. Thus will it be with the Jews at the end, in the midst of the unbelief of the many. Meantime by faith we anticipate this joy, convinced that it is our state by grace; we live: only that for us it is in connection with Christ in heaven, the firstfruits of a new creation.

    With respect to His ministry, Jesus will have this hidden. He must be received according to the testimony which He bore to the conscience and to the heart. On the way this testimony was not entirely finished. We shall see His last efforts with the unbelieving heart of man in the succeeding chapters.

    Footnotes for Luke Chapter 8

    24: It is exceedingly interesting to see the distinct place of the disciples and the women. Nor, as said above, have the women a bad place. We find them again at the cross and the sepulchre when-at any rate save John-the disciples had fled, or, even if called by the women to the sepulchre, gone home! when they saw He was raised.

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    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (3) Joanna, the wife of Chuza.—Here again we have a convert of the upper class. The name was the feminine form of Joannes, and appears in modern languages abbreviated into Joanne, Joan, or Jane. Nothing further is known of Chuza—but the “steward” (the same word as in Matthew 20:8, and the “tutor” or “guardian” of Galatians 4:2) of the Tetrarch, the manager of his income and expenditure, must have been a man of some mark. We may think of him and his wife as having probably come under the influence of the Baptist or of Manaen, the foster-brother of the Tetrarch, probably also of one of the “servants” to whom Antipas imparted his belief that John the Baptist was risen from the dead. Joanna appears again in the history of the Resurrection (Luke 24:10). It is possible, as suggested in the Note on John 4:46, that he may have been identical with the “nobleman” or “member of the royal household” at Capernaum. On this supposition her ministration may have been the result of overflowing gratitude for the restored life of her son.

    Susanna.—The name, which meant a “lily” (comp. Rhoda, “a rose,” in Acts 12:13, and Tamar, “a palm,” in Genesis 38:6, 2 Samuel 13:2, as parallel instances of feminine names derived from flowers or trees), meets us in the well-known Apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel known as Susanna and the Elders. Nothing further is known of the person thus named.

    Many others.—It seems clear that St. Luke must have come into personal contact with some, at least, of those whom he describes so fully. They were, we may well believe, among the “eye-witnesses and ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2) from whom he derived much of his information. (See Introduction.)

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

    Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

    Luke 8:2-3

    This passage, one of Luke"s special contributions to the gospel narrative, describes the double circle of Christ"s followers.

    (a) And with Him, the twelve, i.e. those specially called to high enterprise and service. This represents the circle of people in the Church who are conscious of a definite vocation and moved by the Spirit of Christ to serve the Church with consecrated lives.

    (b) But alongside of these are certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, e.g. Mary Magdalene, etc. The dominating motion of their discipleship is gratitude for personal benefits. Theirs is not the vocation of the twelve, but they have their own place and work. The memory of their deliverance moves them to support by their gifts the disciples who form Christ"s inner circle (cp. Galatians 6:6). This represents the subordinate role of many in the Church, who rank among the followers of Christ, and who, though they cannot take part personally in the great Christian mission, can make the task of the active servants easier by their liberality and sympathy.

    —James Moffatt.

    References.—VIII:3.—J. Baines, Sermons, p214. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ix. pp118, 121. VIII:4-8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi. No308. VIII:4-16.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p229.

    A Sower

    Luke 8:5

    I. We have here, first of all, the Christian work described. It is sowing. But sowing is not the first agricultural process. The soil in its natural state will not receive the good seed and bring forth fruit. There are the primaeval forests to be cleared, there is the tangled undergrowth of thorns and briers to be removed. And then the ploughman must come with his share and break up the soil before ever there can be any harvest from the seed. "A sower went out to sow his seed." Not a pioneer with his axe, not a ploughman with his share, but a sower with his seed-basket scattering his seed. And why? Because this is pre-eminently the work of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was pioneer work to be done; that was done by the iron ploughshare of the law; that came first. And then, again, it is not merely that the Gospel work is this gentle work of the sower, but the sower gives to the earth that which it had not before; he gives life, he gives that which has life in itself, and which can produce life, by which the mineral can be raised up into the vegetable. The seed, as it were, the Godhead coming down into this dead earth and raising it up into beauteous life. Now this the function of the sower is our function.

    II. Notice the loneliness of this sower. A sower. Contrast the loneliness of the sower with the sociability of the reaper. The reapers go forth in bands, the sower goes forth alone. The great Sower was always a lonely Man. All the great sowers of the world have been lonely men.

    III. The sphere of the sower. "A sower went out to sow his seed." And you must go out And this implies self-denial, it means leaving many comforts, many luxuries, it means going out into the darkness. There can be no real reaping until, first of all, there has been the sorrowful sowing.

    IV. The seed must be your own seed. His seed. Not, of course, that he made it. He cannot make it; the seed is something which is far beyond his power. But it must be his seed, he must have toiled for it, it must be the fruit of his last year of labour; it is part of his brain, part of his hands" toil. And so it must be with ourselves. The seed must be ours. Have we this seed? Do we know something of this life-giving power of Jesus Christ? It is only thus that we can scatter the seed. God is calling out for sowers. We are told that when Captain Cook circumnavigated the world, he used to take with him parcels of our English seeds, and leaving his boat"s crew down on the beach, he would go inland and empty out one of these packets of our common English seeds, so that he belted the whole world with these same flowers. So we have come into this world, and we want to scatter those seeds of heaven wherever we go.

    —E. A. Stuart, Elisha"s Call and other Sermons, vol. viii. p193.

    Sowers (Sexagesima)

    Luke 8:5

    Subject: All Men are Sowers.

    The meaning of the text has been explained by Jesus Himself. The sower is the Son of Prayer of Manasseh, the seed is the Word of God, which is sown in different people with varying results. We may take the text, however, in another way. We are all sowers. As soon as we know right from wrong, we begin to go out and sow our seed. The child in the nursery, the child at school, the youth entering on life, the busy man or woman, all are sowers, sowing the seed of habit, of character:—

    Sow an Acts, and you reap a habit;

    Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

    Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

    II. Cultivating our Life Garden.—First, there is the weeding. The fairest garden will be ruined if the weeds are not kept under, the noblest life will be spoilt if sins and bad habits are allowed to get the mastery. How to get rid of the weeds. Take two hands to them, and pull them up. That Isaiah, clasp your hands in prayer and struggle with the evil, crying out to God to help you. Get the weeds up by the roots.

    III. The Seed and the Sowers.—We are all sowers, but we do not sow the same seed.

    1. Some sow the seed of frivolity or idle pleasure. To these life has no responsibilities, no serious purpose, the world is a playground, and like the Roman Emperor, they would give anything for a new form of amusement. Their motto is—Gather ye roses while ye may. But the time of harvest comes. To all sowers comes the time of ingathering, and whatsoever we sow, that shall we reap. If we sow only the seed of life"s roses, if pleasure be our only aim, the harvest is a sorry one.

    2. There are those who sow the seeds of selfish greed. The world is a mere gold mine, where they toil, shut out of the light of God"s countenance. If, like the fabled king of old, they have turned all things golden by their touch, they find they have no pleasure in them. They know that they must leave their riches to others, and strangers shall spend the selfish gathering of their lives. Like the French Cardinal, they may walk among their treasures, and weep over the thought of leaving them, but they must leave them all the same. However rich they may be, they die as paupers, for in the land whither they go, worldly money is not current.

    3. Some there are who sow the seed of extravagance and dissipation.

    4. Men sow the seed of selfishness, and they reap as a harvest a lonely old age, without love or companionship.

    If we would have a fair garden, we must sow good seed. If we would have a beautiful life, we must cultivate it for God.

    —H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Notes of Sermons for the Year, p121.

    References.—VIII:5.—F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. i. p203. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No2843. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p123. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p207. VIII:6-8.—R. Winterbotham, The Kingdom of Heaven, p14. VIII:6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No2845. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p454; ibid. vol. vii. p390. VIII:7—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Sermonettes for a Year, p44. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i. p168. VIII:9.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. i. p236.

    The Word As Seed

    Luke 8:11

    The similitude is so apt, that it seems to come of itself, and to be so familiar to us that we fancy it must always have been obvious to men. One is surprised to be told that it is not found in the Old Testament. Even in our classic literature parallels that are like it are few, and not very close. In fact, it is our Lord"s own, and bears the stamp of His original mind upon it—that truth operates in the sphere of our spiritual life as seeds do in nature, carrying a germinating or fructifying power wherever it meets suitable soil and favourable environment, so that we disseminate the Divine truth among men——like sowing seed broadcast, to grow where it can, trusting to the native vitality that is in it.

    I. My first point is that it is the truth of God by which we have to seek for the ultimate power of the new life. Of course, reason forbids us to divorce this truth from the Son of Man. Truth is sought apart from Him who is the Truth. Scripture bids us recognise the Holy Spirit at work vivifying the soul. Truth finds its adequate soil in human nature, and draws its fertilising and transforming energy from the presence within it of God Himself.

    II. My next point is that the truth of the Gospel reaches us through the Word of God. I have employed the word "truth "in preference to the expression "the word," because the latter is wider and governs something else besides. It governs the truth, but it also governs the expression and form and medium of the truth. The "word "is thought uttered in language. It is the sign that conveys the idea. It is both in one, and not the one without the other. It seems to me of some consequence that we should rightly comprehend the relation between the Gospel truth and its language or verbal form of utterance. Notice this, language of some sort is essential, and for the truth of God to reach the spirit of man it must clothe itself in something, either in the visible language of symbol, or in the clearer spoken and written word language. Unless it come to us in such a form we could not receive and understand it, or convey it to our fellows, or sow it abroad among men. Through words the truth must come; words acted, spoken, written, and printed. Through that marvellous medium, human speech, God Himself must speak His thought to me. And He has spoken.

    —J. Oswald Dykes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxi. p308.

    The Parable of the Sower (For Sexagesimal)

    Luke 8:11

    Perhaps the Parable of the Sower is the easiest of all our Lord"s parables; and happily it is also the pattern of all, the one by which the rest are best explained (see Mark iv13). All our Lord"s teaching is most truly practical, and it is only when we begin to try to live according to its spirit that its full meaning becomes clear; and even before putting it into practice our best chance of understanding it is to compare it, step by step, with what we already know of ourselves and our own hearts and our own lives.

    I. Who is this "Sower?" None of the Evangelists tell us precisely. Christ Himself says that the seed is the Word of God: and the Sower is often said to represent those whose duty it is to preach, the Ministers of God"s word. This is no doubt a lawful application of the figure, but assuredly it is not its first meaning. We may borrow the explanation from the next Parable, "The Tares". There we are plainly told that "He that soweth the seed is the Son of Man". Hebrews, without doubt, is the Sower here. The Parable is about Christ Himself, not merely about what He did or said as a Sower in the days of His flesh, but about His "sowings "from the beginning of the world till His Incarnation; His "sowings "from then till His Ascension; and from then till now, the sowings He is daily making among ourselves.

    II. But how does He sow His seed? Assuredly not by the lips alone; or how little by comparison would be included in the heavenly sowing. We are influenced by much which is never actually spoken. The ground cannot be the ear. That is a mere passage to our hearts and minds. It is there within that the Divine Sower, sowing good seed, and the enemy, sowing tares, are both at work; in the heart. He who sows the good seed is the same that made the ear and the heart, too. Whatever becomes of the seed, Hebrews, the Sower, is always the same, and He has a hand in every part of the process. He made us to be His tillage, to be under His constant care. The Heavenly Sower"s work is everywhere and at all times.

    III. "He that soweth the seed is the Son of Man." The (Incarnate) Son of God is known to us as "The Son of Man". Thus He speaks to us in the still small voice of our own nature. He can speak straight to the heart, without anything coming between. The difference between good and evil men (and God has spoken to both) lies in how they hear, whether they take heed, and act on what they have heard. It is the same good seed which is sown, whether it grows or perishes.

    IV. The different soils require little explaining, if we have any knowledge of ourselves. Have we not often felt and known that seeds from God have fallen on (a) the outside of careless hearts: that we have let them lie there uncared for, till in a week, a day, an hour, we have looked for them, and lo! they were gone? They had no hold on us, and were carried away without our making any resistance or effort to keep them.

    (b) Again, we have received other seed easily, perhaps gladly. We have not been hard, we have even been soft-hearted, emotional, enthusiastic; yet, withal with no steady resolve, no resolute conflict with evil thoughts, no quiet endurance; beneath the soft surface there was a rock of hard selfishness, and so the seed grew with a feverish growth, but lacking depth of soil, and moisture, it soon withered away.

    (c) Or, again, the plant of God"s sowing may be most surely choked and killed; and it will, if we do not see that the space round each seed is free. We all have our cares; we cannot change our place, but we can see that the seed is allowed free growth.

    However men may be divided, each of us has all the soils in his heart, and he has the sower always with him. God"s ministers may preach, His Bible may teach, but it is within that the true Word of Words is sounding. Though the corn may have failed, He will sow other; He neither faints nor is weary. Whatever resists is not from Him, but from the enemy. When we learn not to harden our hearts against the blessed influences of His Holy Spirit, then all barrenness and failure will cease.

    —F. J. A. Hort, Village Sermons.

    Luke 8:11

    Speaking of the Norfolk peasantry and their vein of coarseness, Dr. Jessopp, in The Trials of a Country Parson, concludes that it is idle to remonstrate. "You might as well preach of duty to an antelope If you want to make any impression or exercise any influence for good upon your neighbours, you must take them as you find them, and not expect too much of them. You must work in faith, and you must work upon the material that presents itself. "The sower soweth the word." The mistake we commit so often is in assuming that because we sow—which is our duty—therefore we have a right to reap the crop and garner it. "It grows to guerdon afterdays."

    References.—VIII:11.—F. B. Cowl, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. xvii. p190. F. St. John Corbett, The Preacher"s Year, p44. C. E. Beeby, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p331. F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. i. p82. VIII:11-15.—R. Winterbotham, The Kingdom of Heaven, p14. VIII:12.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year (2Series), vol. i. p121. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv. No1459.

    Seed Among Thorns

    Luke 8:14

    The three different instances of failure in this parable represent to us:—I. The seed carried off at the very beginning, before it has sunk into the ground and before it has had time to germinate. The picture of my text is that of a man who in a real fashion has accepted the Gospel, but who has accepted it so superficially as that it has not exercised upon him the effect that it ought to produce, of expelling from him the tendencies which may become hindrances to his Christian life. If we have known nothing of "the expulsive power of a new affection," and if we thought it was enough to cut down the thickest and tallest thorn-bushes, and to leave all the seeds and the roots of them in our hearts, no wonder if, as we get along in life, they grow up and choke the Word. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon," that is just putting into a sentence the lesson of my text.

    II. Note the growth of the thorns. Luke employs a very significant phrase. He says: "When they have heard, they go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life". That is to say, the path of daily life upon which we all have to walk will certainly stimulate the growth of the thorns if these are not rooted out. As surely as we are living, and have to go out into the world day by day, so surely will the thorns grow if they are left in us. Let us make certain that we have cast out the thorns. There is an old German proverb, the vulgarity of which may be excused for its point. "You must not sit near the fire if your head is made of butter." We should not try to walk through this wicked world without making very certain that we have stubbed the thorns out of our hearts.

    III. Lastly, mark the choking of the growth. Of course it is rapid, according to the old saying, "Ill weeds grow apace". You cannot grow two crops on one field. It must be one thing or another, and we must make up our minds whether we are going to cultivate corn or thorn. Our text tells us that this Prayer of Manasseh, represented by the seed among thorns, was a Christian, did and does bear fruit, but, as Luke says, "brings no fruit to perfection". Is not that a picture of so many Christian people? They are Christian men and Christian women bringing forth many of the fruits of the Christian life, but the climax is somehow or other always absent. The pyramid goes up many stages, but there is never the gilded summit flashing in the light, "No fruit to perfection".

    —A. Maclaren, The Baptist Times and Freeman, vol. li. p155.

    References.—VIII:14.—W. H. Evans, Sermons for the Church"s Year, p66. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i. p168. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p208. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. ix. p448. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p236.

    Patience with Slow Growth

    Luke 8:15

    This is part of our Lord"s description of the growth of Divine life in the human soul and in the world. If it were not for this allusion to patience with slow growth, we might have imagined that after once receiving the germ of new life in our hearts, we need not expect anything more than the easy, natural, and swift development of it. But here we are reminded that, as a matter of fact, we need patience in regard to it: and this is the point towards which we shall direct our attention.

    I. Let us first consider the need there is for the patience referred to in the text. Patience is not indifference; it is not self-contentment, it is not religious indolence—it is self-control in presence of disappointment, suffering, temptation, and seeming failure. It is the capacity to hold ourselves in calmness when our adversary is scorning us: it is the steady resolve which attempts new effort, and hopes for better things even when all seems to be against us for evil. There are few things more likely to bring about failure, whether in the spiritual life or in any other kind of life, than the expectation of failure. We may be helped to resist the temptation to inpatience by the reflection that as a rule what is slowest in reaching its end is highest in nature, grandest in result. You might almost measure the value of an effect produced by the length of time taken to produce it. As the loftiest moral nature is higher than the loftiest mental gift, so its attainment is slower.

    II. Let us turn our thoughts to the occasions for patience. (1) Our first application of it shall be to the development of our own Christian character, which is likened to seed, springing upward and rooting downward, appearing first as the blade, then as the ear and afterwards as the full corn in the ear—bringing forth fruit with patience. I can imagine that some get to be disheartened because they do not now seem to make the progress that they did at the beginning. In the first realisation they had of Christ"s love and ownership, they abandoned certain practices and changed very considerably their mode of life, but now there is not much alteration from year to year. They should remember that then they had to deal with what was lower, and therefore more swiftly attained; whereas now they are concerned with what is higher, and in it they ought not to be discouraged if only the heart is right and the aim is straight and the love to God is true, for already a process is set up which in God"s good time shall conform them to the image of Christ. (2) Apply this to our work for the Master. We are working, remember, in the higher sphere where results are more slowly reached, and are less easily tabulated! (3) I would venture to apply this thought still more broadly. It may give us cheer when we are downcast about Christ"s work in general. Christ is patient with the world, and would have us patient too; ploughing, sowing, working, praying, believing that a harvest will come at last, and that we shall see issues by-and-bye which we never saw or even expected here.

    —A. Rowland, Open Windows and other Sermons, p144.

    References.—VIII:15.—H. Alford, Sermons on Christian Doctrine, p150. F. B. Woodward, Sermons (2Series), p158. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p287. VIII:16.—Ibid, p459.

    Luke 8:17

    Compare Lord Bacon"s phrase, in The Advancement of Learning, about "the inseparable propriety of time, which is evermore to disclose truth".

    Reference.—VIII:17.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. ii. p381.

    The Transiency of the Unreal

    Luke 8:18

    These words are the climax of Christ"s discriminating study of those who listened to His Gospel. He has been explaining to His disciples the parable of the seed and the soil, and has told of the different classes to whom His Evangel comes and who receive it with such diverse result. In view of the dark possibility there is of men hearing and receiving His Word in such wise as to bring forth no abiding fruit in holiness of life and character, He warns them to take heed how they hear, and expresses in these sentences the inevitable end of a mere profession which is not verified in actual possession and present experience. There is a law which governs the permanence of all things in the realm of the moral and spiritual just as on lower planes. The real alone is abiding, the unreal is only transient And this is the lesson which the Saviour enforces when He declares that that which a man only seems to have shall inevitably be taken away from him.

    I. He is not here declaiming against mere hypocrisy, but is rather warning those who are in danger of self-deception. The hypocrite is one who endeavours to deceive others, but there are many who, though they are far from having such a desire, are nevertheless being themselves deceived as to the reality of the things which they imagine themselves to possess. Reality is one of the keynotes of the Gospel, nor is it too much to say that Christ sets greater store on reality in His followers than on any other possible attitude of heart. For reality conditions all things else, and He is ever seeking for the man who honestly "willeth to do His will". Such an one cannot but abide for ever.

    Whatever be the cause of self-deception, it is certain that a man"s seeming possessions will be taken away from him. This law operates with regard to things material and spiritual alike, and it is only a matter of time and experience for a man to stand before his own conscience, naked and miserable, and blind and poor.

    1. For life is made up of occasions of test, first among which are the tests of duty by which a man is tried. He imagines himself to be strong to do the right, but his strength is in reality only a sense which has grown within him by reason of the lack of test Swiftly and suddenly the imperative voice of duty demands the application of the principles of Christ of which he has always thought himself to be master, on some level of life, to some phase of conduct, or regarding some attitude toward men and things, and he suddenly discovers that he is unable to obey the dictates of God and of conscience. The things which he seemed to have are suddenly taken from him. Blessed is the man who in that hour of self-discovery betakes him to the place of forgiveness and renewal, there to exchange that which has profited not for the true and abiding riches.

    2. Again, a time of crisis or of special need testa the reality of our spiritual possessions.

    3. And then, again, it is certain that a man"s seeming possessions will be taken from him when face to face with death. And if this be true of the portal, what can be said of that which follows in the Presence-chamber—the Judgment? Reality alone will endure the trial of the revealing fire, and all the wood, hay, and stubble which has been painted to represent "gold, silver, and precious stones" will be consumed. In the face of these things how important it is therefore that we assure ourselves as to the reality of our hold upon and by the things of abiding worth!

    —J. Stuart Holden, The Pre-Eminent Lord, p51.

    Seeming to Have

    Luke 8:18

    You will observe that when our Lord speaks of the man who seems to have, He is not referring to the hypocrite. The hypocrite deceives others, not himself. But this is a case of genuine self-deception. The man is not practising trickery on anybody. There are things that a man may imagine that he has, and Jesus says he only seems to have them.

    I. There is probably no one of us, in pew or pulpit, but is giving himself credit for what he does not possess. Can we detect the causes of this delusion?

    (1) The first and the most innocent of all is inexperience. In all inexperience there is a seeming to have, which the rough and pushing world helps to dispel.

    (2) Again, this strange deception is intimately connected with self-love. We seem to have much that we do not really have, simply because we love ourselves so well. In all love, even the very purest, there is a subtle and most exquisite flattery. (3) Often, again, we imagine we possess, because of the pressure of the general life around us. There is always the danger of mistaking for our own the support we get from the society we move in. And it is only when that external pressure is removed that we discover how we only seemed to have. Sooner or later, as our life advances, we shall have our eyes opened to these fond delusions.

    II. What are God"s commoner methods for making clear to us what we only seem to have. (1) One of the commonest of them all is action. We learn what we possess by what we do. There are powers within each of us waiting to be developed; there are dreams within each of us waiting to be dispelled, and it is by going forward in the strength of God that we learn our limitation and our gift. (2) This, too, is one great gain of life"s variety. It shows us what is really our own. We are tested on every side as life proceeds, and every mood and change and tear is needed, if we are to be wakened to what we seem to have. (3) And if life fails, remember death is left. There will be no delusions concerning our possessions when our eyes open on that eternal dawn.

    III. The words might apply even to those we love. Is it not true, in the realm of the affections, that sometimes we have and sometimes we seem to have. We are thrown into close relationship with others; we are bound to them with this tie and with that. We call them friends; we think we love them, perhaps. Is it real, or is it only seeming? Nothing can tell that but the strum of life, and the testing of friendship through its lights and shadows. Nothing can tell that finally but death.

    —G. H. Morrison, Sun-Rise: Addresses from a City Pulpit, p114.

    Prayerful Hearing

    Luke 8:18

    In his sermon entitled "Take heed how ye hear," J. M. Neale has the following passage:—"Did it ever strike you that how ye hear and what ye hear depends to a certain extent on yourselves? You knew, for example, all of you, when you first got up this morning that I was going to preach to you this evening. Did any one of you, either then or at any time today, ask God that what I said might be blessed to you? I might say what Joseph said to Pharaoh: "It is not in me; God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace". See how St. Paul asks those to whom he was writing to pray for him. "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through—through what—through your prayers". We can do or say nothing of ourselves, however hard we try, whereas, if God helps us—what then?

    —Sermons in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p92.

    References.—VIII:18.—Phillips Brooks, The Law of Growth, p1. T. F. Crosse, Sermons, p188. H. C. Beeching, Seven Sermons to Schoolboys, p73. T. Barker, Plain Sermons, p109. J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons, p282. J. Budgen, Parochial Sermons, vol. ii. p245.

    Desert Flowers

    Luke 8:21

    St. Jerome sent to his friend Heliodorus a tender and eloquent letter, pleading for his return to the desert from Aquileia, where the young officer had adopted the family of his widowed sister. "Ah!" wrote Jerome, "I am not insensible to the ties by which you will plead that you are held back. My breast, too, is not of iron, nor my heart of stone; I was not begotten of the rocks of Caucasus; the milk I sucked was not that of Hyrcanian tigresses. I also have gone through similar trials. I picture to myself your widowed sister hanging about your neck, and trying to detain you with caresses; and your old nurse, and the tutor who had all a father"s anxieties over you, telling you they have not long to live, and begging you not to leave them till they die; and your mother, with wrinkled face and withered bosom, complaining of your desertion. The love of God, and the fear of hell, easily break through such bonds as these!

    "You will say the Holy Spirit bids us obey our parents. Yes; but He teaches also that he who loves them more than Christ, loses his own soul.... "My mother and my brethren," He says, "are they who do the will of my Father which is in heaven." If they believe in Christ, let them encourage you to go forth and fight in His name; if they do not believe—"let the dead bury their dead".... O desert, blooming with the flowers of Christ. O wilderness, where are shaped the stones of which the city of the great King is built! O solitude, where men converse familiarly with God! What are you doing among the worldly, O Heliodorus, you who are greater than all the world? How long shall the cover of roofs weigh you down; how long shall the prison of the smoking city confine you?

    "Do you fear poverty? But Christ calls the poor blessed. Are you frightened at the prospect of labour? But no athlete is crowned without sweat. Are you thinking about daily food? But faith fears not hunger. Do you dread to lay your fasting body on the bare ground? But Christ lies beside you. Do the tangled locks of a neglected toilet shock you? But your head is Christ. Your skin will grow rough and discoloured without the accustomed bath, but he who is once washed by Christ needs not to wash again. And, in fine, listen to the Apostle, who answers all your objections, "The sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory which shall be revealed in us". You are too luxurious, my brother, if you wish both to enjoy yourself here with the world and afterwards to reign with Christ. Does the infinite vastness of the wilderness terrify you? Walk in spirit through the land of Paradise, and while your thoughts are there, you will not be in the desert."

    —E. L. Cutts, Saint Jerome, p41.

    References.—VIII:21.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. iv. p288. VIII:22.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. vii. p377. VIII:22-25.—J. P. Lange, Preacher"s Magazine, vol. xviii. p370. VIII:25—H. Allen, Penny Pulpit, No1596, p163. VIII:26-40.—C. Perren, Outline Sermons, p270. VIII:28.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii. No778. VIII:35.—F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. v. p145. J. S. Maver, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvii. p252. Expository Sermons on the New Testament, p80. VIII:36.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. pp213, 216.

    Religious Use of Excited Feelings

    Luke 8:38-39

    In his sermon on "The Religious Use of Excited Feelings," based on this text, J. H. Newman says:—"Let not these visitings pass away "as the morning cloud of early dew". Surely you must still have occasional compunctions of conscience for your neglect of Him. Your sin stares you in the face; your ingratitude to God affects you. Follow on to know the Lord, and to secure His favour by acting upon these impulses; by them He pleads with you, as well as by your conscience; they are the instruments of His spirit, stirring you up to seek your true peace. Nor be surprised, though you obey them, that they die away; they have done their office, and if they die, it is but as blossom changes into the fruit, which is far better. They must die. Perhaps you will need to labour in darkness afterwards, out of your Saviour"s sight, in the home of your own thoughts, surrounded by sights of this world, and showing forth His praise among those who are cold-hearted. Still be quite sure that resolute, consistent obedience, though unattended with high transport and warm emotion, is far more acceptable to Him than all those passionate longings to live in His sight, which look more like religion to the uninstructed. At the very best these latter are but the graceful beginnings of obedience, graceful and becoming in children, but in grown spiritual men indecorous, as the sports of boyhood would seem in advanced years. Learn to live by faith, which is a calm, deliberate, rational principle, full of peace and comfort, and sees Christ, and rejoices in Him, though sent away from His presence to labour in the world. You will have your reward. He will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."

    Waiting for Christ

    Luke 8:40

    Why did they not go on? There were plenty of them, a hundred men or a thousand; why did they wait for another man? We pay unconscious tributes to the Son of God. To be waited for is a creed, a faith, an uprising and an outgoing of the soul, a testimony rich as blood, quivering and tender as anxious love. "They were all waiting for Him." He was but one, why wait? why not proceed? We know why; the heart always knows why. There is a great gathering in the church, and every attendant has flowers in her hand or his hand; there is a light on every face, there is a subtle joy thrilling the air: why do these people wait? why does the priest tarry? why do all the attendants look at one another? Because the bride has not yet arrived. What, waiting for one woman? Ay! If thou, poor fool, couldst read life aright, that is life—waiting for one, the other one, the completing one, the vital one. I was sitting in a great hall thronged with some five thousand enthusiasts: why did we not go on? Because he had not yet come. Sitting immediately in front of me was Henry Rogers, the famous Edinburgh reviewer, and a great critic and philosopher; and turning round, he said, "Now we are all ready for the great man". Rogers himself was immeasurably the greatest man in that assembly, but Hebrews, too, was waiting, and presently the whole air rent with a thrilling cheer, a noise of gladness, for John Bright came up the platform stairs and passed to the chairman"s side. Now! Why not an hour ago? The magnetic presence was wanting, and the magnetic touch was waited for; no other man could take up just the position which that man was about to assume; when he came, beat the drum, wave the red banner, for the man for whom we have been waiting is face to face with us, and we shall catch his solemn music in a moment. They all waited for Christ.

    I. "They were all waiting for Him." So shall it be one day with the whole earth. The earth has always been waiting for some one, not knowing the name, and being quite unable to give expression to its own aspirations and mystic desires. What makes you uneasy today? Because he has not come. Who has not come? I do not know, but the mysterious pronoun, the being that is always alluded to rather than specifically indicated. A prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you. Has He not sent one? He has sent a hundred, but not the one. We are thankful for Moses and the prophets and the great singing ones, the minstrels of Israel, but I am expecting another one that shall gather them all up into a personality more majestic than anyone of themselves could sustain. Are you sure He is coming? Certainly. What makes you so certain? My soul. There is an aching heart that means to prophesy, there is a broken sob that is a fragment of a song; and we know, without being able to tell psychologically and literally why, that there is another coming, always coming, must come; the circle is nearly complete, one more turning of the compasses, and it will be beautiful as the circle of a completed desire and completed love.

    II. There has always been a great expectation of another coming one, some one who can interpret the waiting of the world; some man of rare genius who understands what it is the poor dumb world wants, and is looking about for and is quite sure will come, but does not know when he will come; he may come now, or as a thief in the night, or like a flash of lightning, or like an unforetold impression upon the soul. The isles shall wait for his law. There is not a soul that is fully satisfied, but it is to be satisfied tomorrow; it may be satisfied in the dawn, or it may have to wait until sultry midday, or it may be taxed in patience until the gathering shades of the sunset, but tomorrow it will be satisfied, or tomorrow—the other morrow, throbbing, coming, pledged, if God so will. There is a great cry going up from the brokenhearted and disappointed world, saying, Who will show us any good?

    III. The congregation that waits for Christ is never disappointed; the congregation that waits for anyone but Christ ought never to be gratified. If we wait for Christ, He will come to us; for He knows that we are waiting for Him, and He knows everything, He never breaks His word. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst." He is there before they are; He only waits to be manifested, revealed, and set in concrete and unmistakable figure and emphasis; He is there all the time. Said John the Baptist, "There standeth one among you whom you know not; He it is". The people had been looking to the horizon when they should have been looking at the man who was standing next to them. God is nearer than we often suppose, and His satisfactions are prepared before our desires are formulated.

    —Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. vii. p108.

    References.—VIII:40.—J. Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. vii. p108. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliv. No2593. VIII:41.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. viii. p309. VIII:41, 49.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. i. p276.

    Luke 8:42

    Oh! it is a distressing thing to see children die. A dying child is to me one of the most dreadful sights in the world. A dying Prayer of Manasseh, a man dying on the field of battle, that is a small sight; he has taken his chance; he has had his excitement, he has had his glory, if that will be any consolation to him; if he is a wise Prayer of Manasseh, he has the feeling that he is doing his duty by his country and by his Queen. It does not horrify or shock me to see a man dying in a good old age. But it does shock me, it does make me feel that the world is indeed out of joint, to see a child die.

    —From a speech of Charles Kingsley at a Sanitary Association.

    References.—VIII:42.—C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p196. Expositor (6th Series), vol. x. p358. VIII:42-48.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. liii. No3020. VIII:43.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p456. VIII:43, 44.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiv. No2018. VIII:43-48.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p242. VIII:45.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year (2Series), vol. ii. p201. C. Stanford, Symbols of Christ, p205.


    Luke 8:47

    Here is a story beautiful as it is blessed, the story of how nobody became somebody, and how somebody became everybody.

    I. First then, Nobody. The story opens with the picture of a woman not important enough to have a name. Poor and feeble, she comes before us thrust hither and thither in a crowd. And this woman was enfeebled by twelve long years of sickness. She was poor, wretchedly poor. The very sympathy of those about her had spent itself. How many there are in a like evil case who seem to have everything against them, who are shut off from all help, look where they will.

    II. But now let us turn to the second chapter of our story, Somebody. We see again this feeble woman wasted and wearied by being pushed and hustled to and fro in the crowd, all unable to hold her own amongst the press. Then suddenly some happy chance brings her close to Jesus. Without a moment"s delay, or the opportunity will be lost, she thrusts forth a trembling hand and touches the hem of His garment. Instantly she feels the healing virtue flowing like a tide of new life within her, and she is whole. But see, Jesus stops, and the host of people stand still. "Somebody hath touched Me." So then this poor nobody was somebody now; somebody. He who felt the touch read with infallible love all that it meant.

    III. Everybody. Look at her at His feet where Jairus had been, she, the poor wasted woman in the place of the ruler of the synagogue! As they stood, and watched, and listened, they saw Him, the Almighty Prophet, lay His hands upon her tenderly, and He said, "Daughter, be of good comfort". It fell like healing balm upon her timid soul. "Be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. Go in peace." Now is it indeed as if she were everybody—thus to have His tender recognition of her, to hear His benediction, to feel His virtue healing her, to have the blessing of His touch and the sweetness of such a name from His lips, and to go away as into an atmosphere that He has charmed and hallowed. Everything about the Lord Jesus, everything that He said, and everything that He did, and everything that is said of Him, reveals to us this separate and individual love. All that religion really means is a separate, personal work, or it is nothing at all.

    —M. G. Pearse, The Gentleness of Jesus, p67.

    References.—VIII:47.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiv. No2019. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iv. p222. VIII:48.—Ibid. (6th Series), vol. vi. p359. VIII:49.—C. Stanford, Symbols of Christ, p233. VIII:50.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Luke, p245.

    The Weapon of Ridicule

    Luke 8:53

    It is of ridicule, in some of its aspects and suggestions, that I wish to speak.

    I. Now the first thing which I want you to observe is how often Jesus was assailed with ridicule. When a man is loved, his nature expands and ripens as does a flower under the genial sunshine. When a man is hated, that very hate may brace him as the wind out of the north braces the pine. But when a man is ridiculed, only the grace of heaven can keep him courteous and reverent and tender; and Jesus Christ was ridiculed continually. Men ridiculed His origin. Men ridiculed His actions. Men ridiculed His claims to be Messiah.

    II. Nor should we think that because Christ was Christ He was therefore impervious to ridicule. On the contrary, just because Christ was Christ He was most keenly susceptible to its assault. It is not the coarsest but the finest natures that are most exposed to the wounding of such weapons, and in the most sensitive and tender heart scorn, like calumny, inflicts the sorest pain. Probably it is thus we may explain why ridicule is most keenly felt when we are young. "He was one of those sarcastic young fellows," says Thackeray of young Pendennis, "that did not bear a laugh at his own expense, and of all things in the world feared ridicule most"; and Sir Walter Scott, speaking of the enthusiasms of his own boyhood, said, "At that time I feared ridicule more than I have ever done since".

    III. It is notable, too, that Christ was laughed to scorn because the people failed to understand Him. The same truth meets us in the story of Pentecost, as we read it in the vivid narrative of Acts. There also, on the birthday of the Church, we light on ridicule, and there also it is the child of ignorance.

    IV. We must appraise ridicule at its true value. It is not always the token of superior cleverness. It is far oftener the mark of incapacity. You cannot refute a sneer, said Dr. Johnson; but if you cannot refute it, at least you can despise it. Of course I am aware that in a world like this there is a certain work for ridicule to do. So long as shams and pretensions are abroad, a little gentle ridicule is needed. A jest is sometimes the wisest of all answers, and a little raillery the best of refutations. I should like to say also to those who are tempted to see only the ridiculous side of things, that perhaps in the whole gamut of the character there is nothing quite so dangerous as that. When we take to ridiculing all that is best and worthiest in others, by that very habit we destroy the power of believing in what is worthiest in ourselves.

    —G. H. Morrison, The Wings of the Morning, p256.

    Reference.—VIII:64.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. iv. p381.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Luke 8:1-3. Ministering women; peculiar to Lk., and one of the interesting fruits of his industrious search for additional memorabilia of Jesus, giving us a glimpse into the way in which Jesus and His disciples were supported.



    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

    F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

    THE OPENING VERSES show the thorough and systematic way in which the Lord Jesus evangelized the cities and villages. He announced the kingdom of God, which involves God’s authority being established and man’s salvation secured through judgment. It was too early as yet for the Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 to be preached, though, now that we have that Gospel, we can still preach the kingdom of God in its present form. The twelve were with Him, and being trained under His eye. The other Gospels show us this, but only Luke tells us how certain women, who had experienced His delivering power, followed Him and ministered to Him of their goods. This comes in very fittingly after the story of the salvation of the sinful woman of the city.

    In verses Luke 8:4-15, we have the parable of the sower and its interpretation. This reveals to us the agency which Divine grace uses to accomplish its benign results—the Word of God. The fruit of which the parable speaks is not something which is natural to man: it is only produced by the Word, as that Word is received into prepared hearts. In our natural condition our hearts are marked by insensibility, like the hardened wayside, or they are shallow without conviction, or preoccupied with cares or pleasures. The heart prepared like the good ground is one that has been awakened and exercised by the Holy Spirit of God. When the heart is thus made “honest,” the Word is retained and treasured, and ultimately fruit is produced.

    Verse Luke 8:16 adds the fact that light as well as fruit is produced by the true reception of the Word. Every real conversion means the lighting of a fresh candle in this dark world. Now just as cares and riches and pleasures choke the word, so may some “vessel,” speaking of work and daily toil, or “bed,” speaking of ease, hide the candle which has been lit. Every candle lit by the reception of the Word is to be conspicuously displayed for the benefit of others. Let us all take this home to ourselves, for the fact is that if the light be really there it cannot be altogether hid, as verse Luke 8:17 indicates. If year after year nothing is manifested, only one conclusion can be drawn —there is nothing to he manifested.

    All these considerations lead us to conclude how imperative it is that we hear the Word rightly. Hence, how we hear is of all importance. What we hear is of equal importance, and this is emphasized in Mark 4:24. If we do not hear aright we lose that which we seem to have possessed. This is stated in verse Luke 8:18, and it is illustrated above, in the case of the wayside, the stony ground and the thorny ground hearers.

    Verses Luke 8:19-21 add a further striking fact: if the word be rightly received it brings the recipient into relationship with Christ Himself. The Lord plainly shows here that the relationship He was going to acknowledge was not based upon flesh and blood, but upon spiritual realities—upon the hearing and the doing of the Word. This thought is amplified in the epistles: Paul speaking of “the hearing of faith,” (Galatians 3:2; Romans 10:8-17); James of the works of faith, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). If we consult Matthew and Mark we shall probably conclude that this incident, as to the Lord’s mother and brethren, did not take place exactly at this point, but Luke here again observes an order which is moral rather than historical. The Word received in faith produces fruit for God, light for men, and introduces into true relationship with Christ himself. There is a moral sequence in these things.

    Now we come, verses Luke 8:22-25, to the storm on the lake which was so miraculously calmed. Here again we believe we see a moral sequence. He had just pointed out that the relationship that He acknowledged had a spiritual basis, and the disciples were those who had entered into it. Now they have to discover that relationship with Him means opposition and trouble in the world. The water of the lake was lashed into rough waves by the power of the wind, just as Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air,” lashes men and nations into furious opposition against Christ and all that are connected with Him. The disciples came into that particular storm because of their identification with Him.

    It was for the moment a terrifying experience, but one which afterwards must have yielded them much encouragement. It served as an opportunity for Him to display His complete mastery of wind and sea, and of the power that lay behind them. At the moment the faith of the disciples was small. They were thinking of their own safety, and had as yet but little understanding of who He was. When later the Spirit was given, and they saw all things clearly, they must have marvelled at their own obtuseness, that they had so little grasped the majesty of His action. If only they had grasped it, their hearts would have been calmed, equally with the waters of the lake.

    On the lake the Lord triumphed over the power of Satan working upon the elements of nature: arrived in the country of the Gadarenes He was confronted by the same power, but much more directly exercised over man by means of demons. Opposition must be expected, but the power of His word was supreme. This man presented a very extreme case of demon possession. It had existed “long time;” it endowed him with super-human strength, so that no ordinary restraints held him; it drove him into deserts and the place of death—the tombs. Moreover he was enslaved not by one demon but by many. For some reason he had become like a fortress, strongly held for Satan by a whole legion of demons; so when Jesus met him there was a trial of strength indeed.

    The cry of the demon-possessed man, in which he acknowledged Jesus as “Son of God most high,” is strikingly in contrast with the exclamation of the disciples, “What manner of man is this!” The demons had no doubt as to who He was, and they knew that they had met their supreme Master, who could have banished them into “the deep,” or “the abyss,” with a single word. Instead He permitted them to enter into the swine. This meant deliverance for the man but disaster for the swine. Incidentally too, it must have meant degradation for the demons to change their residence from a man to a herd of pigs; and this new residence was lost to them in a few minutes as the pigs choked themselves in the lake. Satan would have drowned the great Master and His disciples in the lake but an hour or so before; actually it was the swine, of which he had taken possession by his agents, that were drowned.

    Just as the wind and water had obeyed His word, so the demons had to obey. The man was completely delivered and his whole character changed. In the words, “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind,” we may see a beautiful picture of what grace accomplishes for men, who today have been held captive by Satan’s power. We may also see in this delivered man another feature which stands good for us today. We too are not permitted as yet to be with our Deliverer: we have to go back to our friends and show what has been wrought in us. The more complete the change wrought, as in the case of this man, the more effective is such testimony.

    The testimony was lost however on the Gadarene people, who had lost their swine. Pigs they did appreciate and grace they did not appreciate, so they refused the Deliverer. Jesus accepted their refusal and returned to the other side of the lake to continue the display of His grace there.

    The disciples had witnessed the triumph of their Lord over opposition both on the lake and in the Gadarene country, they were now to see further triumphs on the Capernaum side of the sea. The underworld of demons had owned His power as well as the elements of nature: now disease and death are to yield in His presence. It is worthy of note that the one who approached the Lord first was not the first to receive the blessing.

    Jairus was a representative son of Israel; death was invading his house, and he appealed to the Lord, meeting with an immediate response. On the way Jesus was intercepted by this unnamed woman suffering from an incurable disease. Her touch of faith brought her instant healing. Though later in coming and irregular in her proceedings she was the first to experience the delivering grace of the Lord. We may trace here an analogy with the present ways of God. While still He is on the way to raise up to life and blessing the “daughter of Israel” others, and those mainly Gentiles, are giving the touch of faith and getting the blessing.

    It was only a touch, and it was only the hem of His garment, yet the blessing was hers in full measure—thus illustrating the fact that the measure of our faith does not determine the measure of the blessing that grace bestows—for she was perfectly healed. We also see that a touch in itself brought nothing, for Peter’s word of remonstrance showed that many had for various reasons been brought into contact with Him. Only the touch of faith counted. In other words, faith was the all-essential thing, and that we may exercise today, though the touch of faith can now only be given spiritually and not physically.

    By His questions Jesus brought the woman to the point of confession. In accord with the spirit of the Gospel the faith of her heart had to be followed by the confession of her lips, and that brought her an accession of blessing, for she got the words, “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Apart from that word her mind might have been overshadowed by the dread of the recurrence of her plague. Her faith, expressed in the touch, brought the healing; but her confession brought forth the word of assurance that set her mind at ease. How many there may be today who lack the full assurance of salvation because they have lacked courage to confess fully His Name.

    At that moment came the news of the death of the damsel, and this furnished a fresh opportunity for the importance of faith to be emphasized. To men death is the dispeller of every hope; yet the word of Jesus was, “Fear not: believe only.” To her parents and friends it was death, but it was only sleep to Him: yet the very unbelief of those who bewailed her enables us to see that she really was dead, as we speak. The mocking unbelievers were all put out and only a few who believed saw His work of power. At His word her spirit came again and she was restored to life.

    The charge “that they should tell no man what was done” was entirely contrary to all human ideas. Men love notoriety, but not so the Lord. He wrought to make God known, and only faith understood His works, and was confirmed thereby.

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    Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

    F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary


    Luke 8:1-15

    Hitherto our Lord had made Capernaum His center; now He started on a circuit through the province of Galilee, going through its cities and villages in a systematic and leisurely manner. It must have been a great opportunity for the instruction of the Twelve in His doctrine and methods.

    The parable of the sower was suggested by the scenery before the speaker. There is an advance in the stages of reception and growth, indicating the several phases of experience. The success or failure of gospel preaching is determined by the character of the soil. In every crowd there are the hardened, like the trodden path; the impulsive, like the thin layer of earth upon the rock; those with a heart divided by riches or cares, like the thorn encumbered soil; and those who receive with joy and bear fruit with patience. The Lord veiled His meaning in parables. Increased light would only add to the condemnation of disobedient hearers.

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    Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". 1914.

    Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible


    1. The Ministering Company (Luke 8:1-3.)

    2. The Parable of the Sower. (Luke 8:4-15.)

    3. The Parable of the Lighted Candle. (Luke 8:16-18)

    4. The Declaration of a New Relationship. (Luke 8:19-21.)

    5. The Storm on the Lake. (Luke 8:22-25)

    6. In the Country of the Gadarenes; the Maniac Healed. (Luke 8:26-36)

    7. His Rejection by the Gadarenes. (Luke 8:37-40.)

    8. The Woman With the Issue of Blood Healed. (Luke 8:41-48.)

    9. The Daughter of Jairus Raised. (Luke 8:49-56.)

    Luke 8:1-3

    This also is reported exclusively by Luke. What wonderful preaching it must have been when He with the Apostles went about preaching! And the trophies of His power and grace were also with Him. Here we read that women ministered unto Him of their substance. What privilege was theirs to minister to Him!

    Luke 8:4-18

    The parables which follow are known to us from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The parable of the Sower is here not in the dispensational setting in which it appears in Matthew (Chapter 13). The parables of the mustard seed and the leaven are reported later by Luke. The parable of the Sower is linked here with the preaching of the Word in Luke 8:1-3.

    Luke 8:19-56

    The events which follow are also found in the Synoptics. The Storm on the Lake shows His true humanity. He is asleep. But in the threatening danger, when the helpless vessel fills with water, He knows no fear. They have to wake Him. The wind and waves obey His Word. And blessed be His Name! He is still the same. Then there is the man in his fallen pitiful condition, under the complete dominion of Satan, both in body and in soul. And once more the Son of Man shows His absolute power over Satan. The sufferer is completely healed. What a transformation took place! “The ‘many devils’ by whom he had been possessed were compelled to leave him. Nor is this all. Cast forth from their abode in the man’s heart, we see these malignant spirits beseeching our Lord that He would ‘not torment’ them, or ‘command them to go out into the deep,’ and so confessing His supremacy over them. Mighty as they were, they plainly felt themselves in the presence of One mightier than themselves. Full of malice as they were, they could not even hurt the ‘swine’ of the Gadarenes until our Lord granted them permission.

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    Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.

    Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

    Ver 1. 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,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 to him of their substance.

    THEOPHYL. He who descended from heaven, for our example and imitation, gives us a lesson not to be slothful in teaching. Hence it is said, And it came to pass afterward that he went, &c.

    GREG. NAZ. For He passes from place to place, that He may not only gain many, but may consecrate many places. He sleeps and labors, that He may sanctify sleep and labor. He weeps, that He may give a value to tears. He preaches heavenly things, that He may exalt His hearers.

    TIT BOST. For He who descends from heaven to earth, brings tidings to them that dwell on earth of a heavenly kingdom But who ought to preach the kingdom of heaven? Many prophets came, yet preached not the kingdom of heaven, for how could they pretend to speak of things which they perceived not?

    ISID. PELEUS. Now this kingdom of God some think to be higher and better than the heavenly kingdom, but some think it to be one and the same in reality but called by different names; at one time the kingdom of God from Him who reigns, but at another the kingdom of heaven from the Angels and Saints, His subjects, who are said to be of heaven.

    THEOPHYL But like the eagle, enticing its young ones to fly, our Lord, step by step, raises up His disciples to heavenly things. He first of all teaches in the synagogues, and performs miracles. He next chooses twelve whom He names Apostles; He afterwards takes them alone with Him, as He preached throughout the cities and villages, as it follows, And the twelve were with him.

    THEOPHYL. Not teaching or preaching, but to be instructed by Him. But lest it should seem that the women were hindered from following Christ, it is added, And certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.

    THEOPHYL Mary Magdalene is the same of whose repentance, without mention of her name, we have just read. For the Evangelist, when he relates her going with our Lord, rightly distinguishes her by her known name, but when describing the sinner but penitent, He speaks of her generally as a woman; lest the mark of her former guilt should blacken a name of so great report. Out of whom seven devils are reported to have gone, that it might be shown that she was full of all vices.

    GREG. For what is understood by the seven devils, but all vices? For since all time is comprehended by seven days, rightly by the number seven is universality represented: Mary therefore had seven devils, for she was full of every kind of vice. It follows, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod"s steward, and Susanna, and many others who ministered to him of their substance.

    JEROME It was a Jewish custom, nor was it thought blamable, according to the ancient manners of that nation, that women should afford of their substance food and clothing to their teachers. This custom, as it might cause offense to the Gentiles, St. Paul relates he had cast off. But these ministered to the Lord of their substance, that He might reap their carnal things, from whom they had reaped spiritual things. Not that the Lord needed the food of His creatures, but that He might set an example to masters, that they ought to be content with food and clothing from their disciples.

    THEOPHYL But Mary is by interpretation, "bitter sea," because of the loud wailing of her penitence; Magdalene, "a tower, or rather belonging to a tower," from the tower of which it is said, you art become my hope, my strong tower from the face of my enemy. Joanna is by interpretation "the Lord her grace," or "the merciful Lord," for from Him comes every thing that we dive upon. But if Mary, cleansed from the corruption of her sins, points to the Church of the Gentiles, why does not Joanna represent the same Church formerly subject to the worship of idols?

    For every evil spirit whilst he acts for the devil"s kingdom, is as it were Herod"s steward. Susanna is interpreted, "a lily," or its grace, because of the fragrance and whiteness of the heavenly life, and the golden heat of inward love.

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    Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel".

    G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

    Luke here refers to our Lord's journeyings, and reveals the interesting and beautiful fact of how women of wealth provided for him on the material level, ministering to Him of their substance.

    At this point Luke records the parable of the sower, which forever divides into four sections those who hear the proclamation of the Word: first, those in whom His truth can produce no results, wayside hearers; second, those whose power of hearing is superficial, rock hearers; third, those in whom other forces impede and check the development of truth, thorny hearers; fourth, those who are responsive.

    Following the parable we have the account of a memorable voyage over the sea and back. First came the time of quiet for Himself; He slept. The storm did not wake Him. The disciples woke. He calmed the wind, hushed the sea, and rebuked the disciples.

    Reaching the country of the Gadarenes He restored to true life a demon-possessed man, and at the same time destroyed an unholy and forbidden traffic. A deputation of the inhabitants besought Him to depart from their coasts, and He went. He never forces Himself on unwilling hearts.

    Our Lord's quick sensitiveness to need which ventures in faith is seen in His consciousness of the touch of a trembling woman as He traveled to the house of Jairus. Again His keen appreciation of the hour of greatest trial is revealed in His words to Jairus, "Fear not, only believe." His supreme authority was revealed as He put the scorners out of the chamber. His sweet, human sympathy is seen in the command to give the little one something to eat.

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    Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward,.... Joanna, or Juchan, as the Syriac version calls her, was a name, among the Jews, for a woman, as Jochanan, or John, was for a man. In the TalmudF5T. Bab. Sota, fol. 22. 1. we read of one Jochani, or Joanni, the daughter of Retibi, the same name with this. Her husband's name was Chuza. Dr. Lightfoot observes, from a Talmudic treatiseF6Massechet Sopherim, c. 13. sect. 6. , such a name in the genealogy of Haman, who is called the son of Chuza; and Haman being an Edomite, and this man being in the family of Herod, who was of that race, suggests it to be an Idumean name. But in my edition of that treatise, Haman is not called the son of Chuza, but בר כיזא, "the son of Ciza"; and besides, Chuza is a Jewish name, and the name of a family of note among the Jews: hence we readF7T. Bab. Tasnith, fol. 22. 1. of R. Broka the Chuzite; where the gloss is, "for he was", מבי חוזאי, "of the family of Chuzai". And elsewhereF8T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 22. 1. mention is made of two sons of Chuzai; and both the gloss, and Piske Harosh upon the place, say, "they were Jews": so Abimi is said to be of the family of Chuzai, or the ChuzitesF9Juchasin, fol. 75. 1. ; and the same is said of R. AchaF11Juchasin, fol. 78. 1. . This man, here mentioned, was Herod's steward; a steward of Herod the "tetrarch", of Galilee. The Arabic version calls him his "treasurer"; and the Vulgate Latin, and the Ethiopic versions, his "procurator"; and some have thought him to be a deputy governor of the province under him; but he seems rather to be a governor, or "chief of his house", as the Syriac version renders it: he was one that presided in his family, and managed his domestic affairs; was an overseer of them, as Joseph was in Potiphar's house; and the same Greek word that is here used, is adopted by the Jews into their language, and used of JosephF12Targum Jon. & Jerus. in Gen. xxxix. 4. : and who moreover sayF13T. Bab. Beracot, fol 63. 1. & Maimon lssure Bia, c. 22. sect. 15. & Maggid Misn. in ib. ,

    "let not a man appoint a steward in his house; for if Potiphar had not appointed Joseph, אפוטרופוס, "a steward" in his house, he had not come into that matter,'

    of calumny and reproach. It was common for kings, princes, and great men, to have such an officer in their families. We readF14T. Bab. Sacca, fol. 27. 1. of a steward of king Agrippa's, who was of this same family. The Persic version is very foreign to the purpose, making Chuza to be "of the family of Herod". This man might be either dead, as some have conjectured; or, if living, might be secretly a friend of Christ, and so willing that his wife should follow him; or, if an enemy, such was her zeal for Christ, that she cheerfully exposed herself to all his resentments; and chose rather meanness, contempt, and persecution with Christ, and for his sake, than to enjoy all the pleasures of Herod's court without him.

    And Susannah; this also was a name for a woman with the, Jews, as appears from the history of one of this name with them, which stands among the apocryphal writings. She, as well as Joanna, and perhaps also Mary Magdalene, were rich, and persons of substance, as well as note, as should seem by what follows: "and many others"; that is, many other women; for the words, are of the feminine gender:

    which ministered unto him of their substance; four ancient copies of Beza's, and five of Stephens's, and the Syriac version read, "which ministered unto them"; that is, to Christ, and his disciples, as the Persic version expresses it. This shows the gratitude of these women, who having received favours from Christ, both for their souls and bodies, make returns to him out of their worldly substance, in a way of thankfulness; and also the low estate of Christ, and his disciples, who stood in need of such ministrations; and may be an instruction to the churches of Christ to take care of their ministers, and to communicate in all good things to them, of whose spiritual things they partake; and may be a direction to them to minister to them of what is their own substance, and not another's; and to minister a proper part, and not the whole, as these women ministered to Christ, and his apostles, of substance which was their own, and that not all of it, but out of it.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

    William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament


    Luke 8:1-3. “And it came to pass consecutively, He was going through city and village, proclaiming and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the Twelve were along with Him, and certain women who had been healed from evil spirits and disease; Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom seven demons had gone, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod, and Susanna, and many others, who continued to minister unto Him from those things which appertain to them.” In this catalogue of Christian workers who accompanied our Lord, assisting Him in His vast and stupendous ministry in the interest of both soul and body, also supplying Him and His apostles, doubtless, with temporalities, were Mary, called Magdalene, from her resident city Magdala, which stands on the northwestern coast of the Galilean Sea. It is now a dirty, barbaric village, occupied by nomadic Arabs. Many have taken up the conclusion that she was this fallen woman described in the preceding chapter. Of this we have no evidence whatever, and should not indulge in gratuitous fancy. This woman was in Capernaum, about ten miles from Magdala overland. Some able writers have pronounced Mary Magdalene a common harlot. This may have been true, but we have no evidence of it. Jesus cast seven demons out of her, but we do not know what kind; but we do know that she became one of His truest disciples and brightest saints, standing at the front of the faithful sisterhood, who lingered last at the cross, and were the first to look into the empty sepulcher, and the first to go and preach the risen Jesus, and doubtless is this day one of the brightest glorified saints. We see here that Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, was also a constant minister of our Lord, keeping her king and his court well posted about the mighty works of Jesus, as ever and anon she returned home to the royal palace at Machaerus, where her husband was a member of the king’s cabinet. Besides these two sisters, so prominent in the ministry of our Lord, were Susanna and many others, who ministered unto Him constantly and regularly. This is the second great tour our Savior takes, peregrinating the whole country from city to city, accompanied by the twelve apostles and these ministering sisters, constituting a grand evangelistic force, so they could go into a city and literally capture it with the agencies of gospel grace.

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    Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".

    Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

    Discourse: Jesus Teaches on Obeying His Word (Galilee) - In Jesus teaches parables that reflect an emphasis on the Word of God and how it operates in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

    1. Jesus Ministers with His Disciples —

    2. Jesus Teaches the Parable of the Sower —

    3. The Parable of the Light Under the Bushel —

    4. His Family is the One Who Obeys the Word —

    — His Disciples in Service (The Women) - Luke 8:1-3 emphasizes the fact that many other disciples ministered to Jesus, especially women. Women are practical in that they understand a family's daily physical needs. They understand the need to dress the children, to cook the food and to have comforts in life. Although they were not ordained as were the twelve apostles, they joined together and began to do what they can do, which was to give financial and material support to the ministry. They were obedient to God's Word. This passage of Scripture is contrasted to Luke 8:19-21 where the family of Jesus comes to Him and He declares that His mother and brothers are those who hear and do the Word of God.

    Comments - Luke 8:2-3 records the first incident of partners in the ministry of Jesus Christ. These early partners were women. These women partnered with Jesus Christ in order to make sure that He was free to walk in his Anointing and minister to others without being short of the basic necessities of life.

    — The Parable of the Sower ( Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20) - Luke 8:4-15 gives us the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation. Luke places this story at a strategic place in the narrative of Jesus' Galilean ministry. His public ministry has now reached its peak of acceptance among the multitudes. Jesus needed to balance the true picture for His disciples of what was taking place in the hearts of the people. They were seeing some people reject His ministry, while others simply sought Jesus for their own personal gain. The disciples observed others following Him with some devotion for a while and then depart. There were a few who fully committed themselves to Jesus and served Him, such as the women listed in the opening verses of Luke 8:1-3. After this teaching, we are about to see even His own family reject His Messiahship. In the midst of these many relationships and observations, Jesus took the opportunity to teach His disciples about the hearts of men by using an analogy of a sower sowing seed in the ground.

    The First Recorded Parable of Jesus - According to the Synoptic Gospel accounts, the Parable of the Sower is the first parable that Jesus Christ taught to the people ( Matthew 13:3, Mark 4:2, Luke 8:4). Jesus explains in Mark 4:13 that this parable is a key to understanding all of the other parables He will teach. This implies that all other parables teach on various aspects of this parable or base their truths upon the principles laid down in the Parable of the Sower. This implication is seen in Mark's record of the parables that follow this opening parable (Mk).

    Mark 4:13, "And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?"

    The Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower- Here is the interpretation of the Parable of the Sower:

    The Sower- On November 4, 2001, I had a dream where I saw one person scattering seeds randomly and with no cultivation and care. I then saw a well-maintained field, cultivated and well watered. I believe that the first picture is representative of how many believers are ministering the Gospel and receiving very little results. The second picture represents a ministry that is producing results for the Kingdom of God. I believe that Lighthouse Television is one of these productive ministries. We often focus on the harvest of the seed in this parable, but it is clear that the sower is making a decision on just where to cast his seed. I believe that the sower represents ministries that use various methods of spreading the Gospel. Some ministries are much more productive than others because they find good soil and cultivate the seed that is sown. Other ministries, with very little leadership from God scatter seed so randomly that the harvest is poor.

    The Seed- The seed represents the Word of God.

    The Soils- In the Parable of the Sower, the soil represents the spirit of Prayer of Manasseh, and the different types of soils represent the different types of hearts that are found in man. God sends His Word to all people, into all types of hearts. Andrew Wommack notes that the life of the plant is in the seed, and not in the soil. We must learn to be nourished by God's Word rather than by man or circumstances. As individuals, we can prepare our lives and hearts to become more and more receptive to God's Word as we grow in Christian maturity, so that God's Word can eventually take root and produce fruit in our lives. 208] Note other passages that give an analogy of man"s heart in comparison to soil.

    208] Andrew Wommack, "Laying a Sure Foundation," in the series "A Sure Foundation," [on-line]; accessed on 4January 2010; available at 3Audio; Internet.

    Jeremiah 4:3, "For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. "

    Hosea 10:12, "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you."

    1 Corinthians 3:9, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God"s husbandry, ye are God"s building."

    The different types of soil also reveal to us the progression of events in the development of every believer's life. The soil in the roadside represents the initial proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the hardened hearts of the world. Satan is often able to steal this Word out of their hearts before they are saved. For those hearts that are receptive, the proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World is the first step in discipleship. We find in the four Gospels and Acts an emphasis upon the proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

    The stony soil represents the heart that has received the message of the Gospel, but it has no depth. That Isaiah, this person has not learned the doctrines of the Church in order to become established. He has not grown in the grace and knowledge of the things of God. We find Church doctrine in the nine Church epistles of Romans through 2Thessalonians. If they will become established in the teachings of the Word of God, they will be able to persevere. Others will be offended because of persecutions from the world. We find in the epistles of Hebrews, James and 1Peter the exhortations to persevere under persecution from the world.

    The soil with thorns represents the heart in which the Word of God is choked out because of worldly pursuits. This person has grown in the doctrines of the Word of God and even overcome persecutions. However, in the life of a believer, he must persevere not only amidst persecutions, but against backsliding due to false doctrines embraced by the Church itself. We see exhortations to persevere despite false doctrines from within the Church in the epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3John and Jude. These epistles place emphasis upon the believer's perseverance against false doctrines. For, if they are embraced, a believer will fall back into the deceptions of the world and be overcome.

    Finally, the fertile soil represents the heart that fully embraces the Word of God and grows thereby. This person has become established in the doctrines of the Church. He has persevered against persecutions (stony soil) and against false doctrines (thorny soil). He has come to a place of producing fruit for the Kingdom of God. The degrees of fruit described as thirty, sixty and one hundred-fold represent the fact that there are various levels of Christian maturity. Another insight is to say that growth of a person's fruit may be based upon the talents given to him initially by God. Or, we can say that the 30-60-100-fold harvest is determined by how much of the Word of God a person applies to his life.

    When trying to understand the meaning of "30-60-100 fold" we may go to Romans 12:2 and note that there are three levels of which a believer can walk within God's will. He may be walking in God's good acceptable or perfect will. Perhaps these three levels of walking within God's will produce three levels of fruit, just as we read in Mark 4:20, "and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."

    Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

    Thus, the Parable of the Sower ( ) reveals the first aspect of our spiritual journey when a believer first embraces the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is justified by faith. The next parable of the Light Under the Bushel ( Mark 4:21-25) explains how he then becomes rooted and grounded in the faith through the knowledge of the doctrines of the Church. With such a foundation, he is able to persevere against persecutions and false doctrines while continuing to sow his seed, as reflected in the Parable of the Growing Seed ( Mark 4:26-29), so that he can reach the goal of his salvation, which is glorification in Heaven with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which is reflected in the Parable of the Mustard Seed ( Mark 4:30-32).

    Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

    Luke 8:4Comments - The disciples of Jesus were those who sought Him. To them, Jesus spoke plainly. To the multitudes, Jesus spoke in parables. Note Jesus' explanation as to why this was so:

    , "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

    Thus, all of Jesus' recorded speeches were addressed either to His disciples with plainness, or to the multitudes in parables, and thirdly to the religious leaders in rebukes and woes. We must recognize His intended audience in each of His speeches in order to better understand His message. For example, we can see that the five major discourses found in the Gospel of Matthew were directed to His disciples, while the story of the Parable of the Sower was told to the multitudes.

    Luke 8:10Comments - Of our five sense gates by which we receive all information about our natural world, it is the seeing and hearing that most influences our decisions.

    Luke 8:13 — "which for a while believe" - Comments - Faith is God can be temporary and non-enduring.

    — The Parable of the Light Under the Bushel ( Mark 4:21-25) - In Mark 4:21-25 Jesus gives us the illustration of the light hid under the bushel as way of explaining how hearing and receiving God's Word works in our lives. This parable follows immediately after the Parable of the Sower. He explained that if we will hear and obey what we know to do, more understanding would be given unto us.

    The Parable of the Light Under the Bushel teaches us that as the light of the Gospel shines forth into our hearts, we become indoctrinated with God's Word; and we are not to hide this light and hold back our testimonies of God's goodness in our lives, but are to continue sowing seeds of God's Word to others. This light is symbolic of our indoctrination into the Word of God, which follows our justification after having received God's Word.

    As we examine this parallel passage in we gain further insight into the meaning of this parable. As the Gospel is preached, the hearts of men are exposed to the light and their true qualities identified ( Luke 8:17). For those who repent, their hearts are transformed so that they can receive more light. But for those whose hearts are hardened and reject what little light they have been given, their hearts are darkened even more ( Luke 8:18).

    — His Family are Those who Obey the Word ( Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35) - Luke 8:19-21 gives us the account of Jesus being approached by His family and how He responded to their requests to see Him. His passage of Scripture is contrasted to Luke 8:1-3 where the twelve disciples are following Jesus while certain women minister to them of their substance. These are the ones who are truly obeying God's Word.

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    Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

    Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

    6. The Women who ministered to Jesus: Luke 8:1-3.

    By the side of the high religious problems raised by the life of Jesus, there is a question, seldom considered, which nevertheless possesses some interest: How did Jesus find the means of subsistence during the two or three years that His ministry lasted? He had given up His earthly occupation. He deliberately refrained from using His miraculous power to supply His necessities. Further, He was not alone; He was constantly accompanied by twelve men, who had also abandoned their trade, and whose maintenance He had taken on Himself in calling them to follow Him. The wants of this itinerant society were met out of a common purse (John 13:29); the same source furnished their alms to the poor (John 12:6). But how was this purse itself filled? The problem is partly, but not completely, explained by hospitality. Had He not various needs, of clothing, etc.? The true answer to this question is furnished by this passage, which possesses, therefore, considerable interest. Jesus said: "Seek first the kingdom of God, and other things shall be added unto you." He also said: "There is none that leaves father, mother..., house, lands for the kingdom of God, who does not find a hundred times more." He derived these precepts from His daily experience. The grateful love of those whom He filled with His spiritual riches provided for His temporal necessities, as well as for those of His disciples. Some pious women spontaneously rendered Him the services of mother and sisters.

    This passage would suffice to prove the excellence of Luke"s sources; their originality, for the other evangelists furnish no similar information; their exactness, for who would have invented such simple and positive details with the names and rank of these women? and their purity, for what can be further removed from false marvels and legendary fictions than this perfectly natural and prosaic account of the Lord"s means of subsistence during the course of His ministry?

    Vers. 1-3. Luke indicates this time as a distinctly marked epoch in the ministry of the Lord. He ceases to make Capernaum, His ἰδία πόλις, His own city (Matthew 9:1), the centre of His activity; He adopts an altogether itinerant mode of life, and literally has no place where to lay His head. It is this change in His mode of living, carried out at this time, which induces Luke to place here this glimpse into the means of His material support. The aor. ἐγένετο, it came to pass (Luke 8:1), indicates a definite time. The καί before αὐτός, as the sign of the apodosis, betrays an Aramaean source. The imperf. διώδευε, He went throughout, denotes a slow and continuous mode of travelling. The preposition κατά expresses the particular care which He bestowed on every place, whether large (city) or small (village). Everywhere He gave Himself time to stay. To the general idea of a proclamation, expressed by the verb κηρύσσειν, to preach, the second verb, to evangelize, to announce the glad tidings of the kingdom, adds the idea of a proclamation of grace as the prevailing character of His teaching.

    The Twelve accompanied Him. What a strange sight this little band presented, passing through the cities and country as a number of members of the heavenly kingdom, entirely given up to the work of spreading and celebrating salvation! Had the world ever seen anything like it?

    Among the women who accompanied this band, filling the humble office of servants, Luke makes special mention first of Mary, surnamed Magdalene. This surname is probably derived from her being originally from Magdala, a town situated on the western shore of the sea of Galilee (Matthew 15:39), the situation of which to the north of Tiberias is still indicated at the present day by a village named El-Megdil (the tower). The seven demons (Mark 16:9) denote, without doubt, the culminating point of her possession, resulting from a series of attacks, each of which had aggravated the evil (Luke 11:24-26). It is without the least foundation that tradition identifies Mary Magdalene with the penitent sinner of chap. 7. Possession, which is a disease (see Luke 4:33), has been wrongly confounded with a state of moral corruption. The surname, of Magdala, is intended to distinguish this Mary from all the others of this name, more particularly from her of Bethany.

    Chuza was probably entrusted with some office in the household of Herod Antipas. Might he not be that βασιλικός, court lord, whose son Jesus had healed (John 4), and who had believed with all his house?

    We know nothing of Susanna and the other women.— αἵτινες reminds us that it was in the capacity of servants that they accompanied Him.— διακονεῖν, to serve, here denotes pecuniary assistance, as Romans 15:25, and also the personal attentions which might be rendered by a mother or sisters (Luke 8:21). The reading of the T. R., αὐτῷ, who served Him, may be a correction in accordance with Matthew 27:55, Mark 15:41; but the reading αὐτοῖς, who served them, is the more probable one according to Luke 8:1 (the Twelve) and Luke 4:39.

    What a Messiah for the eye of flesh, this being living on the charity of men! But what a Messiah for the spiritual eye, this Son of God living on the love of those to whom His own love is giving life! What an interchange of good offices between heaven and earth goes on around His person!

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    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    1–3.] JESUS MAKES A CIRCUIT TEACHING AND HEALING, WITH HIS TWELVE DISCIPLES, AND MINISTERING WOMEN. Peculiar to Luke. A general notice of our Lord’s travelling and teaching in Galilee, and of the women, introduced again in ch. Luke 23:55; Luke 24:10, who ministered to Him.

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    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    3.] Prof. Blunt has observed in his Coincidences, that we find a reason here why Herod should say to his servants (Matthew 14:2), ‘This is John the Baptist,’ &c., viz.—because his steward’s wife was a disciple of Jesus, and so there would be frequent mention of Him among the servants in Herod’s court.

    This is Herod Antipas.

    Johanna is mentioned again ch. Luke 24:10, and again in company with Mary Magdalene and others. Susanna is not again mentioned.

    διηκ., providing food, and giving other necessary attentions.

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    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    The wife of Chusa, Herod's steward. Literally, his procurator, as in the Rheims translation. The Greek signifies one that provides for another, or manages his concerns. The same word is used, Matthew xx. 8. and Galatians iv. 2. (Witham) --- the Greek word is epitropou. It was the custom of the Jews, says St. Jerome, that pious women should minister of their substance, meat, drink, and clothing, to their teachers going about with them. But as this might have given cause of scandal among the Gentiles, St. Paul mentions that he allowed it not. (1 Corinthians ix. 5. 12.) They thus ministered to our Lord and his apostles of their worldly substance, from whom they received spiritual riches.

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    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Luke 8:1-3. A general historical statement in regard to the continued official teaching in Galilee, and the ministry of women connected therewith.

    ἐν τῷ καθεξ] Comp. Luke 7:11.

    καὶ αὐτός] καί is that which carries forward the narrative after ἐγένετο (see on Luke 5:12), and αὐτός prepares the way for the mention of the followers of Jesus ( καὶ οἱ δώδεκα κ. τ. λ.).

    κατὰ πόλιν.] as Luke 8:4.

    ΄αγδ.] see on Matthew 27:56. She is neither the woman that anointed Jesus, Luke 7:37, nor the sister of Lazarus.

    ἀφʼ ἧς δαιμόν. ἑπτὰ ἐξεληλ.] Comp. Mark 16:9. A simultaneous possession by seven devils is to be conceived of, so far similar to the condition of the possessed man at Gadara, Luke 8:30. Comp., even at so early a period, Tertullian, De Anim. 25. Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 292, rationalizes:(113) “a convert whom Jesus had rescued from the heavy curse of sin.” Comp. also Hengstenberg on John, II. p. 206, according to whom she was “an emancipated woman” who found in Christ the tranquillizing of the tumult of her emotional nature. The express τεθεραπευμέναι, healed, should certainly have guarded against this view.

    ἐπιτρόπου] Matthew 20:8. He had probably been a steward, and she was his widow. She is also named at Luke 24:10.

    ἡρώδου] Probably Antipas, because without any distinguishing limitation. Neither Joanna nor Susanna is known in any other relation.

    διηκόνουν] with means of living and other kinds of necessaries, Matthew 27:55.

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    The Bible Study New Testament

    3. Joanna. Nothing more is known of her. Note that her husband was an officer in Herod’s court, which shows her social standing. [Herod Antipas. See note on Matthew 2:1.] Susanna. Mentioned only here. Who used their own resources. Note that they financed this tour of missions. What they were doing was unusual, but the customs of Palestine permitted them to do this [without scandal] to show their gratitude and devotion.




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    Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

    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.




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    Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Luke 8:3. ἰωάννα, Joanna) the wife of a husband of high standing in the world. [Her public attendance on the Saviour does not seem to have been without effect, in bringing it about that Herod came to know something concerning Jesus, ch. Luke 9:7.—V. g.]: yet in the household of Jesus Mary Magdalene takes precedency of her.— ἐπιτρόπου, steward).— διηκόνουν, ministered) The record of their ministry to the Lord is an ample reward of their liberality. But at that time, no doubt, many supposed them to be silly women.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod‘s steward — If the steward of such a godless, cruel, and licentious wretch as Herod Antipas (see on Mark 6:14, etc.) differed greatly from himself, his post would be no easy or enviable one. That he was a disciple of Christ is very improbable, though he might be favorably disposed towards Him. But what we know not of him, and may fear he lacked, we are sure his wife possessed. Healed either of “evil spirits” or of some one of the “infirmities” here referred to - the ordinary diseases of humanity - she joins in the Savior's train of grateful, clinging followers. Of “Susanna,” next mentioned, we know nothing but the name, and that here only. But her services on this memorable occasion have immortalized her name. “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done,” in ministering to the Lord of her substance on His Galilean tour, “shall be spoken of as a memorial of her” (Mark 14:9).

    many others — that is, many other healed women. What a train! and all ministering unto Him of their substance, and He allowing them to do it and subsisting upon it! “He who was the support of the spiritual life of His people disdained not to be supported by them in the body. He was not ashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty as to live upon the alms of love. He only fed others miraculously; for Himself, He lived upon the love of His people. He gave all things to men, His brethren, and received all things from them, enjoying thereby the pure blessing of love: which is then only perfect when it is at the same time both giving and receiving. Who could invent such things as these? It was necessary to live in this manner that it might be so recorded” [Olshausen].

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

    And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward. If the steward of such a godless, cruel, and licentious sovereign as Herod Antipas (see the note at Mark 6:14, etc.) differed greatly from himself, his post would be no easy or enviable one. That he was a disciple of Christ is very improbable, though he might be favourably disposed toward Him. But what we know not of him, and may fear he wanted, we are sure his, wife possessed. Healed either of "evil spirits" or of some one of the "infirmities" here referred to-the ordinary diseases of humanity-she joins in the Saviour's train of grateful, clinging followers.

    And Susanna. Of her we know nothing but the name, and that in this one place only; but her services on this memorable occasion have immortalized her name - "Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done," in ministering to the Lord of her substance on this Galilean tour, "shall be spoken of as a memorial of her" (Mark 14:9).

    And many others, [ kai (Greek #2532) heterai (Greek #2087) pollai (Greek #4183)] - that is, 'many other healed women,'

    Which ministered unto him - rather, according to the better supported reading, 'unto them;' that is, to the Lord and the Twelve.


    (1) What a train have we here! all ministering to the Lord of their substance, and He allowing them to do it, and subsisting upon it. Blessed Saviour! It melts us to see Thee living upon the love of Thy ransomed people. That they bring Thee their poor offerings we wonder not. Thou hast sown unto them spiritual things, and they think it, as well they might, a small thing that Thou shouldst reap their carnal things (1 Corinthians 9:11). But dost Thou take it at their hand, and subsist upon it? "O the depth of the riches" - of this poverty of His! Very noble are the words of Olshausen upon this scene: 'He who was the support of the spiritual life of His people disdained not to be supported by them in the body. He was not ashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty as to live upon the alms of love. He only fed others miraculously: for Himself, He lived upon the love of His people. He gave all things to men His brethren, and received all things from them, enjoying thereby the pure blessing of love; which is then only perfect when it is at the same time both giving and receiving. Who could invent such things as these? It was necessary to live in this manner that it might be so recorded.' See more on this exalted subject, at Luke 19:28-44. Remark 2, at the close of that section. But

    (2) May not His loving people, and particularly those of the tender clinging sex, still accompany Him as He goes from land to land preaching, by His servants, and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God? and may they not minister to Him of their substance by sustaining and cheering these agents of His? Verily they may; and they do. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Yes, as He is with them "alway, even unto the end of the world," in preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, even so, as many as are with the faithful workers of this work, and helpful to them in it, are accompanying Him and ministering to Him of their substance. But see the notes at , concluding Remarks.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

    John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

    3. And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

    [The wife of Chusa.] We meet with such a name in Haman's genealogy: "The king promoted Haman the Hammedathite, the Agathite, the son of Cusa," &c. The Targumist, Esther 5, reckoning up the same genealogy, mentions not this name, and differs in others. Only this let us take notice of by the way, that Chusa is a name in the family of Haman the Edomite, and this Cusa here was in the family of Herod, who himself was of the blood of the Edomites.

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    Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". 1675.

    The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

    Christ"s Sustenance Accounted for

    Luke 8

    We have wondered how Jesus Christ subsisted. The explanation would seem to be given here. There are with him not only the twelve, but also "certain women," some of whose names are given, "which ministered unto him of their substance." We are not wholly unfamiliar with that species of action; we have read in the ancient books of a woman who "said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth "by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, in the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither." It was not unusual in Bible times, and even down to New Testament days, for the richer women to keep a Rabbi or a prophet out of their income, sustaining the good man in his educational and evangelistic works. Here we find the Son of God subsisting by similar means. "There were with him many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." Yet the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. And yet both statements are open to the most perfect reconciliation. Thus we work in different ways—the divine Minister who does everything, the Christ of God; and the lesser ministers who do their work on a small scale, but whatever is done is taken, and is magnified and glorified by the living God. Some of the names are given. We ought always to be thankful for what is written, not only because it shows itself within its own boundaries so vividly, but because it enables us to draw inferences regarding many things which are not explained. "And certain women, which had been healed." What a key is there! Jesus Christ does not want any others to follow him than those to whom he himself has first ministered. It is possible so to read the passage as to omit the fact that Jesus Christ"s ministry was first. The mind comes suddenly upon the statement that certain women ministered unto him of their substance, and the mind is apt to dwell upon that circumstance with magnifying emphasis; whereas we ought to read the narrative so carefully as to get out of it all its music, and so reading it we shall find that Jesus was first, for the women who followed him "had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities," and, as we shall presently see, their attachment to him was grounded upon a still wider basis.

    "Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils." Some have said, seven evil spirits or dispositions; unwilling to recognise what is termed demoniacal possession, they have regarded these as seven evil tempers, bad dispositions, wicked desires. Practically, it comes to the same thing: whatever they were, devils or dispositions, they were cast out by the Son of God; there is the working of the divine power; there is the miracle of wisdom and grace, of human compassion and divine ability. "And Joanna"—do we know anything of her? She was "the wife of Chuza, Herod"s steward." Some have traced her by critical processes to be the mother of the nobleman"s son who, when at the point of death, was healed by the Son of God. Out of her there was cast no evil spirit, and she was not cured of any personal infirmity: why, then, did she follow this Nazarene? Ask her. Try to detach her from his following, and she will tell you, with tears of gratitude and joy, that Jesus Christ was the resurrection and the life in her house; say of him what others may, she knows that he cured her Song of Solomon, and from that point she cannot be dislodged by any evil suggestion or by any sophism. Hers was a personal gratitude for personal favours. Jesus Christ thus is followed by people who have understood him at some point. It is not necessary that all who follow Jesus Christ should understand every phase of his personality, and be able to explain every section of his ministry, and to answer all the questions which may be put concerning him; the people who followed Jesus Christ knew him at some point, and that became emphatically their point, and one of them gave expression to the sentiment of the whole when he said, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."

    How much has Christianity itself suffered from the delusion that those who profess it must be able to answer the questions; that every Christian must be a theologian, a man of science, a profound philosopher, an accurate logician, and an eloquent speaker. Nothing of the kind. It is for every Christian to have his own view of Christ, his own particular song of praise concerning what the Son of God has done; and so long as men keep to that personal testimony their utterance will be unbroken as to emphasis, and direct and unanswerable as to practical appeal. "And Joanna"—do we ever hear of her again? The time came when Jesus Christ was in the tomb, and certain women went to see where the Lord lay. "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them." Here is constancy. The names do not appear upon great occasions of triumph; the women were not ornamental pillars who came out on state occasions; they were not sun-flowers that could live only in all their freshness at midday: they were with the Son of God, ministering unto him, and when he was dead they still thought they could do something for him. Who can allow the dead to go without some last touch, or kiss, or flower reverently laid on the door of the black prison? There is always some other little thing that can be done. This is how Jesus Christ subsisted then—taking nothing from any one to whom he had not himself first ministered.

    This is the only way of sustaining Christianity. It lives by the enthusiasm of its followers. It is not to be mechanically buttressed and supported and patronised. Jesus Christ, so long as the earth exists and his Church abides, must be ministered unto by those out of whom he has cast devils, whose children he has blessed, whose houses he has lighted up from the very fountain of the sun. Christianity lives upon enthusiasm, or it does not live at all. Christ has a right to look to those who bear his name, because if they bear it honestly they bear it on account of what he himself has done for them. Men do not come and take up Christianity for the purpose of doing it some favour, saying, We have looked at you from a distance, and the more we have looked the better we have been pleased with your banners, and now we are about to show you some regard for your general respectability, and therefore we will speak of you wherever we have suitable opportunities. Christianity disdains the paltry patronage. Christianity must be spoken about because it is in a Prayer of Manasseh, and will not allow him to be dumb; it is a new spirit, the eloquent spirit, the burning spirit, and it must declare its presence in the soul by touching the tongue with eloquence, and leading the hand forth into constant and generous service. When we are asked why we minister to Christ, we reply, Because he first ministered unto us: we love him because he first loved us.

    That is one view of Jesus Christ which this chapter supplies. Now we have another aspect of the Son of God in relation to his teaching. He taught positively, and he taught negatively. How did he teach positively? By fact and by parable, and by giving the larger meanings of things. He found a man sowing, and he said, That is my text. He found a woman putting leaven into three measures of meal, and he said, That is my subject. He found men selling all that they had for the purpose of buying one particular gem, and said, That is what you have to do in your spiritual education, if you are wise. Sometimes all things must go for the sake of one thing. To the eye of Jesus Christ all men were revealing the kingdom of heaven in some aspect, although they were doing it unconsciously: the sower did not know that he was supplying the Son of God with the basis of a parable. We limit ourselves too severely by excluding the poetry and the apocalyptic view and issue of things, supposing that when we lift a hand we do nothing more; when we utter a word we have simply uttered a vocable, and there is an end of the exercise: whereas, if we were wise, we should find that our outgoing, our incoming, our downsitting, our uprising—yea, every breath of our respiratory system,—all things—are parabolic and suggestive, the beginnings and the germs of great spiritual thoughts and possibilities. So Jesus came to give the great meanings of things. In explanation he said, "The parable is this: The seed is the word of God." What a key is here, as in the former instance! Jesus Christ seems always to deliver up the key to men when they are in a right mood of mind and heart. Once Peter gave such a great answer to a question put to him by the Son of God, that Jesus Christ took the keys and gave them to him at once. Thus he rewards faith, the genius of love, the passion of enthusiasm. We should have more keys if we had more qualification for sustaining them and using them aright. Not only was this a key to a particular instance, it is a key which opens a thousand locks. The seed is the word of God; the leaven is the spirit of truth; the pearl of great price is truth itself; the returning prodigal is the returning soul; the music and dancing in the father"s house is heaven"s rapture when heaven"s number is increased. Oh that we had eyes to see and hearts to understand I then all the world would come with its spring lessons and summer and autumn and winter lessons, and the snow would be as eloquent as the blossoms, and the hard ice would have its gospel as well as all the rains of summer. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!

    Not only did he teach thus positively, but he exhorted; he said, "Take heed therefore how ye hear" ( Luke 8:18). In Jesus Christ"s sermons there is always a line of exhortation. We ought to notice more and more that without exhortation a sermon is not complete, and is little worth. The preacher must come down upon the hearer with all the power he can command of appeal, persuasion, entreaty; he should beseech men to be reconciled to God. Here, again, is a key. "Never man spake like this man!" He begins by pronouncing a number of beatitudes, and we listen with delight to his mellifluous voice; his lips were formed for eloquence, his eye was set in his head for illumination, for it assists the tongue to make his meaning plain: but presently we are awakened out of this intellectual reverie, and are withdrawn from this spiritual luxury, by an exhortation sharp as a crack of thunder, and we are called to be, to do, to stand, to go, to die! How many of us leave Christ at the point of exhortation! In exposition we like to hear him, because then we can partly contradict him, and contend our own opinion after he is exhausted as to speech; in poetry we love to listen to him, for the words know one another, and recognise their mutual kinship, and the whole speech flows like a deep and all but silent river; but when he comes to bid us follow him, take up our cross, deny ourselves, take heed, we begin to feel that he is imposing upon us discipline, and discipline is never acceptable to a nature that loves indulgence. But Christianity is discipline. Christianity is a commandment as well as a theology. Some can obey who cannot fully understand, and, alas, many have great understanding who never attempt to obey.

    Not only did Jesus Christ teach positively, but he taught negatively. There was an occasion upon which 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." Can he teach in sleep? He always teaches. Every look is a lesson; every word a condensed volume. How will Jesus Christ teach by falling asleep? He will teach by showing the disciples what they can do without him. This is the only way, if we may so put it, that Jesus Christ can awaken us to true self-consciousness. So long as we have the sun in the heavens we expect him to return; we treat him as in some sense a hired servant: he is looked for, and if he does not do his duty we complain of his neglect: but we cannot restore him to his place; we have no power over the clouds, and we must wait until the sun reappears. It is so with the Sun of Righteousness; Jesus Christ must withdraw from us to teach us of what value he has been. We do not know sometimes that a prophet has been amongst us until the prophet is dead. Then we feel a strange vacancy; we miss a personality, an influence, a presence, an effect, a blessing; then we ask questions, and then we discover that the King has passed by, and we failed to recognise his crown and sceptre. Jesus Christ might have lived with his disciples so long that they imagined they could do very well with him or without him; they had seen his method, they knew the lines which he traversed, and they could supply what was lacking if he himself was not present. Such was their infatuation upon some occasions that they attempted to work miracles when Jesus was not there, and they said to devils, Depart, and the devils mocked them with bitter laughter, and tore their subjects with still greater strength, and inflamed and excited them by still more appalling paroxysms. Then Jesus himself drew nigh and said, What is it? And the man most in question as a sympathiser said, I brought my son to thy disciples that they might heal him, and they cannot. Thus Jesus Christ teaches by withdrawment, by falling asleep, by simply standing aside, by becoming an onlooker, instead of an active worker. Thus he teaches. The withdrawment is not an arbitrary Acts, the sleep is not merely a natural necessity; out of these things must come lessons, showing how true it is that without Christ we can do nothing. Evil spirits utter their scorn at our incantations, and the waters pour their billows upon our little craft, heedless of our impotent cry. Do not let us have any Christianity without Christ, any mechanism that is not wrought from within by a dynamic agency, a spiritual inspiration; then every wheel will roll smoothly, and the whole machinery (which we are obliged to have for the execution of religious purposes) will move on, each part answering the other part as with intelligent obedience and co-operation. We may retain the altar without Christ, but there can be no sacrifice upon it; we may retain the Church, but it will be but a set of gilded walls, not a centre of power and a fountain of refreshment, if Jesus Christ himself be not in it.

    Then see not only how he subsisted and how he taught, but how he healed. A man representing the uttermost distress had come under his attention, and Jesus had renewed the Prayer of Manasseh, and the issue is thus stated—"Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the Prayer of Manasseh, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind." These are the tests, and we cannot alter them; we cannot lower the standard; these alone, and standards equal to them, are the tests by which Christ"s work in society must be judged. Let us judge ourselves by them. What was the man doing? He was "sitting at the feet of Jesus." Then he was subdued, chastened, refined, docile. Has the same miracle been wrought in us? sitting as a learner; not as an equal, not as a dictator, not as a critic, but sitting at the feet of Jesus to hear what the Master had to say, and to embody it in beautiful and generous life. "Sitting at the feet of Jesus." If I may but touch the hem of his garment I shall be healed; if I may sit at his feet it will be heaven enough for me; if I might but just feel his shadow passing over me I shall ask for no other benediction. Thus we begin. To what heights we may ascend none can tell; but Jesus Christ himself says that if we overcome, being faithful unto death, we shall sit with him on his throne. Meanwhile, it is enough to be led into the city like the blind Saul; in after years he will be blind again, but it will be in the third heaven. "Clothed," that is a common expression to us, but in this instance it was a most uncommon circumstance. The man who had been healed had not been clothed a long time—"A certain Prayer of Manasseh, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs," is the description we read of him in the27th verse. Now he is renewed in habit, civilised, part of a commonalty; no longer a rude solitary Prayer of Manasseh, but tesselated socially, related civically, and now part of organised society.

    Sometimes little things show what has been wrought in a Prayer of Manasseh,—sitting in a new place, sitting in a new attitude, sitting in the house of God reverently; not looking at other people and wondering what they are doing, but looking to the centre with an eye that cannot be diverted. For some men to sit still is a miracle; for some poor light heads to listen betokens that God has been at work with them; such their natural frivolity that they cannot maintain an attitude of reverence and dignity in the house of God, and when you see them in such attitude then know that Omnipotence has not failed. "And in his right mind": the clouds all gone, the trance broken, the madness subsided, ruled like an angry sea that has been tranquillised by a divine fiat; now looking squarely at men, the eye no longer unsteady, fiery, wandering, but fixed and calm as a planet. These are the standards by which we must judge. Are we sitting at Christ"s feet? Have all our habits been changed, and are we in our right mind—humble, modest, self-distrustful, dependent upon God every moment, saying to him, "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: do not leave me for a single instant to myself, or I shall commit suicide, and go to hell"? These are the tests; not our little power of criticising one another, and distinguishing between Christian sects and denominations, and playing the artificial theologian, and talking unintelligible metaphysics; but these practical standards—seated as scholars at the great Teacher"s feet, part of the great society and brotherhood of Prayer of Manasseh, with a steady, calm, aspiring mind that has realised its dignity, and is endeavouring to discharge its obligations.

    How many ways there are all leading to Christ! Here are the women who have been healed doing something for him according to their resources and their opportunities; here are others coming in through the gate of parable, having had the kingdom of heaven revealed to them by signs and by things which are being done in common life, and by spiritual interpretations of the commonplaces of the day; and here are others being taught by feeling how nothing and less than nothing they are when Jesus Christ is not actively present—how they bungle over their work, how they begin at the wrong end, sow in the wrong field, reap nothing but darkness in the harvest-time, and at winter are left in desolation and poverty; and here are others who are healed from great extremities—drunkards, who had been given up as losses, turned into sober citizens; madmen, who never spoke but irrationally, subdued and chastened into a docile spirit; wanderers on the face of the earth set in their right places in society. Let us go to Christ in some way. It is not for any man to say, This is the only way by which you can come. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, yea, thousands of thousands, and men may go to God in twenty thousand different ways; and provided they wish to go to God with their whole love, they will realise their desire. "While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and ran." That is how God does towards us. Whilst we are yet a great way off, wrong in our thinking, mistaken in our intellectual conceptions, hesitating as to certain moral positions, poor and ignorant and weak, he sees us, and has compassion upon us, and runs toward us, lest another step should turn us backward, lest the foe should prevail were he himself to tarry too long. The question which each man has to ask himself is this, Can I get to the Son of God in any way? I cannot understand the preachers, the theologians, the churches, the literature religious, and therefore I feel that I am kept outside; but here is an opportunity given to me, because a preacher says, Come to Christ in some way—your own way—only insist upon seeing Christ Then perhaps some poor heart may say, I will go in this way—broken-hearted, contrite, desolate, ashamed; I will go at night, when everybody is asleep, and I will utter my first prayer when the house is quiet as a cemetery: I think I dare go in that way. Then—Go!

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    Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.

    Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

    Luke 8:2. Mary, called Magdalene. Origen reckons three women who anointed the Saviour. The first, in the house of Simon the pharisee. Luke 7:37. The second, the woman who anointed him six days before the passover. Mark 14:8. The third, the sister of Lazarus, who anointed him in the house of Simon the leper, Matthew 26:6-7. Chrysostom regards the two last as the same person.

    Out of whom went seven devils. Some of the ancient fathers of the church understand this of the vices to which she had been addicted, as a demon of pride, of anger, lasciviousness, and desire; but in her regenerate state she became more eminent for virtue than she had been for vice, loving and honouring the Lord after his crucifixion, as in the days of his ministerial glory. She is considered as a woman of strong mind, good education, and liberal fortune. We are not bound to follow every opinion of venerable men. The elegant Luke says, seven demons: and why might not a demon give the number of seven, as well as another answer, — legion? This woman had followed the Saviour with many others from Galilee. Mark 15:40. Grace in her heart was stronger than the power of demons. She had watched with the holy women at the crucifixion, and was honoured as the first to announce his resurrection. Matthew 28:1.

    Luke 8:4. He spake by a parable, as in Matthew 13. Variations of words occur in all the evangelists, because the Lord delivered the same doctrines in different parts of the land, and would vary his speech as occasions might require. Now, as Luke wrote his gospel from the dictates and gospels of the apostles, one would relate expressions as he heard them in one place, and another would relate them as he heard them in another place.

    Luke 8:10. That seeing they might not see. The true sense of these words is found, Acts 28:26.

    Luke 8:16. No man lighteth a candle — and putteth it under a bed. Calmet gives us from oriental travel a fac-simile of a bed, a sort of easy chair in which the sick, the weary, and the slothful might repose. Under the seat there might be a cupboard for utensils, candlesticks, &c. The idea of such beds seems more natural than that of a “bushel.”

    Luke 8:27. A certain man which had devils. Illustrated in Mark 5:22.

    Luke 8:41. There came a man named Jairus. See on Mark 6.

    Luke 8:43. A woman having an issue. See on Matthew 9:21; Matthew 9:28.

    Luke 8:55. Her spirit came again, or returned into her body, which marks the distinction between matter and spirit, and the assured existence of a world of spirits. See John 11. with the Reflections.


    The women that came up from Galilee are named here for their piety, and for their liberality to the funds of the Saviour’s little company. The gospel in its first rise was wholly supported by freewill offerings, until lands and endowments came to be the heritage of the church. But the principal lustre of those matrons is their piety, and the assistance which they must have spiritually rendered to the work of the Redeemer. St. Paul found much aid of this kind from women whom he greets as having helped him in the Lord. The labours and martyrdom of Thecla have been named in the beginning of this gospel. The minister is not wise who does not avail himself of those aids in furthering the work of the Lord.

    Other reflections on the parable, and the three miracles recorded in this chapter, will be found in the notes.

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    Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

    Ver. 3. Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward] Or treasurer, as the Arabic calleth him, his vicar-general, or protetrarch. This court lady followeth Christ: so did Serena the empress, who was therefore martyred by her husband Diocletian. So Elizabeth, Queen of Denmark; of whom Luther testifieth (in Epist. ad Jo. Agrieol.) that she died a faithful professor of the reformed religion; and addeth, Scilicet Christus etiam aliquando voluit Reginam in coelum vehere. Christ would once save a queen: which he doth not often.

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    Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

    Who Follow the Lord

    After the Lord had let the woman go away in peace, we see Him travelling from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. Here it is about His service with the Word. There is no mentioning of wonders and signs, but of the Word. The Lord preaches and proclaims the good news of the kingdom of God, that is to say that through His preaching He wants to form people who submit to His authority. With Him are also the twelve. They are with Him in training and hear how He proclaims and preaches. They will have to do the same in the future.

    He has chosen the twelve to be with Him, but not only they are with Him. After the woman from the previous chapter we hear here from even more women who have found peace. They are also children of wisdom and of the kingdom, and follow and serve Him out of love. The kingdom consists of people who serve Him out of love, for it is the kingdom of the Son of the Father's love (Col 1:13). Women often have a better sense of Who the Lord is than men. The fact that the Lord has so many women in His retinue also makes it clear how important He considers them to be.

    Rabbis held women inferior, incapable of receiving religious education. For example, they had made a law prohibiting a man from speaking to a woman in public. The Lord is totally different with regard to women. He appreciates their love and service.

    Some women are mentioned by name. First Mary Magdalene. She is very grateful to the Lord. She loves Him, for He has delivered her from seven demons. She is now free from bondage and only wants to be with her Liberator. There are also distinguished women, such as Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. As wife of Herod's steward, she will regularly be at his court. She has seen the emptiness of the worldly splendor and has found the sought peace in the Lord. She now belongs to Him, as does Susanna, of whom we know nothing more than her name, and many more women of whom we do not even know the name. The Lord knows each of them personally. Their service to Him is that they make their possessions available to Him. That could be, for example, by providing a meal regularly.

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    de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Luke 8:3". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

    The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

    Teaching in Parables.

    Women minister unto Christ:

    v. 1. 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,

    v. 2. and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

    v. 3. and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance.

    As usual, Luke is not concerned about the exact sequence of events that happened at about the same time, in this case during the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Sometime afterward, while the Lord was still in Galilee, He passed along through, He made a tour of the cities and towns of, that part of Palestine. His chief work is again brought into the foreground, proclaiming and gospeling the kingdom of God, preaching the good news of the salvation of mankind. This fact cannot be emphasized often enough, especially in these days of the perversion of the doctrine of redemption. The twelve apostles were with the Lord on this tour; they were the theological students, receiving both theoretical and practical training in the school of Jesus. But there were also others with Him, certain women whom Luke mentions by name, a feature of his gospel. Mary, who was called Magdalene, had been healed by Jesus when He drove seven demons out of her. Johanna, or Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the administrator, or steward, of Herod, and Susanna, and many others, Mat_27:55, had also received special favors at the hand of Jesus, as being healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. These were bound to Jesus by the bonds of gratitude, and they were glad and proud to be of service to Him with their goods, for some of them were well-to-do. Christian women have at all times counted it an honor to be able to serve their Master with their substance and with their service. We see here an emancipation of woman in the noblest sense of the word, and the beginning of the service of women in the Church of Christ, and at the same time a decided triumph of the evangelical spirit over the limitation of Jewish rabbinism.

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    Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". 1921-23.

    Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

                 D. Galilee and the Surrounding Regions, without excluding Capernaum. Luke 8:1 to Luke 9:50

    1. The First Christian Family Circle. Luke 8:1-3

    1And 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 werewith him, 2And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, Which ministered unto him [them, V. O.[FN1]] of their substance.


    Luke 8:1. Afterward, ἐν τῷ καθ. sc. χρόνῳ.—Luke is here not concerned to arrange the different events in a strict chronological succession, but only in general to call attention to the fact that the activity of the Saviour, in His journeys through Galilee, was continued uninterruptedly, while he now adjoins a mention of the services rendered by women in this period, of which none of the other Evangelists make mention. Occasion to do this he more than probably found in the immediately preceding narrative.

    Κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην. From town to town, and from village to village; comp. Acts 15:21. The unweariedness of the Saviour’s activity comes here with especial clearness into view.

    Luke 8:2. And certain women.—In the earlier period the disciples still wondered when they saw their Master in conversation with a woman, John 4:27. Now there has already been formed a circle of female disciples, who were joined to the Master by thankful love.—Mary of Magdala. See above. Respecting Magdala, see Lange, on Matthew 15:39.

    Luke 8:3. Joanna is only here and in Luke 24:10 referred to by name, as the consort, perhaps the widow, of Chuza, steward of Herod. If we assume with some that Chuza was the βασιλικός ( John 4:46-54), we might suppose that grateful love for the deliverer of her son had brought the mother to Jesus.—Susanna, that Isaiah, Lily, שׁוֹשׁנָּה, is not further known.—And many others.—Comp. Matthew 27:55.

    which ministered unto them.—The female friends of our Lord appear for the most part to have belonged to the well-circumstanced higher class, since the here-mentioned ministration doubtless consisted principally in support rendered to earthly necessities from their property. This ministration was rendered to the whole travelling company. The reading αὐτῷ is perhaps in some manuscripts a correction, which visibly arose from the effort to represent the service of these women as an act of Divine service, which was exclusively limited to the Master.


    1. The brief account which Luke gives us respecting these women is peculiarly adapted to awaken a vivid conception of the journeyings of the Saviour through Galilee. We see Him proceeding from one town to another, wearing as clothing the simple yet becoming tunic, which was not sewed but woven from above throughout, perhaps the gift of love; the sandals bound crosswise over His uncovered feet; the disciples near by without money in their girdles, without shoes, staff, on wallet; perhaps a little flask with oil, after the Oriental usage, hanging over their shoulders, for the refreshment of their wearied limbs ( Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34; Genesis 28:18); and at a beseeming distance the women covered with their veils, who were concerned with tender affection for the wants of the company, now and then preparing for their beloved Master a refreshing surprise, and now holding discourse with one another, now with Him. The view of such a circle of brethren and sisters, whose centre the Lord Isaiah, makes an impression that elevates the heart.

    2. The unhesitating way in which the Saviour admitted and accepted the loving services of these women is a striking proof not only of His condescending love, which endures services rendered to Him, although He did not come to be ministered unto ( Matthew 20:28), but at the same time of His firm confidence in the purity and faithfulness of these Galilean friends, which indeed did remain, even beyond His death, unchangeably the same.

    3. We see here an emancipation of woman in the noblest sense of the word, and the beginning of the service of women in the church of Christ (Wichern), and at the same time also a decided triumph of the evangelical spirit over the limitation of the Jewish Rabbinism, and the prophecy of the new world of love called into being through Christ.


    In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, man nor woman, but a new creature.—Thankful ministration of love well pleasing to the Lord.—Diversity and agreement among the first female friends of Jesus.—What the Saviour is for woman, and what woman must be for the Saviour.—Woman in Christ no longer slave of the Prayer of Manasseh, but a fellow-heir of the grace of life, 1 Peter 3:1.—Women of high condition also cannot possibly dispense with the Saviour.—The Head of the church served by and in His members.—The destination of earthly good also to the advancement of the kingdom of God.—The first Christian circle of sisters united for a work of love, 1. Whose origin is pure, 2. whose character is that of power, 3. whose fruit is abundant, 4. whose duration is perennial.—The service of the poor, Divine service (Angelus Merula).—Among the women of the evangelical history not one enemy of the Lord.

    Starke:—Whoever hath tasted that the Lord is gracious, such an one cannot abandon Him.—If Christ was not ashamed of the ministrations of others, why should we be ashamed when we find ourselves in like circumstances?—Quesnel:—Godly women have at all times helped to build up the kingdom of God by the exercise of love towards Christ’s servants and His poor members, Romans 16:1-2; Romans 16:6.—Majus:—For spiritual benefits to render something temporal is becoming, and yet a poor payment.—For His poor children God knows well how to provide.


    FN#1 - Luke 8:3.—Rec.: αὐτῷ. Αὐτοῖς has preponderating authority, see Tischendorf ad loc. “The singular appeared more obvious to the copyists, partly because ἧσαν τεθεραπ. preceded, partly through reminiscence of Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41.” Meyer. [Αὐτῷ, A, L, M, X, Cod. Sin.; αὐτοῖς, B, D, E2, 10 other uncials.—C. C. S.]

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    Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.

    L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible



    The grace of the heart of the Lord Jesus must be made known through all the country, though not yet in its fullness, nor as resulting from the value of the sacrifice of Calvary. The Lord did not therefore preach "the gospel of the grace of God" as did Paul later (Acts 20:24), but preached "the glad tidings of the kingdom of God." The kingdom emphasizes authority rather than grace, yet grace was by no means lacking, as seen in Luke 4:17-22. In fact, one who honestly submits to the Lord's authority will realize his total dependence upon His grace.

    In this intensive evangelization throughout the land, the twelve were with Him, and also many women, three of whom are mentioned by name, all evidently having been healed of infirmities or demon possession. Mary of Magdala was one who loved much, for she had been delivered from the oppression of seven demons. This is not, as some have imagined, moral depravity, but spiritual captivity, both frightening and oppressive. Joanna is noted as the wife of Herod's steward, a man of high rank and responsibility. These facts may awaken our interest, but whatever questions we may have as to the facts are not answered. But the faith of Joanna and of Mary Magdalene brought them to the grave of the Lord Jesus on the first day of the week (Luke 24:10). Susanna is mentioned only by name.

    These women ministered of their substance to the Lord. For the Lord of glory, possessor of all creation, to make Himself dependent on the ministrations of women, in lowly humility, is really a blessed testimony to the grace of His heart, while at the same time they are given opportunity to express their appreciation of His grace in a way that will receive a full reward from God.



    When large numbers were gathered together, the Lord told the parable of the sower (vs.5-8). There is serious instruction in this parable to the effect that, however great may be the apparent interest among crowds of people, they do not all hear with the conviction of vital faith in the Son of God.

    The sower sowed his seed in a broadcast manner so it was sowed in every direction. Some fell on the hard-trodden pathway and could not take root at all, but was soon eaten by birds. Some fell on the rock with little soil covering it. Springing up quickly, the plant withered away, for there was no depth of earth to hold moisture. That which fell among thorns was soon choked out, there being no room for two contrasting plants. Only that falling on good ground was fruitful, bearing one hundred fold. It is the ground that makes the difference, for the seed is the same: it is all good seed. Giving no explanation of the parable, the Lord cried out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." If there is honest interest in Him, people will desire to know the significance of His words.

    At least the disciples were concerned, no matter who else was not. Answering their inquiry, the Lord indicated that believers alone will be able to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Others will be given the evidence that there are such mysteries, but if they are not concerned to learn, the parables will leave them in the blindness of ignorance, yet having had a testimony that renders them responsible for their ignorance.

    The explanation is beautifully simple (vs.11-15). The seed of the Word of God has in it the vital power of life. It is sown broadcast in the whole world (Matthew 13:38). The Lord began this, His disciples went farther afield to proclaim the Word, and today radio is used to much more broadcast this precious seed. The wayside symbolizes some who hear the Word, but through hardness of heart are impervious to its influence. The birds (evil spirits under Satan's authority) are quick to steal away the seed. No real impression has been made. The rock with shallow soil covering it pictures hearts spiritually hard underneath, though perhaps having pleasing or inquisitive personalities. Such are outwardly impressionable. They receive the Word at first with joy, thinking the gospel of the grace of God to be a wonderful thing, but the conscience is not seriously reached. There is no repentant facing of their sins. It is a shallow thing with no root, so when the testing of the heat of tribulation comes, there is no moisture of the Spirit of God to resist the heat. Such people give up their profession of faith just as easily as they had assumed it.

    The thorns speak of the cares, riches and pleasures of this life which many people allow to dominate their very existence, so that, though they would like the Word too, and accept it in a general way, yet it does not mean as much to them as the material vanities that are only thorns that cause eventual trouble. There is no real room for both, and one who wants both will find that it is the Word that is choked out. In this case, though the seed of the Word is good, no mature fruit comes from it.

    The good ground speaks of those who in genuine faith receive and keep the Word of God. This ground has been prepared by the plowshare of the Spirit of God working repentance in the heart. The seed falls into the ground, its roots are able to go deep, the cultivating keeps down the weeds and thorns, and the plant, strong and vigorous, brings forth abundant fruit. Luke speaks only of a "hundredfold" increase, emphasizing the great moral contrast in true faith to the shallowness of mere profession. Matthew 13:1-58 and Mark 4:1-41 both speak of differences in the amount of fruit, showing that even true believers do not bear an identical amount. In Luke it is added that believers bring forth fruit with patience or endurance. Fruit takes time it gradually develops and matures. So the reality of faith is proven in the fruit that is eventually borne.



    While fruit is primarily for God, yet it connects with testimony before people. Therefore the Lord added the symbol of the lighted lamp (vs.18-18). The chief object of light is to bring things out in their true character. Who would deliberately hide a lighted lamp under a vessel or basket or under a bed? Will a believer choose to be ashamed of having others know he is a believer? If the Spirit of God has "lighted" him, it is for the purpose of giving light to others. Let him be willing then to have nothing secret, but that his conduct and words may bear witness to his faith. Hiding the light under a vessel infers our being too busy with things of this life to witness for Christ, or putting the light under a bed infers we are too lazy to let our light shine for the Lord.

    Verse 18 refers back to the parable of the sower and those who hear the Word of God. How we hear is of the utmost importance. Hearing with honest faith is true hearing, for faith brings one's life into the open, everything laid bare before God. What one receives by faith will cause further abundance, but if he has not, by genuine faith, received what he appears to have, he will lose it all. For he has never really appropriated it: he is a mere professor of Christianity who seemed to have something, but is like the wayside or rocky ground or thorn-infested ground.



    The moral connection is continued in verses 1-21. We have seen that it is the seed of the Word of God received by faith that brings forth fruit for God. No matter how close may be a natural relationship, it has no place in the new life produced by the seed of the Word of God. This does not mean that we should ignore our natural relationships, for they have a place that requires our acting rightly toward relatives on the basis of the first creation, to which we are still attached as long as we are in this world. The Lord Jesus showed such natural affection and care for His mother when dying on the cross (John 19:26-27).

    But spiritual relationships, by virtue of divine life in Christ and given to believers, are superior to those natural. The Lord's mother and brothers desired to see Him. Mark tell us what their motives were. They wanted to restrain Him from preaching, for they thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:21; Mark 3:31-35). Will the Lord Jesus agree to His relatives' demands in such a case? No! His spiritual relationships are much more important that those natural. Thus, He told the people, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it" (v.21). For us too, if our natural relationships interfere with our obedience to the Word of God, we must refuse this interference. It is made clear for us that the Lord's mother and His brothers had no more claim on Him than does any other believer.



    A new section begins with verse 22, which continues to chapter 9:36. Here the fullness of grace in the Lord Jesus is seen in His great ability to meet the many troublesome features of a world away from God. This world is a place of disturbance (ch.8:22-25); a place of bondage to Satan's power (vs.26-39); a place of disease and death (vs.40-56); a place of misery and want (ch.9:1-17) and worst of all, a place in which the Lord of glory is rejected (ch.9:18-38).

    The Lord gave instructions to His disciples to take a boat over to the other side of the lake (v.22). Certainly therefore there was no possibility of their failing to reach the other side. Simple faith in Him would have subdued the fearful apprehensions of the disciples when a storm arose. But often we also are guilty of such unbelief in spite of having His written Word to show up our fears and doubts as being groundless.

    The Lord calmly slept in the stern of the boat while the storm caused the disciples such anxious fear as to finally awaken Him with their panic-stricken words. At least they waited until the boat was filled with water -- not literally filled completely, but enough to cause them, humanly speaking, to be in serious danger. There is a dispensational lesson in this, reminding us of the deep trouble of the remnant of Israel when in the throes of the Great Tribulation; yet the dispensational picture is not emphasized in Luke, but the moral principles of the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus for every demand of faith, and in spite of the weakness of faith.

    Rising from sleep, the Lord simply spoke and the elements were brought into calm subjection. It is that voice alone we need, whatever may be the disturbance of our circumstances, whether the powerful wind, the unseen forces that rouse the waves, or whether the visible and alarming surges of trouble and distress. He asked them a pointed question, "Where is your faith?" For faith in Him would leave no doubt of His authority over the storm even when asleep. In spite of earlier proofs of His divine power, they wondered at the greatness of this Man who commands the winds and the waves.



    If the elements must obey the Lord, what of the malignant power of Satan? This He met immediately on arriving at Gadara, in the person of a man who had been long possessed by demons -- totally under satanic power. His condition was one of shame, wearing no clothes, and his environment that of the corruption of death, living among the graves (v.27). There was a strange mixture in the man's condition. While crying out, "What have I to do with You" he was drawn, in spite of this, to fall before the Lord Jesus (v.28). The man still had a human spirit and soul in spite of the awful power of the evil spirit, and it was the superior power of divine grace in the Lord Jesus that drew him, while the evil spirit within him protested, knowing that Jesus is the Son of God. The very presence of the Son of God was torment to the evil spirit, as were the Lord's words of command that he should come out of the man.

    The power of the evil spirit was frightening. Chains and fetters were superhumanly broken by the man (v.29). The world may attempt to bind the power of Satan by such things as legislation, rehabilitation and moral reform, but these things fail, and Satan drives his victim into a moral wilderness. This case, however, was particularly pathetic. The man confessed his name as Legion, because he was possessed by many demons, enough to infest 2000 pigs!

    It seems a strange fact that demons desire a body in which to dwell. Unfallen angels are likewise spirits, but they evidently have no such inclination. These demons had a fear of being sent into the abyss (v.31), that is, the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1-21; Revelation 20:1-2), a place of confinement from which there is possible release when God allows it. When commanded to leave the man, they asked permission to enter into a herd of swine, which the Lord permitted (v.32). According to law Jews had no right to be keeping swine (Leviticus 11:7), and the Lord allowed the results as a pointed lesson to them. The demons had no proper control of the swine, and they, evidently terrified, rushed headlong by way of a steep cliff, into the lake and were drowned (v.33). Josephus speaks of Gadara as a Grecian city, that is, composed of Grecianized Jews, who therefore ignored Jewish orthodoxy, but the Lord nevertheless did not spare the swine.

    The swine herders reported what had taken place, for Mark 5:13 tells us that the herd numbered about 2000. This elicited the interest of the whole country. They found the man who was previously demon-possessed sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind (v.35). But rather than rejoicing at the grace and power of God so clearly demonstrated, they were afraid. They feared more for their illicit livelihood than they feared the power of Satan. They preferred to have the man demon-possessed than to lose their swine! Such is the blindness of unbelief.

    Though the matter was explained to them, the whole multitude of the country were united in entreating the Lord to leave them, for their fear was great. He did not force His presence on them: He acceded to their wishes and left again by boat. But an effective testimony remained. The recovered man was anxious to be in the company of the Lord, but the Lord rather sent him back to his accustomed environment, telling him to show others what great things God had done for him (v.39).

    This was in contrast to some other cases, for some were told to tell no man (Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:33-34). In those cases the Lord remained in the area where He was, and human advertising tended to hinder His work because of the excitement of those attracted merely for the sake of the miracles. In Gadara, however, this man bore striking witness to the whole city that the Man they had refused was the One who wielded the power of God over the cruelty of evil spirits (v.39). Again, some may be inclined to exaggerate the greatness of the change that has taken place in them. In this case the change was so great it could hardly be exaggerated. The man also had been well known previously because of the dreadfulness of his condition.



    Returning to the west side of Lake Galilee, the Lord Jesus found the people waiting for Him. Now another problem arose. He had stilled the elements and had overcome satanic power, but Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, fell at His feet to entreat Him regarding the impending death of his daughter (vs.41-42). His only thought was that the Lord might prevent his daughter from dying, but we are to learn in this case a deeper lesson as to the Lord's power over death. If the demon-possessed man speaks of Israel's demon-infested state during the Tribulation, from which the power of the Lord Jesus will set them free, the daughter of Jairus illustrates Israel's being reduced to a state of virtual death -- dead in trespasses and sins -- from which the Son of God will yet awaken them in resurrection power and grace (Romans 11:15). The daughter was 12 years old, reminding us of the twelve tribes and God governing in perfect wisdom.

    An interruption occurred at this point that teaches us a serious lesson. If the blessed Lord of glory is to rightly meet the question of death, He must first meet the solemn question of sin, which is typified in the long-standing disease of the woman who came up behind Him (vs.43-44). The twelve years in both these cases indicates a complete governmental cycle through which Israel's twelve tribes must pass before the lasting millennial blessing of God will be known to them. People naturally have more fear of death than they do of sin, though sin is really most to be feared, for it is against God, while death is God's righteous sentence against sin.

    The woman had spent all that she had on physicians with no good result. What a picture of people's efforts to have their ills corrected by good works, humanitarian service and religions of every kind! But it is Christ they need. Their very life-blood is being drained away by the sin that will not yield to human treatment. By only touching the hem of the Lord's garment, she was healed immediately (v.44). The simplest touch of faith taps the great resources of His power. While His power could heal her disease, yet we know that His own death and blood-shedding was required to take away sin, of which the woman's disease was a picture. In view of the unquestionable certainty of His future sacrifice, He could even then save sinners who put their faith in Him.

    However, the Lord did not allow her to leave without her hearing His word. In answer to His question, "Who touched Me?" Peter protested that many were touching Him. But crowds may surround the Lord without any real exercise of any kind, while one coming in faith receives eternal blessing. The Lord pressed the point, adding that virtue had gone out of Him. Of course He knew all that was going on in the woman's heart, but she must make herself known voluntarily. She came trembling, falling down before Him and declaring the full truth of her former state and the reason for her touching Him, with its blessed result (v.47). Therefore, she received, not only the feeling of being healed, but the full, definite assurance from the lips of the Son of God that her faith had made her well. It is vitally important that every believer have the clear, authoritative Word of God as to the absolute certainty of his eternal salvation. Nothing but this can give certainty. With His Word, she may well indeed "go in peace."

    He had calmly taken time with the woman while the little girl was dying. While He was still speaking, the news came by a messenger from the ruler's house that his daughter had died, and with the added words, "Do not trouble the Teacher" (v.49). Mere natural thought considered that it was too late. One can imagine the distressed anguish of Jairus in all of this, including his feeling that the Lord had not come quickly enough. How comforting then were the Lord's immediate words, "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well" (v.50). As in the case of the woman, so here, the solid assurance of the word of the Lord Jesus is wonderful.

    At the house of Jairus He allowed only Peter, James and John and the father and mother of the girl to go in with Him to the little girl. There was no need for more than the witness of the three disciples: they stand for the nucleus of the faithful remnant when Israel will be brought to spiritual life after the Tribulation. The father and mother stand for the previous natural relationship -- Israel connected with the fathers. There was great weeping and wailing in the house, for hope for the girl seemed lost entirely, as it seems to Israel today in reference to any revival of that virtually dead nation.

    The Lord put the mourners out of the house. Sorrow and sighing must flee away at His presence. The simple ease with which He acted is again to be noted here, as commonly in Luke. Taking her by the hand, He told the girl to arise. Her spirit returned to her body by divine power and she immediately arose, not only restored to life, but in good health: her restoration was complete. Marvelous miracle of grace! He who has power over the elements, over Satan's power and over sin's ravages, also has power over the dreaded power of death.

    He instructed the astonished parents to give her food (v.55), for she illustrates too the case of any individual who has been dead in sins and is brought to life by faith in the Lord Jesus. Spiritual food is an immediate necessity for every new-born soul. In contrast to the case of the man of Gadara (v.39), those here were told not to report the matter to others. The Lord wanted no mere awakening of the curiosity of the crowds (Mark 1:45).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



    Luke 8:2 - Luke 8:3.

    The Evangelist Luke has preserved for us several incidents in our Lord’s life in which women play a prominent part. It would not, I think, be difficult to bring that fact into connection with the main characteristics of his Gospel, but at all events it is worth observing that we owe to him those details, and the fact that the service of these grateful women was permanent during the whole of our Lord’s wandering life after His leaving Galilee. An incidental reference to the fact is found in Matthew’s account of the Crucifixion, but had it not been for Luke we should not have known the names of two or three of them, nor should we have known how constantly they adhered to Him. As to the women of the little group, we know very little about them. Mary of Magdala has had a very hard fate. The Scripture record of her is very sweet and beautiful. Delivered by Christ from that mysterious demoniacal possession, she cleaves to Him, like a true woman, with all her heart. She is one of the little group whose strong love, casting out all fear, nerved them to stand by the Cross when all the men except the gentle Apostle of love, as he is called, were cowering in corners, afraid of their lives, and she was one of the same group who would fain have prolonged their ministry beyond His death, and who brought the sweet spices with them in order to anoint Him, and it was she who came to the risen Lord with the rapturous exclamation, ‘Rabboni, my Master.’ By strange misunderstanding of the Gospel story, she has been identified with the woman who was a sinner in the previous chapter in this book, and her fair fame has been blackened and her very name taken as a designation of the class to which there is no reason whatever to believe she belonged. Demoniacal possession was neither physical infirmity nor moral evil, however much it may have simulated sometimes the one or the other.

    Then as to Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, old Church tradition tells us that she was the consort of the nobleman whose son Christ healed at Capernaum. It does not seem very likely that Herod’s steward would have been living in Capernaum, and the narrative before us rather seems to show that she herself was the recipient of healing from His hands. However that may be, Herod’s court was not exactly the place to look for Christian disciples, was it? But you know they of Caesar’s household surrounded with their love the Apostle whom Nero murdered, and it is by no means an uncommon experience that the servants’ hall knows and loves the Christ that the lord in the saloon does not care about.

    And then as for Susanna, is it not a sweet fate to be known to all the world for ever more by one line only, which tells of her service to her Master?

    So I will try to take out of these little incidents in our text some plain lessons about this matter of Christian service and ministry to Christ, with which it seems to be so full. It will apply to missionary work and all other sorts of work, and perhaps will take us down to the bottom of it all, and show us the foundation on which it should all rest.

    Let me ask you for a moment to look with me first of all at the centre figure, as being an illustration of-what shall I say? may I venture to use a rough word and say the pauper Christ?-as the great Pattern and Motive for us, of the love that becomes poor. We very often cover the life of our Lord with so much imaginative reverence that we sometimes lose the hard angles of the facts of it. Now, I want you to realise it, and you may put it into as modern English as you like, for it will help the vividness of the conception, which is a simple, prosaic fact, that Jesus Christ was, in the broadest meaning of the word, a pauper; not indeed with the sodden poverty that you can see in our slums, but still in a very real sense of the word. He had not a thing that He could call His own, and when He came to the end of His life there was nothing for His executioners to gamble for except His one possession, the seamless robe. He is hungry, and there is a fig-tree by the roadside, and He comes, expecting to get His breakfast off that. He is tired, and He borrows a fishing-boat to lie down and sleep in. He is thirsty, and He asks a woman of questionable character to give Him a draught of water. He wants to preach a sermon about the bounds of ecclesiastical and civil society, and He says, ‘Bring Me a penny.’ He has to be indebted to others for the beast of burden on which He made His modest entry into Jerusalem, for the winding sheet that wrapped Him, for the spices that would embalm Him, for the grave in which He lay. He was a pauper in a deeper sense of the word than His Apostle when he said, ‘Having nothing, and yet possessing all things, as poor, and yet making many rich.’ For let us remember that the great mystery of the Gospel system-the blending together in one act and in one Person all the extremes of lowliness and of the loftiness which go deep down into the very profundities of the Gospel, is all here dramatised, as it were, and drawn into a picturesque form on the very surface; and the same blending together of poverty and absolute love, which in its loftiest form is the union in one Person of Godhead and of manhood, is here for us in this fact, that all the dark cloud of poverty, if I may so say, is shot through with strange gleams of light like sunshine caught and tangled in some cold, wet fog, so that whenever you get some definite and strange mark of Christ’s poverty, you get lying beside it some definite and strange mark of His absoluteness and His worth. For instance, take the illustration I have already referred to-He borrows a fishing-boat and lies down, weary, to sleep on the wooden pillow at the end of it; aye, but He rises and He says, ‘Peace, be still,’ and the waves fall. He borrows the upper room, and with a stranger’s wine and another man’s bread He founds the covenant and the sacrament of His new kingdom. He borrows a grave; aye, but He comes out of it, the Lord both of the dead and of the living. And so we have to say, ‘Consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich.’

    The noblest life that was ever lived upon earth-I hope you and I think it is a great deal more than that, but we all think it is that at any rate-the noblest life that was ever lived upon earth was the life of a poor man. Remember that pure desires, holy aspirations, noble purposes, and a life peopled with all the refinement and charities that belong to the spirit, and that is ever conscious of the closest presence of God and of the innate union with Him, is possible under such conditions, and so remember that the pauper Christ is, at the least, the perfect Man.

    But then what I more immediately intended was to ask you to take that central figure with this external fact of His poverty, of the depth of His true inanition, the emptying of Himself for our sakes, as being the great motive, and Oh! thank God that with all humility, we may venture to say, the great Pattern to which you and I have to conform. There is the reason why we say, ‘I love to speak His name,’ there is the true measure of the devotion of the consecration and the self-surrender which He requires. Christ gave all for us even to the uttermost circumference of external possession, and standing in the midst of those for whose sakes He became poor, He turns to them with a modest appeal when He says, ‘Minister unto Me, for I have made Myself to need your ministrations for the sake of your redemption.’ So much, then, for the first point which I would desire to urge upon you from this incident before us.

    Now, in the next place, and pursuing substantially the same course of thought, let me suggest to you to look at the love-the love here that stoops to be served.

    It is a familiar observation and a perfectly true one that we have no record of our Lord’s ever having used miraculous power for the supply of His own wants, and the reason for that, I suppose, is to be found not only in that principle of economy and parsimony of miraculous energy, so that the supernatural in His life was ever pared down to the narrowest possible limits, and inosculated immediately with the natural, but it is also to be found in this-let me put it into very plain words-that Christ liked to be helped and served by the people that He loved, and that Christ knew that they liked it as well as He. It delighted Him, and He was quite sure that it delighted them. You fathers and mothers know what it is when one of your little children comes, and seeing you engaged about some occupation says, ‘Let me help you.’ The little hand perhaps does not contribute much to the furtherance of your occupation. It may be rather an encumbrance than otherwise, but is not there a gladness in saying ‘Yes, here, take this and do this little thing for me’? And do not we all know how maimed and imperfect that love is which only gives, and how maimed and imperfect that love is which only receives, so that there must be an assumption of both attitudes in all true commerce of affection, and that same beautiful flashing backwards and forwards from the two poles which makes the sweetness of our earthly love find its highest example there in the heavens. There are the two mirrors facing each other, and they reverberate rays from one polished surface to another, and so Christ loves and gives, and Christ loves and takes, and His servants love and give, and His servants love and take. Sometimes we are accustomed to speak of it as the highest sign of our Lord’s true, deep conviction that He has given so much to us. It seems to me we may well pause and hesitate whether the mightiness and the wonderfulness of His love to us are shown more in that He gives everything to us, or in that He takes so much from us. It is much to say, ‘The Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister’; I do not know but that it is more to say that the Son of man let this record be written: ‘Certain women also which ministered to Him of their substance.’ At all events there it stands and for us. What although we have to come and say, ‘All that I bring is Thine’; what then? Does a father like less to get a gift from his boy because he gave him the shilling to buy it? And is there anything that diminishes the true sweetness of our giving to Christ, and as we may believe the true sweetness to Him of receiving it from us, because we have to herald all our offerings, all our love, aspirations, desires, trust, conformity, practical service, substantial help, with the old acknowledgment, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’

    Now, dear friends, all these principles which I have thus imperfectly touched upon as to the necessity of the blending of the two sides in all true commerce of love, the giving and bestowing the expression of the one affection in both hearts, all bears very directly upon the more special work of Christian men in spreading the name of Christ among those who do not know it. You get the same economy of power there that I was speaking about. The supernatural is finished when the divine life is cast into the world. ‘I am come to fling fire upon the earth,’ said He, ‘and oh, that it were already kindled!’ There is the supernatural; after that you have to deal with the thing according to the ordinary laws of human history and the ordinary conditions of man’s society. God trusts the spread of His word to His people; there will not be one moment’s duration of the barely, nakedly supernatural beyond the absolute necessity. Christ comes; after that you and I have to see to it, and then you say, ‘Collections, collections, collections, it is always collections. This society and that society and the other society, there is no end of the appeals that are made. Charity sermons-men using the highest motives of the Gospel for no purpose but to get a shilling or two out of people’s pockets. I am tired of it.’ Very well; all I have to say is, first of all, ‘Ye have not resisted unto blood’; some people have had to pay a great deal more for their Gospel than you have. And another thing, a man that had lost a great deal more for his Master than ever you or I will have to do, said, ‘Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach amongst the heathen the unsearchable riches of Christ.’ Ah! a generous, chivalrous spirit, a spirit touched to fine issues by the fine touch of the Lord’s love, will feel that it is no burden; or if it be a burden, it is only a burden as a golden crown heavy with jewels may be a burden on brows that are ennobled by its pressure. This grace is given, and He has crowned us with the honour that we may serve Him and do something for Him.

    Dear brethren! of all the gracious words that our Master has spoken to us, I know not that there is one more gracious than when He said, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature’; and of all the tender legacies that He has left His Church, though there be included amongst these His own peace and His own Spirit, I know not that there is any more tender or a greater sign of His love towards us and His confidence in us than when departing to the far country to receive a kingdom and to return, He gave authority to His servants, and to every man his work.’

    And so, in the next place, let me ask you to look for a moment at the complement to this love that stoops to serve and delights to serve-the ministry or service of our love. Let me point to two things.

    It seems to me that the simple narrative we have before us goes very deep into the heart of this matter. It gives us two things-the foundation of the service and the sphere of the service.

    First there is the foundation-’Certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities.’ Ah, there you come to it! The consciousness of redemption is the one master touch that evokes the gratitude which aches to breathe itself in service. There is no service except it be the expression of love. That is the one great Christian principle; and the other is that there is no love that does not rest on the consciousness of redemption; and from these two-that all service and obedience are the utterance and eloquence of love, and that all love has its root in the sense of redemption-you may elaborate all the distinct characteristics and peculiarities of Christian ethics, whereby duty becomes gladness. ‘I will,’ and ‘I ought’ overlap and cover each other like two of Euclid’s triangles; and whatsoever He commands that I spring to do; and so though the burden be heavy, considered in regard to its requirements, and though the yoke do often press, considered per se, yet because the cords that fasten the yoke to our neck are the cords of love, I can say, ‘My burden is light.’ One of the old psalms puts it thus; ‘O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; Thou hast loosed my bonds; and because Thou hast loosed, therefore O hear me; speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.’

    So much then for the foundation-now for the sphere. ‘Ah,’ you say, ‘there is no parallel there, at any rate. These women served Him with personal ministration of their substance.’ Well, I think there is a parallel notwithstanding. If I had time I should like to dwell upon the side thoughts connected with that sphere of service, and remind you how very prosaic were their common domestic duties, looking after the comfort of Christ and the travel-stained Twelve who were with Him-let us put it into plain English-cooking their dinners for them, and how that became a religious act. Take the lesson out of it, you women in your households, and you men in your counting-houses and behind your counters, and you students at your dictionaries and lexicons. The commonest things done for the Master flash up into worship, or as good old George Herbert puts it-

    ‘A servant with this clause

    Makes drudgery divine;

    Who sweeps a room, as for Thy cause,

    Makes that and th’ action fine.’

    But then beyond that, is there any personal ministration to do? If any of you have ever been in St. Mark’s Convent at Florence, I dare say you will remember that in the Guest Chamber the saintly genius of Fra Angelico has painted, as an appropriate frontispiece, the two pilgrims on the road to Emmaus, praying the unknown man to come in and partake of their hospitality; and he has draped them in the habit of his order, and he has put Christ as the Representative of all the poor and wearied and wayworn travellers that might enter in there and receive hospitality, which is but the lesson, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’

    And there is another thing, dear friends. Do we not minister to Him best when we do the thing that is nearest His heart and help Him most in the purpose of His life and in His death? What would you think of a would-be helper of some great reformer who said: ‘I will give you all sorts of material support; but I have not a grain of sympathy with the cause to which you have devoted your life. I think it is madness and nonsense: I will feed you and house you and make you comfortable, but I do not care one rush for the object for which you are to be housed and fed and made comfortable.’ Jesus Christ let these poor women help Him that He might live to bear the Cross; He lets you and me help Him for that for which on the Cross He died; ‘This honour have all the saints’; The foundation of our service is the consciousness of redemption; its sphere is ministering to Him in that which is nearest His heart.

    And then, brethren, there is another thing that does not so immediately belong to the incident before us, but which suggests itself to me in connection with it. We have tried to show the motive and the pattern, the foundation and the sphere, of the service: let me add a last thought-the remembrance and the record of it.

    How strange that is, that just as a beam of light coming into a room would enable us to see all the motes dancing up and down that lay in its path, so the beam from Christ’s life shoots athwart the society of His age, and all those little insignificant people come for a moment into the full lustre of the light. Years before and years afterward they lived, and we do not know anything about them; but for an instant they crossed the illuminated track and there they blazed. How strange Pharisees, officials, and bookmen of all sorts would have felt if anybody had said to them: ‘Do you see that handful of travel-stained Galileans there, those poor women you have just passed by the way? Well, do you know that these three women’s names will never perish as long as the world lasts?’ So we may learn the eternity of work done for Him. Ah, a great deal of it may be forgotten and unrecorded! How many deeds of faithful love and noble devotion are all compressed into those words, ‘which ministered unto Him’! It is the old story of how life shrinks, and shrinks, and shrinks in the record. How many acres of green forest ferns in the long ago time went to make up a seam of coal as thick as a sixpence? But still there is the record, compressed indeed, but existent.

    And how many names may drop out and not be associated with the work which they did? Do you not think that these anonymous ‘many others which ministered’ were just as dear to Jesus Christ as Mary and Joanna and Susannah? A great many people helped Him whose deeds are related in the Gospel, but whose names are not recorded. But what does it matter about that? With many ‘others of my fellow-labourers also,’ says St. Paul; ‘whose names’-well, I have forgotten them; but that is of little consequence; they ‘are in the Lamb’s book of life.’ And so the work is eternal, and will last on in our blessed consciousness and in His remembrance who will never forget any of it, and we shall self-enfold the large results, even if the rays of dying fame may fade.

    And there is one other thought on this matter of the eternity of the work on which I would just touch for an instant.

    How strange it must be to these women now! If, as I suppose, you and I believe, they are living with Christ, they will look up to Him and think, ‘Ah! we remember when we used to find your food and prepare for your household comforts, and there Thou art on the throne! How strange and how great our earthly service seems to us now!’ So it will be to us all when we get up yonder. We shall have to say, ‘Lord, when saw I Thee?’ He will put a meaning into our work and a majesty into it that we know nothing about at present. So, brethren, account the name of His slaves your highest honour, and the task that love gives you your greatest joy. When we have in our poor love poorly ministered unto Him who in His great love greatly died for us, then, at the last, the wonderful word will be fulfilled: ‘Verily I say unto you, He shall gird Himself and make them to sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them.’

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

    Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

    The Ministry of Christ.

    1 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, 2And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

    We are here told,

    I. What Christ made the constant business of his life--it was preaching in that work he was indefatigable, and went about doing good (Luke 8:1), afterward--en to kathexes--ordine, in the proper time or method. Christ took his work before him and went about it regularly. He observed a series or order of business, so that the end of one good work was the beginning of another. Now observe here, 1. Where he preached: He went about--diodeue--peragrabat. He was an itinerant preacher, did not confine himself to one place, but diffused the beams of his light. Circumibat--He went his circuit, as a judge, having found his preaching perhaps most acceptable where it was new. He went about through every city, that none might plead ignorance. Hereby he set an example to his disciples they must traverse the nations of the earth, as he did the cities of Israel. Nor did he confine himself to the cities, but went into the villages, among the plain country-people, to preach to the inhabitants of the villages, Judges 5:11. 2. What he preached: He showed the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, that it was now to be set up among them. Tidings of the kingdom of God are glad tidings, and those Jesus Christ came to bring to tell the children of men that God was willing to take all those under his protection that were willing to return to their allegiance. It was glad tidings to the world that there was hope of its being reformed and reconciled. 3. Who were his attendants: The twelve were with him, not to preach if he were present, but to learn from him what and how to preach hereafter, and, if occasion were, to be sent to places where he could not go. Happy were these his servants that heard his wisdom.

    II. Whence he had the necessary supports of life: He lived upon the kindness of his friends. There were certain women, who frequently attended his ministry, that ministered to him of their substance, Luke 8:2,3. Some of them are named but there were many others, who were zealously affected to the doctrine of Christ, and thought themselves bound in justice to encourage it, having themselves found benefit, and in charity, hoping that many others might find benefit by it too.

    1. They were such, for the most part, as had been Christ's patients, and were the monuments of his power and mercy they had been healed by him of evil spirits and infirmities. Some of them had been troubled in mind, had been melancholy, others of them afflicted in body, and he had been to them a powerful healer. He is the physician both of body and soul, and those who have been healed by him ought to study what they shall render to him. We are bound in interest to attend him, that we may be ready to apply ourselves to him for help in case of a relapse and we are bound in gratitude to serve him and his gospel, who hath saved us, and saved us by it.

    2. One of them was Mary Magdalene, out of whom had been cast seven devils a certain number for an uncertain. Some think that she was one that had been very wicked, and then we may suppose her to be the woman that was a sinner mentioned just before, Luke 7:37. Dr. Lightfoot, finding in some of the Talmudists' writings that Mary Magdalene signified Mary the plaiter of hair, thinks it applicable to her, she having been noted, in the days of her iniquity and infamy, for that plaiting of hair which is opposed to modest apparel, 1 Timothy 2:9. But, though she had been an immodest woman, upon her repentance and reformation she found mercy, and became a zealous disciple of Christ. Note, The greatest of sinners must not despair of pardon and the worse any have been before their conversion the more they should study to do for Christ after. Or, rather, she was one that had been very melancholy, and then, probably, it was Mary the sister of Lazarus, who was a woman of a sorrowful spirit, who might have been originally of Magdala, but removed to Bethany. This Mary Magdalene was attending on Christ's cross and his sepulchre, and, if she was not Mary the sister of Lazarus, either that particular friend and favourite of Christ's did not attend then, or the evangelists did not take notice of her, neither of which we can suppose thus Dr. Lightfoot argues. Yet there is this to be objected against it that Mary Magdalene is reckoned among the women that followed Jesus from Galilee (Matthew 27:55,56) whereas Mary the sister of Lazarus had her residence in Bethany.

    3. Another of them was Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. She had been his wife (so some), but was now a widow, and left in good circumstances. If she was now his wife, we have reason to think that her husband, though preferred in Herod's court, had received the gospel, and was very willing that his wife should be both a hearer of Christ and a contributor to him.

    4. There were many of them that ministered to Christ of their substance. It was an instance of the meanness of that condition to which our Saviour humbled himself that he needed it, and of his great humility and condescension that he accepted it. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, and lived upon alms. Let none say that they scorn to be beholden to the charity of their neighbours, when Providence has brought them into straits but let them ask and be thankful for it as a favour. Christ would rather be beholden to his known friends for a maintenance for himself and his disciples than be burdensome to strangers in the cities and villages whither he came to preach. Note, It is the duty of those who are taught in the word to communicate to them who teach them in all good things and those who are herein liberal and cheerful honour the Lord with their substance, and bring a blessing upon it.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

    We are here told what Christ made the constant business of his life, it was teaching the gospel. Tidings of the kingdom of God are glad tidings, and what Christ came to bring. Certain women attended upon him who ministered to him of their substance. It showed the mean condition to which the Saviour humbled himself, that he needed their kindness, and his great humility, that he accepted it. Though rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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    Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

    on the Whole Bible". 1706.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    See Poole on "Luke 8:3"

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And it came about soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the Kingly Rule of God, and with him the twelve, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to them of their substance.’

    Following on the previous successes Jesus continued going through the towns and villages of Galilee proclaiming the Good News of the presence of the Kingly Rule of God, and with Him went His ‘army’, the twelve Apostles and a group of influential women who helped to provide sustenance. These last had experienced His healing power and in their love and gratitude followed Him, ministering to Him and His disciples. It was in fact quite common for women to support Rabbis materially, indeed sometimes to the point of bankruptcy. Jesus Himself criticised the Rabbis for ‘devouring widow’s houses’ (Luke 20:47). How much more then would wealthy women support One Who had done them so much good. But it would have been unusual for them to follow them continually. These women were equally ‘disciples’ with the men, but they would stay, and camp together, separate from the men.

    Note that this description of the women disciples follows immediately after the incident of the sinful woman whose love for Him has also been spoken of. Luke wants to avoid any slur on Jesus as a result of someone suggesting that only women of a certain type came to Him. He indicates here that even the highest and most reputable in society followed Him. It is also contrasts in the chiasmus which follows with the mother love of Mary. That love was in contrast to this and was a hindrance to His ministry, although it should not have been. But here with Him were His spiritual ‘mother, sisters and brothers’ who helped Him all the way.

    There seems to be no thought that the women should give away all their wealth. Women in those days could not support themselves as men could, nor did they have the freedom that men had. A woman could not just ‘enter into a city and there abide’. She had to be careful not to give a wrong impression of herself.

    No doubt there were other disciples with them also. Some would follow Him on and off depending on when they could get free time, and there may have been others with Him permanently, but if so they are not mentioned here (but compare the seventy later on), although verse 62 would suggest that it was so.

    ‘Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others.’ Both Mary and Joanna are mentioned in Luke 24:10 as having seen the empty tomb, they thus appear to have remained with Him through much of His ministry. Joanna had moved in the highest circles, but she had chosen the better part. There are no grounds for thinking that Mary had been a prostitute or a particularly evil woman. Possession by multiple evil spirits was not unusual (compare Luke 11:26). But it may suggest that she had once been a medium and had delved deep in the occult. The mention of ‘seven’ (completeness in the realm of the spirit) probably indicates a severe case of complete control (compare ‘legion’ - Luke 8:30). She had clearly been a deeply troubled woman, and was a continual testimony to the power of Jesus to save. We know nothing further about Susanna, but she was apparently prominent, probably famed for her works of compassion (compare Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 5:10). But later traditions concerning all these were probably based on mere speculation and wishful thinking.

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    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    Chapter 8.

    Jesus Proclaims the Parables of the Kingly Rule of God (8:1-18).

    Having commenced this part section with the new Law of the Kingly Rule of God (Luke 6:20-49), and having in various ways revealed the advance of that Kingly Rule over Gentiles (Luke 7:1-10), over death (Luke 7:11-17), over disease and evil spirits (Luke 7:18-23), as an advance on the work of John the Baptiser (Luke 7:24-35), and over the outcasts of Israel (Luke 7:36-50), Luke closes this it with the proclamation of the advance of the Kingly Rule of God through the word, in parables.

    This passage may be analysed as follows:

    a He went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the Kingly Rule of God, and with him the twelve, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to them of their substance. (Luke 8:2-3).

    b And when a great crowd came together, and those of every city resorted to him, he spoke by a parable: ‘The sower went forth to sow his seed, and as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. And other fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other fell amidst the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As He said these things, He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be (Luke 8:8 b-9).

    c And He said, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingly Rule of God, but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand (Luke 8:10).

    d Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11).

    e And those by the way side are those who have heard. Then comes the Devil, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved (Luke 8:12).

    f And those on the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the word with joy, and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away (Luke 8:13).

    e And that which fell among the thorns, these are they who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection (Luke 8:14).

    d And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).

    c And no man, when he has lighted a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but he puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light, for nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret, that shall not be known and come to light (Luke 8:16-17).

    b Take heed therefore how you hear, for whoever has, to him shall be given, and whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinks that he has (Luke 8:18).

    a And there came to him his mother and brethren, and they could not come at him for the crowd. And it was told him, “Your mother and your brethren are standing outside, desiring to see you, but he answered and said to them, “My mother and my brethren are these who hear the word of God, and do it” (Luke 8:19-21)

    In ‘a’ the proclamation is made of the Kingly Rule of God and with him are the twelve and certain women who are within that Kingly Rule, and in the parallel His brothers and mother are not with Him and are not within that Kingly Rule. In ‘b’ the sower sows the seed and the one who has ears to hear must hear, and in the parallel they are to take heed how they hear lest they lose what they have. In ‘c’ the disciples are given the secrets of the Kingly Rule of God, and in the parallel what is hidden is to be made manifest. In ‘d’ the seed sown is the word and in the parallel the word produces fruit. In ‘e’ the Devil takes away the word from men’s hearts and in the parallel the word is choked in their hearts. Central in ‘e’ is the word that flourishes but then withers because it has no root. The main part of the parable is stressing not the final harvest but the dangers of not receiving the word correctly.

    It should be noted that Luke 8:19-21 are incorporated by Luke in the chiasmus in order to balance it, and in order to draw out its connection with the parable of the sower. His family were perfect examples of hardened ground, in contrast with those in Luke 8:1-3. But it will also be used to open to following chiasmus because of its contrast with the glory of the Messiah yet to be revealed. While this double use is unusual, there are similar examples of overlapping chiasmi elsewhere in the Scriptures.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    . The Women Friends of Jesus (Lk. only).—Nothing shows the originality of Jesus more than His attitude towards women. Lk. especially dwells on this both in the Gospel and in Ac, where we see how much the early Church owed to the gentler sex. It is possible that some of these women who showed their gratitude to the Healer by supporting His mission, were only secure against a return of their maladies as they continued in His company.

    Luke 8:2. Magdalene: i.e. of Magdala (p. 29, cf. Matthew 15:39), then a flourishing town on the Lake of Galilee.

    Luke 8:3. Joanna: Luke 24:10; cf. Introd.—Chuza, Herod's steward: the overseer of Antipas's property, his estate manager.

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    Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

    Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


    Luk . Went throughout every city.—This marks a new departure in the work of Christ: hitherto He had made Capernaum His headquarters, and had not gone very far away from it: now He began to extend the range of His activity. The time, however, is not precisely indicated. Shewing the glad tidings.—There is only one word in the original—"evangelising."

    Luk . Certain women. Cf. Mat 27:55-56; Mar 15:40-41. Mary called Magdalene.—I.e. of Magdala, on the Lake of Gennesaret. As stated in a previous note, there is no authority for identifying her with "the sinner" of the last chapter. She is introduced here as one whose gratitude to Jesus had been excited by His having delivered her from the direst form of Satanic possession, and as a person evidently of wealth, both of which circumstances seem incompatible with those of the woman there named. Joanna.—Mentioned again in Luk 24:10 : nothing more known of her. As here stated, she had been cured by Jesus of some infirmity. Chuza.—Conjectured by some to be that "nobleman" (or courtier) whose son Jesus had healed (Joh 4:46). Herod.—I.e. Herod Antipas. Steward.—The word is a very vague one, and may denote lieutenant of a province, treasurer, house or land steward, agent or manager. The fact of Christ having a disciple or disciples among those in the court of Herod explains what is said (in Mat 14:2) about Herod's speaking "to his servants" about Jesus. Susanna.—Not again mentioned.

    Luk . Ministered.—Supplied the necessaries of life. Unto Him.—Rather, "unto them" (R.V.), i.e. to the apostolic company.


    Grateful Disciples.—In some instances those who had profited by the exercise of Christ's miraculous power, and had been healed of their diseases, rewarded Him with ingratitude, and did not even thank Him for their cure. But in many, perhaps in most cases, those whom He healed became His disciples. Yet only some of these became, or were allowed to become, His followers in the literal sense of the word. One, at any rate, who wished to accompany Him whither soever He went was not allowed to do so, but was told to return to his friends and tell them of the great things God had done for him (Luk ). In this paragraph of the gospel history we read of a number of women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities being permitted to manifest their gratitude by following Him and by ministering to His necessities and to those of His apostles. There is something very pleasing in this eager desire to be with Christ—to listen to His teaching and to see His beneficent works, more especially those works of healing which would remind them of their own deliverance. Yet the love and gratitude thus manifested implied devotion of a heroic type, for many things conjoined to interpose obstacles in the way of carrying out the desire to accompany the Saviour in His missionary journeys. Two of these obstacles we may indicate.

    I. The life they shared was not without hardships and dangers.—Perhaps, as we view them from this distance, the journeyings of the Saviour and His disciples seem full of excitement and interest; the varied scenes, the picturesque incidents, the remarkable persons who figure in them, the wonderful deeds of the Saviour and His gracious discourses, appear to us as clothed with an almost romantic charm. What could be more delightful than to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, to witness the raising of the widow's son from the dead, to partake of the food miraculously multiplied, or to be present on occasions when Christ showed mercy to the outcast and friendless, or overcame His adversaries by a wisdom which they would neither gainsay nor resist! But we need to remember that there must have been many days of hardship and discomfort. Sometimes the Son of man was wearied and exhausted, sad in heart at the sight of misery, distressed by the unbelief of the multitude and the hatred of the ruling classes. It was no light matter to follow Him day after day—to share His fatigues, and griefs, and humiliations, and to become subject to the danger which loyalty to Him often involved. Following Him when there was not leisure so much as to eat—when He spoke words which sifted the crowds and drove many away—when His enemies took Him up to the cliff to cast Him down, or when they were on the point of stoning Him—was possible only for those of strong love and ardent faith. We who are wedded to ease, and ruled by habit and custom, need not delude ourselves by imagining that following Christ in these circumstances was a privilege we would have been eager to secure. We are only too easily discouraged by obstacles in the religious life—by our aversion to discomfort and our regard for the world's opinion—to be sure that if we had lived in the days of Christ's earthly ministry we should have displayed a devotion like that of these disciples.

    II. The perfect holiness of Christ, too, hindered many from following Him.—It did not hinder these. If holiness does not attract, it repels. It is a constant rebuke to all insincerity, double-mindedness, self-righteousness, and conceit, as well as to all positively vicious tendencies and practices: it assails the faulty motive as well as the sinful act. And the only way in which to live with any degree of comfort in the society of one who is truly holy is to strive to become the same. Following Christ, therefore, meant imitation of Him. In no other way could the spectacle of His piety, love, humility, and heavenly-mindedness be borne day after day. If we find ourselves incapable of a devotion to the Saviour like that of this faithful band of women, we may well ask ourselves, Have we like them known Him as a Healer and Deliverer? If we had really passed through their experience, we could scarcely fail to manifest a gratitude like theirs.


    Luk . "Throughout every city and village."—Christ now began to enlarge the sphere of His work, and, instead of making Capernaum His headquarters, to enter upon a systematic and complete visitation of the whole province of Galilee. From this time it is that He speaks of Himself as not having where to lay His head. His apostles too are called to give up their secular occupations and place themselves at His complete disposal—either to be with Him as He preached, or to go upon missions He might give them. The difference between the subject-matter of His preaching and that of John the Baptist is very plainly indicated. John spoke of preparing for the coming of the kingdom of God; Jesus announced the glad tidings that it had come. The main duty of the Christian preacher is, like Christ, to proclaim the good news of God's love to men, though he will feel bound also to speak words of warning to the indifferent and impenitent.

    Luk . "Ministered unto them" (R.V.).—A subordinate but still an interesting question suggests itself as to how Christ and the twelve were sustained now that they had given themselves up to spiritual work among men. From what source was the common purse replenished? (Joh 13:29). How did they provide for bodily necessities and have wherewith to give to the poor? (Joh 12:6). St. Luke here gives the answer. It was not by making use of His miraculous power that Jesus provided sustenance for Himself and for His apostles, but by consenting to receive assistance from some of those who were grateful to Him for blessings they had obtained from Him. "He who was the support of the spiritual life of His people disdained not to be supported by their gifts of things necessary for bodily life. He was not ashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty as to live upon the alms of love. He only fed others miraculously; for Himself, He lived upon the love of His people. He gave all things to men His brethren, and received all things from them, enjoying thereby the pure blessing of love; which is then only perfect when it is at the same time both giving and receiving. Who could invent such things as these? It was necessary to live in this manner that it might be so recorded" (Olshausen).

    "All these things shall be added."—Jesus thus fulfilled the precepts, and found the accomplishment of the promises He gave to His disciples: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (food, clothing, etc.) shall be added unto you" (Mat ); "Every one that hath forsaken houses, … or father, or mother, … or lands, … shall receive an hundredfold" (ibid. Luk 19:29).

    A Messiah living on the Bounty of Men.—What a Messiah to the eyes of the flesh was this One who lived on the bounty of men! But what a Messiah, to the eyes of the spirit, was this Son of God, living by the love of those whom His love had made to live!—Godet.

    The Maintenance of Ministers of Religion.—The principle according to which Christ acted is that laid down in the New Testament for the guidance of the Christian Church in the matter of maintaining those who minister to the spiritual needs of the community. "The labourer is worthy of his hire," and "the Lord hath ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (chap. Luk ; 1Co 9:14).

    "Certain women."—The part played by women in ministering to the necessities of Christ and His apostles is most appropriate; for it is to Him that they owe their emancipation from degradation, and admittance on equal terms with men to all the privileges of His kingdom. In Christ there is "neither male nor female" (Gal ).

    The Notices of Women in the Gospels.—It is interesting to notice that the Gospel history does not mention the case of any woman who was hostile to Jesus, but speaks of many who were devoted to Him. Martha served Him in Bethany, and Mary sat at His feet; Mary anointed Him, and so did the woman in the house of Simon; most signal examples of faith were afforded by the Canaanitish woman and by her who touched the hem of His garment; a woman, the wife of Pilate, bore witness to His innocence at the time the unjust sentence was passed on Him; women lamented Him on His way to crucifixion, and drew near to the cross; women went forth early to the grave of the risen Lord, and a woman was the first to see Him after His resurrection.

    The Same Kind of Devotion, still Possible.—May not His loving people, and particularly those of the tender, clinging sex, still accompany Him as He goes from land to land preaching, by His servants, and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God? and may they not minister to Him of their substance by sustaining and cheering these agents of His? Verily they may; and they do. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Yes, as He is with them "alway, even unto the end of the world," in preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, even so, as many as are with the faithful workers of this work, and helpful to them in it, are accompanying Him and ministering to Him of their substance.—Brown.

    "Mary … out of whom went seven devils."—She had been

    (1) delivered from the direst form of misery, and

    (2) was now admitted to the highest felicity in following her Lord and in ministering to His wants.

    "Joanna … wife of Herod's steward."—Not even the corruptions of Herod's court could hinder the holy influence of Christ from penetrating to the hearts of some of those there. In like manner there were Christians in the household of Nero (Php ).

    "Susanna."—Otherwise unknown; but what more glorious record could be preserved of any life than is here indicated by the mention of her name in this connection? what purer or more lasting fame can any one win than that of having ministered to Christ?

    The Needs of an Oriental comparatively Few.—It must be borne in mind that the needs of an Oriental are very small. A few dates, a little parched corn, a draught of water, a few figs or grapes plucked from the roadside trees, suffice him; and in that climate he can sleep during most of the year in the open air, wrapped up in the same outer garment which serves him for the day. Hence the maintenance of a poor man in Palestine is wholly different from the standard of maintenance required in such countries as ours with their many artificial needs.—Farrar.

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    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    (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.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

    People's New Testament

    Joanna the wife of Chuza. Nothing more is known of her. As her husband held a very responsible position, she must have been a woman of wealth and influence.

    Herod. Herod Antipas. See notes on Matthew 2:1.

    Susanna. Not named elsewhere.

    Ministered unto him. Contributed to his support. They used their means to support Jesus and the apostles while preaching.

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    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "People's New Testament". 1891.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Luke 8:2-3. And certain women — There were also some women with him; the monuments of his power and mercy, for they had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities — Some of them had been troubled in mind, and in a state of melancholy, through the influence of evil spirits, and others of them afflicted in body in different respects, and he had healed them all, and thereby had shown himself to be the physician of both soul and body. Mary, called Magdalene — Doubtless from ΄αγδαλα, the place of her residence, which was a town in Galilee beyond Jordan. Matthew 15:39. She seems to have been a woman of high station and opulent fortune; being mentioned by Luke here even before Joanna, the wife of so great a man as Herod’s steward. Besides, the other evangelists, when they have occasion to speak of our Lord’s female friends, commonly assign the first place to Mary Magdalene. Susanna also seems to have been a person of some considerable rank and circumstances in life, as were probably most of the others here referred to. These pious women, deeply sensible of the obligations which they were under to Jesus, for the deliverances he had wrought out for them, and the great blessings which they had received through his heavenly doctrine and holy example, were concerned to render unto him, in some measure, according to the goodness which he had shown them; and therefore ministered to his necessities. Mark, it must be observed, agrees with Luke in the circumstance of our Lord’s being supported by the charity of his friends. For, speaking of the women who were present at Christ’s crucifixion, he says, Mark 15:41, that when Jesus was in Galilee, they followed him, and ministered unto him of their substance. The evangelists nowhere else tell us in what way our Lord and his apostles were supported.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Joanna (ΙωαναIōana). Her husband ΧυζαChuzā steward (επιτροπουepitropou) of Herod, is held by some to be the nobleman (βασιλικοςbasilikos) of John 4:46-53 who believed and all his house. At any rate Christ had a follower from the household of Herod Antipas who had such curiosity to see and hear him. One may recall also Manaen (Acts 13:1), Herod‘s foster brother. Joanna is mentioned again with Mary Magdalene in Luke 24:10.

    Who ministered unto them (αιτινες διηκονουν αυτοιςhaitines diēkonoun autois). Imperfect active of διακονεωdiakoneō common verb, but note augment as if from διαdia and ακονεωakoneō but from διακονοςdiakonos and that from διαdia and κονιςkonis (dust). The very fact that Jesus now had twelve men going with him called for help from others and the women of means responded to the demand.

    Of their substance (εκ των υπαρχοντων αυταιςek tōn huparchontōn autais). From the things belonging to them. This is the first woman‘s missionary society for the support of missionaries of the Gospel. They had difficulties in their way, but they overcame these, so great was their gratitude and zeal.

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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

    Let us mark, in these verses, our Lord Jesus Christ's unwearied diligence in doing good. We read that "He went throughout every city and village, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God." We know the reception that He met with in many places. We know that while some believed, many believed not. But man's unbelief did not move our Lord, or hinder His working. He was always "about His Father's business." Short as His earthly ministry was in point of duration, it was long when we consider the work that it comprised.

    Let the diligence of Christ be an example to all Christians. Let us follow in His steps, however far we may come short of His perfection. Like Him, let us labor to do good in our day and generation, and to leave the world a better world than we found it. It is not for nothing that the Scripture says expressly--"He that abides in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked." (1 John 2:6.)

    Time is undoubtedly short. But much is to be done with time, if it is well economized and properly arranged. Few have an idea how much can be done in twelve hours, if men will stick to their business and avoid idleness and frivolity. Then let us, like our Lord, be diligent, and "redeem the time."

    Time is undoubtedly short. But it is the only season in which Christians can do any active work of mercy. In the world to come there will be no ignorant to instruct, no mourners to comfort, no spiritual darkness to enlighten, no distress to relieve, no sorrow to make less. Whatever work we do of this kind must be done on this side of the grave. Let us awake to a sense of our individual responsibility. Souls are perishing, and time is flying! Let us resolve, by God's grace, to do something for God's glory before we die. Once more let us remember our Lord's example, and, like Him, be diligent and "redeem the time."

    Let us mark, secondly, in these verses, the power of the grace of God, and the constraining influence of the love of Christ. We read that among those who followed our Lord in his journeyings, were "certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities."

    We can well imagine that the difficulties these holy women had to face in becoming Christ's disciples were neither few nor small. They had their full share of the contempt and scorn which was poured on all followers of Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees. They had, besides, many a trial from the hard speeches and hard usage which any Jewish woman who thought for herself about religion would probably have to undergo. But none of these things moved them. Grateful for mercies received at our Lord's hands, they were willing to endure much for His sake. Strengthened inwardly, by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, they were enabled to cleave to Jesus and not give way. And nobly they did cleave to Him to the very end!

    It was not a woman who sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. They were not women who forsook the Lord in the garden and fled. It was not a woman who denied Him three times in the high priest's house. But they were women who wailed and lamented when Jesus was led forth to be crucified. They were women who stood to the last by the cross. And they were women who were first to visit the grave "where the Lord lay." Great indeed is the power of the grace of God!

    Let the recollection of these women encourage all the daughters of Adam who read of them, to take up the cross and to follow Christ. Let no sense of weakness, or fear of falling away, keep them back from a decided profession of religion. The mother of a large family, with limited means, may tell us that she has no time for religion. The wife of an ungodly husband may tell us that she dares not take up religion. The young daughter of worldly parents may tell us that it is impossible for her to have any religion. The maid-servant in the midst of unconverted companions, may tell us that in her place a person cannot follow religion.

    But they are all wrong, quite wrong. With Christ nothing is impossible. Let them think again, and change their minds. Let them begin boldly in the strength of Christ, and trust Him for the consequences. The Lord Jesus never changes. He who enabled "many women" to serve Him faithfully while He was on earth, can enable women to serve Him, glorify Him, and be His disciples at the present day.

    Let us mark lastly, in these verses, the peculiar privilege which our Lord grants to His faithful followers. We read that those who accompanied Him in His journeyings, "ministered to him of their substance." Of course He needed not their help. "All the beasts of the forest were his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." (Psalms 50:10.) That mighty Savior who could multiply a few loaves and fish into food for thousands, could have called forth food from the earth for His own sustenance, if He had thought fit. But He did not do so, for two reasons.

    One reason was, that He would show us that He was man like ourselves in all things, sin only excepted, and that He lived the life of faith in His Father's providence. The other reason was, that by allowing His followers to minister to Him, He might prove their love, and test their regard for Himself. True love will count it a pleasure to give anything to the object loved. False love will often talk and profess much, but do and give nothing at all.

    This matter of "ministering to Christ" opens up a most important train of thought, and one which we shall do well to consider. The Lord Jesus Christ is continually providing His Church at the present day. No doubt it would be easy for Him to convert the Chinese or Hindoos in a moment, and to call grace into being with a word, as He created light on the first day of this world's existence. But He does not do so. He is pleased to work by means. He condescends to use the agency of missionaries, and the foolishness of man's preaching, in order to spread His Gospel. And by so doing, He is continually proving the faith and zeal of the churches. He lets Christians be fellow workers with Him, that He may prove who has a will to "minister" and who has none. He lets the spread of the Gospel be carried on by subscriptions, contributions, and religious Societies, that He may prove who are the covetous and unbelieving, and who are the truly "rich towards God." In short, the visible Church of Christ may be divided into two great parties, those who "minister" to Christ, and those who do not.

    May we all remember this great truth and prove our own selves! While we live we are all upon our trial. Our lives are continually showing whose we are, and whom we serve, whether we love Christ or whether we love the world. Happy are they who know something of "ministering to Christ of their substance!" It is a thing which can still be done, though we do not see Him with our eyes. Those words which describe the proceedings of the Judgment day are very solemn, "I was an hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink." (Matthew 25:42.)

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    Ryle, J. C. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels".

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Peculiar to Luke. According to the usual view, the first circuit through Galilee was made before the choice of the twelve; this one (the second) with them; the third immediately after they were sent out to preach. But it is not certain that there were three distinct journeys. Our Lord was always occupied, and the Evangelists describe certain periods of His ministry in general terms, without introducing special occurrences. The period here spoken of seems to have been that succeeding (‘soon afterwards,’ Luke 8:1) the occurrences narrated in the last chapter. On the practical lessons, see close of section.

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    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Luke 8:3. Joanna. Her name appears again in chap. Luke 24:10.

    The wife, perhaps at that time a widow, of Chuzas Herod’s steward, i.e., the ‘house-steward’ of Herod Antipas. Through this family Herod and his servants (Matthew 14:2) might have heard of Jesus. Some have identified Chuzas with the ‘nobleman’ whose son was healed by our Lord (John 4:46-54); but the reason for Joanna’s gratitude was that she had herself been healed (Luke 8:2).

    Susanna (‘lily’). Not mentioned again.

    And many others. Comp. Matthew 27:55.

    Who ministered. All of them were such as thus ‘ministered,’ i.e., provided food and other necessary attentions.

    Unto them (the better supported reading), i.e., to the whole company. The alteration to the singular was probably designed to exalt the service of the women; but what was done to the disciples was done to Christ, according to His own words (Matthew 25:40).

    From their substance. This implies that some, perhaps most of them, were persons of means.

    Our Lord confided in the purity and faithfulness of His Galilean friends; He exalted women into the circle of His followers; woman’s work was at once a service of grateful love (a diaconate); these women of high position felt that constant temporal service was a fitting, though insufficient, return for spiritual benefits.—Such a circle as this is possible only where Christ is; about Him as the centre, gather preaching men and ministering women in purity and harmony.

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    Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

    Luke 8:1-3. 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.

    The previous chapter tells how the woman in Simon’s house manifested her love to the Saviour. She showed her love in one way, and in a very special way; but there were others, who had similar affection for him, who showed it in other ways. What is right for one person to do might not be a wise or right thing for everybody to do. Christ did not want his feet washed with tears every minute in the day, nor to have them anointed with even precious ointment very often. There are some Christians who ought to do, and I trust will do, some extraordinary thing for Christ, ¾something which shall need no apology from them, because they are extraordinary persons, who used to be extraordinary sinners; and it would not be right for them to run in the ruts made by others, but they ought to strike out a distinct pathway for themselves. Happy is the church that has any such members; happier still if it has many such. But there are others, who love Christ just as truly, yet who must be content to show their love to him in some other, and apparently more common, but, perhaps, in the long run, more useful way. These gracious women ministered to Christ of their substance. He was only a poor itinerant preacher who needed daily sustenance. Some people say that every preacher ought to earn his own bread by trade or profession, and preach freely, yet the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of preachers, did not do this. “Oh, but Paul did!” Yes, Paul attained to a very high honour; but we may be perfectly satisfied, as the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, to attain to as high a degree of honour as our Master did; and, inasmuch as he never did any carpentering after he began to preach, but gave his whole soul and being up to the work of preaching, he was fed and cared for by the kindness of these godly women who were glad to minister unto him of their substance. “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” So, as ministers of Christ, we need not be ashamed to minister spiritual things to the people, and to receive of their carnal things in return. These women, though they did not wash Christ’s feet with their tears, nor anoint them with precious ointment, did well, for they “ministered unto him of their substance.” Let us all do for him all that we can.

    This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 15:1-41, and Luke 8:1-3.

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    Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

    Luke 8:1. And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

    Our Lord’s display of forgiving grace to the woman who was a sinner seemed to whet his appetite for soul-saving, so that “he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” Dear friends, whenever we win a soul for God, let it spur us on to a greater diligence in his service, let it make us insatiable for more of this best wine of the kingdom of heaven. It was so with our Divine Master. He went about preaching; and, as he preached, he was training others also to preach: “the twelve were with him.” I think that, whenever there is a successful ministry, there should be those round about who are being trained to continue it. Among the Waldensians, the pastors were always accompanied by young men who learnt to preach from their example, and who shared their toils when they went from valley to valley proclaiming the gospel.

    Luke 8:2-3. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirit 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.

    If they could not be apostles, they could, at any rate, being women of property, contribute both to the sustenance of Christ and of the apostles who were with him. There is a place for everyone who is willing to be used by the great Master-builder who leaves no stone out of the wall if it is fit to be built into it. There is something for the twelve to do, and there is something for the holy women to do, and we cannot do without either of them, and in that last great day when the rewards are distributed, there will be as much for Joanna as for John, and as much for Mary Magdalene as for Simon Peter. Did they not each, according to their utility, serve the Lord Jesus Christ?

    Luke 8:4; Luke 8:6. 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.

    Or, as Mark records it, “because it had no depth of earth.” There was just a little coating of earth, sufficient for the fructification and the early sprouting of the seed; it came up all the more quickly because it was so near the surface, and because the heat could get at it so easily, the hard pan of the rock speedily sending up the heat to it. But, for that very reason, “as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.”

    Luke 8:7-8. 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 hears let him hear.

    There are many, who have ears, who do not hear to any real purpose. There is the physical act of hearing, but they do not hear in the heart and the mind. It is a very different thing to have an impression on the drum of the ear and to have an impression on the tablet of the heart. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

    Luke 8:9-10. 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.

    It was a time of judicial visitations. These people had for centuries refused to hear the voice of God and now they were to pay the penalty for that refusal. The reward of virtue is capacity for higher virtue, just as the effect of vice is a tendency to yet greater vice. When men will not hear the voice of God, it is a just judgment upon them that they cannot hear, their impotence being the result of their impudence. Since they would not hear, they shall not; who shall say that this is not a very just and natural way of allowing sin to punish itself? So these people heard the words of our Saviour’s parable. It was like a clock, a covering to the truth; but, to them, it hid the truth, they did not see it. To the disciples of Christ, it set forth truth in all its beauty; but, to the unbelieving people, it bid the truth, so that they did not discern it. Brethren and sisters, if you and I understand heavenly mysteries let us not be proud that it is so, but let us hear our Saviour saying to us, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” This is the gift of the free grace of God. Be very thankful for it, but give God all the glory of it. For if thou beginest to say to thyself, “I am a man of great understanding,” and if thou shalt take to thyself a high place, God may leave thee to thy natural blindness; and, then, where wilt thou be?

    Luke 8:11. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

    Not the word of man. Have we a word of God at all? Brethren, that is a question which we have to answer nowadays. Our fathers never questioned it, they believed in the infallibility of the Bible, as we do. But, now, all our wise men do not think so. They set to work to mend the Scriptures, to pick out of the Bible that which they imagine to be inspired. Let us not do so, my brethren.

    Luke 8:12. Those by the way side are they that hear, then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

    He does not mind their merely hearing. What he is afraid of is their believing, for he knows that in believing lies the secret of their salvation.

    Luke 8:13. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy;

    They are very hasty converts, like men who hurriedly take a bath. They are no sooner in than they are out; it is so speedy that there is more haste than real speed with some of them.

    Luke 8:13. And these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

    “These have no root,” and they never had any root. If you give your child a little garden for himself, perhaps he will go and pluck the heads for some of your flowers, and put them in the ground, and say, “There, father, see what a nice garden of flowers I have got.” But they have no root, and so they very soon wither away. These are like men’s converts, of whom we read that so many scores came forward the whole of the people in the parish were said to be converted, but in six weeks you cannot find one of them. How often is this the case! We begin to be afraid of those statistics, because there is so little truth in them; and yet, if there were but one saved out of a hundred, how grateful we should be!

    Luke 8:14. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

    How many we have of that sort! They do continue somewhat longer than the others, yet they get choked after all.

    Luke 8:15. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

    Or, “with perseverance, with continuance.” “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” He is not converted at all who is not converted eternally. The work of man is temporary; the work of God is everlasting.

    Luke 8:16. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

    A candlestick, or lamp-stand. True religion and true doctrine are not intended to be concealed, they are meant to be seen, and if any of you are hiding these blessed things away, I pray you to do so no longer. Bring out your candle, and put it on the candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

    Luke 8:17. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

    You cannot conceal anything from the eye of God, so do not try to do so. You are like bees in a glass hive, watched while you are working, and your every movement observed. God can read the secret emotions of our hidden nature. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

    Luke 8:18. Take heed therefore how ye hear:

    You think, and think very properly, that we ought to take heed how we preach. Yes, that is true; but you must take heed how you hear. There are a great many criticisms upon preaching, will you kindly make a few criticisms upon your own hearing? I like what a woman said to me some time ago, about a certain preacher. She said, “I heard him well last Sunday.” Ay, that is the thing, she did not tell me how he preached, she told me how she heard, and that is the main point. Good hearers will make good preachers, in due time, I do not doubt. God grant that we may be all good hearers! “Take heed therefore how ye hear.”

    Luke 8:18. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

    Preaching will enrich you or impoverish you according to how you hear. There are some hearers, who have nothing, and the preacher gives them nothing. Hens like to lay where there is a nest-egg, and preachers of the gospel like to preach to hearers who have received some truth, and want more. Where there is some love to God, and love to souls, there more will come. May all of you be among those who have, to whom more shall be given! But the gospel is also “a savor of death unto death” to some who hear it. It takes away from some men what they never had. You call that a paradox; so it is, but it is true. They think they have it, but the gospel reveals to them their mistake; and so it taketh from them that which they seem to have.

    Luke 8:19. Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.

    I think that his mother and his brethren were under the delusion that he was mad, and they came to seize him, to restrain him, so little did even they understand him.

    Luke 8:20-21. 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.

    The spiritual relationship overtops the natural. But what a sweet and condescending word this is? Dear brothers and sisters, do you hear the Word of God, and do it? If so, Christ is at home with you. Christ calls you “Brother.” He knows that you will take care of his cause. He calls you “Brother.” He has deep sympathy with you. O blessed One, thou who callest us mother and brother, how he welcome those loving and familiar titles!

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    Scofield's Reference Notes


    See margin ref., (See Scofield "Matthew 14:1").

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    The Biblical Illustrator

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    The Biblical Illustrator

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    The Biblical Illustrator

    Luke 8:2-3

    And certain women

    Mary of Magdala

    This woman has “suffered much at the hand of many” commentators; preachers, painters, and poets, ancient and modern.
    It is high time to do something to remove the foul stain which has so long rested on her fair fame. In the various notices of her history in the Gospels she exhibits” a character as pure and as devoted from the very first as any in the Gospel pages--a character not displaying merely the reflex action of a repentant spirit, but the faith which worketh by love.” She was--


    II. A GREAT MINISTRANT TO CHRIST (Luke 8:2-3; Mark 15:41).

    III. A FAITHFUL ADHERENT TO CHRIST. She follows Him to the last, and is one of the women who played such a prominent part in connection with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Saviour (Mark 15:40; John 19:25).

    IV. A SINCERE MOURNER FOR CHRIST (cf. Matthew 27:61; Mark John 20:1-2; Joh_20:11-18).

    V. AN HONOURED MESSENGER OF CHRIST (John 20:17-18; Mark 16:10). (T. S. Dickson, M. A.)

    The ministry of women

    We know very little about the women of this little group. Mary of Magdala has had a very hard fate. The Scripture record of her is very sweet and beautiful. Demoniacal possession was neither physical infirmity nor moral evil, however much it may have simulated sometimes the one or the other. Then as to Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, old Church tradition tells us that she was the consort of the nobleman whose son Christ healed at Capernaum. It does not seem very likely that Herod’s steward would have been living in Capernaum, and the narrative before us rather seems to show that she herself was the recipient of healing from His hands. However that may be, Herod’s court was not exactly the place to look for Christian disciples. But, you know, they of Caesar’s household surrounded with their love the apostle whom Nero murdered, and it is by no means an uncommon experience that the servants’ hall knows and loves Christ, whom the lord in the saloon does not care about. And then as for Susanna, is it not a sweet fate to be known to all the world for evermore by one line only, which tells of her service to her Master.


    1. The noblest life that was ever lived on earth was the life of a poor man, of one who emptied Himself for our sakes.

    2. Think of the love that stoops to be served. It is much to say, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister”; but I do not know that it is not more to say that the Son of Man let this record be written, which tells us that “ certain women ministered to Him of their substance.”

    II. Look at the complement of this love--the love that stoops to be served, and that is THE LOVE THAT DELIGHTS TO SERVE.

    1. There is the foundation. “Certain women which had been healed of their infirmities.” Ah! there you come to it. The consciousness of redemption is the one master-touch that evokes the gratitude that aches to breathe itself in service.

    2. Do we not minister to Him best when we do the thing that is nearest His heart, and help Him most in the purpose of His life and death?

    III. THE REMEMBRANCE AND RECORD OF THIS SERVICE. Just as a beam of light enables us to see all the motes dancing up and down that lay in its path, so the beam from Christ’s life shoots athwart the society of His age, and all those little insignificant people come for a moment into the full lustre of the light. The eternity of work done for Christ. How many deeds of faithful love and noble devotion are all compressed into these words: “ Which ministered unto Him.” It is the old story of how life shrinks, and shrinks, and shrinks in the record. How many acres of green forest ferns in the long ago time went to make up a seam of coal as thick as a sixpence? Still there is the record, compressed, indeed, but existent. And how many names may drop out? Do you not think that these anonymous “many others which ministered” were just as dear to Jesus Christ as Mary and Joanna and Susanna? How strange it must be to those women now I So it will be to you all when you get up yonder. We shall have to say, “Lord, when saw I Thee?” &c. He will put a meaning and a majesty into it that we know nothing about at present. When we in our poor love have poorly ministered unto Him, who in His great love greatly died for us, then at the last the wonderful word will be fulfilled: “Verily I say unto you, He shall gird Himself and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

    Self-devotion of women

    The reckless rapture of self-forgetfulness, that which dominates and inspires persons and nations, that which is sovereign over obstacle and difficulty, and peril and resistance, it has belonged to woman’s heart from the beginning. In the early Pagan time, in the Christian development, in missions and in martyrdoms, it has been shown; in the mediaeval age as well as in our own time; in Harriet Newel and Florence Nightingale; in Ann Haseltine as truly and as vividly as in any Hebrew Hadassah or in any French Joan of Arc. You remember the Prussian women after the battle of Jena, when Prussia seemed trampled into the bloody mire under the cannon of Napoleon and the feet of the horses and men in his victorious armies. Prussian women, never losing their courage, flung their ornaments of gold and jewellery into the treasury of the State, taking back the simple cross of Berlin iron, which is now the precious heirloom in so many Prussian families, bearing the inscription, “I have gold for iron.” That is the glory of womanhood; that passion and self-forgetfulness, that supreme self-devotion with which she flings herself into the championship of a cause that is dear and sacred and trampled under foot. It is her crown of renown, it is her staff of power. (Dr. Storrs.)

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    Expositor's Bible Commentary


    Chapter 15


    IN considering the words of Jesus, if we may not be able to measure their depth or to scale their height, we can with absolute certainty discover their drift, and see in what direction they move, and we shall find that their orbit is an ellipse. Moving around the two centers, sin and salvation, they describe what is not a geometric figure, but a glorious reality, "the kingdom of God." It is not unlikely that the expression was one of the current phrases of the times, a golden casket, holding within it the dream of a restored Hebraism; for we find, without any collusion or rehearsal of parts, the Baptist making use of the identical words in his inaugural address, while it is certain the disciples themselves so misunderstood the thought of their Master as to refer His "kingdom" to that narrow realm of Hebrew sympathies and hopes. Nor did they see their error until, in the light of Pentecostal flames, their own dream disappeared and the new kingdom, opening out like a receding sky, embraced a world within its folds. That Jesus adopted the phrase, liable to misconstruction as it was, and that He used it so repeatedly, making it the center of so many parables and discourses, shows how completely the kingdom of God possessed both His mind and heart. Indeed, so accustomed were His thoughts and words to flow in this direction that even the Valley of Death, "lying darkly between" His two lives, could not alter their course, or turn His thoughts out of their familiar channel; and as we find the Christ back of the cross and tomb, amid the resurrection glories, we hear Him speaking still of "the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."

    It will be observed that Jesus uses the two expressions "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of heaven" interchangeably. But in what sense is it the "kingdom of heaven?" Does it mean that the celestial realm will so far extend its bounds as to embrace our outlying and low-lying world? Not exactly, for the conditions of the two realms are so diverse. The one is the perfected, the visible kingdom, where the throne is set, and the King Himself is manifest, its citizens, angels, heavenly intelligences, and saints now freed from the cumbering clay of mortality, and forever safe from the solicitations of evil. This New Jerusalem does not come down to earth, except in the vision of the seer, as it were in a shadow. And yet the two kingdoms are in close correspondence, after all; for what is the kingdom of God in heaven but His eternal rule over the spirits of the redeemed and of the unredeemed? What are the harmonies of heaven but the harmonies of surrendered wills, as, without any hesitation or discord, they strike in with the Divine Will in absolute precision? To this extent, then, at least, heaven may project itself upon earth; the spirits of men not yet made perfect may be in subjection to the Supreme Spirit; the separate wills of a redeemed humanity, striking in with the Divine Will, may swell the heavenly harmonies with their earthly music.

    And so Jesus speaks of this kingdom as being "within you." As if He said, "You are looking in the wrong direction. You expect the kingdom of God to be set up around you, with its visible symbols of flags and coins, on which is the image of some new Caesar. You are mistaken. The kingdom, like its King, is unseen; it seeks, not countries, but consciences; its realm is in the heart, in the great interior of the soul." And is not this the reason why it is called, with such emphatic repetition, "the kingdom," as if it were, if not the only, at any rate the highest kingdom of God on earth? We speak of a kingdom of Nature, and who will know its secrets as He who was both Nature’s child and Nature’s Lord? And how far-reaching a realm is that! From the motes that swim in the air to the most distant stars, which themselves are but the gateway to the unseen Beyond! What forces are here, forces of chemical affinities and repulsions, of gravitation and of life! What successions and transformations can Nature show! What infinite varieties of substance, form, and color! What a realm of harmony and peace, with no irruptions of discordant elements! Surely one would think, if God has a kingdom upon earth, this kingdom of Nature is it. But no; Jesus does not often refer to that, except as He makes Nature speak in His parables, or as He uses the sparrows, the grass, and the lilies as so many lenses through which our weak human vision may see God. The kingdom of God on earth is as much higher than the kingdom of Nature as spirit is above matter, as love is more and greater than power.

    We said just now how completely the thought of "the kingdom" possessed the mind and heart of Jesus. We might go one step farther, and say how completely Jesus identified Himself with that kingdom. He puts Himself in its pivotal center, with all possible naturalness, and with an ease that assumption cannot feign He gathers up its royalties and draws them around His own Person. He speaks of it as "My kingdom"; and this, not alone in familiar discourse with His disciples, but when face to face with the representative of earth’s greatest power. Nor is the personal pronoun some chance word, used in a far-off, accommodated sense; it is the crucial word of the sentence, underscored and emphasized by a threefold repetition; it is the word He will not strike out, nor recall, even to save Himself from the Cross. He never speaks of the kingdom but even His enemies acknowledge the "authority" that rings in His tones, the authority of conscious power, as well as of perfect knowledge. When His ministry is drawing to a close He says to Peter, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven"; which language may be understood as the official designation of the Apostle Peter to a position of pre-eminence in the Church, as its first leader. But whatever it may mean, it shows that the keys of the kingdom are His; He can bestow them on whom He will. The kingdom of heaven is not a realm in which authority and honors move upwards from below, the blossoming of "the people’s will"; it is an absolute monarchy, an autocracy, and Jesus Himself is here King supreme, His will swaying the lesser wills of men, and rearranging their positions, as the angel had foretold: "He shall reign over the house of David for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Given Him of the Father it is, [Luke 22:29, Luke 1:32] but the kingdom is His, not either as a metaphor, but really, absolutely, inalienably; nor is there admittance within that kingdom but by Him who is the Way, as He is the Life. We enter into the kingdom, or the kingdom enters into us, as we find, and then crown the King, as we sanctify in our hearts Christ as 1 Peter 3:15.

    This brings us to the question of citizenship, the conditions and demands of the kingdom; and here we see how far this new dynasty is removed from the kingdoms of this world. They deal with mankind in groups; they look at birth, not character; and their bounds are well defined by rivers, mountains, seas, or by accurately surveyed lines. The kingdom of heaven, on the other hand, dispenses with all space-limits, all physical configurations, and regards mankind as one group, a unity, a lapsed but a redeemed world. But while opening its gates and offering its privileges to all alike, irrespective of class or circumstance, it is most eclective in its requirements, and most rigid in the application of its test, its one test of character. Indeed, the laws of the heavenly kingdom are a complete reversal of the lines of worldly policy. Take, for instance, the two estimates of wealth, and see how different the position it occupies in the two societies. The world makes wealth its summum bonum; or if not exactly in itself the highest good, in commercial values it is equivalent to the highest good, which is position. Gold is all-powerful, the goal of man’s vain ambitions, the panacea of earthly ill. Men chase it in hot, feverish haste, trampling upon each other in the mad scramble, and worshipping it in a blind idolatry. But where is wealth in the new kingdom? The world’s first becomes the last. It has no purchasing-power here; its golden key cannot open the least of these heavenly gates. Jesus sets it back, far back, in His estimate of the good. He speaks of it as if it were an encumbrance, a dead weight, that must be lifted, and that handicaps the heavenly athlete. "How hardly," said Jesus, when the rich ruler turned away "very sorrowful," "shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God"; [Luke 18:24] and then, by way of illustration, He shows us the picture of the camel passing through the so-called "needle’s eye" of an Eastern door. He does not say that such a thing is impossible, for the camel could pass through the "needle’s eye," but it must first kneel down and be stripped of all its baggage, before it can pass the narrow door, within the larger, but now closed gate. Wealth may have its uses, and noble uses too, within the kingdom-for it is somewhat remarkable how the faith of the two rich disciples shone out the brightest, when the faith of the rest suffered a temporary eclipse from the passing cross-but he who possesses it must be as if he possessed it not. He must not regard it as his own, but as talents given him in trust by his Lord, their image and superscription being that of the Invisible King.

    Again, Jesus sets down vacillation, hesitancy, as a disqualification for citizenship in His kingdom. At the close of His Galilean ministry our Evangelist introduces us to a group of embryo disciples. The first of the three says, "Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest". [Luke 9:57] Bold words they were, and doubtless well meant, but it was the language of a passing impulse, rather than of a settled conviction; it was the coruscation of a glowing, ardent temperament. He had not counted the cost. The large word "whithersoever" might, indeed, easily be spoken, but it held within it a Gethsemane and a Calvary, paths of sorrow, shame, and death he was not prepared to face. And so Jesus neither welcomed nor dismissed him, but opening out one part of his "whithersoever," He gave it back to him in the words, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." The second responds to the "Follow Me" of Christ with the request that he might be allowed first to go and bury his father. It was a most natural request, but participation in these funeral rites would entail a. ceremonial uncleanness of seven days, by which time Jesus would be far away. Besides, Jesus must teach him, and the ages after him, that His claims were paramount; that when He commands obedience must be instant and absolute, with no interventions, no postponement. Jesus replies to him in that enigmatical way of His, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead: but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God"; indicating that this supreme crisis of his life is virtually a passing from death to life, a "resurrection from earth to things above." The last in this group of three volunteers his pledge, "I will follow Thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house"; [Luke 9:61] but to him Jesus replies, mournfully and sorrowfully, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God". [Luke 9:62] Why does Jesus treat these two candidates so differently? They both say, "I will follow Thee," the one in word, the other by implication; they both request a little time for what they regard a filial duty; why, then, be treated so differently, the one thrust forward to a still higher service, commissioned to preach the kingdom, and afterwards, if we may accept the tradition that he was Philip the Evangelist, passing up into the diaconate; the other, unwelcomed and uncommissioned, but disapproved as "not fit for the kingdom?" Why there should be this wide divergence between the two lives we cannot see, either from their manner or their words. It must have been a difference in the moral attitude of the two men, and which He who heard thoughts and read motives detected at once. In the case of the former there was the fixed, determined resolve, which the bier of the dead father might hold back a little, but which it could not break or bend. But Jesus saw in the other a double-minded soul, whose feet and heart moved in diverse, opposite ways, who gave, not his whole, but a very partial, self to his work; and this halting, wavering one He dismissed with the words of forecasted doom, "Not fit for the kingdom of God."

    It is a hard saying, with a seeming severity about it; but is it not a truth universal and eternal? Are any kingdoms, either of knowledge or power, won and held by the irresolute and wavering? Like the stricken men of Sodom, they weary themselves to find the door of the kingdom; or if they do see the Beautiful Gates of a better life, they sit with the lame man, outside, or they linger on the steps, hearing the music indeed, but hearing it from afar. It is a truth of both dispensations, written in all the books; the Reubens who are "unstable as water" can never excel; the elder born, in the accident of years, they may be, but the birthright passes by them, to be inherited and enjoyed by others.

    But if the gates of the kingdom are irrevocably closed against the halfhearted, the self-indulgent, and the proud, there is a sesame to which they open gladly. "Blessed are ye poor," so reads the first and great Beatitude: "for yours is the kingdom of God"; [Luke 6:20] and beginning with this present realization, Jesus goes on to speak of the strange contrasts and inversions the perfected kingdom will show, when the weepers will laugh, the hungry be full, and those who are despised and persecuted will rejoice in their exceeding great reward. But who are the "poor" to whom the gates of the kingdom are open so soon and so wide? At first sight it would appear as if we must give a literal interpretation to the word, reading it in a worldly, temporal sense; but this is not necessary. Jesus was now directly addressing His disciples, [Luke 6:20] though, doubtless, His words were intended to pass beyond them, to those ever-enlarging circles of humanity who in the after-years should press forward to hear Him. But evidently the disciples were in no weeping mood today; they would be elated and joyful over the recent miracles. Neither should we call them "poor," in the worldly sense of that word, for most of them had been called from honorable positions in society, while some had even "hired servants" to wait upon them and assist them. Indeed, it was not the wont of Jesus to recognize the class distinctions Society was so fond of drawing and defining. He appraised men, not by their means, but by the manhood which was in them; and when He found a nobility of soul-whether in the higher or the lower walks of life it made no difference who stepped forward to recognize and to salute it. We must therefore give to these words of Jesus, as to so many others, the deeper meaning, making the "blessed" of this Beatitude, who are now welcomed to the opened gate of the kingdom, the "poor in spirit," as, indeed, St. Matthew writes it.

    What this spirit-poverty is, Jesus Himself explains, in a brief but wonderfully realistic parable. He draws for us the picture of two men at their Temple devotions. The one, a Pharisee, stands erect, with head uplifted, as if it were quite on a level with the heaven he was addressing, and with supercilious pride he counts his beads of rounded egotisms. He calls it a worship of God, when it is but a worship of self. He inflates the great "I," and then plays upon it, making it strike sharp and loud, like the tom-tom of a heathen fetish. Such is the man who fancies that he is rich toward God, that he has need of nothing, not even of mercy, when all the time he is utterly blind and miserably poor. The other is a publican, and so presumably rich. But how different his posture! With heart broken and contrite, self with him is a nothing, a zero; nay, in his lowly estimate it had become a minus quantity, less than nothing, deserving only rebuke and chastisement. Disclaiming any good, either inherent or acquired, he puts the deep need and hunger of his soul into one broken cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner". [Luke 18:13] Such are the two characters Jesus portrays as standing by the gate of the kingdom, the one proud in spirit, the other "poor in spirit"; the one throwing upon the heavens the shadow of his magnified self, the other shrinking up into the pauper, the nothing that he was. But Jesus tells us that he was "justified," accepted, rather than the other. With nought he could call his own, save his deep need and his great sin, he finds an opened gate and a welcome within the kingdom; while the proud spirit is sent empty away, or carrying back only the tithed mint and anise, and all the vain oblations Heaven could not accept.

    "Blessed" indeed are such "poor"; for He giveth grace unto the lowly, while the proud He knoweth afar off. The humble, the meek, these shall inherit the earth, aye, and the heavens too, and they shall know how true is the paradox, having nothing, yet possessing all things. The fruit of the tree of life hangs low, and he must stoop who would gather it. He who would enter God’s kingdom must first become "as a little child," knowing nothing as yet, but longing to know even the mysteries of the kingdom, and having nothing but the plea of a great mercy and a great need. And are they not "blessed" who are citizens of the kingdom-with righteousness, peace, and joy all their own, a peace which is perfect and Divine, and a joy which no man taketh from them? Are they not blessed, thrice blessed, when the bright shadow of the Throne covers all their earthly life, making its dark places light, and weaving rainbows out of their very tears? He who through the strait gate of repentance passes within the kingdom finds it "the kingdom of heaven" indeed, his earthly years the beginnings of the heavenly life.

    And now we touch a point Jesus ever loved to illustrate and emphasize, the manner of the kingdom’s growth, as with ever-widening frontiers it sweeps outward in its conquest of a world. It was a beautiful dream of Hebrew prophecy that in the latter days the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of the Messiah, should overlap the bounds of human empires, and ultimately cover the whole earth. Looking through her kaleidoscope of ever-shifting but harmonious figures, Prophecy was never weary of telling of the Golden Age she saw in the far future, when the shadows would lift, and a new Dawn, breaking out of Jerusalem, would steal over the world. Even the Gentiles should be drawn to its light, and kings to the brightness of its rising; the seas should offer their abundance as a willing tribute, and the isles should wait for and welcome its laws. Taking up into itself the petty strifes and jealousies of men, the discords of earth should cease; humanity should again become a Unit, restored and regenerate fellow-citizens of the new kingdom, the kingdom which should have no end, no boundaries either of space or time.

    Such was the dream of Prophecy, the kingdom Jesus sets Himself to found and realize upon earth. But how? Disclaiming any rivalry with Pilate, or with his imperial master, Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," so lifting it altogether out of the mould in which earthly dynasties are cast. "This world" uses force; its kingdoms are won and held by metallic processes, tinctures of iron and steel. In the kingdom of God carnal weapons are out of place; its only forces are truth and love, and he who takes the sword to advance this cause wounds but himself, after the vain manner of Baal’s priests. "This world" counts heads or hands; the kingdom of God numbers its citizens by hearts alone. "This world" believes in pomp and show, in outward visibilities and symbols; the kingdom of God cometh not "with observation"; its voices are gentle as a zephyr, its footsteps noiseless as the coming of spring. If man had had the ordering of the kingdom he would have summoned to his aid all kinds of portents and surprises: he would have arranged processions of imposing events; but Jesus likens the coming of the kingdom to a grain of mustard cast into a garden, or to a handful of leaven hid in three sata of meal. The two parables, with minor distinctions, are one in their import, the leading thought common to both being the contrast between its ultimate growth and the smallness and obscurity of its beginnings. In both the recreative force is a hidden force, buried out of sight, in the soil or in the meal. In both the force works outward from its center, the invisible becoming visible, the inner life assuming an outer, external form. In both we see the touch of life upon death; for left to itself the soil never would be anything more than dead earth, as the meal would be nothing more than dust, the broken ashes of a life that was departed. In both there is extension by assimilation, the leaven throwing itself out among the particles of kindred meal, while the tree attracts to itself the kindred elements of the soil. In both there is the mediation of the human hand; but as if to show that the kingdom offers equal privilege to male and female, with like possibilities of service, the one parable shows us the hand of a man, the other the hand of a woman. In both there is a consummation, the one par perfect work, an able showing us the whole mass leavened, the other showing us the wide-spreading tree, with the birds nesting in its branches.

    Such, in outline, is the rise and progress of the kingdom of God in the heart of the individual man, and in the world; for the human soul is the protoplasm, the germ-cell, out of which this world-wide kingdom is evolved. The mass is leavened only by the leavening of the separate units. And how comes the kingdom of God within the soul and life of man? Not with observation or supernatural portents, but silently as the flashing forth of light. Thought, desire, purpose, prayer-these are the wheels of the chariot in which the Lord comes to His temple, the King into His kingdom And when the kingdom of God is set up within you the outer life shapes itself to the new purpose and aim, the writ and will of the King running unhindered through every department, even to its outmost frontier, while thoughts, feelings, desires, and all the golden coinage of the hear bear, not, as before, the image of Self, but the image and superscription of the Invisible King-the "Not I, but Christ."

    And so the honor of the kingdom is in our keeping, as the growths of the kingdom are in our hands. The Divine Cloud adjusts its pace to our human steps, alas often far too slow! Shall the leaven stop with us, as we make religion a kind of sanctified selfishness, doing nothing but gauging the emotions and staging its little doxologies? Do we forget that the weak human hand carries the Ark of God, and pushes forward the boundaries of the kingdom? Do, we forget that hearts are only won by hearts? The kingdom of God on earth is the kingdom of surrendered wills and of consecrated lives. Shall we not, then, pray, "thy kingdom come," and living "more nearly as we pray," seek a redeemed humanity as subjects of our King? So will the Divine purpose become a realization, and the "morning" which now is always "somewhere in the world" will be everywhere, the promise and the dawn of a heavenly day, the eternal Sabbath!

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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Expositor's Bible Commentary".

    Expositor's Bible Commentary

    Chapter 14


    Luke 8:1-18

    IN a single parenthetical sentence our Evangelist indicates a marked change in the mode of the Divine ministry. Hitherto "His own city," Capernaum, has been a sort of center, from which the lines of light and blessing have radiated. Now, however, He leaves Capernaum, and makes a circuit through the province of Galilee, going through its cities and villages in a systematic, and as the verb would imply, a leisurely way, preaching the "good tidings of the kingdom of God." Though no mention is made of them, we are not to suppose that miracles were suspended; but evidently they were set in the background, as secondary things, the by-plays or "asides" of the Divine Teacher, who now is intent upon delivering His message, the last message, too, that they would hear from Him. Accompanying Him, and forming an imposing demonstration, were His twelve disciples, together with "many" women, who ministered unto them of their substance, among whom were three prominent ones, probably persons of position and influence-Mary of Magdala, Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, who had been healed by Jesus of "evil spirits and infirmities"-which last word, in New Testament language, is a synonym for physical weakness and disorder. Of the particulars and results of this mission we know nothing, unless we may see, in the "great multitude" which followed and thronged Jesus on His return, the harvest reaped from the Galilean hills. Our Evangelist, at any rate, links them together, as if the "great multitude" which now lines the shore was, in part at least, the cloud of eager souls which had been caught up and borne along on His fervid speech, as the echoes of the kingdom went resounding among the hills and vales of Galilee.

    Returning to Capernaum, whither the crowds followed Him, every city sending its contingent of curious or conquered souls, Jesus, as St. Matthew and St. Mark inform us, leaves the house, and seeks the open stretch of shore, where from a boat-probably the familiar boat of Simon-He addresses the multitudes, adopting now, as His favorite mode of speech, the amplified parable. It is probable that He had observed on the part of His disciples an undue elation of spirit. Reading the crowds numerically, and not discerning the different motives which had brought them together, their eyes deceived them. They imagined that these eager multitudes were but a wave-sheaf of the harvest already ripe, which only waited their gathering-in. But it is not so; and Jesus sifts and winnows His audience, to show His disciples that the apparent is not always the real, and that between the hearers of the word and the doers there will ever be a wide margin of disappointment and comparative failure. The harvest, in God’s husbandry, as in man’s, does not depend altogether upon the quality of the seed or the faithfulness of the sower, but upon the nature of the soil on which it falls.

    As the sower went forth to sow his seed, "some fell by the way-side, and it was trodden under-foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it." In his carefulness to cover all his ground, the sower had gone close up to the boundary, and some of the seed had fallen on the edge of the bare and trampled path, where it lay homeless and exposed. It was in contact with the earth, but it was a mechanical, and not a vital touch. There was no correspondence, no communion between them. Instead of welcoming and nourishing the seed, it held it aloof, in a cold, repelling way. Had the soil been sympathetic and receptive, it held within itself all the elements of growth Touched by the subtle life that was hidden within the seed, the dead earth itself had lived, growing up into blades of promise, and from the full ear throwing itself forward into the future years. But the earth was hard and unreceptive; its possibilities of blessing were locked up and buried beneath a crust of trampled soil that was callous and unresponsive as the rock itself. And so the seed lay unwelcomed and alone, and the life which the warm touch of earth would have loosened and set free remained within its husk as a dead thing, without voice or hearing. There was nothing else for it but to be ground into dust by the passing foot or to be picked up by the foraging birds.

    The parable was at once a prophecy and an experience. Forming a part of the crowd which surrounded Jesus was an outer ring of hearers who came but to criticize and to cavil. They had no desire to be taught-at any rate by such a teacher. They were themselves the "knowing-ones," the learned, and they looked with suspicion and ill-concealed scorn upon the youthful Nazarene. Turning upon the Speaker a cold questioning glance, or exchanging signals with one another, they were evidently hostile to Jesus, listening, it is true, but with a feline alertness, hoping to entrap the sweet Singer in His speech. Upon these, and such as these, the word of God, even when spoken by the Divine Son, made no impression. It was a speaking to the rocks, with no other result than the awaking of a few echoes of mockery and banter.

    The experience is still true. Among those who frequent the house of God are many whose worship is a cold, conventional thing. Drawn by custom, by the social instinct, or by the love of change, they pass within the gates of the Lord’s house ostensibly to worship. But they are insincere, indifferent; they bring their body, and deposit it in the accustomed pew, but they might as well have put there a bag of ashes or an automaton of brass. Their mind is not here, and the cold, stolid features, unlighted by any passing gleam, tell too surely of a vacancy or vagrancy of thought. And even while the lips are throwing off mechanically "Jubilates" and "Te Deums" their heart is "far from Me," chasing some phantom "will o’ the wisp," or dreaming their dreams of pleasure, gain, and ease. The worship of God they themselves would call it, but God does not recognize it. He calls their prayers a weariness, their incense an abomination. Theirs is but a worship of Self, as, setting up their image of clay, they summon earth’s musicians to play their sweet airs about it. God, with them, is set back, ignored, proscribed. The personal "I" is writ so large, and is so all-pervasive, that there is no room for the I AM. Living for earth, all the fibers of their being growing downwards towards it, heaven is not even a cloud drifting across their distant vision; it is an empty space, a vacancy. To the voices of earth their ears are keenly sensitive; its very whispers thrill them with new excitements; but to the voices of Heaven they are deaf; the still, small voice is all unheard, and even the thunders of God are so muffled as to be unrecognized and scarcely audible. And so the word of God falls upon their ears in vain. It drops upon a soil that is impervious and antipathetic, a heart which knows no penitence, and a life whose fancied goodness has no room for mercy, or which finds such complete satisfaction in the gains of unrighteousness or the pleasures of sin that it is purposely and persistently deaf to all higher, holier voices. Ulysses filled his ears with wax, lest he should yield himself up to the enchantments of the sirens. The fable is true, even when read in reversed lines; for when Virtue, Purity, and Faith invite men to their resting-place, calling them to the Islands of the Blessed, and to the Paradise of God, they charm in vain. Deafening their ears, and not deigning to give a passing thought to the higher call, men drift past the heaven which might have been theirs, until these holier voices are silenced by the awful distance.

    That the word of God is inoperative here is through no fault, either of the seed or of the sower. That word is still "quick and powerful," but it is sterile, because it finds nothing on which it may grow. It is not "understood," as Jesus Himself explains. It falls upon the outward ear alone, and there only as unmeaning sound, like the accents of some unknown tongue. And so the wicked one easily takes away the word from their heart; for, as the preposition itself implies, that word had not fallen into the heart; it was lying on it in a superficial way, like the seed cast upon the trampled path.

    Is there, then, no hope for these way-side hearers? And sparing our strength and toil, shall we leave them for soils more promising? By no means. The fallow ground may be broken up; the ploughshare can loosen the hardened, unproductive earth. Pulverized by the teeth of the harrow or the teeth of the frost, the barren track itself disappears; it passes up into the advanced classes, giving back the seed with which it is now entrusted, with a thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold increase. And this is true in the higher husbandry, in which we are permitted to be "God’s fellow-workers." The heart which today is indifferent or repellent, tomorrow, chastened by sickness or torn by the ploughshare of some keen grief, may hail with eagerness the message it rejected and even scorned before. Amid the penury and shame of the far country, the father’s house, from which he had wantonly turned, now comes to the prodigal like a sweet dream, and even its bread has all the aroma and sweetness of ambrosial food. No matter how disappointing the soil, we are to do our duty, which is to "sow beside all waters"; nor should any calculations of imaginary productiveness make us slack our hand or cast away our hope. When the Spirit is poured out from on high, even "the wilderness becomes as a fruitful field" and death itself becomes instinct with life.

    "And other fell on the rock; and as soon as it grew it withered away, because it had no moisture." Here is a second quality of soil. It is not, however, a soil that is weakened by an intermixture of gravel or of stones, but rather a soil that is thinly spread upon the rock. It is good soil as far as it goes, but it is shallow. It receives the seed gladly, as if that were its one mission, as indeed it is; it gives the seed a hiding-place, throwing over it a mantle of earth, so that the birds shall not devour it. It lays its warm touch upon the enveloping husk, as the Master once laid His finger upon the bier, and to the imprisoned life which was within it said, "Arise and multiply. Pass up into the sunlight, and give God’s children bread." And the seed responds, obeys. The emerging life throws out its two wings-one downwards as its roots clasp the soil; one upwards, as the blade, pushing the clods aside, makes for the light and the heavens that are above it. "Surely," we should say, "if we read the future from the present merely, the hundredfold is here. Pull down your barns and build greater, for never was seed received more kindly, never were the beginnings of life more auspicious, and never was promise so great." Ah that the promise should so soon be a disappointment, and the forecast be so soon belied! The soil has no depth. It is simply a thin covering spread over the rock. It offers no room for growth. The life it nourishes can be nothing more than an ephemeral life, which owns but a today, whose "tomorrow" will be in the oven of a burning heat. The growth is entirely superficial, for its roots come directly to the hard, impenetrable rock, which, yielding no support, but cutting off all supplies from the unseen reservoirs beneath, turns hack the incipient life all starved and shrunken. The result is a sudden withering and decay. A foundling, left, not by some iron gate which the touch of mercy might open, but by a dead wall of cold, unresponsive stone, the plant throws up its arms into the air, in its vain struggle for life, and then wilts and droops, lying at last, a dead and shriveled thing, on the dry bosom of the earth which had given it its untimely birth.

    Such, says Jesus, are many who hear the word. Unlike those by the wayside, these do not reject it. They listen, bending toward that word with attentive ears and eager hearts. Nay, they receive it with joy; it strikes upon their soul with the music of a new evangel. But the work is not thorough; it is superficial, external. They "have no root" in a deep and settled conviction, only a green blade of profession and of mock promise, and when the testing-time comes, as it comes to all, "the time of temptation," they fall away, or they "stand off," as the verb might be literally rendered.

    In this second class we must place a large proportion of those who heard and who followed Jesus. There was something attractive about His manner and about His message. Again and again we read how they "pressed upon Him "to hear His words, the multitude hanging on His lips as the bees will cluster upon a honeyed leaf. Thousands upon thousands thus came within the spell of His voice, now wondering at His gracious words, and now stunned with astonishment, as they marked the authority with which He spoke, the compressed thunder that was in His tones. But in how many cases are we forced to admit the interest to be but momentary! It was with many-shall we say with most?-merely a passing excitement, the effervescence of personal contact. The words of Jesus came "as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice," and for the moment the hearts of the multitudes were set vibrating in responsive harmonies. But the music ceased when the Singer was absent. The impressions were not permanent, and even the emotions had soon passed away, almost from memory. St. John speaks of one sifting in Galilee when "many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him," [John 6:66] showing that with them at least it was an attachment rather than an attachment that bound them to Himself. The bond of union was the hope of some personal gain, rather than the bond of a pure and deep affection. And so directly He speaks of His approaching death, of His "flesh and blood" which He shall give them to eat and to drink; like an icy breath from the north, those words chill their devotion, turning their zeal and ardor into a cold indifference, if not into an open hostility. And this same winnowing of Galilee is repeated in Judaea. We read of multitudes who escorted Jesus down the Mount of Olives, strewing His path with garments, giving Him a royal welcome to the "city of the Great King." But how soon a change "came o’er the spirit of their dream!" how soon the hosannas died away! As a hawk in the sky will still in a moment the warbling of the birds, so the uplifted Cross threw its cold shadow upon their hearts, drowning the brief hosannas in a strange silence. The cross was the fan in the Master’s hand, with which He "thoroughly purged His floor," separating the true from the false. It blew away into the deep Valley of Oblivion the chaff, the dead superficialities, the barren yawns, leaving as the residuum of the sifted multitudes a mere handful of a hundred and twenty names.

    These pro tem believers are indigenous to every soil. There never is a great movement afloat-philanthropic, political, or spiritual-but numberless smaller craft are lifted up on its swell. For a moment they seem instinct with life, but having no propelling power in themselves, they drop behind, soon to be embedded in the mire. And especially is this true in the region of spiritual dynamics. In all so-called "revivals" of religion, when the Church rejoices in a deepened and quickened life, when a cooling zeal has been rewarmed at the heavenly fires, and converts are multiplied, in the accessions which follow almost invariably will be found a proportion of what we may call "casuals." We cannot say they are counterfeits, for the work, as far as it goes, seems real, and the change, both in their thought and life, is clearly marked. But they are unstable souls, prone to drifting, their direction given in the main by the set of the current in which they happen to be. And so when they reach the point-which all must reach sooner or later-where two seas meet, the cross current of enticement and temptation bears hard upon them, and they make shipwreck of faith. Others, again, are led by impulse. Religion with them is mainly a matter of feeling. Overlooking the fact that the emotions are easily stirred, that they respond to the passing breath just as the sea ripples to the breeze, they substitute emotion for conviction, feeling for faith. But these have no foundation, no root, no independent life, and when the excitements on which they feed are withdrawn, when the emotion subsides, the high tide of fervor falling back to its mean sea-level, they lose heart and hope. They are even ready to pity themselves as the objects of an illusion. But the illusion was one of their own making. They set the pleasant before the right, delight before duty, comfort before Christ, and instead of finding their heaven in doing the will of God, no matter what the emotions, they sought their heaven in their own personal happiness, and so they missed both.

    "They endure for a while." And of how many are these words true! Verily we must not count our fruits from the blossoms of spring, nor must we reckon our harvest in that easy, hopeful way of multiplying each seed, or even each blade, by the hundredfold, for the blade may be only a short-lived blade and nothing more.

    "And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it." Here is a third quality of soil in the ascending series. In the first, the trampled path, life was not possible; the seed could find not the least response. In the second there was life. The thinly sprinkled soil gave the seed a home, a rooting; but lacking depth of earth and the necessary moisture, the life was precarious, ephemeral. It died away in the blade, and never reached its fruitage. Now, however, we have a deeper, richer soil, with an abundance of vitality, one capable of sustaining an exuberant life. But it is not clean; it is already thickly sown with thorns, and the two growths running up side by side, the hardier gets the mastery. And though the corn-life struggles up into the ear, bearing a sort of fruit, it is a grain that is dwarfed and shriveled, a mere husk and shell, which no leaven can transmute into bread. It brings forth fruit, as the exposition of the parable indicates, but it has not strength to complete its task; it does not ripen it, bringing the fruit "to perfection."

    Such, says Jesus, is another and a large class of hearers. They are naturally capable of doing great things. Possessing strong wills, and a large amount of energy, they are just the lives to be fruitful, impressing themselves upon others, and so throwing their manifold influence down into the future. But they do not, and for the simple reason that they do not give to the word a whole heart. Their attentions and energies are divided. Instead of seeking "first the kingdom of God," making that the supreme quest of life, it is with them but one of many things to be desired and sought. Chief among the hindrances to a perfected growth and fruitfulness, Jesus mentions three; namely, cares, riches, and pleasures. By the "cares of life" we must understand-interpreting the word by its related word in Matthew 6:34 -the anxieties of life. It is the anxious thought, mainly about the "tomorrow," which presses upon the heart as a gore and constant burden. It is the fearfulness and unrest of soul which gloom the spirit and shroud the life, making the Divine peace itself a fret and worry. And how many Christians find this to be the normal experience! They love God, they seek to serve Him; but they are weighted and weary. Instead of having the hopeful, buoyant spirit which rises to the crest of passing waves, it is a heart depressed and sad, living in the deeps. And so the brightness of their life is dimmed; they walk not "in the light, as He is in the light," but beneath a sky frequently overcast, their days bringing only "a little glooming light, much like a shade." And so their spiritual life is stunted, their usefulness impaired. Instead of having a heart "at leisure from itself," they are engrossed with their own unsatisfactory experiences. Instead of looking upwards to the heavens which are their own, or outwards upon the crying needs of earth, they look inward with frequent and morbid introspection; and instead of lending a hand to the fallen, that a brotherly touch might help them to rise, their hands find full employment in steadying the world, or worlds, of care which, Atlas-like, they are doomed to carry. Self-doomed, we should have said; for the Divine Voice invites us to cast "all our anxiety upon Him," assuring us that He careth for us, an assurance and an invitation which make our anxieties, the fret and fever of life, altogether superfluous.

    Exactly the same effect of making the spiritual life incomplete, and so unproductive, is caused by riches and pleasures, or, as we might render the expression, by the pursuit after riches or after pleasure. Not that the Scriptures condemn wealth in itself. It is, per se, of a neutral character, whether a blessing or a bane depends on how it is earned and how it is held. Nor do the Scriptures condemn legitimate modes and measures of business; they condemn waste and indolence, but they commend industry, diligence, thrift. But the evil is in making wealth the chief aim of life. It is deceptive, promising satisfaction which it never gives, creating a thirst which it is powerless to slake, until the desire, ever more greedy and clamorous, grows into a "love of money," a pure worship of Mammon. Religion and business may well go together, for God has joined them in one. Each keeping its proper place, religion first and most, and business a far-off second, together they are the centrifugal and centripetal forces that keep the life revolving steadily around its Divine center. But let the position be reversed; let business be the first, chief thought, let religion sink down to some second or third place, and the life swings farther and farther from its pivotal center, into wildernesses of dearth and cold. To give due thought to earthly things is right; nay, we may give all diligence to make our earthly, as well as our heavenly calling sure; but when business gets imperious in its demands, swallowing up all our thought and energy, leaving no time for spiritual exercises or for personal service for Christ, then the religious life declines. Crowded back into the chance corners, with nothing left it but the brief interstices of a busy life, religion can do little more than maintain a profession; its helpfulness is, in the main, remitted to the past, and its fruitfulness is postponed to that uncertain nowhere of the Greek calends.

    The same is true with regard to the pleasures of life. The word "pleasure" is a somewhat infrequent word in the New Testament, and generally it is used of the lower, sensual pleasures. We are not obliged, however, to give the word its lowest meaning; indeed, the analogy of the parable would scarcely allow such an interpretation. Sinful pleasure would not check growth; it would simply prevent it, making a spiritual life impossible. We must therefore interpret the "pleasures" which retard the upward growth, and render it infertile, as the lawful pleasures of life, such as the delights of the eye and ear, the gratification of the tastes, the enjoyments of domestic or social life. Perfectly innocent and pure in themselves, purposely designed for our enjoyment, as St. Paul plainly intimates, [1 Timothy 6:17] they are pleasures which we have no right to treat with the stoics disdain, nor with the ascetic’s aversion. But the snare is in permitting these desires to step out of their proper place, in allowing them to have a controlling influence. As servants their ministry is helpful and benign; but if we make them "lords," then, like "the ill uses of a life," we find it difficult to put them down; they rather put us down, making us their thrall. To please God should be the one absorbing pursuit and passion of life, and wholly bent on this, if other pure enjoyments come in our way we may receive them thankfully. But if we make our personal gratification the aim, if our thoughts and plans are set on this rather than upon the pleasing of God, then our spiritual life is enfeebled and stifled, and the fruit we should bear shrivels up into chaff. Then we become selfish and self-willed, and the pure pleasures of life, which like Vestal Virgins minister within the temple of God, leading us ever to Him, turn round to burn perpetual incense before our enlarged and exalted Self. He who stops to confer with flesh and blood, who is ever consulting his own likes and leanings, can never be an apostle to others.

    "And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold." Here is the highest quality of soil. Not hard, like the trampled path, nor shallow, like the covering of the rock, not preoccupied with the roots of other growths, this is mellow, deep, clean, and rich. The seed falls, not "by," or "in," or "among," but "into" it, while seed and soil together grow in an affluence of life, and passing through the blade-age and the earing, it ripens into a harvest of a hundredfold. Such, says Jesus, are they who, in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience. Here, then, we reach the germ of the parable, the secret of fruitfulness. The one difference between the saint and the sinner, between the hundredfold hearer and him whose life is spent in throwing out promises of a harvest which never ripens, is their different attitude towards the word of God. In the one case that word is rejected altogether, or it is a concept of the mind alone, an aurora of the Arctic night, distant and cold, which some mistake for the dawn of a new day. In the other the word passes through the mind into the deepest heart; it conquers and rules the whole being; it becomes a part of one’s very self, the soul of the soul. "Thy word have I hid in my heart," said the Psalmist, and he who puts the Divine word there, back of all earthly and selfish voices, letting that Divine Voice fill up that most sacred temple of the heart, will make his outer life both beautiful and fruitful. He will walk the earth as one of God’s seers, ever beholding Him who is invisible, speaking by life or lips in heavenly tones, and by his own steadfast, upward gaze lifting the hearts and thoughts of men "above the world’s uncertain haze." Such is the Divine law of life; the measure of our faith is the measure of our fruitfulness. If we but half believe in the promises of God or in the eternal realities, then the sinews of our soul are houghed, and there comes over us the sad paralysis of doubt. How can we bring forth fruit except we abide in Him? And how can we abide in Him but by letting His words abide in us? But having His words abiding in us, then His peace, His joy, His life are ours, and we, who without Him are poor, dead things, now become strong in His infinite strength, and fruitful with a Divine fruitfulness; and to our lives, which were all barren and dead, will men come for the words that "help and heal," while the Master Himself gathers from them His thirty, sixty, or hundredfold, the fruitage of a whole-hearted, patient faith.

    Let us take heed, therefore, how we hear, for on the character of the hearing depends the character of the life. Nor is the truth given us for ourselves alone; it is given that it may become incarnate with us, so that others may see and feel the truth that is in us, even as men cannot help seeing the light which is manifest.

    And so the parable closes with the account of the visit of His mother and brethren, who came, as St. Matthew informs us, "to take Him home"; and when the message was passed on to Him that His mother and His brethren wished to see Him, this was His remarkable answer, claiming relationship with all whose hearts vibrate to the same "word": "My mother and My brethren are those which hear the word of God, and DO IT." It is the secret of the Divine life on earth; they hear, and they DO.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Expositor's Bible Commentary".

    The Fourfold Gospel

    and Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod's steward1, and Susanna2, and many others, who ministered unto them of their substance3.

    1. Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod's steward. Joanna is mentioned again at Luke 24:10. Of Chuzas we know nothing more than what is stated here. There are two Greek words for steward, "epitropos" and "oikonomos". The first may be translated "administrator, superintendent, or governor". It conveys the impression of an officer or higher rank. The Jewish rabbis called Obadiah the "epitropos" of Ahab. This was the office held by Chuzas, and its translated "treasurer" in the Arabic version. The second word may be translated "housekeeper, or domestic manager". It was an office usually held by some trusted slave as a reward for his fidelity. Chuzas was no doubt a man of means and influence. As there was no order of nobility in Galilee, and as such an officer might be nevertheless styled a nobleman, this Chuzas was very likely the nobleman of John 4:46. If so, the second miracle at Cana explains the devotion of Joanna to Jesus. Herod's capital was at Sepphoris, on an elevated tableland not far from Capernaum.

    2. Susanna. Of Susanna there is no other record, this being enough to memorialize her.

    3. And many others, who ministered unto them of their substance. The ministration of these women shows the poverty of Christ and his apostles, and explains how they were able to give themselves so unremittingly to the work. Some of the apostles also may have had means enough to contribute somewhat to the support of the company, but in any event the support was meager enough, for Jesus was among the poorest of earth (Luke 9:58; Matthew 17:24; 2 Corinthians 8:9). His reaping of carnal things was as scanty as his sowing of spiritual things was abundant (1 Corinthians 9:11). We should note how Jesus began to remove the fetters of custom which bound women, and to bring about a condition of universal freedom (Galatians 3:28).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "The Fourfold Gospel". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    The Pulpit Commentaries


    Luke 8:1-3

    St. Luke's brief notice of the women who formed part of the company of Jesus.

    Luke 8:1

    And it came to pass afterward. St. Luke here notices an alteration in the Master's way of life. From this time forward Jesus ceased to make Capernaum "his city," his usual residence; he now journeys with his little band of followers from place to place. From this time there was also a distinct change in the tone of his teaching. The Greek word rendered "afterward" is the same as that translated "in order" in Luke 1:3. Showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. The public work of Jesus may be well arranged under three heads: his work as Master, as Evangelist, and as Prophet. The first had especial relation to his own immediate followers, women as well as men. In the second, as the Preacher of the grace, mercy, and the love of God, he peculiarly addressed himself to the general population;—this was the special side of the Lord's work which St. Luke loved to dwell on; this is what he alludes to here. In the third, as Prophet, the Master spoke generally to an evil generation, and especially to the political and religious leaders of the Jewish society of his day.

    Luke 8:2

    And certain women. It has before been noticed that St. Luke, in several places, especially notices the love and devotion of women to the Master. The present position of women is owing to the teaching of the Lord and his disciples. Fellow-heirs with men of the kingdom of heaven, it was obvious that they could no longer occupy on earth their old inferior and subordinate position. The sex, as a sex, has made a noble return to the Master. Much of the untold misery and suffering which tormented the old world has been at least alleviated in great measure by the labours of the women of Christianity. Several of these kindly grateful souls here alluded to evidently belonged to the wealthy class; some even occupied a high position in the society of that time. It was by their gifts, no doubt, that Jesus and his company were enabled to live during the thirty or more months of the public ministry. He had given up, as had also his companions, his earthly occupation, and we know that he deliberately refrained from ever using his miraculous power to supply his daily wants. The presence and loving interest of these and such like kindly generous friends answers the question—How did the Master and his disciples, poor men among poor men, live during the years of public teaching? Mary called Magdalene. The name Mary (Miriam) was a very favourite name among the Hebrew women; we meet with several in the gospel story. This one was called "Magdalene," or "of Magdala," to distinguish her from others bearing the same name. Magdala was a little town near Tiberias. There is nothing definite to connect her with the "sinner" of Luke 7:1-50. The early tradition which identified these two women was probably derived from Tal-mudic sources. There are many wild stories in these writings connected with one called Mary of Magdala, a grievous sinner. The "seven devils" probably allude to some aggravated form of demoniacal possession. Two sets of ecclesiastical legends busy themselves with the after-life of Mary of Magdala. The one represents her as coming with Lazarus and Martha to Marseilles; the other, as accompanying the Virgin and John to Ephesus.

    Luke 8:3

    Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward. She must have been a person of wealth and high rank at the court of Herod Antipas. There were evidently not a few believers in that wicked and dissolute centre. Some years later we read of Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod, as a notable Christian (Acts 13:1). Even Herod himself, we know, at first heard John the Baptist gladly. and, after the terrible judicial murder, we find that unhappy prince fancying that his victim had risen from the dead. It has been suggested that this Chuza was the nobleman of Capernaum whose dying son was healed by Jesus (John 4:46). If this be the case, there would be a special reason for the loving devotion of this Joanna to the Master. She reappears among the faithful women in the history of the Resurrection (Luke 24:10). Susanna. The name signifies "lily." The Jews were fond of giving the names of flowers and trees to their girls; thus Rhoda, a rose (Acts 12:13), Tamar, a palm (2 Samuel 13:2), among many instances. Of this Susanna nothing further is known.

    Luke 8:4-15

    The parable of the sower, and the Lord's interpretation of it.

    Luke 8:4

    And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable. A great change, it is clear, took place in our Lord's way of working at this period. We have already (in the note on Luke 8:1) remarked that from henceforth he dwelt no longer in one centre, his own city Capernaum, but moved about from place to place. A new way of teaching was now adopted—that of the "parable." It was from this time onward that, when he taught, he seems generally to have spoken in those famous parables, or stories, in which so much of his recorded teaching is shrined. Hitherto in his preaching he had occasionally made use of similes or comparisons, as in Luke 5:6 and Luke 6:29, Luke 6:48; but he only began the formal use of the parable at this period, and the parable of the sower seems to have been the earliest spoken. Perhaps because it was the first, perhaps on account of the far-reaching nature of its contents, the story of "the sower" evidently impressed itself with singular force upon the minds of the disciples. It evidently formed a favourite "memory" among the first heralds of the new faith. It is the only one, with the exception of the vine-dressers, one of the latest spoken, which has been preserved by the three—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is identical in structure and in teaching in all the three, which shows that they were relating the same story. It differs, however, in detail; we thus gather that the three did not copy from one primitive document, but that these "memories" were derived either from their own recollections or at least from different sources. Now, what induced the Master thus deliberately to change the manner of his teaching? In other words, why, from this time forward, does he veil so much of his deep Divine thought in parables? Let us consider the attitude of the crowds who till now had been listening to him. What may be termed the Galilaean revival had well-nigh come to an end. The enthusiasm he had evoked by his burning words, his true wisdom, his novel exposition of what belonged to human life and duty, was, when he left Capernaum and began his preaching in every little village (verse 1), at its height. But the great Heart-reader knew well that the hour of reaction was at hand. Then the pressure of the crowds which thronged him was so great that, to speak this first parable, he had to get into a boat and address the multitude standing on the shore (Matthew 13:2); but the moment was at hand which St. John (John 6:66) refers to in his sad words, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." It was in view of that moment that Jesus commenced his parable-teaching with "the sower." As regards the great mass of the people who had crowded to hear his words and look on his miracles, the Lord knew that his work had practically failed. At the first he spoke to the people plainly. The sermon on the mount, for instance, contains little, if anything, of the parable form; but they understood him not, forming altogether false views of the kingdom he described to them. He now changes his method of teaching, veiling his thoughts in parables, in order that his own, to whom privately he gave the key to the right understanding of the parables, should see more clearly, and that those who deliberately misunderstood him—the hostile Pharisee and Sadducee, for instance—should be simply mystified and perplexed as to the Teacher's meaning; while the merely thoughtless might possibly be fascinated and attracted by this new manner of teaching, which evidently veiled some hidden meaning. These last would probably be induced to inquire further as to the meaning of these strange parable-stories. Professor Bruce, who has very ably discussed the reasons which induced Christ at this period of his ministry to speak in parables, says there is a mood which leads a man to present his thoughts in this form. "It is the mood of one whose heart is chilled, and whose spirit is saddened by a sense of loneliness, and who, retiring within himself by a process of reflection, frames for his thoughts forms which half conceal, half reveal them—reveal them more perfectly to those who understand, hide them from those who do not (and will not)—forms beautiful, but also melancholy, as the hues of forest in late autumn. It' this view be correct, we should expect the teaching in parables would not form a feature of the initial stage of Christ's ministry. And such accordingly was the fact." As regarded the men of his own generation, did he use the parable way of teaching almost as a fan to separate the wheat from the chaff? "That he had to speak in parables was one of the burdens of the Son of man, to be placed side by side with the fact that he had not where to lay his head" (Professor Bruce, 'Parabolic Teaching of Christ,' book 1. John 1:1-51.). And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city. The impression of the witness who told the story to Luke and Paul evidently was that at this period of the Lord's ministry vast crowds flocked to listen or to see.. St. Matthew expresses the same conviction in a different but in an equally forcible manner. Only the Lord knew how hollow all this seeming popularity was, and how soon the crowds would melt away. He spake by a parable. Roughly to distinguish between the parable and the fable: The fable would tell its moral truth, but its imagery might be purely fanciful; for instance, animals, or even trees, might be represented as reasoning and speaking. The parable, on the contrary, never violated probability, but told its solemn lesson, often certainly in a dramatic form, but its imagery was never fanciful or impossible.

    Luke 8:5

    A sower went out to sow his seed. The Master's words, in after-days, must often have come home to the disciples. They would feel that in each of them, if they were faithful to their work, the "sower" of the parable was reproduced; they would remember what they had heard from his lips; how he had warned them of the reception which their words would surely meet with; how by far the greater proportion of the seed they would sow, would perish. But though the disciples and all true Christian men in a greater or less degree reproduce the sower of the parable, still the great Sower, it must be remembered, is the Holy Spirit. Every true teacher or sower of the Word does but repeat what they have learned from him. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside. Dean Stanley, on the scenery of the parable, thus writes: "Is there anything on the spot to suggest the images thus conveyed? So I asked as I rode along the tract under the hillside, by which the Plain of Gennesaret is approached. So I asked at the moment, seeing nothing but the steep sides of the hill, alternately of rock and grass. And when I thought of the parable of the sower, I answered that here at least was nothing on which the Divine teaching could fasten; it must have been the distant corn-fields of Samaria or Esdraelon on which his mind was dwelling. The thought had hardly occurred to me when a slight recess in the hillside, close upon the plain, disclosed at once, in detail, and with a conjunction which I remember nowhere else in Palestine, every feature of the great parable. There was the undulating corn-field descending to the water's edge; there was the trodden pathway running through the midst of it, with no fence or hedge to prevent the seed from falling here and there on either side of it, or upon it; itself hard with the constant tramp of horse and mule and human foot" ('Sinai and Palestine,' ch. 13.).

    Luke 8:6

    And some fell upon a rock. The picture here is not of a soil full of stones, but of a rocky portion of the corn-land where the rock is only covered with a thin layer of earth.

    Luke 8:7

    And some fell among thorns. "Every one who has been in Palestine must have been struck with the number of thorny shrubs and plants that abound there. The traveller finds them in his path, go where he may. Many of them are small, but some grow as high as a man's head. The rabbinical writers say that there are no less than twenty-two words in the Hebrew Bible denoting thorny and prickly plants" (Professor Hacker).

    Luke 8:8

    And bare fruit an hundredfold. This is by no means an unheard-of increase even in the West, where vegetation is less luxuriant. Herodotus, quoted by Trench ('Parables'), mentions that two hundredfold was a common return in the Plain of Babylon, and sometimes three hundredfold; and Niebuhr mentions a species of maize that returns four hundredfold. On the marvellous fruit-bearing which would take place in the days of the Lord's future kingdom on earth, Irenaeus gives a quotation from Papias, who gave it on the authority of those who had heard St. John speak of the teaching of the Lord to that effect. Professor Westcott ('Introduction to the Study of the Gospels,' Appendix C, 21) thinks that the tradition was based on the real discourses of the Lord. It is, of course, allegorical, for is it not a memory of. a conversation between Jesus and his disciples arising out of this parable of the sower? "The Lord taught of those days (of his future kingdom on earth) and said, The days will come in which vines shall spring up, each having, ten thousand stocks, and on each stock ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand bunches, and on each bunch ten thousand grapes, and each grape when pressed shalt give five and twenty measures of wine. And when any saint shall have seized one bunch, another shall cry, I am a better bunch; take me; through me bless the Lord. Likewise also (he said) that a grain of wheat shall produce ten thousand ears of corn, and each grain ten pounds of fine pure flour; and so all other fruits, and seeds, and each herb according to its proper nature.. And he (Papias) added, saying, Now, these things are credible to them that believe. And when Judas the traitor believed not, and asked—How, then, shall such productions proceed from the Lord? the Lord said, They shall see who come to those times" (Papias; see Irenaeus, 5.33. 3).

    Luke 8:9

    .—And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be! This is the only parable St. Luke gives as spoken by our Lord in this place. St. Matthew—who gives the additional detail that on account of the pressure of the crowd on the lake-shore it was spoken from a boat moored close to the bank—relates seven parables here in sequence. It is probable that the Master spoke some of these at least on this occasion, but St. Luke, possibly on account of its extreme solemnity, possibly because he wished to mark this parable as the first of this new kind of teaching, relates it and its interpretation only, saying nothing further respecting that day's parable-teaching. It is most probable that all these reported discourses, parables, expositions, or sermons, are simply a resume of the original words. The disciples evidently by their question—which St. Mark tells us was put to Jesus when they were alone with him—were surprised and puzzled, first at the strange change which that eventful day inaugurated in the method of their Master's teaching, and secondly, at the peculiar character of this his first great parable-lesson. It was, indeed, a sombre and depressing announcement whatever way it was looked at—sombre as a picture of the results of his own past ministry, depressing if regarded as a prophecy of their future success as teachers.

    Luke 8:10

    And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. In St. Matthew we have the Lord's reply given at greater length; the same prophecy of Isaiah which here forms the basis of St. Luke's account of Jesus' reply is given in full. St. Mark weaves the Isaiah-words into the Master's answer. The thought, however, in each of the three accounts is exactly the same. The parable mode of teaching was adopted by Jesus who, as Heart-reader, was aware now by sad experience and still sadder foreknowledge, that his glorious news rather repelled than attracted the ordinary hearer. They did not want to be disturbed from their earthly hopes and loves and fears. They preferred not to be healed as God would heal them. The Master then spoke his parables with the intention of veiling his Divine story from the careless and indifferent. These, he knew, would for the most part be repelled by such teaching, while it would specially attract the earnest inquirer. "The veil which it (the parable) throws over the truth becomes transparent to the attentive mind, while it remains impenetrable to the careless" (Godet). It was therefore his deliberate wish that such hearers might neither see nor understand. Dr. Morrison well and clearly puts the Lord's thought here: "It is the sinner's deeply rooted wish that he should not see and understand, and the sad explanation of this wish is given by St. Mark—the sinner is afraid lest he should be prevailed to turn. Lest at any time they should be converted (Mark 4:12)."

    Luke 8:11-15

    The Lord's interpretation of the parable of the sower.

    Luke 8:11

    The seed is the Word of God. It was his own sad experience the Master was relating. The picture was of things, too, which had already happened in the case of many of his own true servants, the prophets. It mirrored, too, the many future failures and the few future successes of the listening disciples; it warned them not to be deluded by appearances, not to be discouraged by apparent failure. The Word, of course, in the first instance is his own teaching; it comprehends, however, any preaching or teaching, whether of prophet of the past or minister of the future, winch tries faithfully to copy his own.

    Luke 8:12

    Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. The wayside hearers represent the great outer circle of men and women who more or less respect religion. It must be carefully borne in mind that in none of the four classes pictured in the parable are despisers of God, declared enemies of religion, portrayed. To these the gospel, with its warnings and its promises, rarely if ever speaks. These of "the wayside" are they whose hearts resemble a footpath, beaten hard and fiat by the constant passing to and fro of wishes of the flesh, of thoughts concerning earthly things, mere sordid hopes and fears. Into these hearts the Word can never really penetrate. Momentary influence now anti again seems to have been gained, but the many watchful agents of the evil one, with swift wings, like birds of the air, swoop down and snatch away the scattered seed which for a moment seemed as though it would take root. Judas Iscariot the Jew, and Pontius Pilate the Roman, might be instanced as types of this class. These—before their awful fate—both appeared to have been moved. The one for long months followed the Lord and was trusted by him; the other pitied, and for a moment in his—Pilate's case—pity seemed passing into love and admiration, and tried to find a way of escape for the innocent Prisoner. But the one betrayed, and the other delivered to death, the sinless Son of God!

    Luke 8:13

    They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. These represent natures at once impressionable and excitable; impulsive men and women who, charmed with the beauty, perhaps (to them) the novelty, of the gospel message, receive the Word, take up the Master's yoke with joy, but without thought. These hastily make a religious profession, but they forget altogether to count what the real cost of such a profession amounts to. Upon these superficial but kindly natures come trouble, perplexity, discouragement, perhaps persecution; then quickly the once-loved religion withers away like corn growing on rocky places beneath the burning summer sun. John Mark, the would-be missionary companion of Paul and Barnabas, was one of this impulsive but little-enduring class; and Demas, once the friend of Paul, but who loved too well the present world. Another instance would be the man who offered to follow Jesus "whithersoever thou goest," as he phrased it, till he found, by the Lord's grave answer, that the Master he offered to follow had neither home nor resting-place; then he seems quickly to have turned back.

    Luke 8:14

    And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. There is something very sad in this, the thorn-choked class of believers. Each of them represents the vie manquee; the beautiful flower just spoiled as it was bursting into full bloom. These hear the Word, and, hearing it, grasp its deep solemn meaning, and for a part of each day honestly try to live the life which that Divine Word pressed home to them. But with these there is another life; side by side with the golden grain has grown up a crop of thorns, which, unless destroyed in time, will choke and utterly mar, as, alas, it often does, the true corn. Such men and women, the double-minded ones of St. James, try to serve two masters—God and the world. Dr. Morrison has a good note on the parallel passage in St. Mark, where, after suggesting that the cares, the riches, and the pleasures of this life in our time are such things as houses, land, works of art and virtue, posts of honour, gaiety of garments, grandeur of entertainments, and in general the myriad appliances of luxury, he goes on to say, "These come more or less in upon all men, but some men lay themselves peculiarly open to their influence, and allow them to twine and twist themselves like the serpents of Laocoon around every energy and susceptibility of their being." The rich young ruler whom Jesus loved is a fair instance of this not uncommon character, which perhaps is more often met with among the more cultured of society than among the poor and the artisan class. There must have been much that was really beautiful and true in that young man, or Jesus never had singled him out as one whom he especially loved, and yet in his case the thorns of riches and luxury had so twined themselves among the real corn that, as far as we know, it never brought fruit to perfection. Ananias and Sapphira may, too, be instanced. They had given up much for the Name's sake, associated themselves with a hated and persecuted sect, sacrificed a large portion of their property to help the poor of the flock, and yet these apparently devoted ones were living a double life; the thorns had so grown up and twined about the corn that in their field nothing ever ripened.

    Luke 8:15

    But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. In this portraiture of the fourth class of our Lord's great life-picture of hearers of and inquirers concerning religion, the Greek words rendered in the Authorized Version "honest" and "good" ("in an honest and good heart ") were words well known and in familiar use among the widely spread Greek-speaking peoples for whom especially St. Luke's Gospel was compiled. Professor Bruce ('Parabolic Teaching of Christ,' ch. 1.) remarks that "the man who united the two qualities expressed by the term 'honest' (better rendered 'noble') and 'good,' represented the beau-ideal of manhood. He was one whose aim was noble, and who was generously devoted to his aim. The expression rendered 'honest' (better translated 'noble,' καλός) has reference to aims or chief ends, and describes one whose mind is raised above moral vulgarity, and is bent, not on money-making and such low pursuits, but on the attainment of wisdom, holiness, and righteousness. The epithet rendered 'good' ( ἀγαθός) denotes generous self-abandonment in the prosecution of lofty ends; large-heartedness, magnanimous, overflowing devotion." Mary of Bethany, with her devoted love and her generous friendship; the centurion Cornelius, with his fervent piety and his noble generosity towards a despised and hated race; Barnabas, with his splendid liberality, his utter absence of care for self, his bright, loving trust in human nature, his true charity, "bearing all things, hoping all things;"—are good examples, drawn from different sexes and from varied races, and out of diverse paths of life, of these true inquirers, who not only hear the Word, but keep it.

    Luke 8:16-18

    A solemn conclusion of the Lord's to his exposition of his first great parable.

    Luke 8:16

    No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. The meaning of the Lord's saying here is—the disciples must not look on this parable-method of teaching, which from henceforth he purposed frequently to adopt, as mysterious, or as containing anything beyond ordinary human comprehension. The explanation of "the sower," which he had just given them, showed them how really simple and adapted to everyday life his teaching was. "No man," said the Lord, "when he hath lighted the candle of the true knowledge, really wishes to hide it—he rather displays it that men may see the light; and that is what I have been doing for you in my careful explanation of my story."

    Luke 8:17

    For nothing is secret, that shall net be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. "All will gradually become clear to them. Whilst the night thickens over Israel on account of its unbelief, the disciples will advance into even fuller light, until there is nothing left in the plan of God which is obscure or hidden. The heart of Jesus is lifted up at this prospect. This accounts for the poetical rhythm which always appears at such moments" (Godet). This is very good, but Godet scarcely goes far enough. The Master's words surely promise that, as the ages advance, more and ever more light on the subject of God's dealings with men will be vouchsafed to the humble, patient searcher after the Divine wisdom. This apophthegm seems to have been a very favourite one of our Lord; he evidently used it on several occasions (see, for instance, Matthew 10:26, where the same words are reported to have been spoken in a different connection).

    Luke 8:18

    Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. A grave warning to his disciples primarily, and then to all who take upon themselves any work, even the humblest, connected with teaching Divine truth. The real strident, patient, humble, and restlessly industrious, he shall be endowed with ever-increasing powers; while the make-believe, lazy, and self-sufficient one shall be punished by the gradual waning of the little light which once shone in his soul.

    Luke 8:19-21

    Interference of Christ's mother and his brethren.

    Luke 8:19

    Then came to him his mother and his brethren. St. Mark, in his third chapter, gives us the reasons which led to this scene. It had been bruited abroad that a species of frenzy had seized upon that strange Man who had been brought up in their midst, and who had lately aroused such enthusiasm in all the crowded lake-district of Galilee. It is difficult to estimate aright the feelings of his own family towards him; admiration and love seem to have struggled in their hearts with prejudice and jealousy—not in the case of Mary, but in the case of the so-called brothers. They seem ever to have been close to him during his public ministry, not among his "own," but still near him, watching him, and listening to him with a half-wondering, half-grudging admiration. But John tells us (John 7:5) that they did not believe in him. It needed the Resurrection to convert them. The crowd round the Master at this juncture was so great that they—his kinsmen—could not press through it to speak to him. They conveyed to him, however, a message. The Heart-reader knew well what were the motives which induced them to come to him just then; the brothers were so distrustful that they had suffered themselves to be carried away by the Pharisees' evil surmises, that Jesus was possessed by a devil. The mother, influenced by her earthly fears for her Son, was induced to accompany the brothers, no doubt hoping to induce him to withdraw himself from the scene of excitement, at all events for a season.

    Luke 8:21

    And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it. The Master used the opportunity to send home into the hearts of the many listeners the stern, grave lesson that there was something more solemn even than family ties, and that these, holy and binding though they were, must not be allowed to stand in the way of plain, unmistakable duty.

    Luke 8:22-25

    The lake-storm is stilled.

    Luke 8:23

    But as they sailed he fell asleep; and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. In the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this and the three following incidents are closely united—the lake-storm; the devils sent into the herd of swine; the raising of the little daughter of Jairus; the healing of the woman afflicted with the issue of blood. Although this cycle of acts is always united by the three, yet they do not occupy the same position chronologically in the three Gospels. The explanation of this probably is that in the primitive apostolic teaching it was usual to relate these four incidents of the Master's work together. In St. Matthew, between the recital of the healing of the demoniac and the raising of the daughter of Jairus, are intercalated the healing of the paralytic, and the call of Matthew, and the feast which followed. These incidents, in a more extended primitive discourse, were no doubt joined to the other four recitals. Had they used a common document, the three would surely have placed them in the same connection with other events. They most likely were worked, with many other signs, somewhere in this period of public work, and were chosen by the first preachers of "the Name" as specially illustrative acts, showing the Lord's power over the elements, over the unseen spirits of evil, over death, over wearying chronic sickness. On the sudden storm, travellers remark how, without warning, winds from the snowy summits of the neighbouring Hermon rush down the mountain gorges into the warm tropical air of the lake-basin, and in a short space of time the calm Galilee sea is lashed into storm and foam. The graphic description of Mark is, as usual, the most vivid, and gives us, in a few master-touches, the aspect of the scene. The weary Master sleeping in the stern of the fishing-boat; the pillow beneath his head; the disciples, terrified by the sudden uproar of the waves surging round their frail bark, as the wild winds rushed down on the lake, hastily awaking their tired Master. The danger must have been very real to have alarmed these Gennesaret fishermen; the storm must have been something more than the usual lake-tempests. The very words the Lord used when he lifted up his head and saw the danger, St. Mark preserves for us. With his "Hush!" he silenced the wild roar of the winds and waters; with his "Be still!" he quieted the heaving waves. Some commentators, reasoning from the Master's personal address to the elements—the winds and the waters—suppose that, in the midst of the storm, was some evil presence, who, taking advantage of our Lord's helpless condition—asleep in that frail fisher's boat—raised up the wild storm, hoping, perhaps, to cut short his life. The idea of spirits thus blending with the elements is one by no means unknown to Scripture. "Who maketh his angels winds [rather than the usual, better-known translation, 'spirits'], his ministers a flaming fire" (Psalms 104:4; Hebrews 1:7;. Job 1:12).

    Luke 8:26-39

    The evil spirit in the Gergesene demoniac is dismissed into the herd of swine.

    Luke 8:26

    And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes. There is a perplexing difference in the reading of the older manuscripts here, but it is simply a question of the precise name of the locality where the great miracle was worked. In the three narratives of Matthew, Mark, and Luke the older manuscripts vary between "Gergesenes," "Gerasenes," and" Gadarenes." Gatiara was a city of some importance, about three hours' journey distant from the southern end of the Lake of Gennesaret. Its ruins are well known, and are distinguished by the remains of two amphitheatres. Gerasa was also a place of mark, and was situate about fifty miles from the lake. These cities might in the days of our Lord have either given its name to a great district stretching to the borders of the lake. Gergesa was a small and very obscure town nearly opposite Capernaum. There are some ruins now on this spot still known by the very slight corruption of Kerzha. There is scarcely any doubt that the scene of the miracle on the poor demoniac, and of the subsequent possession of the swine, must be looked for on this spot. But it was an obscure, little-known spot, and in very early days the preachers who told the story of the great miracle may have often spoken of the country as the district of the well-known Gerasa or Gadara, rather than of the unknown village of Gergesa. Hence probably the variations in the name in the older manuscripts here.

    Luke 8:27

    There met him out of the city a certain man; better rendered, there met him a man of the city. He had been a dweller in Gergesa in old days before the terrible possession began. St. Matthew, in his account, tells us of two demoniacs. SS, Mark and Luke, however, both only mention one, the other for some reason or other had passed out of their thoughts—possibly the malady was much less severe, and the strange dialogue and its results had not taken place in his case. Which had devils long time; better, daemons (daimonia). One of the current Jewish traditions was that these evil spirits were not fallen angels, but the spirits of wicked men who were dead (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 7.6. 3). The plural form "devils"—bitterly referred to later by the sufferer, when he was asked his name—seems in his case to speak of a very aggravated form of the awful malady. And ware no clothes, neither abode in any house. These were no uncommon features of the soul-malady—the horror at any bodily restraint, either connected with clothes or dwellings; a similar shrinking is not unusual even in the comparatively modified modern phases of madness. But in the tombs. Until the teaching and spirit of Jesus had suggested, even among men who had no faith in his Name, some thought and consideration for the helpless sufferers of humanity, neither hospital, nor home, nor asylum existed where these unhappy ones could find a refuge. In these gloomy tombs hollowed out of the rock on the mountain-side—polluted spots for the living, according to the Jewish ritual—these maniacs found the utter solitude they craved for.

    Luke 8:28

    When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice,aid, What have I to do with thee, Jesus? "The sight of Jesus appears to have produced an extraordinary impression upon him. The holy, calm, gentle majesty, the tender compassion, and the conscious sovereignty which were expressed in the aspect of our Lord, awakened in him, by force of contrast, the humbling consciousness of his own state of moral disorder" (Godet). Thou Son of God most high. There seems some probability that this expression was frequently used in cases of exorcism of evil spirits; for again in Acts 16:17 the poor slave-girl, who we read had a Pythoness-spirit, which brought in no small gain to her masters, speaks of Paul and his friends, just before the apostle in his Master's Name cast the spirit out, as servants of the most high God. I beseech thee, torment me not. In this form of possession one remarkable and very terrible feature seems to have been the divided consciousness; the sufferer identifies himself with the demons, and now one speaks, now the other. St. Matthew adds a dread detail to this petition to the Lord, "before the time:" the evil spirits thus recognizing a period when certain torment would be their hapless destiny. The expression "torment" meets us in the parable of Lazarus; the dwelling-place of the rich man after death is a place of torment. In Matthew 18:34 the ministers of judgment are the tormentors. One very solemn reason why this special case of exorcism on the part of our Lord is related with so much detail and repeated by the three evangelists, SS. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, seems to be the glimpse which the dialogue between the evil spirits and the Master opens to us of the dread realities hidden in the future for those who sin deliberately against the will of God. The existence of the place or state of torment is affirmed very pointedly by our Lord and his disciples; but having done this they dwell but little on it. There is a striking and solemn quotation in Dr. Morrison's 'Commentary on St. Mark' on this clear but guarded reference to the final sufferings of those who will not be submissive to the moral will of God, "Further curiosity as to the when, the where, and the how, does not become beings whose main business and greatest wisdom is to fly from, not to pry too close into, these terrible secrets of the dark kingdom."

    Luke 8:30

    And Jesus asked him; saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him The Master vouchsafed no reply to the demons' prayer, but puts a quiet suggestive question to their unhappy victim. The Lord's words, as Dean Plumptre suggests, would serve "to recall to the man's mind that he had once a human name, with all its memories of human fellowship. It was a stage, even in spite of the paroxysm that followed, in the process of recovery, in so far as it helped to disentangle him from the confusion between himself and the demons which caused his misery. But, at first, the question seems only to increase the evil. 'My name is Legion, for we are many.' The irresistible might, the full array of the Roman legion, with its six thousand soldiers, seemed to the demoniac the one adequate symbol of the wild, uncontrollable impulses of passion and of dread that were sweeping through his soul."

    Luke 8:31

    And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. This time the voice and the request apparently proceed from the terrible presence which had made the soul of the unhappy man their temporary habitation. The direful confusion in the state of the poor demoniac is shown by this request. By whom was it made? The bystanders could discern no difference between the possessed and the spirits dwelling in the afflicted human being. So St. Mark, in his relation, puts these words into the demoniac's mouth, "And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country;" apparently here partly conscious of his own personal being, and partly identifying himself with the demoniac forces which were afflicting him. The request is a strange one, and suggests much anxious thought. What is the abyss these rebel-spirits dreaded with so great a dread? It would seem as though, to use Godet's thought, that for beings alienated from God, the power of acting on the world is a temporary solace to their unrest, and that to be deprived of this power is for them just what a return to prison is for the captive. St. Mark's expression here is a curious one. He represents the spirits requesting Jesus "not to send them away out of the country." The two accounts put together tell us that these spirits were aware, if they were driven out of the country—whatever that expression signified, this earth possibly—they must go out into the deep, the abyss, what is called "the bottomless pit" in Revelation 9:1, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 9:11. Any doom seemed to these lost ones preferable to that. The whole train of thought suggested by the incident and the words of the Lord is very terrible. We see at least one reason why the first preachers of the Word have selected this exorcism. It indeed lifts a bit of the curtain which hangs between us and the night of endless woe!

    Luke 8:32

    And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. For what end was this request? Was it simply the way they chose to enter the abyss by? We know that the lives of the creatures, after the permission was given, lasted but a few minutes at most. Was it a desire to do more mischief during their brief sojourn on earth? Theophylact (eighth century) suggests that the purpose of the evil spirits, in their request, was to injure Jesus in that part of the country by arousing fears among the covetous inhabitants lest they too might lose, in a similar way, their herds. But to the writer of this note it seems best to confess that no satisfactory answer can ever be given here. We know so little of these dread spirits of evil. The reason of the Lord's permission is more obvious. Some such visible proof as the sight of the evil and unclean forces that had mastered him so long, transferred to the bodies of other creatures and working their wild will upon them, was probably a necessary element in his perfect cure. It is likely also that Jesus wished to show his indignation at the flagrant disregard of the Mosaic Law, at the open disobedience to the Divine injunctions respecting swine, which was shown by the presence of so vast a herd of these animals pronounced unclean by the Mosaic Law under which these people were professedly living. In this district the large majority of the inhabitants were Jews. The keeping or the rearing of swine was strictly forbidden by the Jewish canon law. Other Oriental peoples also held these animals as unclean. Herodotus (it. 47) tells us that in Egypt there was a special class of swineherds, who alone among the inhabitants of the country were forbidden to enter a temple. This degraded caste were only allowed to marry among themselves. The eating of swine's flesh is referred to by Isaiah (Isaiah 65:3, Isaiah 65:4)as among the acts of the people which continually provoked the Lord to anger.

    Luke 8:33

    And the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. Some exception has been taken at our Lord's action here in connection with the swine, but it has been well said "that the antedating of the death of a herd of unclean animals was as nothing compared with the deliverance of a human soul." But it seems better to see, in the permitted destruction of the herd, the Lord's grave rebuke to the open disregarders of the holy ritual law of Israel, for the sake of selfish lucre.

    Luke 8:34

    When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. The men who kept the swine had witnessed the whole transaction; and as the Master uttered the word "Go," they saw a change in a moment pass through the vast herd. A wild panic seemed to seize the creatures, something: had filled them with a great fear,—they would hurry from the unseen but felt presence; the cool blue waters of the lake, clearly seen from the upland down where they were feeding, seemed to premise the best refuge; they rushed from the plateau down a steep incline, which travellers since think they have identified, and the deep waters or' (Gennesaret put a quick end to the creatures' torments.

    Luke 8:35, Luke 8:36

    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. The swineherds told their story, quickly the news spread; a great concourse from all the country-side soon gathered round the scene of the catastrophe. It was quiet then; the waters of the lake had closed over the tormented creatures, The demoniac, so long the terror of the neighbourhood, now sane, clothed, too, like one of them, was sitting peacefully full of deep, aweful gratitude at the Master's feet; the disciples were standing round; Jesus was no doubt teaching them the deep im—port of the scene they had lately witnessed.

    Luke 8:37

    Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. The recital had no effect upon. the headmen of the neighbouring towns and villages. They were probably for the most part owners of similar herds of swine, perhaps sharers in nameless sins, all specially hateful to the Rabbi Jesus, whom they no doubt knew well by repute. But he was, they saw, something more than a poor wandering moral Teacher; he possessed strange and awful powers: had they not had terribler experience of them? Which of them in that law-breaking, dissolute neighbourhood might not he the next victim whose unclean possessions were to be swept away? So they would have none of him: let him, as quickly as possible depart from their coasts. They felt they could not keep both the Saviour and their swine, and of the two they preferred their swine! And returned back again. The chance, as far as the Gadarene district was concerned, was gone for ever. Jesus probably returned thither no more. Within forty years this district was the scene of one of the terrible calamities of the great Roman war. The sack of Gadara, and the desolation and ruin which was the hapless lot of this once wealthy but evil-living district, is one of the many melancholy chapters of the hopeless Jewish revolt, (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 3. 7. 1; Luke 4:7. 4). A modern traveller, Dr. Thomson, remarks, singularly enough, that the old district of Gadara at the present day is infested with wild, fierce hogs: "Everywhere," he writes, "the land is ploughed up by wild hogs in search of roots on which they live" ('The Land and the Book,' 2. ch. 25).

    Luke 8:38

    Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying. The restored man longed to remain with his Deliverer, but this was not permitted—the great Teacher bade him stay behind in his own country. Perhaps, thought the Redeemer, "some of these hardhearted Gadarenes will be won by his testimony—one of themselves, too, and so notorious a sufferer." His work, the Master told him, was there among his own people; so he stayed, and the next verse (Luke 8:39) tells us how he worked as a diligent evangelist. It is noteworthy how the Master referred the great act of deliverance to God. But to the restored, Jesus was at once his Deliverer and his God. The text of his preaching was "how great things Jesus had done unto him."

    Luke 8:40-56

    The healing of the woman with the issue of blood, and the raising of the daughter of Jairus.

    Luke 8:40

    When Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him. Allusion has already been made, in the notes which preceded the parable of the sower, to the enthusiasm for Jesus in the Galilee lake-cities and their neighbourhood. This, as the Master well knew, was only a temporary religious revival, but still while it lasted it gathered great crowds in every place where he visited. He had not been long in the Gadarene district, but his return was eagerly looked for in Galilee. This verse describes his reception on his return by the people, and introduces the recital of two famous miracles which he worked in this period of his ministry after his brief visit to the other shore of the lake. St. Matthew, before speaking of the request of Jairus that the Master would visit his dying child, relates the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum, and the calling of Matthew the apostle. It is scarcely possible now to arrange the events related, in their proper chronological order. The Gospel histories pretty faithfully represent the teaching of the first days, in which it was evidently the practice of apostles and apostolic men to group their accounts of particular incidents in the Lord's life with a view to teaching certain lessons connected with doctrine or with daily living, often disregarding the order in which these incidents really happened. Hence so many of the differences in detail in our Gospels.

    Luke 8:41

    And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. The public request, made too with intense earnestness, of one holding such a position, is a clear proof that the Galilee enthusiasm for Jesus was by no means confined to the poorer part of the population, or even to the more careless and thoughtless; such a man as Jairus is a fair representative of the well-to-do, perhaps wealthy, orthodox Jew; strict and rigid in his ritual observances, and held in high honour by his fellow Jewish citizens. The name is only a form of the Hebrew Jair ( 10:3).

    Luke 8:42

    One only daughter. This is not the only place where the same touching detail is recorded by this evangelist. Compare the story of the widow's son at Nain (Luke 7:12), and the healing of the lunatic boy (Luke 9:38). St. Luke's Gospel owes these and many similar touches of deep true sympathy to the great loving heart of the real author of the third Gospel, Paul.

    Luke 8:43, Luke 8:44

    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. It may be assumed that the disease from which she suffered made her, according to the Levitical Law, ceremonially unclean: this had separated her in a great measure for a very long period from all contact with the outer world. This would well account for her shrinking from any public appeal to the great Physician. The border of the Lord's garment which the woman touched was one of the four tassels which formed part of the Jewish tallith, or mantle; one of these was always arranged so as to hang down over the shoulder at the back; it was this one which the sufferer's fingers grasped. There was a certain sacredness about these tassels, as being part of the memorial dress enjoined by the Levitical Law, which, no doubt, induced the woman to touch this particular portion of the Saviour's dress. And immediately her issue of blood stanched. This is not the only instance of this kind of strange faith mingled with superstition being signally rewarded. The case of the miraculous efficacy of the handkerchiefs and aprons which had had contact with Paul's body (Acts 19:12) is an interesting example. A still more startling one exists in the healing influence of the shadow of Peter falling on the sick as he passed along the street (Acts 5:15). The lesson evidently intended to be left on the Church of Christ by this and similar incidents is a very instructive one. Faith in Christ is a broad inclusive term: it is accepted and blest by the Master, as we see from the gospel story, in all its many degrees of development, from the elementary shape which it assumed in the case of this poor loving superstitious soul, to the splendid proportions which it reached in the lives of a Stephen and a Paul. Faith in him, from its rudest form to its grandest development, the Master knew would ever purify and elevate the character. It would, as it grew, be the best teacher and the truest monitor of the noble, generous life he loved. Therefore he watched for it, encouraged it, helped it; and his Church, if it would imitate its Master, would do well to follow his wise and loving example by fostering in every form, however crude, faith m Jesus Christ; for this incident in the Divine and perfect life which we have just dwelt on, teaches us with striking clearness that he can and will bless the dimmest, most imperfect faith, the faith of the little child, and of the poorest untaught one.

    Luke 8:45

    Who touched me? The Master's words here and the statement of Luke 8:46, "For I perceive that virtue is gone out of me," tell us something of the earnestness and faith of the suppliant. Many, as Peter said, in that crowd were touching Jesus as they pressed round him to look on his face or to listen to his words, but of them all none save this poor sufferer "touched" him in the true deep sense of touching, with the fixed idea that contact with his blessed Person would benefit or heal them.

    Luke 8:48

    Daughter, be of good comfort. This is the only place in the Gospels where our Lord is reported to have used this loving word to any woman. Eusebius preserves a curious legend in connection with this act of healing. In his time (fourth century) the house of this happy one who met Jesus in her sad life-journey, was shown at Paneas, a town in the north of Palestine. At the entrance of the house, on a stone pedestal, stood two brazen statues—one represented a woman kneeling; the other, a man with his cloak over his shoulder and his hand stretched out toward the kneeling woman. Eusebius relates how he had seen the house and statues and heard the legend ('Hist. Eccl.,' 7.18). In the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, a very early writing, though not one possessing much critical value, the name of the woman is stated to be Veronica. It was she, goes on the story to re]ate, who, on the Via Dolorosa, when the Lord, on his way to Calvary, stumbled and fell, gave the handkerchief to wipe the blessed face.

    Luke 8:49

    While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. This interruption, which must have occupied some time, was, no doubt, a sore trial to the ruler's faith. His little daughter was, he knew well, dying; and though he trusted that the famous Rabbi had power to arrest the progress of disease, he never seems for a moment to have contemplated his wrestling with death; indeed, the bare thought of recalling the spirit to the deserted clay tenement evidently never occurred to any of that sad household, while the hired mourners, too accustomed to the sight of death in all its forms to dream of any man, however great a physician, recalling the dead to life, transgressing all courtesy, positively laughed him to scorn. It seems to us strange now that this supreme miracle should have seemed so much harder a thing to accomplish than the healing of blindness or deafness, or the creation of wine and bread and fish, or the instantaneous quieting of the elements, the waves, and the wind. While sufferers and their friends and the Lord's disciples, in countless instances, asked him to put forth his power in cases of disease and sickness, neither friend nor disciple ever asked him to raise the dead to life. To the last, in spite of what they had seen, none, till after the Resurrection, could persuade themselves that he was, indeed, the Lord of death as well as of life.

    Luke 8:50

    But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. No shadow of hesitation crossed the Redeemer's mind; with unruffled calmness he whispered his words of cheer to the grief-stricken father, and bade him fear nothing, for that all would yet be well with the child. Then follows the well-known, often-read story told in such few words, yet are they so vivid, so dramatic, that we seem to be looking on the scene. The grief-stricken household, the hired mourners, the still death-room, the white motionless form of the dead girl—the ruler's only child—lying on her little bed, the group of the six with tear-dimmed eyes standing round; the loving Master bending over the little dead, his smile as for a moment he took back the all-power he had laid aside a little season for our sakes; the far-off look in his eyes as for a moment his vision ranged over his old home of peace and grandeur; and then the two words spoken in the familiar Aramaic (Hebrew), which Mark, or rather Mark's master, Peter, remembered so well, "Talitha, kumi!" and the dead child rose up again, the spirit had returned to its frail tenement.

    Luke 8:53

    They laughed him to scorn. These were, no doubt, the hired mourners. Familiar as they were with death, they ridiculed the idea of one whom they knew had passed away, awaking again as from a sleep. These public mourners were customary figures in all Jewish homes, even in the poorest where a death had occurred. They are still usual throughout the Levant. The expression, "laughed him to scorn," is found in Shakespeare—

    "Our castle's strength

    Will laugh a siege to scorn."

    ('Macbeth,' act 5. sc. 5.)

    The Aramaic words, Talitha, kumi! "Maid, arise!" were just homely words, spoken in the language which the little girl was in the habit of hearing and using. The Master's tender care for the child was shown not merely in the choice of the language and the words, but in his loving thought after her resurrection, for we read how

    Luke 8:55

    He commanded to give her meat. She had been grievously ill, sick, we know, even to death; and now that the old strength and health had come back again, the Master felt she would at once, after her long abstinence, need food. Even the child's mother was not so motherly as Jesus.

    Luke 8:56

    He charged them that they should tell no man what was done. The enthusiasm in Galilee just then needed no extra spur. The crowds which followed him were increasing. The excitement, the Master felt, was unreal and evanescent; he wished rather to calm it than to increase it.


    Luke 8:1-21

    The evangelistic circuit.


    I. THE PLAN OF CIRCUIT. (Luke 8:1.) "He went," or "went about," or "kept journeying." Hitherto Capernaum had been the centre from which short excursions were taken, the Lord always returning to it. Now he moves steadily on from place to place, "passing in patience until his work is done." "Through cities and villages." He will not omit any abode of man. If social influence and power had been the aim, this Prophet would have limited his operations to the chief centres of life; but his meat is to do the Father's will, and where there is even one soul waiting for the message, there is he. To the Father, to him, there is the same value in the soul of the. peasant as in that of the prince. "Preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God." The distinction between the words, "preaching and showing the good tidings"—or, to give the exact English rendering, "evangelizing"—is not to be pressed too far; but the latter word seems to mark an advance of thought on the former. The "preaching" was the more general proclamation, and the "evangelizing" was the presentation of the gospel thus proclaimed to the diversities of experience and need, the opening up of its several aspects of blessing, so that men from their different standpoints might realize the great love of God and behold the glories of his kingdom. Kings grant pardons, but they only send them; this King comes himself with the pardon, and deals personally with the sinner. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him thus bringing good tidings, and publishing peace; bringing good tidings of good, publishing salvation, saying unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"

    II. A NEW STYLE OF DISCOURSE. One which thenceforth becomes a marked feature of the teaching. He had frequently used comparisons, traced likenesses between the natural and the spiritual. But what had been an occasional trait now became a characteristic mode of conveying truth, and for the reason given by himself (Luke 8:10). To us, familiar with the sound and meaning of the parable, nothing can seem more apposite and happy as a means of communicating thought. By it the highest and deepest mysteries of the kingdom are most gently infused into the apprehension of the mind, whilst there is always a reserve of meaning on which we can draw. But the gamble was not all this to those who heard it. It stimulated inquiry rather than imparted knowledge. It brought the disciples to Jesus, saying, "Expound to us;" "What might this story be?" Those who did not wish to learn were sent away with the feeling, "A dark saying has been uttered: who can hear it?" Jesus says that this defined his purpose in adopting it. He meant it to be a test of the spirit of the mind. Thus he laid his hearers in the balances. May we be of those "to whom it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven"!

    III. THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER. This is the only one of the famous seven given in Matthew 13:1-58. which St. Luke places in our view. It falls more naturally to be considered at length in connection with the former of the accounts. Observe here—on this St. Luke is explicit—the point to which the discourse of Jesus looks (verse 18), "Take heed therefore how ye hear." In this connection recall the four kinds of place in which the seed is sown: the wayside, where the seed is trodden down and devoured by the fowls; the rock, or stony places, where the seed springs up, but soon withers through want of moisture; the thorny ground, where the seed and the thorns grow together, and the thorns choke the seed; and the good ground, where the seed springs up and bears a hundredfold. These places are identified (verses 12-15) with classes of hearers. There are the wayside hearers—those in whom there is no mental exercise on that which they hear, whose minds are thoroughfares for all sorts of thought. And what follows? As soon as they hear, the devil comes—some impish fancy or distracting influence, and takes away the word. "I never heard a sermon," said a man, who for years attended church, "I attended, but, whilst you were speaking, I reviewed the last week's task and arranged for the next." There are the rocky-place hearers—those who hear with interest, with emotion; you can see the response to the word in the animation of the countenance, in the tokens of lively feeling. But the message does not grasp the character, the centres of the life remain unchanged, and thus "in time of temptation they fall away." There are the thorny-ground hearers—those who have heard and yielded to the truth, but the busy, care-crowded, or pleasure-seeking world is waiting for them; the seed is not altogether lost, but the mind is choked with alien interests or pursuits. The poet Robert Burns compares himself to a lonely man walking where fragments of marble columns lie on the ground, overgrown by rank, tall weeds. There are the good-soil hearers—those in whom the earnest longing to know, to do, God's truth is a preparation for the word; who, having heard, hide the word in the heart, and patiently and habitually submit to it-, and, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, bring forth fruit abundantly. To which of these types of hearers does each of us belong? Oh the responsibility of hearing! Note the distinction, in verse 18, between those who have and those who seem to have, or think they have. What is the warning? Whoso only thinks that he has, or is content with the appearance of having, is losing his possession. The life is really moving on other lines than those laid down in the word. The power of reception is diminishing: "Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he thinketh he hath." "Take heed therefore how ye hear." It is the manner of hearing that is the main thing—the motive, the desire, the extent to which the heart and the soul are engaged whilst hearing. Persons are apt to blame the speaker, to lay the want of effect at his door. It may be so; no doubt it often is so. But what of these persons themselves? Let each examine himself. Eloquence, it has been said, is in the audience; and, undoubtedly, the sympathy of the audience has much to do with the power of the utterance. Christ reminds us that, where there is failure, the hearer at least divides the blame. He reminds us, too, that the life declares the quality of the hearing. Verses 16, 17, "For nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest; nor anything secret, that shall not be known and come to light."

    IV. THE HELPERS AND THE HINDERERS IN THE MINISTRY. The twelve are with him. It is their university curriculum. Would to God that all who pass through universities and seminaries realized this curriculum also—"Eye-witnesses first, and then ministers of the Word"! But he has other companions than the apostles; and the noteworthy thing as to these other companions is that they ministered to him of their substance. "The Son of God," says Godet, "lived by the love of those whom his love had made to live." Who are they? Women. Three names are singled out. Mary of Magdala," from whom seven devils had gone out" (vide previous section), once passionate, perhaps depraved, in her life; but henceforth the most loving and devoted; the one to whom the risen Saviour first appeared (John 20:1-31.). And with her are named the wife of Herod's steward, and Susanna, of whom nothing is known. "Many others," we are told. But we do not find, as Farrar has pointed out, the wives of Peter or of the married apostles; nor yet the mother of our Lord. The ministry of woman to Jesus! There is a deep sympathy between the true woman-heart and the Lord; the self-sacrificing love so pure and strong in the true woman-heart being the special attraction. Christianity has exalted woman, has raised her position, and purified her influence. But woman has more than paid back all that she owes to Christianity in respect of this. Who, indeed, that has been blessed by Christian mother, wife, sister, friend, does not know that God has created the ministry of his Word male and female?—giving to the female an even more winning beauty and a more spiritually educative service than the male. The apostles are with, Jesus; but certain women minister to him of their substance. These are the helpers: who are the hinderers? His mother and his brethren (verse 19). The Lord is compelled to say that, whilst the relation according to the flesh is respected, they are not at that moment connected with him by the affinities which alone are permanent. See how this bears on the idolatrous honour paid by the Roman Church to Mary. She has been prevailed on by her children, not to intercede with Jesus, but to join them in the effort—probably meant in kindness, but showing deficiency of insight—to prevent him from continuance in toils and prayers. And note, he distinctly declines to recognize any rights grounded on the motherhood with regard to his work; only spiritual relationships will he recognize. Even when he looks down from the cross and sees her standing, he says to the beloved disciple only, "Behold thy mother." But, apart from this, is it not suggestive, mournfully suggestive, that the hinderers are the nearest of relations—mother and brethren? So it has been often since. An unsympathetic home and circle of friends sometimes constitute the sorest trial which one must face who wills to have fellowship with the Son of God, "He goeth forth weeping, bearing the precious seed."

    Luke 8:22-25

    Storm and calm.

    "He entered into a boat, himself and his disciples." The association of Christ with the beat, with which we are so familiar in the gospel history, has been preserved in much of the poetry, the literature, and the art of the Church. A very old seal-ring represents the Church as a ship struggling against the winds, supported by a great fish in the sea beneath, and with two doves sitting on its mast and prow. The shape often given to Christian places of worship in the early ages was that of a beat. And the idea has entered into all Christian song and thought, Keble catches up the tone of centuries when he inserts the verse in the evening hymn—

    ''Thou Framer of the light and dark,

    Steer through the tempest thine own ark:

    Amid the howling wintry sea

    We are in port if we have thee."

    The key-note to all this symbolism is given in the incident reported in these verses.

    I. IT IS A PICTURE OF LIFE. The sea was at rest when the disciples took Jesus as he was. As they sailed on the smooth waters the weary Prophet fell asleep. On a sudden down comes the squall—one of those furious hurricanes which sweep across a lake six hundred feet lower than the ocean, with gigantic funnels supplied by deep ravines cut by the action of wild watercourses. All is changed; there is heard now only the despairing cry, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?' Such is lifo: changeful, now the smiling sunshine with the clear blue sky, again the driving cloud and rain, with angry waves breaking over the craft. Job was at rest; his sons and daughters feasting together; he himself, with abundance and peace, fearing God and eschewing evil, when the one terrible day came on which messenger chased messenger, completing a tale of destruction and bereavement. How often does destruction fall as in a moment! The fitful weather of the inland lake is a type of the fitful climate, followed by the rapidly dissolving scenery, of the present time. How foolish to set the affection on things below! How sad when there is no Christ in the ship! when there is no fixture, among the sundry and manifold changes of this world, where the only true joys are to be found!

    II. IT IS A SIGN OF CHRIST. The stilling of the tempest is a miracle. We seem to see the sleeping Master quietly raising himself, looking around, meeting the gaze of the all but frantic men, standing erect in the boat, sending forth the majestic, "Peace; be still!" "What manner of man is this, for he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him?" Yes; what manner of man! He is himself the miracle, the One "made of God to us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption." The work is the sign of himself in that deeper work in which he is manifest as the Saviour of sinners. What is that work but the rebuking of the storm of passion, and all the influences which are adverse to peace of mind and holiness of life? "Be still," is the Christ-word; "Peace to you," is the Christ-breath. In the world of man, "he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they are quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven" Is not this the experience of every truly converted life? Miss Havergal's verse expresses it.

    "There were strange soul-depths, restless, vast and broad,

    Unfathomed as the sea;

    An infinite longing for an infinite stilling.

    But now thy love is perfect filling:

    Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God,

    Thou, thou art enough for me!"

    And so for all the days. "Let Christ be awakened," writes Augustine, "Though the tempest beat into, yet it win not fill, thy ship; thy faith will now command the winds and the waves, and thy danger will be over." Oh, see to it, that thou take Christ into thy heart, even as he is. Blessed for thee, O needy sinner, when the Master is really the occupant of thy life, thy "present Help in trouble."

    III. IT IS A REPROOF OF LITTLE FAITH. "Why are ye so fearful?" is the part of Jesus' word reported by Matthew. Why, when you know who is with you; when you know that he is there, that it is not some enemy, some devil, that has the control of elements, of circumstances? Why are ye so easily cast down? Why do ye give way so readily? Why do ye fall into such despendencies, such paroxysms of grief? May we not, in many an hour of shrinking, if not of terror, hear this "why" sounding in our hearts? "Where is your faith?" is the part of the word reported by Luke. Assume that you have it, that you are really trusting in Christ as your Master: whither does the faith vanish when you are so fearful? Is it not the moment of trial that proves the readiness and serviceableness of the faith? Do we not often need to seek it when we have occasion for it? Verily a question most pertinent to us in the varying circumstances and demands of our life. Think, think over the adverb, so suggestive, "Where is your faith?.

    Luke 8:26-39

    The demoniac whose name was Legion.

    Two miserable creatures are mentioned in Matthew. No sooner has Jesus come forth on the land than they rush towards him. Human, yet without the mental attributes of humanity, shunned by all, left in the lonely place, to rend the air with fearful cries, to clash themselves against stones, wretched beyond all names of wretchedness. One of the two is singled out by St. Luke, and described (verses 27, 29). Observe the effect of Jesus' presence. Instantly some long-silent chord was touched, some new sense of the awful misery into which the man had been plunged was awakened, some conflict between a mind made suddenly active, and the nameless power of darkness was originated. The maniac falls down, and with a loud voice cries, as if some other one were crying through him, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment me not." Marvellous confession! which, however, had been preceded by a word of authority (verse 29), and which is followed by a kind of confused perception. "What is thy name?" What name had he? What personality? The only word which seemed to describe the situation was the Roman name for a host, "My name is Legion; for we are many." Poor Legion! there is in thee a groaning which cannot be uttered; and that groaning, unawares to thyself, has the form of the old prayer, "Unite my heart to fear thy Name!" Lo! he who knows the mind of the Spirit has heard thee, and he has given a new song to thy mouth. Henceforth thou shalt say, "I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify thy Name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me, and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell" Thus far, all, though wonderful, is beautiful and Christ-like. But now comes the strange portion of the narrative. Jesus is described as giving the demons which had laid waste the son of Abraham leave to possess the herd of swine feeding on the mountain-side; the consequence being that the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and were choked. Against this destruction many objections have been brought; it is a stone of stumbling and offence even to believers. Even to faith it seems at variance with the mercifulness of the Lord, and the transference of the evil power from the man to the herd of swine bristles with things hard to be understood. Explanations offered, some of them ingenious, all unsatisfactory, are not here to be dwelt on. It is assumed that we take the evangelist to be a trustworthy guide as to events which are out of the plane of ordinary life. Somewhere, somehow, the work done is reconcilable with the true nature of things, with the mercy and the truth which are around all God's paths. Observe two points by way of practical improvement.

    I. TO THE DEMONIAC HIMSELF THERE WAS GIVEN A TESTIMONY NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN OF THE SIN AND MISERY FROM WHICH THE STRONGER THAN THE STRONG ONE HAD DELIVERED HIM. The effect on character, the influence which some action or course of conduct would have in the establishment of trust in himself or in the education of the disciple, was always before the mind of Christ. Now, what an evidence—in a form which one whose shattered intellect was not yet fully restored could understand—was given of the awful waste of spiritual life, the awful force of an untrained, unsanctified nature, by the sight of that precipitate rush down the steep place into the sea! Recollect, too, that, according to the correspondences of Scripture, these swine represent the more bestial and corrupt propensities of our nature. Pascal, in one of his most cynical sayings, speaks of man as "half-beast, half-devil" There is something of the beast in men; and what happened that day is the token of what does happen when the lower animal is acted on by spirits of malignity or darkness—when, from some cause operating from without, that which is animal is acted on by that which is devilish. Is not that same violent rushing down steep places of poor animalized beings, their true life checked and destroyed, witnessed every day? Do we not constantly see infatuations similar to that portrayed in the herd of swine? In England more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons die every year directly in consequence of indulgence in strong drink. If, as has been asked, there was such a destruction of cattle or swine in the country, what attention would be called to it! what a host of remedies and measures with a view to its prevention would be propounded! But the matter passes with little notice. Undoubtedly, the event at Gergesa is a sign of what mere carnal appetite, when fed by some exciting cause, brings about; and, being so, it is a standing witness for the blessings of his salvation, whose gospel is a new order as well as a new life, who controls what is lawless by the law of liberty, and at whose feet the man from whom devils are departed sits clothed and in his right mind.

    II. TO ALL OF US THERE IS A SAD SIGNIFICANCE IN THE CONDUCT OF THE GADARENES. The two facts before them were—the swine lost, and the man gained. Which of the two was the greater? The swine lost. That spoke to them of a fearful power in the Man who had landed on their shore. Perhaps their consciences were uneasy. If they were Jews, and some of them must have been, they knew that, for the purpose of gain, they had broken Moses' Law. Why should he continue in their midst whose glance burnt like an oven? Anyhow, instead of remembering what attracted and spoke of healing in the cure of the man, they remember only what had caused them loss in the destruction of the swine. "Away!" they cry, "thou holy and terrible One! We don't wish to be disturbed in our way. Trouble us no longer l" Fearful prayer! But do not more than the Gadarenes pray it? Are there not many whose secret heart protests, "Let us alone, Lord God! Let us make money as best we can; eat, drink, and enjoy ourselves. Away with the spiritual—with Church, with God! Give us our swine, and let heaven go!" Fearful prayer, and fearful answer! "God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, and flings the thing we have asked for in our face—a ganutlet with a gift in it." "He entered into a boat, and returned." There is only one of another spirit in the multitude. He who a few minutes before had cried, "What have I to do with thee?" now beseeches, like Ruth of old, "Entreat me not to leave thee: where thou goest I will go, and where thou dwellest I will dwell." Nay, he must remain—Christ's missionary and witness to his unbelieving countrymen. Not to luxuriate in him, but to live and work for him, is the call to the redeemed. "And he went his way, publishing throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done for him."

    Luke 8:41-56

    Jarius and what happened on the way to his house.

    A beautiful Scripture, whose beauty we feel all the more that, in this Gospel, it follows the rejection of Christ by the "witless Gadarenes." Its exact place in the history cannot with certainty be fixed; for the accounts of the three synoptists vary as to the time of the works. But whatever the precise period in the biography to which it belongs, the tale told is one which appeals to the more domestic affections of the heart; one too which gives a graciously full manifestation of Jesus the Resurrection and the Life. The transaction realized as he went illustrates chiefly Christ the Life; that which was done in answer to the ruler's pleading illustrates chiefly Christ the Resurrection—the two aspects of the incarnate I Am.

    With regard to the former of these events, consider the touch of the Lord by the woman who had found her way to his presence, and what came of the touch.

    I. The touch represents THE ONLY HOPE. She had nothing else to which to cling. For twelve long years she had been a sick and weary woman. There is something interesting in the circumstance which Luke the physician records, that all her means had been spent on physicians, but that she could not be healed of any. Mark adds that she rather grew worse. The physician-evangelist has no such addition; but "he knew what human skill could do, and, Still better, what it could not do, and he bowed himself humbly in the presence of Christ." Well, all the living has been spent. A little before the moment of Jesus passing, she might not have been so ready. A portion of her income would still have been left. The temptation would have been to try another doctor. But now there is only this chance. It is the energy of despair. "Thou must save, and thou alone." Ah! sinner, if thou wouldst know the virtue that there is in the Son of God for thee, thou must come to an end with self, with all strivings after a righteousness of thine own. Thy living, all that is thine, must be wholly removed from thy sight. Jesus wholly! Jesus only!

    II. The touch represents AN IMMEDIATE ACT OF WILL. "When she had heard," says Mark, "the things concerning Jesus, she came." There is no delay over questions such as, "How can I reach his presence? How can I get through this multitude? Will he care for me?" All such self-inquiry is at once dismissed. The true faith is busied only with its Object. The mind is too much in earnest to stop over problems concerning the act or the manner of faith. "If thou wert sick for want of God, how swiftly wouldst thou move!" Two things are seen—the need, and Christ the only answer to the need; and, these things seen, the will is supreme over all that savours of intellectual doubt and difficulty. "If I may but get to him, I shall be whole."

    III. The touch represents A PERSONAL CONTACT. "Only to put my hand on the clothes, or even the fringe of the garment." So she says to herself. Not, perhaps, a very lofty faith. A good deal in it, possibly, of the superstition to which she had been accustomed; of an idea of magical charm, and so forth. But the real thing in it was the conviction that he was able to save to the uttermost; that the cure was certain if she could get to him. The touch meant herself in her want laying hold of Christ himself, the Saviour and his salvation. And this is the vital force of faith. Notions may be confused, may be very poor and deficient; the Lord will rectify that. The saving grace is such a confidence as will bring into direct relation to the love of God in Christ. And this touch is at once distinguished. Every one who has to do with multitudes understands, so far, the secret of the quick "Who touched me?" He knows by intuition the souls that are really sympathetic with him. These touch; the others only press around. In the crowd surging about Jesus there is only one who touches. The people have welcomed him, and are following him; but their handling of him and her touch are quite different. Blessed among women! type of the souls blessed eternally: "I perceived that power had gone forth from me."

    IV. The touch is the way to THE CURE BOTH OF BODY AND SOUL. "Immediately she was healed." "Straightway," says Mark, "she felt in her body that she was healed." What a sensation that instant bound of health! Observe that "immediately" or "straightway" in the reports of Jesus' works of healing in the Gospels. The health does not come as the end of a laborious discipline or regimen; it is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. We do not work to salvation; we work from it The moment a life is really surrendered to God and the affiance of the soul with the Redeemer is fulfilled, that moment it is healed, it is cleansed. There is a new life introduced—a ]ire which is henceforth the power of God to salvation. It is not perfect, but it is there. This Divine life is the health of the soul. It is then in a healthy condition before God. And henceforth, according to his power that worketh in us, he completes and perfects the life which himself has imparted. Was it not so with the woman? After she was healed he brought her into the spiritual knowledge of himself and his will. She had stolen to Jesus, but she must not steal from him. He searches her out. She sees that she is not hid; and trembling, fearing, she falls down and tells him all the truth. Precisely what he desired. And what he desires evermore is frankness, openness to him. There must be no guile and no concealment; there must be perfect truthfulness between the Lord and the soul. When any shadow comes in there, the cleansing of the conscience, the working out of the salvation, is hindered. Notice the word "daughter," the only woman who received this title from the Lord, and she the woman who was brought to tell all the truth. "For this let every one that is godly pray unto thee."

    This interview, with its great work, is by the way. He who desires the opportunity of usefulness meets the opportunity even in travelling to the duty more immediately contemplated. All the while another work has been waiting. What parent does not enter into the feeling of the ruler of the synagogue? His only daughter, the darling, the desire of his eyes, is dying. And he must stand and listen to the talk which involves some delay. And then the message, "Thy daughter is dead: trouble not the Master!" We do not hear of any complaint or impatience, of any word of reproach like that which fell from the sisters of Bethany. Jesus meets a confidence such as this with loving frankness: "Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole." Look at the sign that is given of Christ the Resurrection.

    I. IT HAS ITS SPECIALTY OF MEANING. Of the three acts of raising from the dead related by the evangelists, it is, adhering to the chronology of Luke, the second. The son of the widow of Nain was not only dead, but the body was being carried out to burial Lazarus had been four days dead. The girl of twelve had only expired. The attendants knew that she was dead; Luke the physician is careful to add this. It was no trance; she was undoubtedly dead, but Death had only a short time before put his stamp on the countenance. Trench, writing on the miracle, beautifully speaks of "the fresh-trodden way between the body and the soul which has just forsaken it, and which lingers for a season near the tabernacle where it has dwelt so long. Even science itself," he adds, "has arrived at the conclusion that the last echoes of life ring in the body much longer than is commonly supposed; that, for a while, it is fall of the reminiscences of life." Observe, when Christ says, "She is not dead, but sleepeth," the unbelieving mourners laugh; they have only scorn for such a saying. The sorrow is hard, cheerless sorrow, when there is no conception of death—as a sleep! "Asleep in Jesus;" "He fell on sleep;"—such words the Church has substituted for the cold, forbidding word "death." Look, O mourner in Zion, on the lifeless form of thy dear one, and as thou thinkest of "the fresh-trodden way between the body and the soul which has just forsaken it," remember the saying of him who is the Resurrection: "Not dead, but sleepeth." Believest thou this?

    II. NOTE THE WITNESSES OF THE WORK. It is the first occasion on which the three of the apostolic band are singled out—Peter and James and John. None except they and the parents are allowed to enter. There is a sacredness in great grief which demands protection from the rude gaze of mere curiosity. The hired mourners, with their shouts and cries, their ostentation and display, are abhorrent to the Lord. Simplicity and genuineness of emotion befit the house of the dead, and all connected with death and burial.

    III. SEE THE GENTLE THOUGHTFULNESS OF CHRIST. When the maid arises, he commands that meat be given her. The life restored must be supported. He is sparing of the supernatural and extraordinary. Where the ordinary and natural come into play, there the call is to use them. The Church, in her spiritual work, must learn of her Lord. "Keep life living," said Bunsen. When the Divine life is bestowed, it must be nourished by the appropriate means of grace; it must be fed by food convenient to it, nourished through the Word, sacraments, and prayer, unto everlasting life.

    IV. CONTEMPLATE THE WHOLE ACTION. How simple! how quiet I The touch of the hand, the head bent over the child; the voice soft yet clear in the familiar Aramaic, "Talitha cumi!"—these are the features of the action. Thus simple and quiet was the way of the Lord when, in the beginning, he "said, Let there be light! And there was light." Thus simple and quiet is his way when he comes to the human soul "as the rain, as the former and latter rain on the earth." The wind bloweth, indeed, where it listeth, sometimes with the fury of the hurricane tearing up the old refuges and joys of the life. But the hurricane prepares for the Lord. The Lord is in the still small voice which comes after. Wherefore he saith, in tones of imperial authority, but of thriling tenderness, to thee, little maid, to thee, young man rejoicing in thy youth, to thee on whom the weight of years is resting, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!"


    Luke 8:1

    The gospel of the kingdom.

    In a parallel passage in Matthew (Matthew 4:23) we read that Jesus went about all Galilee, "preaching the gospel of the kingdom;" here we read of the same thing in a very slightly different form—"showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God." It will clear away all possible confusion of thought respecting "the gospel" and "the kingdom" if we dwell upon the gospel (or the glad tidings) of the kingdom.

    I. THE KINGDOM OF GOD. This kingdom of God, or of heaven, or of Christ (for our Lord sometimes spoke of it as his own), is something transcendently nobler than anything which the most pious or the most sanguine Jew ever hoped for in his heart or pictured in his imagination (see homily on Luke 1:31-33). As Jesus Christ conceived it, and as it will be when it has been fully and finally established, this glorious kingdom is or is to be:

    1. A kingdom of God; one in which God himself will be the one Sovereign, all men everywhere being his subjects, owning his sway and loyal to his will

    2. An essentially spiritual kingdom; all the obedience and submission rendered being that of the heart and the will, as well as of the tongue and the hand.

    3. A righteous kingdom; in which every citizen will act in accordance with "the golden rule" (Luke 6:31).

    4. A beneficent kingdom; the spirit of kindness, of practical helpfulness, animating every subject.

    5. A universal kingdom; coextensive with the human race.

    6. An everlasting kingdom; going down to the remotest generation. Such, in its purity, its nobility, its inherent greatness, its absolute uniqueness, is the "kingdom of God."

    II. THE GOSPEL (THE GLAD TIDINGS) OF THE KINGDOM. The features of this kingdom which so much commend it to the hearts of erring, sinful, dying men, constituting "the glad tidings of the kingdom," are:

    1. That entrance into it is open to every child of man. This is now so familiar to us as to be quite commonplace. But lock at it in the light of the doctrine of Divine favouritism once prevalent; in the light of the incident recorded in the fourth chapter of this Gospel (verses 23-29);—then we cannot be too thankful that the gates of this blessed kingdom are open, stand wide open, to every comer—to the poor, to the despised, to the neglected, to the barbarous, to those whom men may consider irrecoverable or not worth redeeming.

    2. That its Divine Sovereign is actively seeking all souls, that they may enter. It is not only that no one is excluded; the good news, the glad tidings, is more and better than that—it is that every one is being individually, lovingly invited, nay, pressed and urged to enter; it is that out into the "far country" of forgetfulness and dislike the heavenly Father goes in parental yearning, and bids each wandering child "Return;" it is that away over hill and mountain of estrangement and guilt the good Shepherd goes, seeking and finding and bringing back the sheep which was lost; it is that long and lovingly, at the door of each human soul, the patient Saviour stands and knocks, and cries, "If any man will open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him."

    3. That admission is open to every humble and trustful soul at once. If we have grieved some human friend and become estranged from him, and if there be a proposal to seek reconciliation, our decision will probably be determined by the consideration whether we shall be at once fully restored or whether there will be a long interval before full reconciliation is effected. It is the gospel (the glad tidings) of the kingdom of God that every penitent and believing soul is immediately and without any delay whatever taken into the favour of God. As soon as the submissive spirit of the man says, "Father, I have sinned," so soon is grace bestowed, so soon is the name entered on the roll of the heavenly citizenship.

    4. That citizenship now means citizenship for ever. It is a large part of the gospel of Jesus Christ that this earth is only an antechamber of the Father's house, or only a small outlying province of his boundless empire. To be a faithful citizen here and now means being a happy citizen somewhere for evermore. Life under the benign sway of this heavenly King is not counted by years or decades; it is without a bound; it is continued, perpetuated, in other regions of his glorious domain. This is the "glorious gospel" of the kingdom. Is it well to wait for a better? Dare we hope that, if we reject these glad tidings, we shall over hear any that we shall accept? "Behold, now is the accepted time."—C.

    Luke 8:2, Luke 8:3

    Christianity and woman.

    We have seen (Luke 2:36-38) that woman, in the person of Anna, welcomed the infant Saviour to the world; it was most fitting that she should do so, for Christianity and womanhood have had a very 'close relationship, and undoubtedly will have even to the end.


    1. Its Divine Author and the Object of its worship was, "as concerning the flesh," born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). The Son of God was, in a true and important sense, the "Son of Mary."

    2. He owed the care and the training of his childhood to a human mother.

    3. He received, during his active life, the generous provision of ministering women (see text); these, out of" their substance," supplied his necessities.

    4. He found some of his best disciples and of his most faithful attendants in women (Matthew 27:65).

    5. He had the comfort of the near presence of three devoted women in his last agonies (John 19:25). Closer to him in that awful hour than the ruthless soldier and the taunting enemy, rendering him a silent and sorrowful but not unvalued sympathy, stood three women who loved him for all that he was in himself and for all he had been to them.

    6. Last at the cross, women were first at the sepulchre (Luke 23:55, Luke 23:56; Luke 24:1).

    7. Women were united with the apostles in the upper room, waiting and praying for the further manifestation of the Lord after his ascension (Acts 1:14).

    8. The apostle of the Gentiles owed much to women in his abundant and fruitful labours (Philippians 4:3).

    9. From that time to this, women have been rendering valuable service to the cause of Jesus Christ: the mother of Augustine, the mother of the Wesleys, and many hundreds more have, by their holy and faithful motherhood, done signal service to the gospel. In these later days, moved by the Spirit of God, women have, by their writings and by their "prophesyings," effected great things for the furtherance of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. And it is right that it should be so; for we have to consider—


    1. We know what barbarism does, and fails to do, for woman.

    2. We know also what Greek and Roman civilization did, and failed to do, for her; in how unsatisfactory a condition it left her; how completely it failed to raise her. to her true spiritual dignity. We know what Christianity has done and is doing for her.


    1. When not bound by domestic ties, she can offer, as these women did, of her worldly substance.

    2. She can minister, as man cannot, to the sick and suffering; she has a gentle touch of hand and a tenderness and patience of spirit for which we look to man in vain.

    3. She can train the child in the home, and, by giving to him or her the earliest and deepest impressions concerning Divine love, prepare for noblest work in after-years in various fields of holy service.—C.

    Luke 8:4-8

    Failure and success in hearing.

    The produce of our spiritual fields does not always answer to our hopes or reward our labours; there is much sowing, but little reaping. How do we account for it?


    1. Inattention on the part of the bearer. The truth is spoken faithfully, but so little heed is given to it that it is no sooner uttered and beard than it has disappeared from view. Sown on the hard wayside (Luke 8:5), it does not enter into the soil, and is readily borne away. They who do not know how to listen when God speaks to them, need not be surprised if they are of those who are "ever learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth." "Give earnest heed" as the Word is being spoken.

    2. Want of reflection. (Luke 8:6.) Many listen with delight, and consider themselves the better for their present gladness. But they do not reflect on what they have heard; there is nothing to nourish the feeble life—no "moisture," no "earth," no thoughtfulness and prayer; and the end is that the emotion that was aroused as the hearer listened withers away.

    3. Incapacity to stand tests. (Luke 8:7.) There may be earnest attention, and this may be followed by some consideration and even prayer; but the root of conviction does not go down far enough to become resolute consecration, and the result is that the "thorns" choke the corn as it is growing. There are two kinds of thorn which are of a deadly influence in the spiritual field—one is that of worldly cares, and the other that of unspiritual pleasure. These are not evil things in themselves, but, just as the weeds in the field draw up and into themselves the nourishment which should be given to the useful plant, so do these lower anxieties and gratifications absorb the time, the thought, the energy, which should go to the maintenance of the new spiritual life, and, being unfed and unsustained, it languishes and perishes.

    II. THE CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS. What is the good ground? What is the honest and good heart (Luke 8:8-15)? It is that of:

    1. Sincere inquiry. The hearer goes to learn what is the will of God concerning him—to "inquire in his temple." The question of his heart is, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Hence he listens eagerly and continuously.

    2. Devout meditation. He ponders, he dwells upon, he prays over, the truth he has been receiving.

    3. Intelligent, deliberate dedication. The man takes all things into his mind that must be taken; he counts the cost; he considers what the service of Christ means, and how much it involves in the way of surrender and of activity, and he solemnly devotes himself to the service, or, as the case may be, to the work of the Lord.

    Jesus cried, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." He spoke that word in a striking, impressive, emphatic voice. He would say to us:

    1. Your privilege in having access to the gospel is very great, and as is your privilege so also is your responsibility.

    2. Many are the children of opportunity who are not heirs of the kingdom of God; many go into the "house of God" who remain outside the Church of Christ; who hear but do not heed, or who listen but do not ponder and pray, or who pray but do not determine and devote; who at some point or other fall short of the kingdom. It is a sad thing to be "in the way of salvation," and yet to be unsaved.

    3. Very blessed are the children of wisdom. When the Word of God takes deep root and brings 'forth fruit, its fertility is great indeed; the increase may be "an hundredfold" (Luke 8:8). In the heart itself in which it is sown, it may produce all the graces of the Spirit of God; and in the better life thus called forth there may shine all the excellences which are in Christ Jesus our Lord and Exemplar; and/tom that life there may flow forth influences for good, of which the number and the nature and the duration only God can tell.—C.

    Luke 8:16

    Covered character.

    If we have a large object immediately before us in the daytime, and yet are unable to see it, we are driven to the conclusion that, if we are not blind, there must be something opaque between the object and our eye. Now:

    1. There is much of solid goodness in Christian men. All who name the name of Christ are under bond to depart from all iniquity; their life is a life of holy endeavour after the character of their Lord; they are seeking daily the aid and inspiration of the Divine Spirit; they must be wiser and worthier than those who are living for themselves.

    2. This light of Christian character is shining straight before the eyes of unholy men. In the great field of the human world the wheat and the tares grow together. Here we meet together, good and bad, the irreverent and the profane, under the same roof, at the same table and hearth, in the same shop and warehouse. We witness one another's lives. Christian character is near enough to be seen by all.

    3. We are sometimes asked to be shown the light of Christian worth. Men say, "Where is this excellency, this supposed superiority of spirit and conduct, these fruits? we should like to see them." What shall we say to this challenge? That they who thus complain do not see what they look for because there is something the matter with their vision, because it is distorted by prejudice? Or shall we say that where no goodness is seen it is because there is none to see; that piety, being popular, is simulated, and they are looking at those who are only pretending to be Christian men, and that godliness is no more accountable for hypocrisy than the good coin is answerable for the counterfeit? We might often make one of these two replies, with right and reason on our side. But that would not meet the case; it would leave the question partially unanswered. The fact is that goodness is often unseen in consequence of the intervening of some surface faults which hide it from view. There is—

    I. THE COVERING OF RETICENCE. Many a man is right at heart, sound in faith, well fitted by his knowledge and intelligence to render essential service; but he is so reserved, so self-contained, so inaccessible, lives so much in the inner circle of his own familiar friends, that he is far less forcible and influential than he is capable of being;—he is hiding the light of his character under the covering of reserve, instead of setting it on the candlestick of open-heartedness and expressiveness.

    II. THE COVERING OF RESENTFULNESS. Other men are warm-hearted, good-natured, diligent, and devoted in every good work, capable of rendering admirable service; but they are quick-tempered, irascible, ready to take offence; so hasty and resentful that they are shunned when they would otherwise be approached;—they hide the light of their character under the vessel of ill temper.

    III. THE COVERING OF SELF-ASSERTION. Some men are upright, honourable, zealous, resolute, forcible, well fitted to effect great things, but they hide their light under the bushel of self-assertion; they insist on everything being done in the way they prefer; they make co-operation impossible; they cut their influence in twain by their want of conciliation and concession.

    IV. THE COVERING OF DISCOURTESY. There are those who are honest, and even earnest and hardworking Christian men, acting along the lines of holy usefulness; but they cover their character with the vessel of bluntness, or ignorance, or positive rudeness, instead of putting the light of piety and zeal on the candlestick of courtesy.

    Now, it has to be remembered that our children and our neighbours, all with whom we have to do, judge of our character not only by its solid and essential elements, but also (and rather) by its superficial features; they will be affected and influenced, not more by that in us which is deep and decisive than by those outside qualities which are visible to them just because they are outside. Hence, if we care, as we are bound to do, that our character should be telling on those with whom we are connected, and for whom we are responsible, we shall strive and pray to be not only pure and just and true, but also frank and amiable and courteous. If we would not go through our life with our Christian character covered over and lost by some superficial failing, if we would have it fixed on the candlestick on which it will "give light to all that are in the house,"—we must not only think on the things which are true, honest, just, and pure, but also on those things which are "lovely and of good report;"—C,

    Luke 8:17

    Revelation—a duty, a fact, a certainty.

    These words of our Lord may have been a familiar aphorism of his time, or they may have been a sententious saying of his own, having many applications. Certainly they are significant of many things. They may be regarded as expressing for us—

    I. A SACRED DUTY WE ARE CALLED UPON TO DISCHARGE. It is in this sense our Lord used them on the occasion reported by Matthew (Matthew 10:25-27). What was then hidden in the minds of the disciples they were to reveal to the world in due time; the truth which the Master was making known to them "in the darkness" they were to "speak in the light." And this duty is of universal obligation. What God reveals to us and what is, at first, hidden in our own soul we are bound to bring forth into the light of day. It may be any kind of truth—medical, agricultural, commercial, economical, moral, or directly and positively religious; whatever we have learned that is of value to the world we have no right to retain for our own private benefit, Truth is common property; it should be open to all men, like the air and the sunshine. When God, in any way, says to us, "Know;" he also says, "Teach; pass on to your brethren what I have revealed to you; 'there is nothing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hid that shall not be known.'"

    II. A SERIOUS FACT WE DO WELL TO CONSIDER. Guilt loves secrecy. "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light.., lest his deeds should be reproved." Men that sin against God and their own conscience would be only too glad to know that their deeds were finally buried and would never reappear. But no man may take this consolation to his soul. Secret things are disclosed; there is an instinctive feeling expressed in the common Belief that "murder will out," that flagrant wrong will sooner or later be exposed. We may not say that no crimes have ever been successfully concealed; but we may safely say that no man, however careful and ingenious he may be in the art of concealing, can be at all sure that his iniquity will not be laid bare. And this will apply to lesser as well as larger evils. Habits of secret drinking, of impurity, of dishonesty, of vindictive passion, will sooner or later betray themselves and bring shame on their victim. Indeed, so closely allied are the body and the spirit, so constantly does the former receive impressions from the latter, that there is no emotion, however deep it may be within the soul, which will not, after a time, reveal itself in the countenance, or write its signature in some way on "the flesh." If illegible to the many, it is still there, to he read by those who have eyes to see, and to be seen of God. There is a very true sense in which "nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest" even here. But this is more perfectly and strikingly true of the future.

    III. A CERTAINTY IN THE FUTURE WE SHALL WISELY ANTICIPATE. There is a "day when God shall judge the secrets of men" Romans 2:16). when he "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:5). Then shall these words be indeed fulfilled. Then may we know how:

    1. This language will prove a terrible prediction; our buried and forgotten iniquities being Brought back to us, God "reproving us, and setting them [our sins] before our face" (Psalms 50:21).

    2. This warning may be met and modified; our sins, having been repented of and forgiven, will be buried in those depths of Divine mercy whence they will never be brought back (Psalms 103:11, Psalms 103:12; Micah 7:18, Micah 7:19).

    3. These words may constitute a blessed promise—all acts of pity, of patience, of kindness, of mercy, of magnanimity, of self-sacrifice, reappearing for Divine approval and award. "Then shall every man have praise of God."—C.

    Luke 8:19-21

    Christ's one relationship.

    How is Christ related to us? And is he related to us in a way other than that in which he was related to men and women during his life on earth? The answer to this question is that there is only one way in which he has been or will be permanently related to mankind. We look at—

    I. THE VERY TEMPORARY CHARACTER OF HIS FLESHLY RELATIONSHIP. He was, of course, most intimately associated, in purely human bends, with "his mother and his brethren." But he gave the clearest intimation that this was only to last during his sojourn on the earth, and that it was not to be relied upon as a source of life even then.

    1. He checked his mother in her eagerness at the very first miracle he wrought (John 2:4).

    2. He intimated in the text that his human connections were already merging in those of a higher, a spiritual hind.

    3. He disengaged himself, tenderly but decidedly, from his human, filial obligations as he was about to consummate his redemptive work (John 19:26).

    4. He declined the demonstrativeness of his warm-hearted disciple as partaking too much of the fleshly, and intimated that all approach thenceforward must be of a heavenly and spiritual character (John 20:16, John 20:17).

    5. He instructed his apostle to declare that all further knowledge of Jesus Christ must not be "after the flesh," but spiritual (2 Corinthians 5:16).

    6. He gave no position in his Church to his mother or his brethren because they had been such. They cud not derive anything, in their after-relation to him, from the fact of their motherhood or brotherhood; they stood related to him just as all other souls did, by their reverence, their trust, their love, their service, and by these alone.

    II. THE PERMANENT AND INTIMATE CHARACTER OF HIS SPIRITUAL RELATIONS WITH US. "My mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God and do it." "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matthew 12:50). From these words of truth and grace we gather:

    1. That what unites us to Christ is practical godliness. It is reverent attention followed by obedient life; hearing and doing the will of God. It is well to place ourselves where the will of God is made known; better to listen attentively when it is revealed; better still to be excited to solemn and earnest feeling concerning it; but we do not become Christ's, we are not numbered amongst his own, until we so hear and heed and feel that we resolve to be and strive to do what we know is his holy will concerning us. We may fail frequently to realize our own intention; we may strive upwards and Godwards with many a stumble on our way; but if there be an honest and earnest effort towards the good and the true, animated and inspired By the fear and the love of God, then Christ acknowledges us as his, we are citizens of his kingdom. We are something more than that; for we learn from the text:

    2. That those who are truly united to Christ are in very close affinity with him. So much are they to him that the nearest and dearest human relationships are called in to express it. Dear as the mother is to her child, as the sister to her brother, so dear are all true and earnest souls to their Divine Lord. With filial, with brotherly love will he watch and guard them, will he provide for their necessities, will he sympathize with them in their sorrows, will he attend their steps, will he secure their lasting interest in the Father's home.—C.

    Luke 8:22-25

    Christ the Lord of nature.

    We shall find two things concerning the miracles of Jesus Christ—that he never refused to put forth his power if by its exercise he could do an act of pure pity and kindness; and that he never consented to do so for the mere purpose of display. Hence there is a most marked difference between his "works' and the pretences of the impostor. The perfect suitableness of the occasion and the moral character of the action are the signature of Divinity. Yet it was fitting that the strong desire on the part of the Jews to see a miracle wrought "in the heavens' should, if occasion offered, have at least one fulfilment. And such it certainly had in this stilling of the storm. And in this incident we have—

    I. AN IMPRESSIVE ILLUSTRATION OF CHRIST'S DIVINE COMMAND. It would only be right, we may argue, that our Lord should give to his disciples one illustration of his Divine power that would be exceedingly impressive, and therefore convincing and permanently effective. There was no more virtue or force in the stilling of the storm on the lake than in the expulsion of the demon on the other side of the water; to control the elements of nature did not require more Divine power than to control the will of an evil spirit; perhaps less. But the moral effect upon the observer's mind was much greater in the former instance than in the latter. It appealed most influentially to the imagination as well as to the reason. And considering all that these disciples would be called upon to pass through in his cause, remembering the severity of the trial of their faith, it was surely well that, in addition to many other proofs of their Lord's Divinity, they should be able to recall this scene upon the lake, and be assured that he whom the winds and the waves obeyed was the Christ of God indeed.

    II. AN ASSURANCE THAT HE IS LORD OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE. AS we ply our little bark across the lake of our life, we shall find storm as well as calm, rough adverse winds as well as favourable breezes. It will help us to think that the Divine will which subdued that tempest is the will that is ruling wind and wave beneath every sky; that Christ is Lord of the circumstances of our life; and that if only we have him on board as our chief Passenger, we may count on his controlling power in the time of danger or of trouble. But we must be sure that Christ/s with us; for the promises of gracious guidance and merciful interposition can only be pleaded by those who are loyal to him and to his cause.

    III. A PICTURE OF THE PRESENT CHRIST IN THE TRIAL-HOUR OF HIS CHURCH. In that little boat was the Christian Church: if that vessel had sunk, the Church would have perished with it. But the Church that has Christ with it cannot sink. The question of questions, therefore, is this—Is Christ with us or not? And the answer to that question will be found, not in the shape of the vessel, but in the character of the crew; not in the peculiarity of the ecclesiastical structure, but in the spirit and character of those who compose and who direct the Church. Is his truth, is he himself, preached and taught in our sanctuaries and our schools? Are his principles inculcated in our homes and illustrated in our lives? Is his spirit breathed by us in our intercourse with one another, and with "them that are without"? These are the questions we must answer satisfactorily if we would reply in the affirmative to that one vital question—Is Christ with us or not?

    IV. A. REMINDER OF THE DIVINE PEACE-BRINGER TO THE HUMAN SOUL. There is something unspeakably grand in a storm in nature; we are affected, awed, subdued, by it. But in the estimate of Divine wisdom there is something of profounder interest in the unrest and perturbation of a human soul. Jesus Christ cares more to speak peace to one troubled human heart than to produce the most striking change in the whole face of nature. There are many sources of spiritual disquietude; but the most constant and the worst of all is guilt, the sin with which we have sinned against the Lord and the sense of his condemnation we carry in our hearts. It is that which takes the light out of our skies, the joy out of our homes, the beauty and the brightness out of our lives. The deepest question that wells from the human soul is this—

    "Oh! where shall rest Be found—

    Rest for the weary soul?"

    And in reply—

    "The voice of Jesus sounds o'er land and sea;"

    a voice which has brought and will ever bring peace to the aching, burdened, stricken heart; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'—C.

    Luke 8:23

    The sleep of Christ.

    "As they sailed he fell asleep" Christ asleep! Christ asleep in the daytime! Christ asleep in the storm! Christ asleep with his disciples in danger and distress! What have we here?

    I. THE SON OF MAN ASLEEP IN THE HOUR OF HIS OWN BODILY WEARINESS. A hard and long day's work had the Master that day. He had thought much, taught much, wrought much; and each one of these had been laborious and exhausting to One who was what he was and felt as he felt. He was completely spent with his strenuous and sustained exertion. And as they sailed he fell asleep; so fast asleep that, though the winds raged round him and the spray fell upon him, he did not awake. The incident points to:

    1. The devoted diligence of his life. Other things might have accounted for this simple fact of being overcome, but that was the true account of it. How laboriously he must have worked to do all that he did in the few months at his command! we might well argue; how devotedly he did labour the memoirs of the evangelists assure us.

    2. The generous impulse which he allowed himself in the conduct of his life. That life was not without plan, arrangement. But our Lord permitted himself to be guided by the conduct and attitude of others; he went back when repelled (Luke 8:37), he went on when invited (Luke 8:41). On this occasion he allowed the importunity of the people to hold him longer in teaching and healing than he would otherwise have remained; thus he left room in his life for the play of generous impulse. By all means let us be methodical, laying out our time intelligently and wisely; but let us leave room also for an unselfish responsiveness in the structure of our life, even as our Lord did.

    3. The thoroughness of his humanity. Who but the Son of God could, of his own will and in his own name, command the mighty elements of nature? Who but a veritable Son of man could be overcome by weariness, and sleep in the midst of the raging of the storm? He was one of ourselves—walking wearied him, teaching tired him, healing exhausted him; he expended himself as he wrought day by day; his manhood was real and true.

    II. THE MASTER ASLEEP IN THE HOUR OF THE DISCIPLES' DANGER AND DISTRESS. Christ sleeping when the boat was sinking I It looked like negligence! "Carest thou not that we perish?" That negligence was only apparent; there was no real danger. As it was right for him to sleep under such exhaustion, he could with perfect safety commit himself and his cause to the care of the unsleeping Father. As it was, the greatness of the apparent peril brought about an illustration of Divine power which otherwise they would have missed. That was not the last time that the Master seemed negligent of his own. To his Church in its storm of terrible persecution, to his people (in their individual lives) in the tempests of temptation or adversity through which they have passed, Christ may often, indeed has often, seemed to be heedless and indifferent. But he has always been at hand, always ready for action at the right moment. We have but to make our earnest appeal to him, and if the right time has come for the manifestation of his power—though on this point we may be mistaken (see John 2:4; Acts 2:6, Acts 2:7)—he will most effectually respond; he will say to the mightiest forces with which we are in conflict, "Peace, be still!" and there will be "a great calm."—C.

    Luke 8:38, Luke 8:39

    Our return for God's greater kindnesses.

    The outcasting of a demon from a man was certainly one of the greater miracles Christ wrought, and the greater benefits he bestowed. It required special power, and it conferred a boon of the highest order. We look at—

    I. THE GREATER KINDNESSES WE RECEIVE FROM GOD. It might be argued that all God's mercies are great, inasmuch as

    1. That some of them are little marked by us. Among these are:

    2. That there are special kindnesses we cannot fail to note. Of these are

    II. THE RETURN WHICH WE MAKE TO GOD for these greater kindnesses. Jesus Christ bade this man to whom he rendered such signal service return and show his friends what great things he had received; and he did so freely and fully. What is our response to our heavenly Father, our Divine Saviour?

    1. What are we being to him? What is the measure of our thought concerning him who never for one moment forgets us, and who, in so full and deep a sense, "remembered us in our low estate"? of our feeling toward him who has spent on us such generous, such self-sacrificing love? of our service of him whose we are and to whom we owe everything we are and have?

    2. What testimony are we bearing to him—what testimony concerning the goodness, the patience, the faithfulness of God are we bearing in the home in which we live? Are parents impressing on their children by their whole bearing and demeanour that, in their deliberate judgment, the service of Christ and likeness to Christ are things of immeasurably greater concern to them than the making of money or the gaining of position? Are elder brothers and sisters doing their best to commend the truth they have come to appreciate to the understanding and the affection of those who are younger, and who are taking their cue from them? What testimony are we bearing in the shop and the factory, to our fellow-workers, to those whom we are employing? What testimony in the Church? Are we avowing our faith, our love, our hope, our joy? Are we, who have received greater kindness by far than even this poor demoniac, so acting that as much is ascribed to us in God's book of account as is here recorded of him, that "he published throughout the whole city how great things," etc.?—C.

    Luke 8:37, Luke 8:40

    Jesus Christ: rejection and welcome.

    We have in these two passages a very striking contrast; we have in the one a very deliberate and consentaneous dismissal, and in the other a very cordial and unanimous reception of our Lord,—it is illustrative of the treatment he is now receiving at the hands of men.


    1. It may be deliberate and determined. In the case of the Gadarenes it was emphatically so. They all came together to seek him and to entreat of him that he would leave their neighbourhood. Their request was unqualified with any condition; it was decisive, absolute. It is not often that men suddenly arrive at the conclusion that 'they will not have the Son of man to reign over them; but the long postponement of his claims leads on and down to a decisive rejection; at length the mind is fully made up, the soul resolved that it will seek its good elsewhere, that the patient Saviour may knock but he will wait in vain.

    2. It may proceed from motives that are distinctly unworthy. It was a procedure on the part of these Gadarenes that was simply shameful; they preferred their swine to a Divine Restorer; they would rather keep their property than entertain One who would bring health to their homes and wisdom to their hearts. When men reject Christ, they seldom put before their minds the alternative as it really is in the sight of God; but traced far enough, seen in the light of truth, viewed as it will have to be one day regarded, it is an unholy and an unworthy preference of the human to the Divine, or of the present to the future, or of the fleshly to the spiritual; it is a preference which God condemns, and for making which the soul will one day reproach itself.

    3. It may be only too successful. It was so here. Jesus did not contest the point; he did not assert his fight to go where he pleased and labour where he liked. He yielded to their urgency; "He went up into the ship, and returned back again," Man has a power which may well make him tremble, of resisting and rejecting the Divine; of sending away the messenger and the message which come from God himself; of silencing the voice which speaks from heaven "How often would I!… but ye would not;" "Ye shall not see me until," etc. (Luke 13:1-35.). This is the record of many a soul's history in its relation to Christ. We send away from our hearts and homes the Lord that would heal and save and enrich us.

    II. THE WELCOME OF CHRIST. "The people gladly received him" (Luke 8:40); they welcomed him, "for they were all waiting for him"—were in expectation of his coming.

    1. The spirit in which it is offered. We cannot suppose that every one then present had the same feeling about our Lord's return. Probably there were those who were influenced by a legitimate but unspiritual curiosity; others by a desire to be healed, or to secure his services as Healer of sickness for their friends; others by a wish to learn more of his wondrous wisdom; others by a reverent thankfulness and a desire to manifest their gratitude to him. Many motives take men into the presence of Christ. Some are low and very near the ground, that may or may not go unblessed. Others are higher and more hopeful. And yet others are certain to be recompensed. They who receive Christ's word in the love of it, who go to him to learn of him and to be healed by him, or who want to be employed by him in his cause, may make sure of a full-handed welcome by him.

    2. Its reception by our Lord. We know that this is cordial and full of blessing. "If any man … open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" If, when Jesus Christ offers himself to us as our Teacher and Saviour, we heartily welcome him as such, there will be for us an enrichment of soul surpassing all that we can imagine—reconciliation to the living God; his own blessed and unfailing friendship; a life of sacred service, holy usefulness, and abiding joy; a death of peace and hope; an immortality of glory.—C.

    Luke 8:45, Luke 8:46

    Christ's discriminating notice.

    Who can help being interested in the woman who is the subject of this sacred story? She has suffered long; she has wasted her substance in vain endeavours to be healed. Now a new hope springs up in her heart; though excited by this hope she shrinks from the publicity which she fears is necessary for its fulfilment. At last faith and hope triumph over timidity, and she comes into the presence of Christ. We are sympathetically present in that crowd; we see her stealing into it, pushing her way nearer and nearer to the Master, at length timidly stretching out her hand and touching the sacred fringe of his garment. We almost pity this trembling woman, albeit we know that she is healed, as Jesus turns and says, "Who touched me?" We know that it is only by a great spiritual effort that she tells her story to the Master in the presence of the people, and our hearts draw yet nearer in trust and love to that Divine Healer, to our Divine Lord, as we hear him say, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." The incident may speak to us of—

    I. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BODILY AND REAL SPIRITUAL CONTACT, "There are times when hands touch ours, but only send an icy chill of unsympathizing indifference to the heart; when eyes gaze into ours, but with a glazed look that cannot read our souls; when the multitude throng and press us, but we cannot say, ' Somebody hath touched me,' for the contact has not been between soul and soul, but only between form and form." We are very much thronged in this modern life we live, but we are not very often touched to newness of thought and feeling; and except we live a life of prayer and genuine human sympathy, we must not expect to "touch" other souls so as to quicken and inspire them.

    II. THE USELESSNESS OF ANY REMEDY BUT THE GOSPEL FOR OUR SPIRITUAL NEED. This woman in her helplessness is a picture of humanity. It is sick with the worst of all maladies—sin. It is suffering all the wretched consequences of guilt—weariness, restlessness, misery, remorse. It often spends its resources on things which have no healing virtue, and which leave it ill as ever. At length it repairs unto him in whom is no disappointment, in the shelter of whose cross, and in the shadow of whose love, and in the sunshine of whose service is pardon for every sin, comfort for every sorrow, rest for every soul.

    III. THE DUTY OF DECLARING WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US. That sensitive heart, trying to screen herself from the observation of the crowd, and wishing to come and go unnoticed, was not rejected. Nevertheless, the Lord, by his repeated questioning, constrained her to come forward and acknowledge the blessing she had received. Christ does not wish for an ostentatious piety; he hates all pretence; but he approves and desires a suitable and grateful avowal of our indebtedness to him. Though we come with a trembling heart, yet we are to come and tell our friends what great things the Lord has done for us.

    IV. THE DISTINGUISHING NOTICE CHRIST TAKES OF US. "Who touched me?" asked the Lord. "Master, the multitude throng thee; is it wonderful that somebody should touch thee? Anybody might chance to touch thee in such a crowd; can it matter who it was?" urges Peter. "Ah! but that is not enough. Somebody, some one, hath touched me; there is one individual, whom I distinguish from the others, that has laid an appealing hand upon me. You see nothing in that touch but an accidental encounter. I see much more than that—the approach of a human mind, the appeal of a human heart, the contact of a human soul with mine." This is the spirit of our Lord's reply. And it conveys to us the important truth that we are not lost in the crowd. It is not so true to say, "God loves man," as to say, "God loves men." "He tasted death for every man;" "He loved me, and gave himself for me." There are no limitations in the Infinite One. The fact that he controls the universe is no reason why he should not watch the workings of each humblest human soul The vastness of the range of his observation does not diminish the fulness of his knowledge of every member of his family. Disciples see only a pressing, pushing throng; but the Master singles out the woman who has come to see whether her last chance will fail her. The crowd may hide us from one another, but not from our Lord. God sees us, every one; follows us; pursues us with his watchful and redeeming love; guides us with his hand; leads us into his kingdom. But we must see that our touch is one that will call forth such a response as this. Christ discriminates between the touch of this woman and that of the unmannerly crowd. It is not necessary for us to have a full and perfect understanding of his nature, or even a perfect, unwavering assurance of the success of our appeal. This woman had neither of these. It is necessary that we should have what she had—earnestness of spirit, and a measure of genuine faith in him. Then will he say to us, as to her, "Be of good comfort … go in peace."—C.

    Luke 8:49

    A needless anxiety concerning Christ.

    "Trouble not the Master." This ruler of the synagogue showed a commendable desire not to give useless trouble to the Prophet of Nazareth; he could not expect that his power would extend so far as to raise the dead, and he wished to save him fruitless trouble. Equally creditable was the behaviour of the centurion whose action is recorded in a previous chapter (Luke 7:6). He felt that the Lord could accomplish in the distance the object of his perhaps toilsome journey, and he sent to say, "Trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof." It was right that, by considerate kindness, the Son of man should be saved all that those who loved and honoured him could save him from. And the same is true enough to-day of the Son of God. There are—

    I. WISE AND RIGHT SOLICITUDES CONCERNING HIM. We are bound to refrain most carefully and conscientiously from troubling the Master by:

    1. Doing in his name that which he would disown; e.g. carrying on a cruel, though it may be a refined, persecution of those who "follow not with us" in the mode of our worship, or the method of our Christian work.

    2. Asking his blessing on that which he disapproves; e.g. on the war which is an unrighteous one, on the cause which is an unsound one, on the business which is not conducted on principles he can acknowledge as his own.

    3. Misrepresenting him by the spirit which we manifest; instead of breathing the spirit of graciousness and self-sacrifice toward those who are weaker or younger or less cultured or less privileged than ourselves, adopting a tone of haughty superiority, or doing that which "causes them to offend."

    4. Failing to approach him in prayer, to seek his aid and his influence, to apply for his redeeming touch. Christ may be much troubled by our distance and neglect; he is not likely to be burdened by our earnest approaches and appeals.


    1. Inviting him to stay too long with us. The centurion, modestly and properly enough, felt that he was not worthy that Christ should come under his roof. We may feel that also, and especially that we are not worthy that he should make our hearts his home, as he has promised us. But we must not refrain from inviting him to come and to stay with us. We must ask him earnestly to "abide with us from morn till eve," not "to sojourn, but abide with us." He will not count that a trouble; he will honour our faith and appreciate our welcome. "Abide in me, and I [will abide] in you."

    2. Going to him too often. He places no limit on our spiritual approach to him. He says ever to us, "Come unto me;" "Draw nigh unto me;" "Seek ye my face?' We shall not burden him by our fellowship; we may grieve him by our absence and by our preference of the society of those who are his enemies.

    3. Asking too much of him—either for ourselves or for others. There is no magnitude or multitude of sins we may not ask him to forgive; no depth of evil we may not ask him to eradicate; no severity of disease we may not ask him to undertake. The maiden may be dead (text), the cause may be very low, the heart may be very cold, the character may be very corrupt, the life may be very base, the case may seem very hopeless; but do not shrink from "troubling the Master;" his touch "has still its ancient power;" to the lifeless form he can say, "Arise!" and into the cause that seems wholly gone, and the soul that seems utterly lost, he can infuse newness of life.

    4. Doing too much in his cause for him to watch and bless. The more often we ask him to crown our holy labours with his energizing touch, the better we shall please his yearning and loving spirit.—C.


    Luke 8:1-21

    Incidents in evangelistic work.

    We have now to contemplate Jesus as fairly loosed from Capernaum as the centre of his mission work, and as making systematically the tour of the province of Galilee. The "beloved physician" gives to us here just such an insight into the material conditions of Christ's evangelistic work as we naturally desire. Let us, then, notice—

    I. THE SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL SIDES OF OUR LORD'S EVANGELISTIC WORK. (Luke 8:1-3.) Twelve men and a number of holy women form Christ's band—a choir, so to speak, of joyful evangelists. The substance of the message was "the glad tidings of the kingdom of God." Christ himself was Preacher. None of the others could enter into the nature of this coming kingdom. But it was to be a kingdom of peace and of joy to all who became members of it. Hence the preaching was "glad tidings." The spiritual side of the work was, therefore, joy-inspiring. The temporal conditions of the work are here revealed. Our Lord lived on charity, or, as we should put it, on love. Hospitality, especially to every one who professed to be a rabbi, would supply Christ with much; but it could not cover the whole case; consequently, certain women, who had been delivered from demoniacal possessions, and who were correspondingly grateful to their Deliverer, were proud to follow him and minister to him of their substance. Joanna, whose husband seems to have looked after Herod's housekeeping, transfers her attentions to a greater King,. and becomes chief minister, we may believe, to her Master's wants. The twelve disciples were candidates for the ministry under training; the holy women were the caterers for the college; and so our Lord, as President, received the help of men and women in their respective spheres.

    II. THE ELEMENT OF JUDGMENT IN PARABOLIC TEACHING. Before noticing briefly the parable of the sower, we must ask attention to the change m our Lord's method of ministration. It would seem that up to this time he had preached less figuratively, but as the Pharisees had taken up their position of hostility, it was absolutely necessary for him to exercise what may be called intermediate judgment (cf. Godet, in loc.). This was by taking to parabolic teaching. While to a docile and childlike spirit a parable sets truth in its most attractive aspect, to a proud, self-sufficient spirit it veils and hides the truth. It is light or darkness according to our spiritual attitude. Hence the change in the Preacher's method heralded a new stage in his work. The common people would still hear him gladly, but the proud would be kept at a convenient distance through the veiled character of the truth presented in parables.

    III. THE PARABLE OF WARNING. (Luke 8:4-8, Luke 8:11-15.) This, according to all the evangelists, was the first parable. It was breaking ground in the delivery of parables. Hence its character as a warning. Its subject is the hearing of the Word. Its warning is that there are three bad ways of hearing as against one good way. These are:

    1. Careless hearing—represented by wayside seed devoured by the birds before it can fall into the earth and bear any fruit. The devil visits careless hearers, and takes the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

    2. Rapturous hearing—represented by seed failing into rocky soil and springing up suddenly, only to wither away. Hence the danger of hearing with rapture and resting in the rapture. It is the religion of feeling, of happy times, and such superficialities. Something deeper is needed than this.

    3. Careworn and preoccupied hearing—represented by seed falling into soil that is not cleansed of roots and thorns, and where the seed is choked. We cannot hear to advantage if we put anything before the Word. Unless it is put before worldly concerns, there will not be much fruit.

    4. Honest and good-hearted hearing—represented by the seed falling into good and cleansed ground. In this ease there is knit-bearing, in some cases up to an hundredfold. Hence the warning voice, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Unless the multitude hearing Jesus, unless in particular the disciples, took the Word of God ministered by Jesus patiently and honestly into their consideration, they could not bring forth fruit unto perfection.

    IV. THE APPLICATION TO THE TWELVE. (Luke 8:16-18.) The disciples had received Jesus' explanation of the first parable. And now he further applies it to their case. They are intended, he tells them, to be lights in the world; and he has no intention of putting them under a bushel or bed, where the light would be lost and useless, but on a candlestick to illuminate all who enter the house. In this beautiful and figurative way our Lord indicates the position he means to give them in his Church. Consequently, they must remember that every secret thing is on its way to manifestation (Luke 8:17), and so their lives, no matter how secret and apparently insignificant, are public lives. By this thought all hearing will be intensified with a new sense of responsibility. Besides, he tells them that the law of capital obtains in hearing as well as in everything else This is the law by which the person, who has something to start with, gets something more. For example, if we bring to the contemplation of the truth a "good and honest heart," then its goodness and honesty will be intensified and increased by the truth; whereas, if we bring a vacant heart, an inattentive mind, then our heart will be still more vacant, and our mind still more inattentive. We lose power by indifferent hearing, just as we gain power by attentive and honest hearing. This was a most important lesson for the candidates about him. Doubtless they profited by it.

    V. BLOOD-RELATIONSHIP VERSUS SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP. (Luke 8:19-21.) We learn from the parallel passages that this incident occurred in consequence of our Lord's enthusiasm. His relatives thought him mad, and that he ought to be put under restraint. His reply to their message is most significant. As Gess says, "He draws his true disciples the more closely around him as the hostility of his own relatives increases, and calls them his family." £ We have thus, as Sanrin puts it, the family of Jesus Christ according to the flesh contrasted with the family of Jesus Christ according to the Spirit. The spiritual relationship is put before the blood-relationship, other things being equal. £ It is not that Jesus loved his brothers and mother less, but that he regarded the Father's will and those who obeyed it as more to him than they can be. His conduct on this occasion most likely conduced to the conversion of his kindred to believe upon him. It enabled them to see exactly the principle of his work. And in this loyalty to members of God's family we must follow our Lord. We must not allow others to usurp their rights under any pretence of relationship or authority.—R.M.E.

    Luke 8:22-56

    A group of miracles.

    The mother and brethren of Jesus had tried in vain to interfere with the important work in which he was engaged; he clung to his disciples as the real members of his Father's family. And so we find his career as a merciful Miracle-worker continuing. We have here a group of notable miracles; it was, as Godet suggests, the culmination of his miraculous work. Nature, human nature, and death yield to his authority in their order.

    I. SAFETY IN THE SOCIETY OF JESUS. (Luke 8:22-25.) The disciples and Jesus had embarked to visit the country of the Gadarenes. His object in doing so, as we shall presently see, was to rescue from diabolical possession a single soul. But to rescue this soul they had all to pass through storms in crossing. It was surely worth all the risk they ran! The weary Saviour fell asleep soon after embarking, and it was while he was sleeping the storm arose in nature, and the storm of fear in the souls of the disciples. It argued little faith on their part to suppose that they were in danger when beside them is the sleeping Christ. Yet so it was. Jesus may lead his people into danger, but he always shares it with them, and leads them in due time out of it. No sooner do they appeal to him to save them from perishing, than he arises, rebukes the wind and the wave, so that, contrary to custom, there is an immediate calm; and then proceeds to rebuke the storm within their souls, and make all these also to be peace. In this way our Lord showed his sovereignty over nature, and his sovereignty over man. He can rebuke "the noise of their seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people" (Psalms 65:7). No wonder that the strangers who were in the beat with the disciples were astonished at One who could command wind and wave, and they obeyed him!

    II. JESUS THE MINISTER TO MINDS DISEASED. (Luke 8:26-40.) In the greatest peace the disciples and their Master approached the shore. But here a more terrible storm confronted him—the mania of the poor possessed one. "The beloved physician," who writes this Gospel, brings out the characteristics of the mania as a physician would. £ No sooner does the case present itself to Jesus, than he commands the devil to depart from him. No protest on the part of the unclean tenant avails; the spirit and his companions are compelled to prepare for departure. They bargain hard not to be sent "into the abyss" ( εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον), where their final doom awaits them, and, as an alternative, ask to be permitted to enter into an adjoining herd of swine. This association of evil spirits with animals is illustrated in the Edenic temptation, and it may account for the reign of terror in the geologic times. £ The possession of the animals may be different from that of a moral being like man, as Godet suggests; yet it shows surely the sensualism into which evil spirits can descend. The prodigal son only desired to satisfy himself with the swinish life; but these demons actually made the experiment (cf. Luke 15:16). But now the swine, reinforced by the devils, rush madly onwards to the sea, and perish in the waters. The result is that one human being is delivered from his mania, while a herd of swine are sacrificed. If such an alternative is presented, there can be no doubt as to the decision. Better that all the swine in the world should perish, if as the result a single human soul is delivered from his mental disease. Hence the wretched souls, who came from the city and lamented the loss of the swine instead of rejoicing in the cure of the demoniac, show thereby that they deserved the judgment which had overtaken them. Jesus can "minister to minds diseased;" he can bring the maniac to his right mind again; and he can cure us of the insanity of sin and have us sitting clothed at his feet and anxious to be with him evermore. When, besides, the Gadarenes desire his departure, he can make arrangements for witness-bearing, so that when he returns after a time, the unwilling people shall be found to have renounced their unwillingness and to gladly welcome him. So may we all witness among our friends to the power of our Lord.

    III. THE TOUCH OF FAITH. (Luke 8:43-48.) We have next to notice the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. This was the solitary miracle where faith anticipates our Lord's consent, and finds healing through the touch of his garment. Having presented herself so often to the physicians, she in this case refuses to obtrude upon his notice, but thinks she will escape in the crowd. But our Lord, perceiving that from his sacred Person healing power had flowed, inquires for the patient, who in due season comes and confesses all. But she has been brought before him that he might convey to her the lesson that it was her faith, and not a mere physical touch, which had saved her. That is to say, the process was moral, and not merely physical. And surely this case of the issue of blood is to represent certain aspects of sin. It is a drain upon the moral system which man cannot staunch. But once we look to Jesus by faith and touch the hem of his garment, we are instantly healed, and power begins again to rise within us. We ought not to let our vital power be undermined when such a Saviour is at hand to heal us!

    IV. THE AWAKENING OF THE DEAD. (Luke 8:41, Luke 8:42, Luke 8:49-56.) This case of resurrection-power presents Jesus in the culmination of his miraculous work. The command of nature and of human nature is important, but still more magnificent is the command of death, the power to enter into the gloomy realm, and there assert one's authority. This is what Jesus does. He is humbly asked by Jairus to come to his dying daughter. He finds that he has to face the little daughter already dead. The father, ready to despair, is told to "believe only, and she shall be made whole." He believed, and lo! he found in Jesus One who could awake the dead! The resurrection is witnessed by the parents and three disciples—chosen witnesses. And after she is raised, he gives directions that she should be fed, and then that they should be silent about the miracle. He did not desire to be overwhelmed by the miraculous part of his work, but that he might be able to give a due proportion of his attention to teaching, £ Similarly may each of us experience Christ's resurrection-power in our souls now, and in our bodies afterwards.—R.M.E.

    Copyright Statement
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    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". The Pulpit Commentary. 1897.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
    9:7-9; John 4:46-53; Acts 13:1; Philippians 4:22
    of their
    1 Chronicles 29:14; Isaiah 23:18; Matthew 2:11; 25:40; 26:11; Acts 9:36-39; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Timothy 5:10
    Reciprocal: Exodus 35:25 - General2 Samuel 17:29 - for David;  2 Kings 4:10 - Let us;  Proverbs 11:16 - gracious;  Ecclesiastes 10:19 - but;  Matthew 8:20 - the Son;  Matthew 27:55 - ministering;  Mark 1:31 - ministered;  Mark 10:52 - followed;  Mark 15:40 - Mary Magdalene;  Mark 15:41 - ministered;  Luke 4:39 - and ministered;  Luke 10:38 - received;  Luke 16:1 - a steward;  Acts 1:14 - with the;  Romans 16:1 - a servant;  2 Timothy 1:18 - ministered;  1 Peter 3:5 - the holy;  1 Peter 4:10 - minister

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Steward ( ἐπιτρόπου )

    From ἐπιτρέπω , to turn toward; thence to turn over to, transfer, and so commit or intrust to. The word thus literally means, one to whom the management of affairs is turned over.


    Copyright Statement
    The text of this work is public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    3.Joanna—The feminine of John, (see note on Luke 1:13,) and the same as Jane.

    Chuza’ Herod’s steward—The manager of his property concerns and his household affairs. The royal residence of Herod Antipas, Sepphoris, which was the Roman capital of Galilee, stood near the centre of that province, on an elevated table-land but a small distance from Capernaum. From the mountain which separated it from the broad plain Nazareth was plainly visible. Hence Herod, the actual sovereign, and Jesus, the rightful sovereign by birth, were in close proximity. And hence the wife of Herod’s steward might easily hear of such miracles as the healing the centurion’s servant and the raising of the widow’s son at Nain. There were saints, perhaps, in Herod’s house, as there afterwards were in Caesar’s.

    See note on Matthew 14:2.

    Of their substance—These seem to be mentioned by Luke, including Mary Magdalene, as women of rank, wealth, and character. In a very incidental way he gives us to understand how the Son of man was as a man supported. He did not live by miracle. He commanded no stones to be made bread. The kingdom of God is to be built up, society is to be improved and renovated, not by miracle, but by the natural process of human agency.


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    These files are public domain.
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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 8:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.