The ministry of Christ. (1-3) The parable of the sower. (4-21) Christ stilleth the tempest and casteth out devils. (22-40) The daughter of Jairus restored to life. (41-56)
Verses 1-3 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.
Verses 4-21 There are many very needful and excellent rules and cautions for hearing the word, in the parable of the sower, and the application of it. Happy are we, and for ever indebted to free grace, if the same thing that is a parable to others, with which they are only amused, is a plain truth to us, by which we are taught and governed. We ought to take heed of the things that will hinder our profiting by the word we hear; to take heed lest we hear carelessly and slightly, lest we entertain prejudices against the word we hear; and to take heed to our spirits after we have heard the word, lest we lose what we have gained. The gifts we have, will be continued to us or not, as we use them for the glory of God, and the good of our brethren. Nor is it enough not to hold the truth in unrighteousness; we should desire to hold forth the word of life, and to shine, giving light to all around. Great encouragement is given to those who prove themselves faithful hearers of the word, by being doers of the work. Christ owns them as his relations.
Verses 22-40 Those that put to sea in a calm, even at Christ's word, must yet prepare for a storm, and for great peril in that storm. There is no relief for souls under a sense of guilt, and fear of wrath, but to go to Christ, and call him Master, and say, I am undone, if thou dost not help me. When our dangers are over, it becomes us to take to ourselves the shame of our own fears, and to give Christ the glory of our deliverance. We may learn much out of this history concerning the world of infernal, malignant spirits, which though not working now exactly in the same way as then, yet all must at all times carefully guard against. And these malignant spirits are very numerous. They have enmity to man and all his comforts. Those under Christ's government are sweetly led with the bands of love; those under the devil's government are furiously driven. Oh what a comfort it is to the believer, that all the powers of darkness are under the control of the Lord Jesus! It is a miracle of mercy, if those whom Satan possesses, are not brought to destruction and eternal ruin. Christ will not stay with those who slight him; perhaps he may no more return to them, while others are waiting for him, and glad to receive him.
Verses 41-56 Let us not complain of a crowd, and a throng, and a hurry, as long as we are in the way of our duty, and doing good; but otherwise every wise man will keep himself out of it as much as he can. And many a poor soul is healed, and helped, and saved by Christ, that is hidden in a crowd, and nobody notices it. This woman came trembling, yet her faith saved her. There may be trembling, where yet there is saving faith. Observe Christ's comfortable words to Jairus, Fear not, believe only, and thy daughter shall be made whole. No less hard was it not to grieve for the loss of an only child, than not to fear the continuance of that grief. But in perfect faith there is no fear; the more we fear, the less we believe. The hand of Christ's grace goes with the calls of his word, to make them effectual. Christ commanded to give her meat. As babes new born, so those newly raised from sin, desire spiritual food, that they may grow thereby.
Luke 8:1-3 . A GALILEAN CIRCUIT, WITH THE TWELVE AND CERTAIN MINISTERING WOMEN. (In Luke only).
1. went--travelled, made a progress.
throughout every city and village--through town and village.
preaching, &c.--the Prince of itinerant preachers scattering far and wide the seed of the Kingdom.
2. certain women . . . healed, &c.--on whom He had the double claim of having brought healing to their bodies and new life to their souls. Drawn to Him by an attraction more than magnetic, they accompany Him on this tour as His almoners--ministering unto Him of their substance. 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 material things ( 1 Corinthians 9:11 ). But dost Thou take it at their hand, and subsist upon it? "Oh, the depth of the riches" ( Romans 11:33 )--of this poverty of His!
Mary Magdalene--that is, probably, of Magdala (on which see Matthew 15:39 ;
went--rather, "had gone."
seven devils--( Mark 16:9 ). It is a great wrong to this honored woman to identify her with the once profligate woman of Luke 7:37 , and to call all such penitents Magdalenes. The mistake has arisen from confounding unhappy demoniacal possession with the conscious entertainment of diabolic impurity, or supposing the one to have been afflicted as a punishment for the other--for which there is not the least scriptural ground.
3. Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward--If the steward of such a godless, cruel, and licentious wretch as Herod Antipas 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 Saviour'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].
Luke 8:4-18 . PARABLE OF THE SOWER.
16. No man, which this is nearly a repetition).
17. For nothing,
18. how ye--in Mark 4:24 , "what ye hear." The one implies the other. The precept is very weighty.
seemeth to have--or, "thinketh that he hath" (Margin). The "having" of Matthew 13:12 (on which see), and this "thinking he hath," are not different. Hanging loosely on him, and not appropriated, it is and is not his.
Luke 8:19-21 . HIS MOTHER AND BRETHREN DESIRE TO SPEAK WITH HIM.
Luke 8:22-25 . JESUS CROSSING THE LAKE, STILLS THE STORM.
and Mark 4:35-41
23. filled--literally, "were getting filled," that is, those who sailed; meaning that their ship was so.
Luke 8:26-39 . DEMONIAC OF GADARA HEALED.
and Mark 5:1-20
Luke 8:40-56 . JAIRUS' DAUGHTER RAISED AND ISSUE OF BLOOD HEALED.
40. gladly received him, for . . . all waiting for him--The abundant teaching of that day (in Matthew 13:1-58 ; and see Mark 4:36 ), had only whetted the people's appetite; and disappointed, as would seem, that He had left them in the evening to cross the lake, they remain hanging about the beach, having got a hint, probably through some of His disciples, that He would be back the same evening. Perhaps they witnessed at a distance the sudden calming of the tempest. Here at least they are, watching for His return, and welcoming Him to the shore. The tide of His popularity was now fast rising.
45. Who touched me?--"Askest Thou, Lord, who touched Thee? Rather ask who touched Thee not in such a throng."
46. Somebody hath touched--yes, the multitude "thronged" and pressed Him--"they jostled against Him," but all involuntarily; they were merely carried along; but one, one only--"Somebody TOUCHED" HIM, with the conscious, voluntary, dependent touch of faith, reaching forth its hands expressly to have contact with Him. This and this only Jesus acknowledges and seeks out. Even so, as the Church Father AUGUSTINE long ago said, multitudes still come similarly close to Christ in the means of grace, but all to no purpose, being only sucked into the crowd. The voluntary, living contact of faith is that electric conductor which alone draws virtue out of Him.
47. declared . . . before all--This, though a great trial to the shrinking modesty of the believing woman, was just what Christ wanted in dragging her forth, her public testimony to the facts of her case--both her disease, with her abortive efforts at a cure, and the instantaneous and perfect relief which her touch of the Great Healer had brought her.
55. give her