The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 8

Luk 8:1

Luk 8: "The narrative of the work of the Lord reveals the pressure of labour that constantly swirled around him. He travels around Galilee, preaching, healing, ministering in all kinds of ways to the needs of the people. So Luke records: (1) Preaching and teaching the people: vv 1-3. (2) The parable of sower: vv 4-10. (3) Parable of the sower explained: vv 11-15. (4) Additional comments illustrative of the parables: vv 16-18. (5) His relations try a second time to see him: vv 19-21. (6) Jesus calms a violent storm: vv 22-25. (7) The maniac of Gerasa: vv 26-39. (8) Jesus returns to Capernaum: v 40. (9) Jesus delayed by the woman with the issue of blood: vv 41-48. (10) Jairus' daughter is raised from the dead: vv 49-56" (GEM).

Luk 8:4

Vv 4-8: More detail in Mat 13:1-23.

Sowing: what to sow (Luk 8:11), what not to sow (Deu 22:9), how to sow (Psa 126:5,6), when to sow (Ecc 11:6), reward of sowing (1Co 15:58).

Luk 8:8

A HUNDRED TIMES: "Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him" (Gen 26:12).

Luk 8:10


Luk 8:11

Sowing: What to sow: Luke 8:11. What not to sow: Deu 22:9. How to sow: Psa 126:5, 6. When to sow: Ecc 11:6. The reward of sowing: 1Co 15:58.

THE WORD OF GOD: Which stands forever (Isa 40:8).

Luk 8:12

Vv 12-15: 4 hearers: careless, casual, worldly, and sincere.

SO THAT THEY MAY NOT BELIEVE AND BE SAVED: "Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isa 6:10).

Luk 8:13

BUT THEY HAVE NO ROOT: "No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff" (Isa 40:24).

Luk 8:14

THORNS: "They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. So bear the shame of your harvest because of the LORD'S fierce anger" (Jer 12:13).

Luk 8:15

AND BY PERSEVERING: "He who would go a hundred miles should consider ninety-nine as halfway" (Japanese proverb). "By perseverance the snail reached the ark" (CHS).

A CROP: 30, 60, and 100-fold (Mat 13:23; Mar 4:20).

Luk 8:16

Ref to ecclesia: The only purpose of a lamp is to give light!

BED: An instrument of leisure. "Light" obscured by "sleep": see Pro 26:14.

THOSE WHO COME IN: That is, priests who enter the holy place (WGos 268).

Luk 8:17

The manifestation of the hidden/concealed glory out of the sanctuary: Psa 27:5; 31:20; 81:7.

Luk 8:19

Does he know the motives of his brothers? (Mar 3:21).

Luk 8:21

"An alien to my mother's children": Psa 69:8.

"Are we doing the will of the Father in heaven? That is the real test. It is not a question of doing what we assume ought to be His will. It is not enough to find in our hearts general desires and aspirations in the right direction. Is the work we are doing now in accordance with the revealed will of God? Are we engaged in the works of love, dispensing the bread and water of life, doing good to all men, especially those of the household of faith? Are we crucifying the flesh by enduring evil treatment without retaliation, leaving vengeance of all degrees to the Lord?" (PrPr). See Lesson, Brethren of Christ do the will of Father.

Luk 8:22

Vv 22-25: Cp experiences of Jonah.

Jesus needs solitude for thought and prayer (cp Isa 50;4; Psa 119:147,148). A list of "solitude passages": Mar 1:35-37; 3:7,9,20,21; 4:35-38; 6:31; 7:17,18,24; 8:10,11,27; 9:30; 10:32; 14:32.

JESUS: "Just as he was" (Mar 4:36).

LET'S GO...: Were they reluctant to follow him, seeing the signs of impending storm?

Luk 8:23

HE FELL ASLEEP: The only sleep of Jesus mentioned in the gospels.

A SQUALL: The sea of Galilee is very susceptible to sudden storms. "The wicked as a troubled sea" (Isa 57:20). "The wind strove upon the great sea" (Dan 7:2,3). But God rules, even over the storms at sea: Psa 107:28-30; 89:9: 65:7; 93:3,4; Isa 57:20; Dan 7:2,3; Rev 15:2.

Luk 8:24

WE'RE GOING TO DROWN!: Christ will not be raised by the "storm", but only by the power of prayer. "To be tossed by the waves is no proof of desertion, or even of danger" (Burgon, WGos 280).

AND REBUKED THE WIND: As a father addressing children! Cp Rev 15:2: the Lamb and the sea of glass.

THE STORM SUBSIDED, AND ALL WAS CALM: "The passage over the sea to the distant shore is the disciples' journey through life. The frail boat that undertakes the crossing is the human heart. But Christ is there. His protecting influence will remain however sudden the storms, however dark the night. But he will not be awakened by the fury of the gale nor the shudder of the boat. Only the voice of the disciples will rouse him. Then he will bring peace into the heart and save the life from disaster. The memory of the disciples working feverishly to save themselves, with fear in their eyes and despair in their hearts, should be a warning of our own insufficiency; and the sublime picture of the Master sleeping peacefully amid the raging storm should be an abiding incentive to a living faith in him who 'stilleth the roaring of the seas, the roaring of the waves, and the tumult of the peoples' " (MP 172).

Luk 8:25

A growing fear of Jesus, traceable in Mar 4:41; 6:50; 9:6,32; 10:32; 16:8.

IN FEAR AND AMAZEMENT: One fear (v 38) is removed, but is replaced by another, greater fear!

WHO IS THIS?: Or "What manner of man is this?" (AV). Their proper estimation of Jesus still needed scaling upward (WGos 281).

A seagoing captain commanded a passenger ship that was sailing from Liverpool, England, to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all terribly afraid because of the storm. The captain's little 8-year-old girl was also awakened. "What's the matter?" cried the frightened child. Her mother told her that a sudden storm had struck the ship. "Is Father on deck?" she asked. "Yes, Father's on deck," came the encouraging answer. Hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into her bed and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm.

Luk 8:26

"Demoniacs" suffered from: blindness, dumbness (Mat 12:22; Luk 11:14), insanity, schizophrenia (Mar 3:21; 5:1-5; Joh 10:20), epilepsy (Mar 9:17-27), and arthritis (Luk 13:11-17).

GERASENES... GADARENES... GERGESENES: Gadara, in Decapolis, near sea of Galilee (LB 375). Gergesa, a city on east shore of lake, a suburb of Gadara, one of the "ten cities" of Decapolis (v 20), inhabited by many Gentiles. Distinguishing characteristics: ruins, cliff, lake, old tombs.

THE LAKE: Or "sea" (AV). The sea of Galilee. Also called the sea of Gennesaret (Luk 5:1), sea of Chinnereth (sig harp, because of shape? -- in OT), and sea of Tiberias (Joh 6:1). On route of Jordan River from Mt Hermon (life: Psa 133) to Dead Sea (death).

Luk 8:27

A DEMON-POSSESSED MAN: Another "storm" to be stilled! Cp Mat 8:28: "2 men". One came near, while the other stood back? Cp the two thieves, but only one believed. (NR 155).

IN THE TOMBS: In the region and shadow of death: Isa 9:1,2; (cp Isa 65:2-4).

Luk 8:28

Even the "demons" believe and tremble: Jam 2:19.

Luk 8:29

Insane men are known sometimes to have superhuman strength. In the East, they inhabit cemeteries.

Luk 8:31

THE ABYSS: Cp Rev 9:1.

Luk 8:32

A LARGE HERD OF PIGS...: "Humans become infected when they ingest the cysts of the tape worm in the flesh of the pig... Unfortunately humans can also ingest the eggs from their own or another's infection, and they then develop a much more serious form of the disease, with cyst formation throughout the body. These cysts can infect the brain, and it is poss that Legion was suffering from this disease. A link between his condition and the herd of swine seems very likely, and not just in his mind" (SP, Tes 71:205).

Luk 8:33

// Exodus: Legion, like Israel of old, naked, miserable, in tombs (pyramids), now sees the bodies of its enemies, perished in the (Red) sea.

Christ's two destructive miracles: (1) 2,000 unclean swine (unclean Gentile nations) destroyed, but one man (a Gentile) is saved. (2) The fig tree (Israel) cursed, but one man (Christ, a Jew) is saved.

The madness of the man was transferred to the swine, but this does not prove the existence of lit demons, any more than the fact that the leprosy of Naaman cleaved to Gehazi implies that leprosy is caused by demons (2Ki 5:27) (DGD 69). The unchosen uncleanness of the madman evoked mercy from Jesus, but the willful uncleanness of the swinekeeper called forth wrath.

THEY WENT INTO THE PIGS: Poss, "the unclean spirits attacked the swine". Perhaps the man himself rushed into the herd, stampeding them over the cliff, while at that very moment being healed himself of his illness. This seems to be the most natural explanation of the event.

AND WAS DROWNED: Cp the great choking mass of pigs with the press of the crowd in v 30.

Luk 8:35

Sitting: for rest (Luk 8:35); for communion (Song 2:3), as disciples (Deu 33:3), in worship (2Sa 7:18-27), in resurrection (Eph 2:6), in glory (Rev 3:21).

At Jesus' feet, the place of: rest (Luk 8:35); pardon (Luk 7:38); healing (Luk 17:16); teaching (Luk 10:39); comfort (Joh 11:32); intercession (Mar 7:25); and worship (Mat 28:9).

Luk 8:37

"Pigs" meant more to them than salvation! They could see only what they might lose (the pigs), not what they might gain (healing, salvation). Jesus does not argue. He simply leaves.

Luk 8:38

BEGGED TO GO WITH HIM: And he did! He went with Christ when he went to tell others of what Christ had done for him.

Luk 8:41

A RULER OF THE SYNAGOGUE: A president of synagogue, who had likely ignored Jesus until now. Some synagogues probably had more than one ruler (Act 13:15). "He WAS a ruler..." (KJV). Was Jairus later demoted through becoming a follower of Jesus?

CAME: He did not send for Jesus, as might one in his position; instead, he came to Jesus, as a lesser comes to a greater.

Luk 8:42

AS JESUS WAS ON HIS WAY: "Jesus is passing through the throng to the house of Jairus, to raise the ruler's dead daughter; but he is so profuse in goodness that he works another miracle while upon the road. While yet this rod of Aaron bears the blossom of an unaccomplished wonder, it yields the ripe almonds of a perfect work of mercy... It is enough for a tree to yield one sort of fruit, and for a man to fulfil his own peculiar calling. But our Master knows no limit of power or boundary of mission. He is so prolific of grace, that like the sun which shines as it rolls onward in its orbit, his path is radiant with lovingkindness... What delightful encouragement this truth affords us! If our Lord is so ready to heal the sick and bless the needy, then, my soul, be not thou slow to put thyself in his way, that he may smile on thee. Be not slack in asking, if he be so abundant in bestowing. Give earnest heed to his word now, and at all times, that Jesus may speak through it to thy heart. Where he is to be found there make thy resort, that thou mayst obtain his blessing. When he is present to heal, may he not heal thee? But surely he is present even now, for he always comes to hearts which need him" (CHS).

THE CROWDS ALMOST CRUSHED HIM: "He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isa 53:4). "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden" (Mat 11:28,29).

Luk 8:43

SUBJECT TO BLEEDING: Ceremonially unclean, and a social outcast (Lev 15:19-30). She was supposed to be separated from other people, and from the synagogue, and from Temple worship -- not for any moral reason, but for a physical condition. In effect, she was being punished for something of which she was not guilty.

TWELVE YEARS: Cp the 12 years of v 42. This woman's misery was as old as the daughter of Jairus.

Luk 8:44

SHE CAME UP BEHIND HIM: By rabbinical law, she should not have even been in the city -- much less in a crowd of people. This took great courage on the part of a poor, and probably weak and frail, woman.

We have to seek out and reach for Jesus; he will not be handed to us on a silver platter!

AND TOUCHED THE EDGE OF HIS CLOAK: With its border of blue (cp Num 15:37,38). To do so, she must have fallen to her knees.

"In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you' " (Zec 8:23).

All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

Luk 8:45

WHO TOUCHED ME?: Jesus knew who had touched him! He asks this so as to reveal this woman to the onlookers.

Other questions, designed to lead to the repentance of the hearers: Gen 3:9; 4:9; 2Ki 5:25.

TOUCHED: With feeling of our infirmities: Heb 4:15.

THE PEOPLE ARE CROWDING AND PRESSING AGAINST YOU: Multitudes throng Jesus today, but only a few touch him in faith, and are healed.

Luk 8:47

AT HIS FEET: Whereas previously she had come behind him (v 44), now she kneels in front of him. An embarrassing process, but a necessary public profession.

Luk 8:48

DAUGHTER: This is the only occasion when Jesus so addresses any woman; he demonstrates that there is a spiritual relationship between them, beyond all natural ties.

HAS HEALED YOU: With restored ability to bear children, as Hannah?

Luk 8:49

The three persons whom Christ raised:

Luke 8:49
Luke 7:14
John 11:43
Jairus' daughter
Widow's son
Social position
Moderate circumstances
Stage in death
Just dead
Going to tomb
Dead and buried
Relative's faith
Father asked
Mother did not ask
Sister doubted
Other characteristics
Friends were put forth
The bier was stopped
Stone rolled away

Luk 8:50

Both miracles have in common: 12 years; daughter, faith in Christ, healing. The restoration of Israel (the "12"!) comes only through Christ. For "daughter", cp Jer 6:14; 8:11; etc.

Power of faith and intercession of others: Mat 8:13; 9:32; 15:28; 17:14-18; Luk 8:50; Joh 4:49; Jos 6:17; Gen 7:1; 18:32; 19:12; Act 27:24.

DON'T BE AFRAID; JUST BELIEVE: Immediately Jesus reaffirmed the man's basis for faith -- as angels to women at tomb. Those with faith, Christ helps. Those with none, he ignores (vv 17,18; 6:1).

JUST BELIEVE: More properly, "go on believing". Justification by faith.

Luk 8:51

HE DID NOT LET ANYONE GO IN WITH HIM...: Like Elisha in 2Ki 4:33.

PETER, JOHN, AND JAMES: These 3 singled out on other occasions: Transfiguration (Mat 17:1), Olivet prophecy (Mar 13:5), garden of Gethsemane (Mar 14:33).

Luk 8:52

ALL THE PEOPLE WERE WAILING AND MOURNING: Professional mourners: Amo 5:16; Jer 9:16,17; 2Ch 35:25.

Luk 8:53

THEY LAUGHED AT HIM: A poor type of mourner, to turn so easily to scornful laughter. They scorn Christ, but he shows greater authority: "He put them all out!"

Luk 8:54

"Thy touch has still its ancient power;
No word from thee can fruitless fall.
Hear in this solemn evening hour,
And in thy mercy heal us all."
"Jesus, Deliverer, near to us be;
Soothe thou our voyaging over life's sea:
Then when the storm of death roars, sweeping by,
Say thou, O Lord of life, 'Peace, it is I.' "

HE TOOK HER BY THE HAND: Christ touches that which is defiled (cp vv 27,28). Death! the ultimate defilement, yet held no fear for Christ, who "tasted death" for all men.

GET UP: A parable of baptism: sleep of death, touch of Master's hand, words: "Arise" and "walk"!

Luk 8:56

Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).

"Four Galilean peasants slipped quietly away from the house of Jairus and headed through Magdala down the 'Valley of Doves' which led toward Nazareth. They were a carpenter and three fishermen, and they all knew now that one of them was the Lord of Life" (SMk 83).

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