Luke 8

Luke 8:1

Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,

(a) Proclaiming. The original word (kerusso) means to herald as a public crier. This word is sometimes translated as “preaching” (e.g., Luke 3:3, 4:44).

(b) Preaching. Announcing the good news. The original word for preaching (euaggelizo) is closely related to the word for gospel (euaggelion). This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preaching” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.

(c) The kingdom of God is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven; see entry for Matt. 3:2.

(d) The twelve were Jesus closest disciples. They were variously known as the twelve disciples and the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1–2). Their names were Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:2–4).

Luke 8:2

and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

(a) Some women. One of the revolutionary ways Jesus empowered women was by accepting them as his disciples. He welcomed them into his circle and trained them, something that would have been unthinkable to the rabbis and sages. In those days, women didn’t follow men who weren’t their husbands, but they followed Jesus.

(b) Mary was called Magdalene because she came from the town of Magdala on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After being delivered of demons, Mary became a follower or disciple of Jesus at a time when rabbis had no women disciples. She was present at all the major events surrounding Christ’s death. She was at the crucifixion (Mark 15:40, John 19:25), she saw the empty tomb (Mark 16:1, John 20:1), she was the first to see the Risen Lord (Mark 16:9), and she was among the first to preach the good news of the resurrection (Luke 24:10, John 20:18). Although she is not named in Acts, it seems likely she was in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost.

Mary Magdalene is one of six women named Mary in the New Testament. The others are Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 2:34), Mary of Bethany (see entry for Luke 10:39), Mary the mother of James and Joseph who was probably also the wife of Clopas (see entry for Matt. 27:56), Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), and Mary of Rome (Rom. 16:6).

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.

(a) Joanna was one of the woman healed or delivered of evil spirits by Jesus (see previous verse). She provided funds to support Jesus during his ministry, and she was one of the women who brought the report about the empty tomb (Luke 24:10).

(b) Chuza was an official in the government of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 3:1). He may have been the same official mentioned in John 4:46–53.

(c) Susanna. Along with Joanna and Mary Magdalene, Susanna is one of the few women disciples of Jesus who were named in the Bible.

(d) Many others. Jesus had a wide base of supporters and donors.

(e) Contributing to their support. The One who fed 5000 and who turned water into wine hardly needed financial support, yet Jesus received it to show us that “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7). Or as Paul put it, “those who proclaim the gospel ought to get their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).

Luke 8:4

When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to him, he spoke by way of a parable:

(a) A large crowd. According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus told the parable of the sower to a large crowd while sitting in a boat (Matt. 13:2, Mark 4:1).

(b) Parables; see entry for Matt. 13:3.

Luke 8:11

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

The word of God is Jesus. It is the divine revelation of God the Father that comes to us through his Son. Jesus is the Word of God and the Word made flesh (John 1:1, 14, Rev. 19:13). He is the Word of life (1 John 1:1) that imparts life like a seed.

See entry for Word of God.

Luke 8:18

“So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”

Whoever has. See entry for Matt. 13:12.

Luke 8:19

And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.

(a) His mother. All four Gospel writers refer to Mary as the mother of Jesus. See entry for Matt. 1:18.

(b) His brothers or half-brothers were James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Matt. 13:55). At first, these men did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 3:21). But they and their mother Mary were among those praying in the Upper Room after the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14). James became the influential leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). It’s possible the other brothers became ministers of the gospel and apostles, but we have no direct evidence for this (1 Cor. 9:5).

Luke 8:20

And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.”

Outside. Jesus was often “inside” with the believers and true disciples (Mark 3:34–35, 4:10), while those outside were the sceptics and unbelievers (Mark 3:31–32, 4:11).

Luke 8:21

But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

(a) My mother. Mary was an extraordinary woman, highly favored by God, and rightly honoured by the Church. Yet nowhere in scripture does Jesus refer to her as mother. Instead, he calls her woman (John 2:4, 19:26). If you asked Jesus who his mother was, he would reply, “My mother and brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Jesus was not being disrespectful to Mary, but like Melchizedek, he was “without father and mother” in the usual sense (Heb. 7:3).

See entry for Virgin Birth.

To hear the word of God and do it is to repent and believe the good news of Jesus. Jesus is the Living Word of God (John 1:1, 14, Rev. 19:13). He is the Word of life (1 John 1:1) who imparts life to those who trust him. The people of Nazareth are an example of those who heard the word of God but did not heed it (Luke 4:28).

See entry for Word of God.

Luke 8:23

But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.

A fierce gale. On the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee are mountains that are up to 2000 feet high. The air on top of these mountains is often cool and dry, while the air on the lake shore is warm and moist. When the wind blows from the east, the collision of the different air masses can lead to violent storms such as the one experienced by the disciples.

Luke 8:24

They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.

Rebuked. Jesus rebuked the wind and the word used (epitimao) is the same Greek word for when Jesus rebuked the devil (Matt. 17:18) and various demons (e.g., Mark 1:25). This has led some to conclude that the storm was demonic in nature. However, the Bible never says this and we risk glorifying the devil by attributing to him powers he may not have.

In the poetry of the prophets, it is the Lord who is ultimately credited with the wonders of nature (e.g., Jer. 10:13, 51:16). Just as it is wrong to blame the devil, it is equally misguided to think that all the storms that come our way were sent by God to test us. The story rather illustrates the power we have in Christ to still the storms of life.

Luke 8:25

And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

Where is your faith? Faith is a positive response to God’s word. Jesus had said they were going to the other side (Luke 8:22), but the disciples did not believe him. They placed more confidence in their own assessment of the circumstances.

Luke 8:26

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.

The country of the Gerasenes. In his account of the crossing of the Sea of Galilee, Matthew said the trip ended in the region of Gadara (Matt. 8:28) while Mark and Luke said it finished in the region of Gerasa (Mark 5:1). This discrepancy is inconsequential. Gerasa and Gadara were different towns, but both were off the southeastern corner of the lake.

Luke 8:36

Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.

Made well can also be translated as made whole or delivered. The original word (sozo) is usually translated as save (e.g., Matt. 1:21), but it also implies deliverance and healing. When Jesus healed the sick, he sozo ed them; he healed them (Mark 5:23), delivered them (Luke 8:36) and made them whole (Matt. 9:21). See entry for Salvation.

Luke 8:48

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

(a) Your faith has made you well. It is the grace of God that brings healing, but since grace only comes by faith (Eph. 2:8), Jesus said what he said.

(b) Made you well can also be translated made you whole. The original word (sozo) is usually translated as save (e.g., Matt. 1:21), but it also implies healing. When Jesus healed the sick, he sozo ed them; he healed them (Mark 5:23), delivered them (Luke 8:36) and made them whole (Matt. 9:21). See entry for Salvation.

Luke 8:50

But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.”

(a) Do not be afraid any longer. Fear and doubt are faith-killers. We feed our faith and starve our fears by reminding ourselves who God is. Jairus the synagogue official had seen Jesus heal the sick. The most recent healing had happened only moments earlier.

(b) Only believe. We can choose to fear or we can choose to believe and Jesus will always encourage us to do the latter.

(c) Made well can be translated as made whole; see entry for Luke 8:48.

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