Luke 8 Commentary

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From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission
John MacArthur's Introduction to the Gospel of Luke
Charles Swindoll's Introduction to Luke
Luke Overview Chart by Charles Swindoll

Click chart to enlarge LIFE OF CHRIST IN GOSPEL OF LUKE (See Shaded Areas)
Chart from recommended resource  Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Ryrie Study Bible -Borrow

Source: ESV Global Study Bible

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,

KJV 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,

ESV Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

BGT  Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ καθεξῆς καὶ αὐτὸς διώδευεν κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην κηρύσσων καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ οἱ δώδεκα σὺν αὐτῷ,

NET   Some time afterward he went on through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,

CSB  Soon afterward He was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him,

ERV   And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve,

NIV  After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,

NLT  Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him,

NRS Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,

YLT  And it came to pass thereafter, that he was going through every city and village, preaching and proclaiming good news of the reign of God, and the twelve are with him,

ASV  And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve,

  • that Lk 4:43,44; Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 11:1; Mark 1:39; Acts 10:38
  • the glad Lk 2:10,11; 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 13:19; Acts 13:32; Romans 10:15
  • and the Lk 6:14-16; Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19
  • Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:1-3 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • The preaching of the kingdom of God  (Luke 8:1-21)
    1. The setting  (Luke 8:1-3)
    2. The parable of the soils  (Luke 8:4-15)
      1. The parable recited  (Luke 8:4-8)
      2. The parable explained  (Luke 8:9-15)
    3. The parable of the lamp  (Luke 8:16-18)
      1. The parable recited  (Luke 8:16-17)
      2. The parable applied  (Luke 8:18) 
    4. The resultant implication  (Luke 8:19-21)
  • The stilling of the storm  (Luke 8:22-25)
  • The healing of the demoniac  (Luke 8:26-39)
    1. The setting  (Luke 8:26-27)
    2. The miracle  (Luke 8:28-32)
    3. The result  (Luke 8:33-39)
  • The healing of Jarius' daughter  (Luke 8:40-56)
    1. The request of Jarius  (Luke 8:40-42)
    2. The patient faith of Jairus  (Luke 8:43-48)
    3. The reward of Jairus  (Luke 8:49-56) (John Hannah)

Related Passages:

Matthew 4:23  Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 

Soon afterwards - See Jensen's charts above to get a good sense of where you are in the Gospel of Luke and in Jesus' life. You will note that while He has aroused significant opposition with the religious hierarchy, He is still relatively popular with the populace. The literal Greek (en to kathexes) means "in the next," that is, afterward or later. Soon afterwards is somewhat misleading, for as Lenski says it "states only that the time is a little later than the preceding incident, Luke desires to say no more." NET Note has "some time afterward" noting that kathexes "is a general temporal term and need not mean "soon afterward." A T Robertson says kathexes "means one after the other, successively, but that gives no definite data as to the time, only that this incident in Lk 8:1–3 follows that in Lk 7:36–50." MacArthur feels that "The phrase soon afterwards refers back to the incident involving the sinful woman and the self-righteous Pharisee recorded in Lk 7:36–50. (ED: I agree because "CONTEXT is KING" if we are to have accurate interpretation. How long afterward we cannot say.) Shortly after that incident, in keeping with the Father’s design, Jesus began going around Galilee for the final phase of His ministry there (Lk 8:4–9:50). Though the statement is general, the divine design was specific." (See Luke Commentary)

He began going around from one city and village to another - This is the second tour of Galilee. Began going around (diodeuo) is in the imperfect tense describes Him doing this again and again, here, there and everywhere, for He was truly a Man on mission, with no time to waste! Every place became His pulpit as He sought to proclaim His message (summarized beautifully by His quoting Isaiah in Lk 4:17-21+). Marshall says "the idea of a continuing wandering ministry (imperfect tense), rather than a journey from one point to another. ”  Nolland points out that "The itinerant (traveling from place to place to work) nature of Jesus’ ministry has not been specifically commented on by Luke since Lk 4:43–44+, though it is clear that Jesus has made appearances in a variety of locations (e.g., Lk 5:1, 12+; Lk 7:1, 11+)."(WBC-Lk)

MacArthur comments on Jesus traveling from on city and village to another - That Jesus would restrict the scope of His ministry by spending so much of it traveling from one city and village to another in Galilee is inexplicable from the perspective of modern philosophy of ministry. Jerusalem, the cultural and intellectual center of Israel, should have been His target. Galilee, on the other hand, was a largely rural area, whose plebian residents were scorned by the sophisticated Judeans. When some said of Jesus, “This is the Christ” others scoffed at them, saying “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?” (John 7:41). When Nicodemus protested the Pharisees’ judging of Christ without investigating Him they mocked him. “You are not also from Galilee, are you?” they said scornfully. “Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee” (Jn 7:52). Later the Sanhedrin was astonished that simple Galileans like Peter and John could speak so confidently, boldly, and intelligently (Acts 4:13). (See Luke 6-10 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God - Proclaiming and preaching are both in the present tense indicating this was continually Jesus' activity during the time of this itinerant (traveling from place to place to work) ministry from one city and village to another. In this context clearly proclaiming and preaching functions as a so-called hendiadys, which in simple terms is the expression of a single idea by two words connected with “and.” Jesus' proclaiming and preaching was to convey the single truth that the King was on the scene as prophetically promised and was declaring to them the good news of the way they could enter the Kingdom of God! So in this context proclaiming the Kingdom was tantamount to proclaiming the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Mt 4:23, cf Lk 4:43, Lk 6:20, Jn 3:3) It is notable that even though He was the King, in a sense He was now was functioning as His own kerux or herald to announce His Kingdom! Why? Because His herald, John the Baptist, the forerunner, had ceased heralding when he was imprisoned by Herod Antipas for challenging Herod's immoral marriage (compare Jn 3:24+, Lk 3:18-20+ Mt 4:12+ = Criswell in BSB says this section in Mt 4:12-25 "introduces the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in Galilee [John is now in prison]. His Galilean ministry is seen as a fulfillment of Isa 9:1, 2. It is a ministry characterized by preaching, teaching, and healing.",  Mk 6:17-18ff+). See John MacArthur's discussion below on what Jesus meant by proclaiming and preaching the Kingdom of God. 

MacArthur sets the context for Jesus' ministry (SEE ALSO JENSEN'S CHART ABOVE, NOTING "BREAKPOINTS" AT Luke 4:14-15+ and Lk 9:50-51+ WHICH MACARTHUR ALLUDES TO IN HIS DISCUSSION) observing that "Lk 8:1-3 bridges us into the final phase of His Galilean ministry. Lk 4:14-15+ bridged us into the first phase of His Galilean ministry, featuring the city of Capernaum which seemed to be His home base.  This summary in Lk 8:1-3 bridges us into the last phase of His Galilean ministry with no mention of Capernaum. So this is a more itinerant ministry...and this particular phase of the Galilean ministry continues through Lk 9:50+, and then in Lk 9:51KJV+ "He fixed his face to go on to Jerusalem" ultimately to die there." (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry)

The Kingdom of God - One must understand that there are (AT LEAST) two phases to the Kingdom of God. The first phase is the invisible, internal Kingdom of God and which He later described as "in your midst” (FOR MUCH MORE DISCUSSION SEE Lk 17:21+), the Kingdom in which the King reigns in the heart of the person who has accepted Jesus as Messiah. When the King returns on the day that the Son of Man is revealed (apokalupto) (Lk 17:30+, cf Mt 24:30+, Rev 1:7+, Rev 19:11-16+) the heart of every person will also be revealed as to whether they sought the kingdom of "self" or the kingdom of the Savior! The future phase of the Kingdom of God is known as the Messianic Age or the Millennial Kingdom.(See more detailed explanation of Jesus' meaning of the Kingdom of God in notes on Luke 17:20, 21). NET Note agrees that the "kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ proclamation. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust Him belong. See Luke 6:20+; Lk 11:20+; Lk 17:20–21+. It is not strictly (ED: OR ONLY) future, though its full manifestation is yet to come." 

The twelve were with Him - This is the second tour of Galilee,and this time the Twelve with him. This is "Discipleship 101" for these 12 men (except one). In Lk 8:2-3 Luke mentions a number of women, which was unusual, for other Jewish rabbis generally did not teach women nor include them in their circle of disciples. Of course Jesus was not like the other Jewish rabbis! These  twelve were ordinary men in whom Jesus invested three years of His life.  They proved they ere ordinary because from time to time they disappointed Him.  And other times they doubted Him. And in the end they even deserted Him and denied Him! Yet they were the ordinary men who He would teach and who would be transformed into world changers. The strategy is no different today.  If you want to impact the world with the Gospel, then pour your life into a smaller number of people, who will continue the process of doing the same. Paul says the same thing in 2 Ti 2:2+ writing "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." Multiplication is the result of intentional, focused discipleship.  The upshot? Invest your short life in a few good men and you can be assured that through them, enabled with His Word of Truth and the Spirit of Truth, the effect will be not only global but eternal! 

THOUGHT: Beloved brother (or sister) in Christ how are you doing with your "twelve" (or one or two or ten?) The point is are you doing anything of eternal value. What breaks my heart is to see men who have walked with Jesus for 20, 30, 40, 50 or more years and they know Jesus and they know the Word and yet they fail to PASS ON THE BATON to the young Timothy's that God has placed directly in front of them. I am 73 as I write this note and have one passion -- to obey Jesus' command to MAKE DISCIPLES (Mt 28:19+). Don't bum out on the golf course or in cruising the country in your expensive rec vehicle (etc)! Instead of bumming out, burn yourself out passing yourself on to faithful men who will carry the Gospel baton and pass it on to others who will in turn be able to teach the Word of Truth, the Gospel. Time is short. Eternity is long. You have no excuse not to zealously Redeem the Time! You have all eternity to play golf! Do it because that is what Jesus did as He saw His candle burning out! Do it for the glory of our Lord. God grant you the desire and power by His Spirit (Php 2:13NLT+) to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14+). In His all sufficient Name. Amen

Related Resources: The Twelve

Soon afterwards (2517)(kathexes from katá = according to + hexḗs = following) means in order, one after the other, successively; in an orderly fashion; successively, consecutively in connected order, denoting sequence in time, space, or logic. Kathexes is used only by Luke (and is not in the Septuagint) - Lk. 1:3+ = "in consecutive order"; Lk. 8:1 = "soon afterward"; Acts 3:24+ = "successors onward"; Acts 11:4+ = "in orderly sequence; Acts 18:23+ = successively. 

He [began] going around (1353)(diodeuo from dia = through + hodeuo = to travel) means to journey about.  Friberg - (1) transitively go through, travel through a place (Acts 17.1); (2) intransitively go about from one place to another (Lk 8.1) The only other use is Acts 17:1 - Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 

Diodeuo - 11x in 11v in the Septuagint - Gen. 12:6; 13:17; Ps. 89:41; Isa. 59:8; Jer. 2:6; 9:12; 50:13; Ezek. 5:14; 14:15; Zeph. 3:6; Zech. 7:14; Lk. 8:1; Acts 17:1 Genesis 12:6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. Genesis 13:17 “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”

Proclaiming (present tense - continually) (2784)(kerusso from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. MacArthur says kerusso "means to publicly herald something, like a town crier. Before they had newspapers and media, the king would send his authoritative representative into the city square and, "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye," he would give the message. And what was that message?  "Preaching the Kingdom of God."  He was proclaiming, and what He was proclaiming is described, "Even preaching the kingdom of God."  The word "preaching" is euangelizomenos, preaching the gospel. “To evangelize” comes from that word.  He was evangelizing.  He was evangelizing with the message of the kingdom of God. He didn't talk about anything else.  The kingdom He spoke about was not of this world (cf John 18:36).  He continually preached the kingdom. As Matthew 4:17 records (THIS WAS THE INCEPTION OF HIS MINISTRY IN GALILEE), "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" And He always preached the kingdom. (ED: compare Mark 1:14, 15+ discussed below)  (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry

Uses of kerusso - Lk. 3:3; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:19; Lk. 4:44; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:39; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 12:3; Lk. 24:47; Acts 8:5; Acts 9:20; Acts 10:37; Acts 10:42; Acts 15:21; Acts 19:13; Acts 20:25; Acts 28:31

Preaching (present tense - continually) (preaching the good news like a herald, cf Lk 4:18-note)(2097)(euaggelizo/euangelizo from eu = good, well + aggéllo = proclaim, tell; English = evangelize) means to announce good news concerning something. Euaggelizo was often used in the Septuagint for preaching a glad or joyful message (cf. 1Sa 31:9; 2 Sa 1:20; 4:10). Euaggelizo/euangelizo in its original sense could be used to refer to a declaration of any kind of good news, but in the NT it usually refers  to the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of salvation obtained through belief in Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. In short, euaggelizo means to "evangelize" and in the present passage means Jesus was continually preaching the Gospel from one city and village to another

Uses of euaggelizo/euangelizo in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:19; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 3:18; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 20:1; Acts 5:42; Acts 8:4; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:25; Acts 8:35; Acts 8:40; Acts 10:36; Acts 11:20; Acts 13:32; Acts 14:7; Acts 14:15; Acts 14:21; Acts 15:35; Acts 16:10; Acts 17:18; 

Kingdom (932)(basileia  from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules. Matthew used the synonymous phrase the Kingdom of Heaven (32x) probably to appeal to the Jews who refused to say the Name of God, as an way to convey their sense of unworthiness. 

Kingdom of God - 66x in 65v  Matt. 12:28; Matt. 19:24; Matt. 21:31; Matt. 21:43; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 4:11; Mk. 4:26; Mk. 4:30; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 10:14; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:23; Mk. 10:24; Mk. 10:25; Mk. 12:34; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:28; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 13:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:29; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 17:21; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:24; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 22:18; Lk. 23:51; Jn. 3:3; Jn. 3:5; Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:31; Rom. 14:17; 1 Co. 4:20; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:10; 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 5:21; Col. 4:11; 2 Thess. 1:5


John MacArthur explains "The Kingdom of God" -- Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are interchangeable. In Mt 19:23 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, it's hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Then in Mt 19:24, He says "it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." They both refer to the same thing. ...Mt 19:25 explains that  "Because the disciples who heard it were very astonished and said, 'Then who can be saved?'" So entering the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God is to be saved...they understood entering the kingdom of God as being saved, and that's exactly how you ought to understand it. When Jesus preached the kingdom of God, He was preaching salvation....the kingdom of God is the sphere in which God rules over those who have come to Him for salvation, the sphere of salvation over which God rules as sovereign monarch.  And so this was Jesus' message. It was not a political message or a social message but was a salvation message....In fact, when Jesus died was resurrected, Luke records in Acts 1:3+ that He presented Himself to His disciples "alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God." Even after the resurrection He was still speaking on the same subject, the sphere of salvation. The whole of the Bible is the story of salvation.....Preaching the kingdom is preaching the good news that sinners can be saved, rescued "from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:13+).  They can turn from "the dominion of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18+).....He was inviting people to come into the kingdom of God.  In order to come into the Kingdom of God they had to repent of their sin and believe the Gospel (cf Mark 1:14, 15+ "Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”) . (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry)  (EDITORIAL NOTE -  So by comparing to Jesus' message in Mark 1:14, 15, it is clear that  Jesus was going around from one city and village to another proclaiming and preaching the Gospel of God, by which the Jews could enter into the Kingdom of God.")

QUESTION -  What is the kingdom of God? See accompanying video

ANSWER - The kingdom of God is referenced often in the gospels (e.g., Mark 1:15; 10:15; 15:43; Luke 17:20) and other places in the New Testament (e.g., Acts 28:31; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 15:50). The kingdom of God is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven. The concept of the kingdom of God takes on various shades of meaning in different passages of Scripture. 

Broadly speaking, the kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe. Several passages of Scripture show that God is the undeniable Monarch of all creation: “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). And, as King Nebuchadnezzar declared, “His kingdom is an eternal kingdom” (Daniel 4:3). Every authority that exists has been established by God (Romans 13:1). So, in one sense, the kingdom of God incorporates everything that is.

More narrowly, the kingdom of God is a spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who willingly submit to God’s authority. Those who defy God’s authority and refuse to submit to Him are not part of the kingdom of God; in contrast, those who acknowledge the lordship of Christ and gladly surrender to God’s rule in their hearts are part of the kingdom of God. In this sense, the kingdom of God is spiritual—Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), and He preached that repentance is necessary to be a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). That the kingdom of God can be equated with the sphere of salvation is evident in John 3:5–7, where Jesus says the kingdom of God must be entered into by being born again. See also 1 Corinthians 6:9.

There is another sense in which the kingdom of God is used in Scripture: the literal rule of Christ on the earth during the millennium. Daniel said that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44; cf. 7:13–14), and many of the other prophets predicted the same thing (e.g., Obadiah 1:21; Habakkuk 2:14; Micah 4:2; Zechariah 14:9). Some theologians refer to the future, open manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of glory” and the present, hidden manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of grace.” But both manifestations are connected; Christ has set up His spiritual reign in the church on earth, and He will one day set up His physical reign in Jerusalem.

The kingdom of God has several aspects. The Lord is the Sovereign of the universe, and so in that sense His kingdom is universal (1 Timothy 6:15). At the same time, the kingdom of God involves repentance and the new birth, as God rules in the hearts of His children in this world in preparation for the next. The work begun on earth will find its consummation in heaven (see Philippians 1:6)

Related Resources:

MacArthur points out that the phrase soon afterwards He began going around from one city and village to another emphasizes that Jesus' ministry was sovereignly determined and then gives some thoughts on the "philosophy" (if you will) of Jesus' ministry or the scope of His ministry.

"He never designed His ministry to give people what they wanted....His ministry was always under the sovereign control of His Father.....What prompted Him to leave where He was and begin to move into this more itinerant and final phase of the Galilean ministry? It is not stated here, but it is answered elsewhere....He was responding to the will of His Father. He says "I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me." ( John 5:30)  And He said, "His will is defining My ministry.  I do the will of Him Who sent Me.  My meat is to do that will of the One who sent Me, the Father," (John 4:34).  In a number of occasions in the early chapters of John, John has quoted Jesus as saying, "I do what God wants Me to do."  He was always submissive to the sovereign control of His Father, doing what He wanted Him to do....Not only did He desire to do the Father's will — that is the tasks that the Father wanted Him to do — but He desired to do them in the Father's timing.  And that is why in a number of occasions John records (e.g. John 7:30, John 8:20) that "His hour had not yet come”... He had limits on Himself as to the task He did, it had to be the will of God, as to when He did it, it had to be the timing of God, and as to the people, it had to be the people whom God had determined that He would do this ministry for, and that is why Jesus said to the disciples, "Do not go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mt 10:5, 6) "The plan of the Father is that we don't go to the Gentiles and we don't go to the Samaritans, we go to the Jews."  Jesus said, "Salvation is from the Jews." (Jn 4:22)  Paul says, "The Jew first and then later to the Gentile." (Ro 1:16)  And so Jesus had an amazing economy of effort, doing only the Father's will, only in the Father's time, and only to those to whom the Father had sent Him....And furthermore, not just to the Jews but in Luke 5:32 He said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”  Among the Jews, it was not the self-righteous, not the Pharisees, not the scribes, not the Sadducees, (for the most part), but to the sinners, those who recognized their sin. So He had a narrow limitation placed upon His ministry....And He knew that concentration is the key to multiplication. That is a principle you can learn in ministry. Concentration is the key to multiplication.  The way you multiply your ministry, real ministry and the power of ministry through the truth and changed lives is by concentration on changing lives and teaching people the truth.  And the more intensely you teach that to a group of people, the more likely they are to multiply it.  (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry

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,

KJV And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

Related Passage:

Matthew 27:55-56 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.


In Jesus' itinerant (traveling from place to place to work) ministry, He was accompanied by two groups, His twelve disciples and a group of women. Only Luke mentions the women at this point. Mark makes a reference to them at the end of his Gospel at His crucifixion "There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they used to follow (akoloutheo in imperfect tense) Him and minister (diakoneo in imperfect tense) to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem." (Mark 15:40, 41+, cf Jn 19:25). Similarly, at the end of Matthew's account he records "Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed (akoloutheo) Jesus from Galilee while ministering to (diakoneo in the present tense = continually serving) Him." (Mt 27:55)

And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses - Luke respects women which was counter to the norm of the ancient culture which generally held them in low esteem. And so in the same breath as mentioning the twelve apostles, Luke now mentions some women. As Morris says "The rabbis refused to teach women and generally assigned them a very inferior place.” And these were not just any women but those who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. Notice again that Doctor Luke distinguishes between exorcisms and sicknessesHad been healed is in the perfect tense signifying they had been healed at some point of time in the past and continued in this state of being healed. When the Great Physician heals there are no relapses. They were permanently healed. Richards adds that "This group of words expresses powerlessness. The weak are without strength, incapacitated in some serious way." (Borrow Expository Dictionary) As Robertson rightly observes "These women all had personal grounds of gratitude to Jesus." This reminds us of Jesus' axiomatic statement in Luke 7:41-43 that the one who has been forgiven much, loves much. Surely the same principle would apply to the women who were "healed much" of either diseases or "delivered much" from demons!  Finally, notice that evil spirits is clearly shown in this passage to be synonymous with demons and that the word for evil is not kakos which is evil in general, but poneros which speaks of active evil, evil with an intent to produce harm. 

Brian Bell - I think these ladies will have a special reward for caring for their Lord in this way! "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' - (Mt 25:40) Ever notice there is no record of any women hostile to Jesus in the Gospel accounts? Isn’t it interesting that the Son of Man was content to be supported in that way? It is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35+), and it takes more grace to receive than it does to give! He was content to live on charity, while he carried on His ministry! (Luke:8:1 -18 Parable of the Soils)

Darrell Bock on women with Jesus  - Because of the centuries that have passed since Jesus walked the earth, it is hard for us to appreciate how revolutionary Luke’s picture of Jesus’ ministry is. Women’s involvement in supporting Jesus’ ministry is an example. Though some wealthy women supported religious figures in ancient times (Josephus Antiquities 17.2.4), it was unusual for them to be as involved as the women in this passage are with Jesus. In fact, this passage is one of several unique to Luke that focus on women (others include Lk 1:5–39+, Elizabeth; Lk 2:36–38+, Anna the prophetess; Lk 7:36–50+, the sinful woman; Lk 10:38–42+, Martha and Mary; Lk 13:10–17+, the healing of the crippled woman; Lk 15:8–10+, the parable of the woman with the lost coin; Lk 18:1–8+, the parable of the woman and the judge). Many men of the time believed that women were not even to be seen, much less heard. In a later Jewish text, t. Berakot 7:18 (see this note below), one leader rejoiced that he was not a pagan, a woman or unlearned (Fitzmyer 1981:696). In contrast, Luke and the New Testament declare that women have equal access to the blessings of grace and salvation. Whatever distinctions the Bible makes between male and female roles, there is no distinction when it comes to being coheirs in grace (Gal 3:28–29+; 1 Pet 3:7+).....Their hearts were sensitive to God’s work, and they expressed this sensitivity through their generosity. (Luke 7:1-8:3 Movements to Faith) (Bolding added)

Allison Trites on some women - This reference is crucial for Luke’s understanding of the place of women in the thinking of Jesus in what was, at that time, a predominantly patriarchal world. On the countercultural role of women in the Gospels, Bilezikian’s (1985:96-97) comments are perceptive: “This overt participation of women in the latter part of the ministry of Jesus established an audacious precedent in the Palestinian world at that time (confirmed in Mark 15:41). The disciples’ amazement at the fact that Jesus had dared to speak to women in a public place at an earlier stage of His ministry gives a measure of the prejudices that had to be overcome (John 4:27+). The bold initiative of involving women in His ministry was doubtless carried out with sufficient tact and precautions as not to create a scandal among the very people whom Jesus wanted to reach. Yet, by its very existence, it made a cogent statement about the nature of female roles within the emerging new community of which the Twelve and other followers of Jesus constituted the predictive microcosm.” (See Luke, Acts  in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary)

THOUGHT -  These women (like the 12 disciples) had been touched and transformed by Jesus Who changed their lives and motivated them to serve Him. Are these women not a powerful example (and challenge) to all of us today who have been saved by the same gracious Hand that touched their lives? In short, if you have been saved by Jesus, you should seek to see how you can serve the Savior! Recall that he/she who has been forgiven much, loves much (Lk 7:41-43+). And notice these women served not only with their actions, but with their substance! A measure of one's maturity as a follower of Jesus is how we are learning to serve Jesus, and this can be in many ways - discipling your children, helping the elderly, joining a prayer ministry, etc, doing His good work "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Eph 2:10+) Are you walking in the good works that your Father had pre-prepared? Or are you walking in your "good works" which are eternally worthless (cf Jn 15:5, cf "our righteous deeds" in Isa 64:6)? 

Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out (cf similar description in Mk 16:9) - Mary was apparently born in Magdala (see video of ancient ruins of Magdala).  She had a "complete" number of demons so to speak (7), so some take this literally and others interpret it as "severe" possession! Even way she had a bad case of "demon-itis!" One can only imagine what her presentation looked like prior to Jesus (presumably He did the exorcism) removing the demons. This is not the sinful woman mentioned in Luke 7:37-50+ nor is it Mary of Bethany in John 12:3 (see How many Marys are in the Bible?). Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower and servant of Jesus who stayed with Him until the very end watching His agony on the Cross (imagine her emotions! cf Jn 20:11) (Mt 27:55,56, Mk 15:40, Jn 19:25). After His crucifixion Mary saw where Jesus was laid (Mt 27:61, Mk 15:47, Lk 23:55+), and participated in the anointing of His body (Mt 28:1, Mk 16:1, Lk 24:10+). John’s Gospel records a special resurrection appearance Jesus made to Mary Magdalene who became the first person recorded to have witnessed Jesus after his resurrection (John 20:11-18). Robertson  observes that "The presence of seven demons in one person indicates special malignity (Mark 5:9). See Matt. 12:45 for the parable of the demon who came back with seven other demons worse than the first. It is not known where Magdala was, whence Mary came." 

Had been healed  (cured)(2323)(therapeuo  from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. 

All uses of therapeuo by Luke - Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:43; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 14:3; Acts 4:14; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Acts 17:25; Acts 28:9;

Evil (wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain) speaks of evil in active opposition to good. Poneros in an active sense reers to evil which corrupts others. Not surprisingly Satan is call the "Evil (poneros) one." (Jn 17:15), the head of the "evil spirits." 

All uses of poneros by Luke - Lk. 3:19; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:35; Lk. 6:45; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 11:26; Lk. 11:29; Lk. 11:34; Lk. 19:22; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:14; Acts 19:12; Acts 19:13; Acts 19:15; Acts 19:16; Acts 25:18; Acts 28:21

Spirits (4151)(pneuma from pnéo = to breathe) refers to a blowing, wind (Jn 3.8, Heb 1.7), a breathing, breath (2Th 2.8). Figuratively pneuma refers to the immaterial part of the human personality in contrast to the outward and visible aspects of sarx (flesh) and soma (body) (1 Co 5.3; 2 Co 7.1). Pneuma is the seat of the inner spiritual life of man, capacity to know God (Acts 18.25; Ro 8.16). Here in Luke 8:2 pneuma clearly refers to a spirit as an independent being that cannot be perceived by the physical senses and so is a demonic non-material being  (Mt 8.16; Mk 1.23).  

Sicknesses (769)(astheneia from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) means literally without strength or bodily vigor = want of strength = lacking strength. Literally astheneia refers to bodily diseases or ailments (Lk 5:15, 13:11, 12, Jn 5:5, 11:4, 28:9). Another meaning of astheneia is incapacity to do or experience something, an inability to produce results, a state of weakness or limitation (1Co 15:43; 2Co 11:30; 12:5, 9, 10, 13:4; Ro 8:27; Heb 4:15; 5:2; 7:28; 11:34) Paul's use in 1Co 2:3 conveys the sense of weakness in terms of courage. Asthenia is used by Luke in - Lk 5:15, 8:2, 13:11, 12, Acts 28:9.

Astheneia - 23v - ailments(1), diseases(1), ill(1), illness(1), infirmities(1), sickness(3), sicknesses(2), weak(1), weakness(9), weaknesses(4). Matt. 8:17; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 13:11; Lk. 13:12; Jn. 5:5; Jn. 11:4; Acts 28:9; Rom. 6:19; Rom. 8:26; 1 Co. 2:3; 1 Co. 15:43; 2 Co. 11:30; 2 Co. 12:5; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 12:10; 2 Co. 13:4; Gal. 4:13; 1 Tim. 5:23; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 5:2; Heb. 7:28; Heb. 11:34

Demons (1140)(daimonion from daímon = demon) most often describes demons or evil spirits who have supernatural powers and are neither human nor divine (Mt 7:22). Acts 17:18 refers specifically to to heathen gods. In the context of a Jewish use it more often refers to a demon, evil spirit, devil, or one who is subject to Satan. Daimonion was used in pagan Greek writings to refer to an inferior race of divine beings, lower than the Greek gods, but more powerful than men. 

Luke's uses of daimonion - Lk. 4:33; Lk. 4:35; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 7:33; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:27; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 8:30; Lk. 8:33; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:15; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:19; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:32;  Acts 17:18;

Related Resources:

Rebbi Yehudah says, “A person is obligated to say [the following] three Berachot (blessings) every day: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shelo Asani Goy (Blessed are You Hashem, our God, King of the world, for not making me a gentile), Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shelo Asani Isha (Blessed are You Hashem, our God, King of the world, for not making me a woman), Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shelo Asani Bur (Blessed are You Hashem, our God, King of the world, for not making me a boor). [The reason for saying a Beracha for not making him] a gentile is because it says ‘All nations are like nothing to Him. He considers them to be empty and void.’ (Isaiah 40:17) [The reason for saying a Beracha for not making him] a woman is because women are not obligated in Mitzvot (commandments).” (Comment - Talk about "politically incorrect!" Woe!)

Who was Mary Magdalene? - The name Magdalene likely indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Mary Magdalene has been associated with the "woman in the city who was a sinner" (Luke 7:37) who washed Jesus' feet, but there is no scriptural basis for this. The city of Magdala did have a reputation for prostitution. This information, coupled with the fact that Luke first mentions Mary Magdalene immediately following his account of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50), has led some to equate the two women. But there is no scriptural evidence to support this idea. Mary Magdalene is nowhere identified as a prostitute or as a sinful woman, despite popular portrayals of her as such. Mary Magdalene is also often associated with the woman whom Jesus saved from stoning after she had been taken in adultery (John 8:1-11). But again this is an association with no evidence. The movie “The Passion of the Christ” made this connection. This view is possible, but not likely and certainly not taught in the Bible. Mary Magdalene witnessed most of the events surrounding the crucifixion. She was present at the mock trial of Jesus; she heard Pontius Pilate pronounce the death sentence; and she saw Jesus beaten and humiliated by the crowd. She was one of the women who stood near Jesus during the crucifixion to try to comfort Him. The earliest witness to the resurrection of Jesus, she was sent by Jesus to tell the others (John 20:11-18). Although this is the last mention of her in the Bible, she was probably among the women who gathered with the apostles to await the promised coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). The recent fiction novel “The DaVinci Code” makes the claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Some of the non-biblical early Christian writings (considered heresy by the early Christians) hint at a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. However, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The Bible does not even hint at such an idea. Got (See also Mary who was called Magdalene)

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.

ESV  and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

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

  • Joanna Lk 24:10
  • Herod's Lk 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
  • Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:1-3 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Corinthians 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

1 Timothy 5:10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.

And Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward (See Who was Joanna in the Bible?) - William Barclay says Joanna was wife of “Herod’s epitropos. A king had man prerequisites and much private property; his epitropos was the official that looked after the king’s financial interests…There could be no more trusted and important official.” This Herod is Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee which shows that the Gospel had even penetrated into upper social strata. Joanna is mentioned again with Mary Magdalene as one of the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection in Lk 24:10+ (cf Mk 16:1) but she is otherwise unknown. It is interesting that Herod’s foster brother Manaen was another figure in the royal entourage who had contact with Christians (Acts 13:1+).

Susanna is unknown (on earth but not in heaven will be "O Susanna!")

Many others - (GWN - and many other women) Others is feminine plural so the GWN paraphrase is accurate. Clearly Luke is focusing attention on the role of these women in the radical, revolutionary ministry of our Lord. Compare Paul's mention of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2. It is notable that these women were loyal to Jesus to the very end, Scripture recording their presence at the Crucifixion, burial and resurrection  (Luke 23:49, 55-56; Lk 24:1; cf. Acts 1:14).

In light of our modern, immoral (really amoral) society in America, the comments by Pastor Rich Cathers are culturally relevant - We live in a very polluted society.  We are absolutely bombarded with sexual references and innuendoes.I would dare say that it’s not just unbelievers who see the possibility of sexual impurity in these passages, but some of us believers have thought such things as well. Isaiah saw it in himself,(Isaiah 6:5NKJV) …Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips." There is not a shred of solid evidence from the first century that Jesus’ relationships with His disciples and these women were anything but pure and holy." (Sermon Notes)

Allison Trites on the role of these women - While only Jewish men could receive the covenantal sign of circumcision, women, as well as men, were baptized into the Christian community (Acts 8:12+) and took their share of persecution and suffering along with the men (Acts 8:3+; Acts 9:2+; Acts 22:4+). They prayed with the men after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:14+), and they, too, experienced the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 16-21+). While women continued to serve in traditional ways (e.g., Tabitha, Acts 9:36-39+), women such as Lydia and Priscilla were becoming more and more prominent as the gospel reached out into the Hellenistic world (Acts 16:14-15+; Acts 18:1-3, 26+). Another example of this trend would be the four unmarried daughters of Philip the evangelist, who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9+; cf. Acts 2:17+; 1 Cor 11:5). (See Luke, Acts  in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary)

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!
-- C H Spurgeon

Spurgeon on the women with Jesus - 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? (Amen!) (Exposition on Luke 8)

Were contributing to their support out of their private means - Were contributing is the imperfect tense indicating that they were doing this again and again. They were "generous givers!" (cf Pr 11:25, Pr 19:17, Pr 22:9, Eccl 11:1, 1 Ti 6:18) While it was not unusual for Jewish rabbis to receive gifts from those to whom they ministered. Presumably Joanna's husband Chuza held a position of some rank involving the management of Herod's finances. Thus Joanna was a woman of "means" and thus was able but more importantly was willing to share financially in the ministry of Christ and the twelve apostles. Robertson says out of their private means means "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." The humble nature of Jesus is clearly seen in His willingness to be dependent on others, something He would not have to do for He could have created all He needed. This begs the question are you to proud to receive help from others? As Guzik says "Sometimes the ability to humbly receive is a better measure of Jesus in our life than the ability to give. Giving sometimes puts us in a higher place, but receiving may put us in a lower place." (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Luke)

IVP Background Commentary - Women sometimes served as patrons, or supporters, of religious teachers or associations in the ancient Mediterranean. (Men outnumbered them more than ten to one, however, because men had more of the economic resources.) But for these women to travel with the group would have been viewed as scandalous. Adult coeducation was unheard of, and that these women are learning Jesus’ teaching as closely as his male disciples would surely bother some outsiders as well. Upper-class families had more mobility, but commoners would still talk, as they did when other teachers (such as Greek philosophers) were accused of having women among their followers. (See The IVP Bible Background Commentary)

Steward (2012)(epitropos from epí = to + trépo = to turn) is one put in charge or control - (other things) foreman, manager, agent and (over persons) governor, guardian (Gal 4:2). A person entrusted to act in another’s name or to whose care anything is committed by another (Mt. 20:8); a steward or treasurer to a prince, or a deputy governor, or a Roman procurator; a guardian to whom the care of orphans is committed, the same as paidagogós (3807), a guardian (Gal. 4:2). In Luke 8:3, a manager of private affairs. Vincent - From epitrepo, to turn toward; thence to turn over to, transfer, and so commit or entrust to. The word thus literally means, one to whom the management of affairs is turned over. NET Note - epitropos is understood as referring to the majordomo or manager of Herod’s household (BDAG 385 s.v. ἐπίτροπος 1). However, as BDAG notes, the office may be political in nature and would then be translated something like “governor” or “procurator.” Note that in either case the gospel was reaching into the highest levels of society.

Epitropos - 3x and no uses in Septuagint. Translated foreman(1), guardians(1), steward(1). Mt 20:8 = "foreman"; Lk 8:3; Gal 4:2+ = "guardians" (1247)(diakoneo - derivation uncertain - cp diakonis = in the dust laboring or running through the dust or possibly diako = to run on errands; see diakonia) means to minister by way of rendering service in any form or to take care of by rendering humble service. It is a general term for serving, "waiting on tables." These women were serving Jesus - no higher privilege than to serve the Messiah, the King of kings and the same is true for us beloved! The use of imperfect tense indicates this was support they gave over and over again. 

Luke uses of diakoneo -Lk. 4:39; Lk. 8:3; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 17:8; Lk. 22:26; Lk. 22:27; Acts 6:2; Acts 19:22; 

Look What Jesus Has Done

See that you . . . excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Today's Scripture & Insight:Luke 8:1–8

The little boy was only eight when he announced to his parents’ friend Wally, “I love Jesus and want to serve God overseas someday.” During the next ten years or so, Wally prayed for him as he watched him grow up. When this young man later applied with a mission agency to go to Mali, Wally told him, “It’s about time! When I heard what you wanted to do, I invested some money and have been saving it for you, waiting for this exciting news.” Wally has a heart for others and for getting God’s good news to people.

Jesus and His disciples needed financial support as they traveled from one town and village to another, telling the good news of His kingdom (Luke 8:1–3). A group of women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases helped to support them “out of their own means” (v. 3). One was Mary Magdalene, who had been freed from the presence of seven demons. Another was Joanna, the wife of an official in Herod’s court. Nothing is known about Susanna and “many others” (v. 3), but we know that Jesus had met their spiritual needs. Now they were helping Him and His disciples through giving their financial resources.

When we consider what Jesus has done for us, His heart for others becomes our own. Let’s ask God how He wants to use us. By:  Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How might you be a part of getting the good news of salvation to people in your neighborhood and around the world? Tell someone the story of what Jesus has done for you. Write a note of encouragement to someone. Share a gift with a missionary. Pray.

Jesus gave His all; He deserves our all. 

J C Ryle - 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 showing the glad tidings 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 abideth 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 economised 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 which 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 Ghost, 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.” (Psalm 50:10.) That mighty Saviour who could multiply a few loaves and fishes 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 hungered and ye gave me no meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink.” (Matt. 25:42.)

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:

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

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 13:1-2+ That day Jesus went out of the house (go back to the end of Mt 12:46-50) and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.

Mark 4:1-2+ He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. 2 And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,


This is not the first parable in Luke for others are described in Lk 5:36–39; Lk 6:39, 41–44, 47–49; Lk 7:41–42. Note the pattern of the present parable - (1) Parable Told (Lk 8:4-8), (2) Reason for parable given and (3) Parable Interpreted (Lk 8:11-15). 

The three pericopes of this unit (Lk 8:4-21) all relate to the theme of revelation and response.
-- Darrell Bock

Darrell Bock places this next section in what he terms the "Call to Faith (Lk 8:4–21) Coming after the emphasis on faith in Lk 7:36–8:3, this unit is a call to respond. The christological ground for that response was laid in the answer to the question of Jesus’ identity in Lk 7:18–35. Luke wishes to reassure his readers that Jesus can and should be trusted. The three pericopes of this unit all relate to the theme of revelation and response. The seed parable explains various reactions to Jesus’ message (Lk 8:4–15). Jesus then compares his message to light (8:16–18). Since light is meant to be seen, all should watch how they respond to Jesus’ message, for through the word comes the opportunity to receive from God or to lose what one has. Finally, commendation is given to those who respond (Lk 8:19–21). Jesus’ family consists of those who obey God."...Luke differs from Mark 4 = Matt. 13 by isolating and focusing on a single parable, rather than narrating all the kingdom parables. In this way, Luke can develop a theology of the word of God (Luke 8:4–21) and call people to respond. This focus is unique to him, but it is an appropriate topical use of Jesus’ teaching." (See Luke: Baker Exegetical Commentary)

When a large crowd was coming together - We need to keep in mind that although the crowd was large, it was not because Jesus was preaching the Gospel to repent and believe (Mk 1:15) but because Jesus was performing many signs and wonders. Most of the crowds' hearts were not good soil for the seed. Most of them wanted miracles but not the greatest miracle of all which is personal salvation. Coming together is in the present tense and suggests the crowd was continually growing in size. Mark 4:1 and Matthew 13:1 tell us the location for the crowd coming together was the seaside as the place where Jesus was at the start of the series of parables." "The acoustic setting from the boat would have been ideal for Jesus’ voice to carry to the crowds. Some places in Palestine, such as a cove near Capernaum, have natural acoustics that would allow as many as seven thousand people to hear a person speaking in the center of the cove." (IVP Background Commentary)

He spoke by way of a parable - Mk 4:2 has "He was teaching (Imperfect tense describing it as going on) them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching." 

Parables ..reveal truth to those who are spiritually responsive;
and they conceal truth from those who are spiritually superficial or scoffing.
-- Steven Cole

W H Griffith-Thomas  - A parable is a teaching device in which a principle is concealed and a truth revealed. It gives the hearer first sight and then insight. 

Crowd (3793)(ochlos) refers to a relatively large number of people gathered together. Here Luke adds the adjective pollus which means many, numerous, large. We can picture the multitudes gathering. Recall that the report (Lk 7:17-note) about Jesus raising a dead man had spread throughout the regions (cf Lk 7:7-16, 17-note)

Was coming together (4896)(suneimi) means literally to be with, to come together, to assemble. 

Parable (symbol) (3850)(parabole rom para = beside, near + ballo = throw, cast; English "parable") is literally a throwing beside or placing of one thing by the side of another (juxtaposition as of ships in battle in classic Greek). The metaphorical meaning is to place or lay something besides something else for the purpose of comparison. (Mt 24:32, Mk 13:28, Mk 3:23, Lk 14:7). An illustration (Mt 13:3). (See Daniel Akin's summary points on parables). Robertson on parable - This is the beginning of the first great group of parables as given in Mark 4:1–34 and Matt. 13:1–53. There are ten of these parables in Mark and Matthew and only two in Luke 8:4–18 (The Sower and the Lamp, Lk 8:16) though Luke also has the expression “in parables” (Lk 8:10) See Marvin Vincent's lengthy discussion on the word parable.  (See also Robertson's long note on Mt 13:3NET Note - Though parables can contain a variety of figures of speech (cf. the remainder of chapter 13), many times they are simply stories that attempt to teach spiritual truth (which is unknown to the hearers) by using a comparison with something known to the hearers. In general, parables usually advance a single idea, though there may be many parts and characters in a single parable and subordinate ideas may expand the main idea further. The beauty of using the parable as a teaching device is that it draws the listener into the story, elicits an evaluation, and demands a response.

Parable in Luke - Lk. 4:23; Lk. 5:36; Lk. 6:39; Lk. 8:4; Lk. 8:9; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 8:11; Lk. 12:16; Lk. 12:41; Lk. 13:6; Lk. 14:7; Lk. 15:3; Lk. 18:1; Lk. 18:9; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 20:9; Lk. 20:19; Lk. 21:29; 

Hampton Keathley IV on parables - (See complete Introduction including discussion on how to interpret parables) - What is a parable? A parable is a fictitious or made up story designed to teach a lesson through comparison. When you hear the story, you can relate it to your own life. It is like an illustration for the points in a sermon. It conveys its message of truth through analogy, through comparison or contrast. All of you have heard of Aesop’s fables. After you tell a child a fable, you point out the moral of the story. A parable is like a fable in that it also has a moral or message behind the story. But parables are true to life. Parables are for adults. Animals and trees don’t talk. The power of a parable comes from the fact that you recognize that “that’s the way it is in real life.” Parables are great because they tell a story that is easy to remember.....Parables are told so that only those who really care will come to know the truth. Not so much because they understand the parable, but because they care enough to ask what it means after the story is finished and hang around long enough to have it explained to them. The others don’t really care and leave. Remember, the disciples didn’t understand the parables, but they asked what Jesus meant after the crowds left. They had a soft and open heart. Understanding is an issue of the heart. Those who have a hard heart, also have closed eyes and closed ears and they don’t understand. (Introduction)

John MacArthur suggests this specific parable answers an important practical question for all believers - What kind of response should we expect when we give people the gospel? It's really critical for us to know that so that we don't become discouraged when we don't get the kind of response we think we should get, or so that we don't somehow blame the gospel as if it were inadequate to penetrate the heart, or so that we don't blame ourselves as if somehow we were more skilled we might have a greater impact.  What this parable tells us is that it's not about the skill of the sower, it's not about the seed, in that there's some good and some bad, it's about the heart. It's about the soil.... When He gave a parable to the people who didn't believe, it made no sense.  The people who did believe, it made good sense because he explained it to them.  Parables then became a way to shut out the truth as well as to let it in....What Jesus did was put a story alongside a spiritual truth to make it better understood.  And by comparison and-or contrast He could give a clearer understanding of that spiritual truth.  Rabbis used to love to teach in parables. Now a parable is not just a simple analogy.  A parable tends to be elongated analogy.  A simple analogy would be "he is as strong as a horse," or "he's as quick as a rabbit," or something of that... It's a simple analogy, doesn't need an explanation, everybody knows what that means.  But as soon as you lengthen the analogy and you begin to tell a story, on the one hand you immediately obscure the meaning in the story. The story could mean all kinds of things. It demands an explanation.  And Jesus spoke in parables that demanded an explanation.  Early in His ministry He would speak in simple analogies that everybody would understand.  He would speak directly in fulfillment of Old Testament passages, as He did in Luke 4 in the synagogue in Nazareth.  Everybody knew He was saying He was the fulfillment of exactly what was written in Isaiah 61.  And so there were times when Jesus spoke very clearly in very simple analogies.  But as His ministry moved on, He began to speak in more prolonged stories, prolonged illustrations and analogies.....parables are very valuable.  (1) they make truth much so as to be almost unforgettable.  The parables of Jesus, once you've gone through them, you don't forget them....(2) They also make the truth portable because you can take the parable and tell the story somewhere else and in the telling of the story, of course, the meaning comes to mind.  (3) They make truth interesting.  (4) They make truth clear.  (5) They make truth personally discernible.  It's a great way to teach.  And as I said, before this particular day by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had given many illustrations, many simple analogies and He had also used some parables.  Back in Lk 5:36, back in Lk 6:39 Jesus had spoken in parables. But there's something important about this one. 

This is a major turning point in the ministry of Jesus....From this time on Jesus did not speak to the crowds except in parables (Matthew 13:34) "From this time on He spoke to them only in parables."  Why?..The answer is the rest of his ministry the teaching of Jesus was hidden from the unbelievers and revealed only to the believers.  This then is a judicial act...a judgment. A judgment falls at this point on Israel, the major turning point.  Those who would not believe could not.  Those who were fools, who hated knowledge, as Proverbs calls them, could not understand.  Without an explanation, a parable can mean anything or nothing.  Without an explanation from the one who gave the parable, there is no way to understand it. It is nothing more than a meaningless story, a riddle.  So from here on He spoke only in parables so that His teaching would be hidden from the unbelievers and revealed only to those who believed.  This is a monumental turning point.  Judgment has fallen on Israel and that judgment is seen in the fact that they can no longer understand their own Messiah.  It's very much like when God on the day of Pentecost empowered those gathered in the Upper Room to speak in languages, tongues, and Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21 says that was a judgment from God because they wouldn't listen when God spoke in their language, God spoke to them in a language they couldn't understand.  That was a judgment on them.  Very similar to Isaiah's day when God said to Isaiah, "You're going to be My spokesman but here's what I want you to understand."They're going to hear and not understand.  They're going to see and not comprehend because their eyes are blind, their ears are deaf, their hearts are fat and they will not understand.

So the teaching of Jesus in parables then on the one hand obscures and on the other hand reveals.  Veiling the truth was an act of divine judgment fixing in darkness those who had rejected Him.  They loved darkness so they could have more of it.  Only His disciples knew the meaning of these parables because only to them were they explained.  The natural man, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:14, understands not the things of God. To him they are foolishness because they are spiritually discerned.  And so, what we're going to see here is this amazing splitting of the crowd in an act of judgment by which Jesus speaks in ways that only believers can understand because only to them are explanations given.  And the others are simply confounded in a deeper darkness. (Receptivity to the Gospel)

QUESTION What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sower? (See also video by gotquestions)

ANSWER: The Parable of the Sower (also known as the Parable of the Four Soils) is found in Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:2-9; and Luke 8:4-8. After presenting this parable to the multitude, Jesus interprets it for His disciples in Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20; and Luke 8:11-15.

he Parable of the Sower concerns a sower who scatters seed, which falls on four different types of ground. The hard ground “by the way side” prevents the seed from sprouting at all, and the seed becomes nothing more than bird food. The stony ground provides enough soil for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow, but because there is “no deepness of earth,” the plants do not take root and are soon withered in the sun. The thorny ground allows the seed to grow, but the competing thorns choke the life out of the beneficial plants. The good ground receives the seed and produces much fruit.

Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower highlights four different responses to the gospel. The seed is “the word of the kingdom.” The hard ground represents someone who is hardened by sin; he hears but does not understand the Word, and Satan plucks the message away, keeping the heart dull and preventing the Word from making an impression. The stony ground pictures a man who professes delight with the Word; however, his heart is not changed, and when trouble arises, his so-called faith quickly disappears. The thorny ground depicts one who seems to receive the Word, but whose heart is full of riches, pleasures, and lusts; the things of this world take his time and attention away from the Word, and he ends up having no time for it. The good ground portrays the one who hears, understands, and receives the Word—and then allows the Word to accomplish its result in his life. The man represented by the “good ground” is the only one of the four who is truly saved, because salvation’s proof is fruit (Matthew 3:7-8; 7:15-20).

To summarize the point of the Parable of the Sower: “A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.” A secondary lesson would be “Salvation is more than a superficial, albeit joyful, hearing of the gospel. Someone who is truly saved will go on to prove it.” May our faith and our lives exemplify the "good soil" in the Parable of the Sower.

Related Resources: Parables

Table of All the Parables of Jesus 
Source: ESV Study Bible
Parable Matthew Mark Luke

The Purpose of the Parables

Mt 13:10–17

Mk 4:10–12

Lk 8:9–10

The Sower

Mt 13:1–9, 18–23

Mk 4:1–9, 13–20

Lk 8:4–8, 11–15

The Weeds

Mt 13:24–30, 36–43

Mk 4:26–29


The Mustard Seed

Mt 13:31–32

Mk 4:30-32

Lk 13:18–19

The Leaven

Mt 13:33


Lk 13:20–21

The Hidden Treasure

Mt 13:44



The Pearl of Great Value

Mt 13:45–46



The Net

Mt 13:47–50



The Lost Sheep

Mt 18:10–14


Lk 15:3–7

The Unforgiving Servant

Mt 18:23–35



The Two Sons

Mt 21:28–32



The Tenants

Mt 21:33–44

Mk 12:1–11

Lk 20:9-18

The Wedding Feast

Mt 22:1–14


Lk 14:16–24

The Ten Virgins

Mt 25:1–13



The Talents

Mt 25:14–30


Lk 19:11–27

The Good Samaritan



Lk 10:29–37

The Rich Fool



Lk 12:16–21

The Barren Fig Tree



Lk 13:6–9

The Wedding Feast



Lk 14:7-11

The Lost Coin



Lk 15:8–10

The Prodigal Son



Lk 15:11–32

The Dishonest Manager



Lk 16:1–9

The Rich Man and Lazarus



Lk 16:19–31

The Persistent Widow



Lk 18:1–8

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector



Lk 18:9–14

Luke 8:5  "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

KJV  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.

Parallel Passages

Mt 13:3-4+ “and He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

Mark 4:3-4+ “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.

Van Gogh's "The Sower"


Here is a link to a simple but well done 3 minute animated video of Jesus' Parable of the Sower/Soils, but does not include Jesus' explanation. 

While many call this as the "Parable of the Sower," it is probably more accurately titled "Parable of the Soils," for there is only one sower with one seed and there are four soils. The sower and the seed are unchanging constants, whereas the soil is the variable which determines fruitfulness. The corollary is that the skill of the sower or the efficacy of the seed are not the primary determinants of whether a seed will germinate and bear fruit. In Luke's version there is actually only one mention of the sower, which the ESV Study note interprets as suggesting "the sower is the least important component and is only referred to once (Lk 8:5; cf. its omission in Lk 8:11 with Mark 4:14)." I would beg to differ, as (1) all three components are critical to producing a fruitful plant and (2) without a sower, the soil would never receive the seed, for as Paul asks "How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” (Ro 10:15+) And again in Ephesians Paul at least indirectly alludes to the sower as one who has shod his or her "FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE." (Eph 6:15+)

Luke's version simply begins with Jesus' story of the sower, but the other two Gospels use "attention grabbing" words. Mark for example opens with 2 "staccoto-like" commands - Listen to this! Behold!" (Mk 4:3+) Matthew begins a single command to Behold (idou) (Mt 13:3+). Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." Behold is like a divine yellow highlight pen, which in effect says something like "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!" Robertson quips that it is surprising that "even Jesus had to ask people to listen when he spoke!" The lesson is that modern preachers should not feel so bad when they too have difficulty holding the attention of the congregation!

Steven Cole has some interesting general observations on "the familiar parable of the sower, we see that even Jesus saw people respond superficially to His message. The parable serves both as an encouragement to His followers and a warning to His hearers. The encouragement to His followers is that when we see people respond superficially to the gospel and later fall away, we should not be discouraged in that even Jesus had the same response. The problem was certainly not in His preaching, but in the audience’s hearing. The warning to those who hear the parable, of course, is to take it to heart so that we avoid a superficial faith (ED: cf Jn 2:23-24+, Jn 8:30, 43, 45, 58,59 - all same group of Jews) . Whatever the current state of our hearts, we can appeal to God to grant us a new heart (ED: see circumcision of heart) so that we will hold fast to Him and bear fruit with perseverance (Lk 8:15). Clearly, Jesus was not teaching some sort of fatalism, that the kinds of soils are fixed forever. By God’s grace, a person can change." (Luke 8:4-15 - Superficial and Genuine Believers )

Sowing Seed - Broadcasting it by Hand
(Note the man of far right casting a semi-circle of seed - click to enlarge)

The sower went out to sow - Jesus is describing a familiar picture of a man walking along the paths of his land and broadcasting the seed usually in land that had been plowed into furrows. And so Broadcast seeding described the method in which the farmer would carry his bag of seed and cast it forth by hand over a relatively large area hoping of course that most would fall in the deeper furrows he had plowed in soil. Radio picked up on this picture and to describe broadcasting over the airways. It is also interesting that with modern technology, we now have precision seeding is a method of seeding that involves placing seed at a precise spacing and depth. This is in contrast to broadcast seeding, where seed is scattered over an area.

As Jesus explains this parable later the sower is the person who sows the Gospel seed that holds the secret of entrance into the Kingdom of God. The sower is ANYONE who sows the seed of the Gospel and should be EVERYONE who professes to be a genuine follower of Jesus! Robertson points out that  the text is specifically “the sower,” not “a sower.” Jesus expects one to see the man as he stepped forth to begin scattering with his hand. The parables of Jesus are vivid word pictures. To understand them one must see them, with the eyes of Jesus if he can." 

THOUGHT - How many do not go out? Of those who do, how many really sow the seed of the Word? Dear follower of Jesus, our life is but a vapor (Jas 4:14+, Ps 144:4), an infinitesimally small dot on the line of eternity (see Francis Chan's incredible rope illustration) and yet we have been granted the inestimably precious privilege of sowing the Gospel, a seed which will potentially impact another soul's eternal existence for the better! This life will soon pass! Are you taking advantage of this one in a lifetime opportunity to sow seeds for Jesus? May our prayer be this old chorus "Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me." In Jesus' mighty Name and for His glory. Amen! 

As noted in Luke 8:8 as He spoke the words of this parable, Jesus "would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." - This phrase is used repeatedly in Luke 8 (Lk 8:8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 50) and clearly is a key word. It is critical that we listen when Jesus speaks! The idea of hear is not just to "hear sounds" but to listen to what is spoken with spiritual ears and spiritual understanding, receiving (rather than rejecting) what is heard (cf Lk 6:27+, Lk 6:47-49+). The hard soil represents the person who hears the Word but immediately allows the devil to snatch the seed away.

Darrell Bock gives us a good reminder - This parable is not about a response to the word at any given moment. It sums up the different ways the word is received over a lifetime of exposure. It takes time to fall away from an initial attraction to the word. Only over time do the pleasures of life erode the seed's effectiveness. The parable calls for reflection. We need to cling to the word in patient faith. If we desire to be fruitful, especially given that the obstacles to fruitfulness are so varied, then we must hold fast to God and his message of hope. We focus either on God's promise or on our circumstances. Which we choose makes a difference: one leads to fruitfulness, the other to barrenness. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Luke 8:4-21)

IVP Background Commentary - Most of the Roman Empire’s inhabitants were rural peasant farmers or herders. The literate elite often ignored this large population, but Jesus’ illustrations show that he ministered frequently among this class. Although Galilee was heavily populated with villages and boasted two major cities (Sepphoris and Tiberias), most of its inhabitants were rural, agrarian peasants. (See The IVP Bible Background Commentary)

NET Note - The background for this well-known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well-worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10–11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God.

Vincent on to sow - “According to Jewish authorities, there was twofold sowing, as the seed was either cast by the hand or by means of cattle. In the latter case, a sack with holes was filled with corn and laid on the back of the animal, so that, as it moved onward, the seed was thickly scattered” (Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus” or here).

Sowing was usually accomplished by broadcasting seed and could either precede or follow plowing. Fields or individual plants were fertilized with dung (Jer 9:22; Lu 13:8), and the rain and sun brought different crops to maturity at different times. Following the winter rains and the ‘latter’ rains of March-April, barley was ready to be harvested in April and May, and wheat matured three or four weeks later. Grain was pulled up by the roots or cut with flint-bladed or iron sickles (Dt 16:9). 

Wiersbe - The seed without the soil is fruitless, and the soil without the seed is almost useless. The human heart is like soil: if it is prepared properly, it can receive the seed of the Word of God and produce a fruitful harvest. Jesus described four different kinds of hearts, three of which did not produce any fruit. The proof of salvation is fruit and not merely hearing the Word or making a profession of faith in Christ. Jesus had already made that clear in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Luke 6:43–49; also note Matt. 7:20). (See The Bible Exposition Commentary or borrow Be Compassionate )

MacArthur on the first soil, beside the road - In Israel the fields basically were divided into long, narrow strips for cultivation.   And between those long, narrow strips of field there were beaten paths about three feet wide, so that people could move around the countryside and go between the fields, going from place to place.  Even the farmer with his responsibilities would need paths to walk on to move within the various fields in his own area.  No fences existed, no walls existed.  The only thing that separated the fields were these beaten paths....Now that would be...a path unplowed, dry in the semi-arid climate of Israel, hard, beaten down, baked by the sun...virtually like concrete.  When the sower threw the seed, he couldn't always throw it in exactly the way he wanted....but some of it would fall upon the hard ground.  It had no hope of getting into the soil. You know seed basically has an end that has a point on it and that's there in order that the seed can work its way down into the soil and die and then bring forth life (cf Jn 12:24).  There would be no possible way for that little seed to penetrate that hard ground. It would just lie there.  And Jesus said when that happens it's trampled underfoot because that's a thoroughfare, that's where people walk and they would just crush it under their feet and what wasn't crushed the birds of the air ate.  (Receptivity to the Gospel)

As he sowed, some fell beside the road - This would be one of the many footpaths through the field. The footpaths were the thoroughfare intended for use by men and their mules or horses, but not other forms of traffic (such as horse drawn wagons, etc). And generally people would walk on this paths along the edge of a ploughed field.  

Vincent quotes a traveler in Israel who saw and described all the soils of Jesus' parable noting "the undulating cornfield 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 feet. There was the ‘good’ rich soil which distinguishes the whole of that plain and its neighborhood from the bare hills elsewhere descending into the lake, and which, where there is no interruption, produces one vast mass of corn. There was the rocky ground of the hillside protruding here and there through the cornfields, as elsewhere through the grassy slopes. There were the large bushes of thorn—the nabk, that kind of which tradition says that the crown of thorns was woven—springing up, like the fruit-trees of the more inland parts, in the very midst of the waving wheat (picture).” (“Sinai and Palestine”).


Alfred EdersheimThe first Parable is that of Him Who sowed. We can almost picture to ourselves the Saviour seated in the prow of the boat, as He points His hearers to the rich plain over against Him, where the young corn, still in the first green of its growing, is giving promise of harvest. Like this is the Kingdom of Heaven which He has come to proclaim. Like what? Not yet like that harvest, which is still in the future, but like that field over there. The Sower has gone forth to sow the Good Seed. If we bear in mind a mode of sowing peculiar (if we are not mistaken) to those times, the Parable gains in vividness. According to Jewish authorities there was twofold sowing, as the seed was either cast by the hand ({hebrew}) or by means of cattle ({hebrew}). In the latter case, a sack with holes was filled with corn and laid on the back of the animal, so that, as it moved onwards, the seed was thickly scattered. Thus it might well be, that it would fall indiscriminately on beaten roadway, on stony places but thinly covered with soil, or where the thorns had not been cleared away, or undergrowth from the thorn-hedge crept into the field, as well as on good ground. The result in each case need not here be repeated. But what meaning would all this convey to the Jewish hearers of Jesus? How could this sowing and growing be like the Kingdom of God? Certainly not in the sense in which they expected it. To them it was only a rich harvest, when all Israel would bear plenteous fruit. Again, what was the Seed, and who the Sower? or what could be meant by the various kinds of soil and their unproductiveness? (Life and Times)

The sow ("the sower" - ho speiron)(4687)(speiro from spao = draw out, pull) literally means to scatter (seed) and the opposite of reaping or gathering. Speiro is used figuratively to describe the sowing of the "seed" of the Word of God, the Gospel (="the word of the kingdom" - Mt13:19, cp Mk 4:14 15, 16, 18), "the ideas and precepts that have been implanted like seed in their hearts, ie, received in their hearts (Mk 4:18)." (Thayer). Jesus used speiro repeatedly in His parables (Mt 13:3, 18, 24, 31)

Classic Greek - Speiro means “to sow”, especially to sow seed in planting; see also the related noun sperma (4543), “seed”. In classical Greek usage speirō can mean “to sow” or “plant” seed, “to sow” ideas, “to scatter” or “disperse” things or people, and even “to beget” (Schulz, “speirō,” Kittel, 7:537).

Gilbrant on uses of speiro in Septuagint - Speirō appears more than 50 times in the Septuagint, mostly for sowing the seed of plants, as in Ge 47:23; Ex 23:10; etc. It is also used metaphorically, as to “sow” righteousness in Pr 11:21 (where the Septuagint has “the one sowing righteousness” [participle] instead of “the seed of the righteous”). See also Pr 11:24 where generous persons are (literally) “they who sow (or disperse) their own things” (cf. Jer 4:3). In Hos 2:23 Israel was “sown” in Canaan; in Zechariah 10:9 Israel was “sown/scattered” among the nations. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary) 

Two uses of speiro in Septuagint of Hosea metaphorically speak of a "harvest" of evil (Hos 8:7) or righteousness...

Hos 8:7 For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up. 

Hos 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For (EXPLAINS HOW TO "SOW" RIGHTEOUSNESS!) it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. 

THOUGHT - Hard hearts can be plowed up! Did the Lord have to plow up some things in your life to get your attention right before you got saved? (He did in mine! My Testimony) Let’s pray this for our friends who have hard hearts.And for our own hearts when they go through calloused times.

Seed (4703)(sporos from speiro = to sow)means literally seed (Lk 8:5, Mk 4.26) and metaphorically refers to God's Word, which like literal seed is also able to "germinate" and produce spiritual life (Lk 8.11). Figuratively sporos refers to the reciprocal benefits from generosity ( results of good deeds, much good brought about by what one does energized by the Spirit and abiding in the Vine) (2 Cor 9.10). 

Sporos - 6x in 5v - seed

Mark 4:26  And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;

Mark 4:27  and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows-- how, he himself does not know.

Luke 8:5  "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

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

2 Corinthians 9:10  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

Sporos - 10x in 10v in the Septuagint - Ex. 34:21; Lev. 26:5; Lev. 26:20; Lev. 27:16; Deut. 11:10; Job 21:8; Job 39:12; Isa. 28:24; Isa. 32:10; Amos 9:13

Was trampled (2662)(katapateo from kata = down + pateo = to step) means to trample under foot, tread down ( to tread so heavily as to injure). Figuratively to treat contemptuously, despise, look with scorn, show disdain for

Katapateo - 4x in 4v - Usage: stepping(1), trample...under(1), trampled under foot(3).

Matthew 5:13  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

Matthew 7:6  "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Luke 8:5  "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

Luke 12:1  Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all,"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Hebrews 10:29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Katapateo in Septuagint - Jdg. 5:21; Jdg. 9:27; Jdg. 20:43; 1 Sam. 14:48; 1 Sam. 17:53; 1 Sam. 23:1; 2 Chr. 25:18; Job 39:15; Ps. 7:5; Ps. 56:1; Ps. 56:2; Ps. 57:3; Ps. 91:13; Ps. 139:11; Isa. 10:6; Isa. 16:4; Isa. 16:8; Isa. 16:9; Isa. 18:2; Isa. 18:7; Isa. 25:10; Isa. 28:3; Isa. 28:28; Isa. 41:25; Isa. 63:3; Isa. 63:6; Isa. 63:18; Ezek. 26:11; Ezek. 32:2; Ezek. 32:13; Ezek. 34:18; Dan. 7:7; Dan. 7:19; Dan. 8:10; Hos. 5:11; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:12; Zech. 12:3

Ate (2719)(katesthio from kata = down + esthio = to eat) means to eat up, consume, devour (Lk 8:5). Figuratively katesthio means to destroy by fire (consume, burn up) (Rev 11.5), by illegal exploitation (rob, take complete advantage of )(Mk 12.40) or by strife within a group which cause great division (destroys division)(Gal 5.15). Gilbrant on katesthio - Classical Greek the verb means “to eat, to partake, to take nourishment.” The compound word in classical Greek means literally “to eat down, to eat up.” It is used both literally (of food) and figuratively (of persons and property) to mean “to consume, to swallow, to devour.” In a purely figurative sense it means “to destroy.” IN THE SEPTUAGINT - The term is found extensively in the Septuagint with essentially the same meanings, though the figurative usage is dominant: (1) “to consume” by locusts (Dt 28:38; Ps 105:35]), by fire kindled in God’s mouth (Deuteronomy 32:22; Ps 21:9), by the sword (Dt 32:42); (2) “to devour” by a wild beast (Genesis 37:20), like a roaring lion (Ezek 22:25), like bread (Psalm 14:4); (3) “to destroy” by enemies (Leviticus 26:38). The Septuagint also employs katesthiō for the Hebrew term in Ge 31:15 which means “to spend” or “to waste” money.(Ibid)

Katesthio - 15x in 15v - Usage: ate(4), consume(1), devour(5), devoured(2), devours(2), eat(1).

Matthew 13:4  and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

Mark 4:4  as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.

Mark 12:40  who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation."

Luke 8:5  "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

Luke 15:30  but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.'

Luke 20:47  who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."

John 2:17  His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME."

2 Corinthians 11:20  For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.

Galatians 5:15  But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Revelation 10:9-note  So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, "Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey."

Revelation 10:10-note  I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.

Revelation 11:5-note  And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.

Revelation 12:4-note  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

Revelation 20:9-note  And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

Katesthio - 136x in 122v -  Gen. 31:15,38; 37:20,33; 40:17; 41:4,20; 43:2; Exod. 10:5,12,15; 15:7; Lev. 9:24; 10:2; 26:22,38; Num. 11:1; 12:12; 16:35; 21:28; 26:10; Deut. 28:38-39,51,57; 32:22,42; Jdg. 6:21; 9:15,20; 2 Sam. 2:26; 18:8; 22:9; 1 Ki. 12:24; 16:4; 18:38; 21:23; 2 Ki. 1:10,12,14; 9:10,36; 2 Chr. 7:1,13; Est. 1:1; Job 1:16; 18:13; 20:26; 22:20; Ps. 14:4; 21:9; 69:9; 78:45,63; 79:7; 105:35; Prov. 30:14,17; Isa. 1:7,20; 9:12; 10:18; 29:6; 30:30; 31:8; 33:11; 50:9; 61:6; Jer. 2:30; 5:14,17; 8:16; 10:25; 12:12; 17:27; 46:10,14; 49:27; 50:32; 51:34; Lam. 2:3; 4:11; Ezek. 3:1; 15:7; 19:14; 20:47; 22:25; 23:25; 28:18; 36:8; Dan. 7:5,19; Hos. 2:12; 5:7; 7:7,9; 8:7,14; 13:8; Joel 1:4,20; 2:5,25; Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5; 4:9; 5:6; 7:2,4; Obad. 1:18; Mic. 3:3; Nah. 2:13; 3:13,15; Zech. 11:1,9,16; 12:6;

Daniel 7:19 “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast (REVIVED "ROMAN" EMPIRE IN THE LAST DAYS), which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet,

Zech 12:6 (DESCRIBING GOD'S EMPOWERMENT OF ISRAEL IN THE END TIMES TO CONSUME HER ENEMIES) “In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem (THIS DESCRIBES THE Millennium FOLLOWING THE FINAL BATTLE AT THE END OF THIS AGE)..

Luke 8:6  "Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

KJV And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

Parallel Passages

Mt 13:5, 6+ “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Mark 4:5, 6+ “Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.


See Jesus' explanation in Luke 8:13+. (Parallel passages in Matthew 13:5,6,20,21+; Mark 4:5,6,16, 17+)

Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away (xeraino), because it had no moisture - Rocky soil is not a few rocks in the soil which is common with all soils. The other two synoptic accounts help us understand describing it as "no depth of soil." Much of the farmland in Israel has only a thin layer of soil over limestone base and this is only discovered by plowing which is not always done prior to sowing seed. Robertson adds that "In that limestone country ledges of rock often jut out with thin layers of soil upon the layers of rock." Because is a term of explanation explaining why it grew up but withered away and the answer is no moisture because the soil was too thin to hold water in the hot conditions. Mt 13:6+ adds "because they had no root" by which the plant derives it's water supply. 

Spurgeon explains "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.” (Exposition)

MacArthur on the second soil, the rocky soil - Rocky soil doesn't mean soil full of rocks.  No self-respecting farmer would allow for that.  When they plowed, they plowed up the rocks and then they removed the rocks and carried them away because they would retard the freedom of the roots and the plant to develop.  But what it's talking about here is rock bed.  Israel is a tremendously rocky area, and not just with pebbles and stones, there are many of those, of course, but down under the soil is rock bed.  In many cases a firm limestone rock bed would be below the surface far enough below to have escaped the plow.  And so, in those situations the seed goes in.  As soon as it grew up it withered away because it had no moisture, the roots can't get down into the water in the soil and so immediately they draw whatever nutrients out of the surface soil and the plant goes up because it can't go down, and it looks like it's going flourish but as soon as the sun comes out and the water is gone, the roots can't go deeper and it withers and dies.  This too would be the bane of a farmer who had done everything he could to plow his field and didn't know what was down below and so he lost his crop. Rapid growth might have looked like a good sign. But a farmer would know it's not a good sign. That means it's not developing a root system and  no moisture means death.  (Receptivity to the Gospel)

It withered away - Mt 13:6+ gives the reason it withered - "when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."

Darrell Bock - Both Old and New Testaments issue dire warnings about the consequences of falling away or departing from faith (Jer 3:13-14; Dan 9:9; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:12). Jesus offers no comfort for the person represented here; he merely notes significantly that the seed never bears fruit." (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Luke 8:4-21)

Spurgeon on no moisture- Now, a plant must have moisture. Dew, rain, or some sort of watering must come to it. On that little soil with a hard rock at the bottom there was plenty of heat when the sun shone, and so the little moisture it had made the seed sprout at once, but it had no further moisture, and therefore became parched. So certain hearers get a little moisture, as it were, by contact with an earnest preacher, they come under that word which drops as the dew and distils as the rain, but they have not the vitalizing Holy Ghost at their root to be the perpetual source of life. They have their lamps, but they have no oil in their vessels to keep them trimmed. They lack the moisture of the Holy Ghost. He it is that comes to his own people secretly, at the roots of their life, so that from him they suck up the life of God, and so they live; but the mere stony-ground convert has not the Holy Ghost. And oh, permit me to say most solemnly to every one here, if we have no more than nature gave us under its best conceivable circumstances, we have no more than the Pharisees, and that landed them in hell. We must have the Spirit of God, and from first to last the religion of our hearts must be wrought of the Spirit, and sustained by the Spirit, and if it be not, the sooner we are rid of such a religion the better, for it will only deceive us. (The Seed Upon the Stony Ground)

Withered (3583)(xeraino from xeros = dry) means to become dry, to dry up and figuratively to become stiff (Mk 9:18). Of plants that wither (Jas 1:11). In the passive voice means to be dried up (Mt 13:6; 21:19, 20; Mk 4:6; 11:20, 21; Lk 8:6; Jn 15:6; 1 Pe 1:24). Of fluids dried up (Mk 5:29; Rev. 16:12; Sept.: Ge 8:7; 1 Ki 17:7; Isa. 19:5). Of the body or its members, to wither (Mk 3:1, 3; 9:18; Sept.: 1 Ki 13:4; Pr. 17:22). In the sense of to be dry, ripe (Rev. 14:15; Sept.: Jer. 12:4; Hos. 9:16).

Gilbrant - Twelve times it speaks of water or plants drying up, and once of the drying up of the issue of blood in the woman Jesus healed (Mark 5:29). The remaining uses are metaphorical for paralysis (Mark 3:1,3) or the “drying up” of the usefulness of the body (cf. Mark 9:18). (Ibid)

Friberg's summary of xeraino - (1) literally dry out, parch, cause to wither (Jas 1.11); passive become dry, dry up (Rev 16.12); of the flow of blood stop (Mk 5.29); of plants wither, dry up (Mt 13.6); of grain that has finished growing ripe; metaphorically, of conditions for judgment ready (Rev 14.15); (2) figuratively and passive, of a damaged human body; of the whole body stiffen (up), become rigid (Mk 9.18); of a limb shrivel, wither, become useless (Mk 3.1).

BDAG summarized - 1. to stop a flow (such as sap or other liquid) in someth. and so cause dryness, to dry, dry up. Active to dry, dry out. 2. to become dry to the point of being immobilized, be paralyzed, 2. to become dry to the point of being immobilized, be paralyzed, 3. to become dry and therefore be ready for harvesting, be ripe, pass. of grain Rv 14:15.

In classic Greek xērainō denotes the “drying up” of land and plants, “dehydration” or “constipation” of animals and human beings. It also refers to “drying up” of a supply of liquid. In addition, xērainō is used metaphorically to describe suffering or paralysis.

Xeraino - 15x in 15v - Usage: dried(2), dries(1), ripe(1), stiffens(1), wither(1), withered(4), withered away(3), withers(2). Matt. 13:6; Matt. 21:19 = "fig tree withered"; Matt. 21:20 = "fig tree wither"; Mk. 3:1 = "a man was there whose hand was withered."; Mk. 4:6; Mk. 5:29 = "the flow of her blood was dried up"; Mk. 9:18 = "stiffens out"; Mk. 11:20, 21 = fig tree; Lk. 8:6; Jn. 15:6 = "dries up"; Jas. 1:11 = "withers the grass"; 1 Pet. 1:24 - "the grass withers"; Rev. 14:15 = "the harvest of the earth is ripe"; Rev. 16:12 = "its water was dried up."

Gilbrant on xeraino uses in the Septuagint - Xērainō is used over 60 times in the Septuagint to translate various Hebrew words that mean “to dry up or wither,” “to make desolate,” to dry up in the sense of “exhausting” a supply of liquid (or metaphorically, a source of life or strength), and “to destroy.” Most uses are literal: of water that evaporates, or of grass that withers. The messianic Psalm 22  describes Christ’s strength drying up as His body became dehydrated and exhausted on the cross. The loss of strength and usefulness (i.e., “paralysis”) underlies the major metaphorical use in the Septuagint and the New Testament. Xērainō is also used extensively in the Septuagint in a simile comparing the brief life of mortal man to grass that withers (cf. Psalm 129:6). (Ibid)

Xeraino - 56x in 52v in the Septuagint -  Gen. 8:7; Gen. 8:14; Jos. 9:12; 1 Ki. 13:4; 1 Ki. 17:7; Job 4:21; Job 8:12; Job 12:15; Job 14:11; Job 18:16; Ps. 22:15; Ps. 74:15; Ps. 90:6; Ps. 102:4; Ps. 102:11; Ps. 106:9; Ps. 129:6; Prov. 17:22; Isa. 19:5; Isa. 19:6; Isa. 19:7; Isa. 27:11; Isa. 37:27; Isa. 40:7; Isa. 40:24; Isa. 41:17; Isa. 42:14; Isa. 42:15; Isa. 44:11; Isa. 44:27; Isa. 50:2; Isa. 51:12; Jer. 12:4; Jer. 23:10; Jer. 51:36; Lam. 4:8; Ezek. 17:9; Ezek. 17:10; Ezek. 17:24; Ezek. 19:12; Dan. 7:8; Hos. 9:16; Joel 1:10; Joel 1:11; Joel 1:12; Joel 1:17; Joel 1:20; Amos 1:2; Amos 4:7; Nah. 1:4; Zech. 10:11; Zech. 11:17

Luke 8:7  "Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.

KJV  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

Parallel Passages

Mt 13:7+ Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

Mark 4:7+ Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.


Jesus' explanation -  Luke 8:14-note. (parallel passages in Mt 13:7, 22; Mk 4:7, 18, 19)

Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out - "Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system." (NET) The point is that the weeds would use all of the water and the nutrients in the soil! And this in part explains how they "choke" the good seed.

MacArthur on the third soil, among the thorns - So down in the soil are the roots of weeds...Apparently the farmer did the best that he could to plow it up but somehow the roots of those thorns and thistles and prickly things and weeds were still in the soil and weeds grow better and faster than anything else grows.  It's a deceptive soil. It  looks good on the surface, but there is other life there, noxious weeds alive already in that soil growing faster and killing the good plant. Weeds win in that environment, squeezing out the good plant.  (Receptivity to the Gospel)

Thorns (173)(akantha from ake = a point or edge) means thorn; by synecdoche, of prickly plants in neglected fields thornbush, prickly weed, thistle. Thorns are a common negative figure for something destructive  or for bad fruit. The Greek word akantha gives us our English words acantha (cf acanthous = spinous) which is defined as a pointed, projecting structure, such as a thorn or prickle. In classical Greek akantha stands for the thornbush and then for all thorns, including any prickling or stinging needle associated with plants, animals, or fish. In a figurative sense it could refer to a “stinging” question.  In the famous use in Genesis God curses the land because of Adam's sin declaring "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field." How interesting that the same word associated with the curse in Genesis 3 is associated with the One Who became a curse for us, wearing a crown of thorns!  Jesus wore a "crown of thorns" for believers who will one day cast their own crowns to the King of kings!

Akantha - 14x in 11v - Usage: thorn(1), thorns(13). Akantha - 14x in 11v - Matt. 7:16; Matt. 13:7; Matt. 13:22; Matt. 27:29; Mk. 4:7; Mk. 4:18; Lk. 6:44; Lk. 8:7; Lk. 8:14; Jn. 19:2; Heb. 6:8.

Gilbrant - The Septuagint employs akantha with both the literal and figurative senses. In Genesis 3:18 the literal and figurative senses are combined: As a result of the curse, the ground will produce thorns and thistles. In other instances the term depicts the difficulties and affliction caused by unfaithfulness (Hosea 9:6) or it may connote enemies of the righteous. Surprisingly God chose to reveal himself to Moses in a thornbush, and He was called “he who lived in the thornbush” (Exodus 3:2-4, NIV translates simply “bush”; the Septuagint does not read akantha here). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Uses in Septuagint - Ge. 3:18; Exod. 22:6; Jdg. 8:7; Jdg. 8:16; 2 Sam. 23:6; Ps. 32:4; Ps. 58:9; Ps. 118:12; Prov. 15:19; Prov. 26:9; Eccl. 7:6; Cant. 2:2; Isa. 5:2; Isa. 5:4; Isa. 5:6; Isa. 7:23; Isa. 7:24; Isa. 7:25; Isa. 32:13; Isa. 33:12; Jer. 4:3; Jer. 12:13; Ezek. 28:24; Hos. 9:6; Hos. 10:8;

The first use is just after sin entered the world!

Ge 3:18 “Both thorns and thistles (tribolos from adj meaning 3 pronged, thistles, briars) it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway. 

Isaiah 5:4 "What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones (Lxx = akantha - thorns!)?

Choked it out - Mark 4:7+ adds "and  it yielded no crop (fruit)." Robertson explains that "the thorns got a quick start as weeds somehow do and “choked them” (effective aorist of apopnigō), “choked them off” literally. Luke 8:33 uses it of the hogs in the water. Who has not seen vegetables and flowers and corn made yellow by thorns and weeds till they sicken and die?"

Choked it out (638)(apopnígo from apó = an intensifier + pnígō = to choke) means literally to choke, to throttle or suffocate (Mt. 13:7; Lk 8:7, 33), Matthew and Luke referring obviously to plants choked by thorns. All trees and plants owe their vegetation and life to the element of air. The idea of this verb is to inhibit the action, function or development of something and thus is conceived as choking something or someone to deprive them of life. Mark 4:7 uses a derivative (sumpnigo = with the "sun-" prefix signifying squeezed together. Apopnigo is used once in the Septuagint (Nah 2:12) "The lion...killed (Hebrew = chanaq - to strangle; Lxx = apopnigo) for his lionessess."  

Thy Word Suffices Me
Sermon Notes
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  • And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. Matthew 8:7
  • Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. —Luke 7:7

THE centurion who cared for the religious welfare of the people, and built them a synagogue, had also a heart of compassion for the sick.

It is well when public generosity is sustained by domestic kindness.

This servant was his boy, and perhaps his slave; but he was dear to him. A good master makes a good servant.

It is well when all ranks are united in sympathy: captain and page are here united in affection.

The master showed his affection by seeking help. Heart and hand should go together. Let us not love in word only.

It is well that the followers of Jesus should be ready to help all sick folk; and that healing should be still associated with prayer to Jesus.

Mark the growing manifest faith of the centurion, and the growing manifestation of Jesus.

Centurion sends elders with request to "come and heal. " Jesus will come and heal.
Centurion comes himself asking for "a word. " Jesus gives the word, and the deed is done.

We see in this passage a miracle in the physical world, and are thereby taught what our Lord Jesus can do in the spiritual world.

Let us imitate the centurion in seeking to Jesus about others.We learn from the narrative:


1. He did not debate with the elders of the Jews, and show the weakness of their plea: "He was worthy" (Luke 7:4-5).
2. He cheerfully granted their request, although it was needless for him to come. "Then Jesus went with them" (Luke 7:6).
3. He did not raise a question about the change which the centurion proposed, although he was already on the road (Luke 7:6).
4. He did not suspect the good man's motive, as some might have done. He read his heart, and saw his true humility.
5. He did not demur to the comparison of himself to a petty officer. Our Lord is never captious; but takes our meaning.
6. He promptly accepted the prayer and the faith of the centurion, save the boon, and gave it as desired.

Our Lord's love to sinners, his forgetfulness of self, his willingness to please us, and his eagerness to fulfill his own mission, should encourage us in prayer to him for ourselves and others.


l. He is not puzzled with the case. It was singular for the servant to be at once paralyzed and tormented; but whatever the disease may be, the Lord says, "I will come and heal him. "

2. He is not put in doubt by the extreme danger of the servant. No, he will come to him, though he hears that he is stricken down. and is utterly prostrate.

3. He speaks of healing as a matter of course.His coming will ensure the cure: "come and heal."

4. He treats the method of procedure as of no consequence.

He will come or he will not come, but will "say in a word"; yet the result will be the same.

5. He wonders more at the centurion's faith than at the cure.

Omnipotent grace moves with majestic ease.
We are worried and fretted, but the Lord is not.
Let us thus be encouraged to hope.


He is accustomed to heal by his Word through faith; Signs and wonders are temporary, and answer a purpose for an occasion; but both faith and the Word of the Lord are matters for all time.

Our Lord did not in the case before us put in a personal appearance, but spoke, and it was done; and this he does in our own day.

1. This is coming back to the original form of working in creation.

It is apparently a greater miracle than working by visible presence; at any rate, the means are less seen.

2. This method suits true humility. We do not demand signs and wonders; the Word is enough for us (Luke 7:7).
3. This pleases great faith; for the Word is faith's chosen manifestation of God. It rejoices more in the Word than in all things visible (Ps. 119:162).
4. This is perfectly reasonable. Should not a word of command from God be enough? Mark the centurion's reasoning (Matt. 8:9).
5. This is sure to succeed. Who can resist the divine fiat? In our own case, all we need is a word from the, Lord.
6. This must be confidently relied on for others. Let us use the Word, and pray the Lord to make it his own word.

Henceforth, let us go forward in his name, relying upon his Word!


Had the centurion's roof been heaven itself, it could not have been worthy to be come under of him whose word was almighty, and who was the Almighty Word of his Father. Such is Christ confessed to be by him that says, "only say the word." None but a divine power is unlimited: neither has faith any other bounds than God himself. There needs no footing to remove mountains, or devils, but a word. Do but say the word, O Savior, my sin shall be remitted, my soul shall be healed, my body shall be raised from dust, and both soul and body shall be glorified. —Bishop Hall

"I have been informed," says Hervey, "that when the Elector of Hanover was declared by the Parliament of Great Britain successor to the vacant throne, several persons of distinction waited upon his Highness, to make timely application for valuable preferments. Several requests of this nature were granted, and confirmed by a kind of promissory note. One gentleman solicited the Mastership of the Rolls. Being indulged in his desire, he was offered the same confirmation which had been vouchsafed to other successful petitioners; upon which he seemed to be overcome by grateful confusion and surprise, and begged that he might not put the royal donor to such unnecessary trouble, protesting that he looked upon His Highness's word as the best ratification of his suit. With this compliment the Elector was not a little pleased. 'This gentleman,' he said, 'treats me like a king; and, whoever is disappointed, he shall certainly be gratified.'"

Our Lord can cure either by coming or by speaking. Let us not dictate to him the way in which he shall bless us. If we were permitted a choice, we ought not to select that method which makes most show, but that in which there is least to be seen and heard, yet most to be admired. Comparatively, signs and wonders show less of him than his bare Word, which he has magnified above all his name. Marvels dazzle, but the Word enlightens. That faith which sees least, sees most, and that which has no eyes at all for the visible has a thousand eyes for the invisible. Lord, come in thy glory, and bless me, if such be thy will; but if thou wilt stay where thou art, and bless me only through thy will and Word, I will be as well content, and even more so if this method the more honors thee! —C. H. S.

Luke 8:8  "Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

KJV  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.

NET But other seed fell on good soil and grew, and it produced a hundred times as much grain." As he said this, he called out, "The one who has ears to hear had better listen!" 

  • other Lk 8:15; Matthew 13:8,23; Mark 4:8,20; John 1:12,13; 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:10
  • an hundredfold Genesis 26:12
  • He that Proverbs 1:20-23; 8:1; 20:12; Jeremiah 13:15; 25:4; Matthew 11:15; 13:9; Revelation 2:7,11
  • Luke 8:4-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 1 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:4-15 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Parallel Passages

Mt 13:8+ And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

Mark 4:8+ “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Acts 7:51+  “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Jeremiah 6:10  To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. 

Deuteronomy 29:4+ Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.

Isaiah 6:9-10+ He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’  10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 


See Jesus' explanation in Luke 8:15+

Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great - This describes a bumper crop! The seed was the same but the soil was superior. 

MacArthur on the fourth soil, the good soil - this is what the farmer wanted all along. And when the seed hits this good soil, it produces an amazing crop.  This good soil means it doesn't have any of the prior conditions.  It's not hard, it's soft.  It's not shallow, it's deep.  It doesn't contain weeds, it's clean.  This is in every sense the prepared soil and it produces really an amazing crop.  Matthew 13:8 and Mark 4:8 said it brings forth thirty fold, sixty fold, and sometimes a hundred fold.  Luke only mentions the hundred fold.  The farmers in Israel would say at that time that if you had a ten-fold crop that was a great crop.  If you had a seven-point-five-fold crop that was an average crop.  But a hundred fold was staggering.  Jesus wants to stagger the people.  He wants to talk about a seed that falls in, that produces an unimaginable fruitfulness. Now as the story is told, several things become clear.  Nothing is said about the sower and his skill.  There's only one sower.  And nothing is said to distinguish the seed.  It's not the problem that there was a different sower in each case or that there was different seed. It becomes clear that the sower is not the issue. The seed is not the issue. The issue is what?  The soil.  Nobody would misunderstand this story. But having told the story doesn't mean you understand what it refers to.  Just on the surface it could be about anything.  It could be applied in 100 ways.  So it has to be explained. (Receptivity to the Gospel)

IVP Background Commentary on yield of crop - Thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold are tremendously good harvests from Galilean soil. The Jordan Valley normally yielded between ten- and a hundredfold, so a hundredfold need not be a miraculous harvest (Gen 26:12; cf. Amos 9:13). But for much of Palestine, the average yield was tenfold (meaning that 10 seeds were harvested for every seed sown), and all the figures Jesus reports here are very good yields. (See The IVP Bible Background Commentary)

Grew up, and produced a crop - Mark 4:8 has "grew up and increased, they yielded a crop" about which Robertson writes that this is found "In Mark alone. A vivid detail enlarging on the continued growth implied in the imperfect “yielded fruit” (edidou karpon). It kept on yielding as it grew. Fruit is what matters."

Produced a crop a hundred times as great - Luke omits the thirty and sixty of Mark 4:8 and Matt. 13:8. Matthew 13:8 has "a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty" while Mark 4:8 has "produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”. 

Vincent on hundred times - Mentioned as something extraordinary. Compare Gen. 26:12. Herodotus (1:93) says of Babylonia, “In grain it is so fruitful as to yield commonly two-hundredfold; and when the production is the greatest, even three-hundred-fold.”


As He said these things, He would call out- Would call out is in the imperfect tense, active voice picturing Jesus as calling over and over, and where the verb phoneo means to call out in a loud voice. Jesus wanted to make sure the people were fairly, adequately warned! The warning about hearing with the ears occurs also in

MacArthur on He would call out - "As He said these things, He would call out."  During the telling of the story, He would say, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  What He is saying as He goes along is, "For those of you who know what I'm talking about, listen to what I say." And he distinguishes the crowd between those who have ears to hear, and those who don't.  It's as if He was saying, "I know you're not going to all get this but those who are, listen."  This was apparently a typical way of Jesus' teaching.  He would go through the parable. Periodically He would say, "Are you getting this?  Those of you who know what I'm talking about are you understanding this?  Those of you who understand, listen to Me."  That little phrase, "He who has ears to hear, let him listen," Jesus used on many occasions. (Mt 13:9, 43, Mk 4:23, Lk 14:35).  Jesus was saying, "If you can understand, then listen to Me."  Sort of saying, "How many of you want to know more about this?  How many of you care to know the meaning of this?"  And in Lk 8:9 only the disciples responded and began questioning Him as to what this parable might be.  And there you have the clear indication of who had the ears to hear.  It was those who followed Jesus, those who believed in Jesus.  They were the ones who could understand.  They had the ears to hear.  And so they come back and they say, "What does it mean?  We want to know.  We believe that You are the voice of God.  We believe that You are the prophet of God.  We believe that God has sent You to teach us His truth.  We believe in You.  We want to know." (Receptivity to the Gospel)

Wayne Detzler has this illustration on phoneo - The late President and Professor of Preaching at Northern Baptist Seminary, Charles W. Koller, claimed: "The word of man does not become the Word of God by being loudly proclaimed. No amount of noise and lather can substitute for the note of authority. God does not promise to bless the proclamation of our own clever ideas; but He does promise, 'My word...shall not return unto Me void' (Isa. 55:11)." Many times Dr. Koller encouraged me as a young preacher, when I preached in the church where he worshiped. (Borrow New Testament words in today's language)


He who has ears to hear, let him hear (parallels a single verse in Mk 4:9+, Mt. 13:9+) - The verb akouo, hear, occurs 8 times in Luke 8 (Lk 8:8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 50) and thus is clearly a key word in this chapter! It is critical that we listen when Jesus speaks! The idea of hear is not just to "hear sounds" but to listen to what is spoken with spiritual ears and spiritual understanding, receiving (rather than rejecting) what is heard. Imagine Jesus is speaking (so to speak) on the FM band. That means our heart needs to be tuned (so to speak) to the FM band and not the AM band or otherwise we miss what He is saying. And when Jesus speaks this is especially important because "faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ." (Ro 10:17+) So to those who truly hear His Word, this is hearing forms the "seedbed" of faith and "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb 11:6+) and faith opens the door to eternal life, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9+).  

Faith comes first to the hearing ear, not to the cogitating mind.
-- A W Tozer

Let...hear is a command in the present imperative (need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) - keep on hearing. It is a type of judgment on those who hear the sound waves but fail to internalize them or show any heart response to the Word "waves." Compare another implied judgment in Lk 8:10 in the prophetic quote "SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND." Only the Lord used this expression let him hear, and He used it on seven different occasions (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:12; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35) while on earth and eight times after His resurrection (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29+; Rev 3:6, 13, 22+; 13:9).

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Who has ears? Most everyone has a pair, even Malchus (thanks to the Creator)! (Jn 18:10, Lk 22:49, 50, 51+). But Jesus is not speaking solely of physical ears, but of "spiritual ears." This translation almost sounds like a proverb, suggesting it is a good idea for a person to hear. As noted above Jesus commands let him hear using the present imperative. Jesus is not just saying take in the "sound waves!" He is saying make sure you accurately interpret the "sound waves" in your head and respond in your heart with obedience and without hesitation. As His half-brother James would later write "But (contrast - Jas 1:21) prove (present imperative) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22+). While I realize the words of Jesus were spoken Pre-Pentecost and the Spirit was yet not indwelling believers as He is in the Church Age, (in my opinion) the principle still applies that for one to "hearken" to Jesus' command calling for a supernatural response, he or she can only do so by (1) jettisoning self-reliance and (2) relying wholly on the Holy Spirit to provide the enabling power! John alludes to this in John 3:3-8+, especially verse 8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Notice James' parallel passage where he commands us to be "doers." This begs the question "Can we do anything supernatural in our own power?" Not really! Jesus amplifies this important principle declaring "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me (AND TODAY THAT MEANS APART FROM RELYING ON THE ONE HE SENT TO BE OUR "HELPER" OR "ENABLER," THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST!) you can do (ABSOLUTELY) nothing (OF ETERNAL VALUE OR SPIRITUAL FRUIT THAT "REMAINS" - Jn 15:16)." (Jn 15:5) .

I like the NET Note - The translation "had better listen!" captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional "let him hear," which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus' common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15, 13:43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35). 

MacArthur on he who has ears to hear - All 3 of the synoptics include this admonition with the parable of the sower (cf. Mt 13:9; 4:9). Jesus often said this to stress particularly important statements cast in mysterious language. (See MacArthur Study Bible )

Bock - When Jesus finishes the parable, he issues his standard call to hear (Mt 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mk 4:9, 23; 7:16; Lk 8:8; 9:44; 14:35; compare Ezek 3:27). (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21)

Wiersbe - This parable shows that Jesus was not impressed by the great crowds that followed Him. He knew that most of the people did not really "hear" the Word and receive it in their hearts. He gave this story to encourage the disciples in their future ministry, and to encourage us today. When you consider how much teaching, preaching, and witnessing goes on in the course of a month or a year, you wonder why there is such a small harvest. The fault does not lie with the sower or the seed. The problem is with the soil. The human heart will not submit to God, repent and receive the Word, and be saved.....Faith is not a matter of IQ or education; it is a matter of humbly preparing the heart to receive God's truth (James 1:19-21). The wise and prudent are blind to truths that are easy for the babes to understand (Matt. 11:20-26). (See The Bible Exposition Commentary)

Spurgeon rightly said "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.”

Mark Hitchcock - One of my favorite lines from the lips of Jesus is His oft-repeated statement, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Jesus is saying, "Look, if you have a set of ears on your head you'd better use them and listen up to what I'm about to say." It's a direct challenge to us to be spiritually sensitive to the words of Jesus. The responsibility to listen carefully to Him is serious. As we move into a careful study of Jesus' forecast for the future, I can't think of a better reminder. Let's listen carefully and willingly to the mighty Master as He leads us down the corridors of time to the end of the age. And be ready to follow His instructions about how to live while we wait for that day to come. (See What Jesus Says about Earth's Final Days)

John Phillips - Again the Lord's challenge rings forth. He has used these very words before (16 times in the NT). It is a phrase often repeated. In writing from glory to the seven churches of Asia, the Lord uses the expression over and over again (Rev. 2-3). Shakespeare borrowed the expression and used it in a different form when recounting Mark Anthony's speech to the Romans attending Caesar's funeral: "Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears." The words are a challenge to us to pay attention to what is being said. That is important when listening to any communication. When the speaker is God, it is vital!

Avery Willis - The simplest way to receive the Word is to hear it. Even a child or a person who cannot read can hear the Bible. "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:23). "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). Matthew 13:3-23 lists four kinds of hearers of the Word: the apathetic hearer who hears the Word but is not prepared to receive and understand it (v. 19); the superficial hearer who receives the Word temporarily but does not let it take root in the heart (vv. 20, 21); the preoccupied hearer who receives the Word but lets the worries of this world and the desire for other things choke it out (v. 22); and the reproducing hearer who receives the Word, understands it, bears fruit, and brings forth results (v. 23). (Master Life)

Fausset writes that "“Every man ‘hath an ear’ naturally, but he alone will be able to hear spiritually to whom God has given ‘the hearing ear’; whose ‘ear God hath wakened’ and ‘opened."

THOUGHT - The picture of "open ears" (and I would add an "open heart") reminds us of Lk 24:45+ where Jesus "opened (dianoigo) their minds to understand (suniemi) the Scriptures!" Truth be told, if the Spirit of Jesus does not open our minds when we open His book, it will be like reading just another book! Pray Ps 119:18+ "Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law." 

A T Robertson on He who has an ear - An individualizing note calling on each of the hearers (cf Rev 1:3+ = "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy") to listen and a reminiscence of the words of Jesus in the Synoptics (ED: This challenge to heed Christ's words appears eight times in the gospels and eight times in Revelation. Mt. 11:15+; Mt 13:9, 43+; Mark 4:9+ = He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”, Mk 4:23+; Mk 7:16+; Lk 8:8+; Lk 14:35+ also Rev. 2:7; Rev. 2:11; Rev. 2:17; Rev. 2:29; Rev. 3:6; Rev. 3:13; Rev. 3:22; Rev. 13:9), but not in John’s Gospel.

Call out (638)(phoneo from phone = voice) means to utter in a loud voice (with considerable volume) - cry out, shout, call out, speak loudly (human, angelic, animal, or demonic “speaking, calling,” or “crying.”) (Mk 10:49; 15:35; Lk 8:8, 54; 16:24; 23:46; Acts 10:18; Rev. 14:18; Lxx = 1 Chr 15:16; Da 4:11). To crow as a rooster related to Peter's thrice denial (Mt. 26:34, 74, 75; Mk 14:30, 68, 72; Lk 22:34, 60, 61; Jn 13:38; 18:27); of other birds (Lxx = Isa. 38:14; Jer 17:11); of beasts, to cry (Zeph 2:14); of a trumpet (Lxx = Amos 3:6). Transitive to call, call for, speak to or to address (Mt. 20:32; Mark 3:31; 9:35; 10:49; Luke 16:2; 19:15; Jn 1:48; 4:16; 9:18, 24; 11:28; 18:33; Acts 9:41; 10:7). To call to, speak to with a loud voice, or simply to speak to (John 2:9; Acts 16:28). To call with an invitation (Luke 14:12). To call, name, denominate (Jn 13:13).  Call out of the tomb (John 12:17 [cf. Jn 11:43]). Of Jesus calling for Elijah”  (Mt. 27:47; Mk 15:35). Rev 14:18 an angel "called with a loud voice." 

Friberg on phoneo =  (1) as producing a sound or noise in ordered sequence, so that it conveys significance, translated according to the context: of a cock crow (Mt 26.34 ); of a person call or cry out, speak loudly (Lk 8.8); of an angel call, speak ( Rev 14.18); of a demon in a person scream, shriek, cry out (Mk 1.26); (2) call, address someone as, name (Jn 13.13); (3) summon to oneself, call into one's presence (Mt 20.32; Acts 10.7); (4) invite, as to a feast (Lk 14.12 ) (Analytical Lexicon)

In Greek usage and in the LXX phoneo was used only rarely of musical instruments or thunder (see Betz 301f.). , the noise of an animal, or 

Gilbrant - (Classic Greek use) As the verbal action of phōnē , “sound, voice,” phōneō fundamentally means “to produce a sound or a tone.” In classical Greek literature phōneō occurs as early as in Homer’s (Eighth Century B.C.) and Aristotle’s writings. The verb is used primarily of living beings with vocal organs. Animals, therefore, make sounds, as in Aesop’s fable; and of human beings it can be said they “lift up the voice” or “cause the voice to sound forth,” as in Homer’s Iliad (cf. Betz, “phōneō,” Kittel, 9:302). Phōneō can also carry the meaning of invoking a deity in prayer or “to call to” when used with the dative of person. Phōneō is rarely used in the Septuagint. It may denote the sounding of an instrument, such as a trumpet (Amos 3:6), or the sounds made by animals (Isaiah 38:14; Zephaniah 2:14). Spirits of the dead are also ascribed the ability to speak or, more descriptively, to “mutter” (Isaiah 8:19; cf. Isa 29:4).

Liddell - Scott - a sound, tone, properly the sound of the voice, mostly of men, Lat. vox, Hom., etc.; of a battle cry, Xen., Virgil's rumpere vocem, to utter an articulate sound, Hdt., Ar.;, Lat. vocem edere, Hdt., etc.: pl. ai` f. the tones of the voice, Plat.:-proverb., of a blind man, Soph. 2. the voice or cry of animals, Od., Hdt., etc. 3. any articulate sound, as opp. to inarticulate, Soph., etc. 4. of sounds from inanimate objects II. the faculty of speech, discourse, Lat. sermo, Soph. 2. language, Lat. lingua, Hdt. 3. a kind of language, dialect, Aesch., Thuc., etc. 

Phoneo - 43x in 39v (No uses in the epistles and most in Gospels) Usage: call(4), called(13), calling(6), calls(1), cried(3), crow(2), crowed(5), crows(5), crying(1), invite(1), summoned(2). Matt. 20:32; Matt. 26:34; Matt. 26:74; Mt. 26:75; Mt. 27:47; Mk. 1:26; Mk. 9:35; Mk. 10:49; Mk. 14:30; Mk. 14:68; Mk. 14:72; Mk. 15:35; Lk. 8:8; Lk. 8:54; Lk. 14:12; Lk. 16:2; Lk. 16:24; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 22:34; Lk. 22:60; Lk. 22:61; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 1:48; Jn. 2:9; Jn. 4:16; Jn. 9:18; Jn. 9:24; Jn. 10:3; Jn. 11:28; Jn. 12:17; Jn. 13:13; Jn. 13:38; Jn. 18:27; Jn. 18:33; Acts 9:41; Acts 10:7; Acts 10:18; Acts 16:28; Rev. 14:18

Phoneo - 13x in 12v -  1 Chr. 15:16; Ps. 115:7; Ps. 135:17; Isa. 8:19; Isa. 19:3; Isa. 29:4; Isa. 38:14; Jer. 17:11; Dan. 4:14; Dan. 5:7; Amos 3:6; Zeph. 2:14

Vance Havner - Are You Listening?

Speak; for thy servant heareth. I Samuel 3:10.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:15.
He that hath an ear, let him hear. Revelation 2:7.

It is an oft-recurring word from our Lord, found throughout the Gospels—"He that hath ears to hear..." Some have ears—period! Samuel was listening—and God spoke. God has much to say today, but we have "ears to hear, and hear not" (Ezek. 12:2). Some stop their ears (Acts 7:57). Some turn their ears from the truth (2Ti 4:4). Some have itching ears (2Ti 4:3).

Are you tuned in on God? It is said that John Burroughs, the naturalist, could walk along a noisy street and overhear a cricket in the hedge. His ear was tuned to the little voices of nature. You can make your way through the hubbub and still keep in touch with heaven.

Samuel was listening. The boy who listens for God to speak will hear Him, for God is looking for such boys. God's men have been men of a double resolve: "I will hear what God the Lord will speak" (Ps. 85:8); and then, "What the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak" (1Ki 22:14).

Related Resource:

Vance Havner - A lot of Sunday-morning Christians, who want to sit with folded hands and listen to a mild discourse on the Teacher of Galilee, need to be aroused from their stupor by a vision of the flaming Christ of the Candlesticks. Eight times in these messages to the churches He says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear." Eight times in the Gospels He says, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Some of us have ears ... period. "Hearing we hear not." We sit at church looking but not listening. God grant us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches! And eyes to behold the Lord of the Lampstands bidding us "Repent ... or else!"

Vance Havner - Learn How to Listen 
We spend much time and money learning how to speak when we need to learn how to listen.

   "... hearing they hear not" (Matt. 13:13).
   "... if any man hear my words" (John 12:47).
   "He that hath ears, let him hear" (Mark 4:9).

After all, we have two ears to hear with and only one mouth to speak with—thank the Lord!

QUESTION - What did Jesus mean when He said, “He who has ears to hear”?

ANSWER - In the Gospels, Jesus speaks of those who have “ears to hear” at the end of a difficult saying or parable (e.g., Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:9, 23). Who is “he who has ears to hear”? Better yet, who is “he who has ears”? Ears are a feature shared by all of humanity—to not have ears would be an unnatural occurrence. Therefore, when Jesus addresses those who have ears, He refers to all who have been given His words—no matter their age, ethnicity, language, or status.

But there is a difference between having ears and having “ears to hear.” Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed contrasts types of hearers: those who let the Word of God pass straight through their ears and those who truly listen and seek understanding (Mark 4:13–20). Some hear the Word, yet they do not allow it to take root because the seduction of worldly pleasures and comfort overcomes them. Others end up rejecting the Word because of persecution or trials. Others hear the Word and open themselves to understand and accept it so that it transforms them. Those who have “ears to hear” allow the Word to bear fruit to the glory of God. It is up to the hearer to decide whether to take the Word seriously and pursue understanding; only a few are willing—the rest have ears, but they do not have “ears to hear” (Matthew 7:13–14, 24–27).

Whenever Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” He is calling for people to pay careful heed. It’s another way of saying, “Listen up! Pay close attention!” Speaking in parables was one way in which Jesus sought to gain the attention of the crowds —people love stories, and the parables depicted events and characters with which they could readily relate. But unless they were willing to tune out other distractions and come to Jesus to understand the meaning of His preaching, His words would be only empty stories. They needed more than ears, however keen they were; they needed ears to hear.

When asked by His disciples why He was speaking to the crowds in parables, Jesus refers to Isaiah 6, which speaks of people who have eyes and ears, yet who have hardened their hearts and chosen to ignore the Word of the Lord (Matthew 13:10–15; cf. Isaiah 6:8–10). Part of the judgment on those who refuse to believe is that they will eventually lose their opportunity to believe: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 13:12; cf. Romans 1:18–32).

A similar phrase is found in Revelation in each of the seven letters to the churches: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). And in Revelation 13:9, immediately following a description of the Antichrist, we read, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The readers of Revelation are called upon to pay close attention and seek God’s wisdom concerning what’s written.

Who is “he who has ears”? The simple answer: all people who have been or are being given the words of God. Like the parables’ original audience, we must also “Listen up! Pay close attention!” Jesus’ simple request is that we use our God-given faculties (eyes to see, ears to hear) to tune in to His words (John 10:27 –28; Mark 4:24; Revelation 3:20). “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open” (Mark 4:22). Seeking God’s truth takes energy and focus; it takes a willingness to be challenged and changed. While the way of God’s truth is not the most convenient or fun path to take, we can be assured that it is the best one (John 1:4; 10:9; 14:6). And so He bids us, “Come” (Matthew 11:28 –30).

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. (Isaiah 55:1–3)

Vance Havner - The Deaf Generation

In Caesarea we saw an outdoor theatre, not an amphitheatre, but a semicircular stone auditorium. From the back row we could hear our leader speak in conversational tones from the platform. Moreover, he told us that a larger theatre in Ephesus that could hold twenty-four thousand was constructed centuries ago with the same marvelous acoustics. All this in a day when in my travels all over America I have had congregations of a hundred or so complain that they could not hear in a tiny church! Larger edifices wrestle continually with the problem. All our experts somehow cannot come up with the acoustics of antiquity!

How many times have listeners in little auditoriums lamented that hearing was bad only a few yards from the pulpit! Could it be that we slaves of our own devices have become so accustomed to hearing aids of all sorts that we imagine we cannot hear without them? We limp on our crutches and if the amplifier does not work "hearing we hear not" (Matthew 13:13).

Once I listened to the veteran evangelist, Gipsy Smith. He was a preacher of the old days and abhorred all new devices. I thought I could not hear him and when he asked if any of us were having trouble about it, I raised my hand. "You're not listening!" was his reply. Could it be that, conditioned as we are to mechanical aids, we just think we cannot hear the preacher?

And of course those dear souls who come to church early to get a back seat could move up closer and fill that empty lumberyard of ten rows of seats right in front of the pulpit. But they never do, yet still insist that they cannot hear!
"Ears that hear not." "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:9). Ears to hear! All of us are equipped with ears but hearing is another matter. We hear and we do not hear. Our ears catch vocal sounds emanating from the pulpit, but the message escapes us. We hear (after a fashion) what the minister says but our Lord said, "Let him hear what the Spirit saith..." (Revelation 2:7). Of course sometimes the preacher is not saying what the Spirit says and if we listened ever so well there would be no word from God. Or the trouble, may be not with the transmitter but with our receiver! There is a preparation to hear the sermon as well as a preparation to deliver the sermon.

We live now in an ear-splitting age of amplified dissonance and some think the next generation will have to be equipped with hearing aids. The more our eardrums are bombarded with demonic waves of music (which is not music but only an excuse for not being able to make music), the deafer our souls will be.

Something has gone wrong with our hearing—both physically and spiritually. We are not going to correct it by clever devices. We must get at the cause. We need to do something about how we hear as well as what we hear. There is famine of the hearing of the Word of God—a famine because in some quarters it is not being preached and in others because our ears are not tuned and trained to hear it.

God grant us more Samuels who can say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth" (1 Samuel 3:9)!

ILLUSTRATION OF EARS TO HEAR - The Battle of Britain was at its height. Night and day the enemy bombers flew in across the English Channel to unload their cargoes of death and destruction on the cities and villages below. The Royal Air Force had put up a magnificent fight. Sir Winston Churchill, in recounting later what the world owed to that valiant group of men who flew their battered Hurricanes and Spitfires against incalculable odds, declared, "Never before in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few." In one lonely RAF outpost, a group of fighter pilots was gathered in the mess hall. It was a scene often repeated in those days. The men were worn out with fatigue, they were dirty and disheveled, their eyes were bleary, and beards sprouted on their chins. They were snatching a moment's relaxation before climbing the skies again to fight off more of the Nazi airwolves. Suddenly a buzzer sounded, and a voice came over the intercom from the operations room. "Bandits at fifteen thousand feet over P25. Over!" At once the pilots were on their feet and racing for the runways. Pausing on his way, the squadron leader barked back into the intercom one short reply: "Message received and understood."

Joseph Parker - "If any man have ears." - This is a common expression in the Scriptures.

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

The text says, "If any man have ears." All men have ears, but that is not the meaning of this particular text. He must not only have ears, he must have ears to hear, ears that can hear, and that do hear. It is not enough to have the sense of hearing, it must be put into exercise, and it must be kept at the highest point of attention. Many persons have ears who never hear anything worth hearing. You cannot hear unless you listen. If you were in earnest you would listen—are you? Do not leave all the work upon the preacher: meet him half-way, give him your attention, and he cannot fail; his message is such as to protect him from failure, but he cannot do many mighty works among you if you shut the door of your ear. Take a thousand men listening to a sermon; probably not one in ten hears the sermon as the preacher meant it to be heard. Every man hears a voice, a sound, a noise—he hears one sentence following another; but that inner music which seeks the soul in its loneliness, to heal it with the love and hope of God, who hears in its ineffable meaning and its sweet benediction! Nor is this much to be wondered at. Consider how the ear has been treated all the week. Do not condemn the ear unheard. Let it plead its own cause, and it will mitigate the harshness of our judgment. "All the week long," says the ear, "I have heard nothing throughout the day but the clang of money, the tumult of bargaining, the uproar of commerce, the clamour of selfish controversy; and at night I have heard nothing but gossip, and twaddle, and childish remarks on childish topics—I cannot easily liberate myself from these degradations, and listen to words most ghostly and to gospels that seem to come from other worlds. Have patience with me, for I need awakening first out of an entangled and troubled dream." Verily there is sense in that fair speech; then it should have due weight. But the sense of the speech imposes a corresponding responsibility upon the speaker. We should prepare ourselves to hear the Divine voice. The reader of an immortal play asks, and asks in reason, that the audience should be seated ten minutes before the reading begins. It is a sensible stipulation. Shall I be unjust if I ask that my friends should be an hour with God before coming to hear the public proclamation of his word? Is it decent that we should wait on Shakespeare and leave the Eternal to wait on us? The ear should have a little prayer all its own. I will teach it one: "Lord, still the waves that are heaving and foaming in me, or I shall miss all that is tenderest in the music of thy voice. Quiet the mean noises which fill me with a worldly din, and let me hear the words, every one of them, which will bless the life. Circumcise me: yea, put thy sharp knife upon me, thou God of the circumcision, and make me hear. Then speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." There would be no poor sermons if we came thus; we should be all ATTENTION. As a matter of fact, how does the case stand? What was the last word you spoke at the door? Some mean word about the cold wind, some poor little narrow word of criticism upon a neighbour's reputation, some childish remark upon a puerile topic, chaffer and chatter, and hollowness, and nothing, and then rushing in you sing, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts." It cannot be done; such miracles are beyond your power. Can you be draggling your wings in the mud this moment, and in the flash of an eye spreading them out in the sun? Then say not that the age of miracles is past! I cannot do it. I must have time. I must think and pray, and then the banquet is always more than enough, abundant to redundance, the lavish generosity of God!

That I am not speaking unjustly of the ear, I may refer to your own proverb, "Believe nothing you hear." Why? Because you do not hear it. The first man did not hear it: he twisted it; in passing through his corkscrew hearing, the straight line got a twist, and he never can straighten it out. So it has come down to him a marvellous story, a wondrous narrative of self-contradiction, utter and palpable absurdity. Then men say, "I thought he said so and so; I understood him to mean thus and thus; O, I beg pardon, I did not catch then what he said." And out of such foul springs do the streams of conversation rise, carrying their mud with them all through the acreage of our social economy. Thus we tell lies without lying; we are carriers of falsehood, though we never mean to be untrue. How is this? Because we do not hear. The ear is preoccupied; invisible speakers are addressing it, lovers unseen are soliciting its attention, or it is asleep or on a journey, or under a spell. Hardly a man in this congregation can listen. It takes a Judge to listen. How the Judges do listen! We are buying and selling all the time the man is preaching; yea, we are doing a little business in the middle of his prayer! To listen—who can do it? God knew this, and therefore again and again he says, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." Who would attempt to deliver a message to a man asleep, or propose to speak to a man a mile off? There are men in this house who are just now three thousand miles away!

Many a message has been lost because the speaker has not first roused the attention of his hearers. There is a man standing a little averted from you—his back is partly towards you—he is engaged in doing something, and you say, "Bring me three volumes of the 'Family Magazine,' John." He hears his own name at last, and says, "Sir?" Poor rhetorician thou! That was beginning at the wrong end. You should have said, "JOHN! Bring me three volumes of the 'Family Magazine' out of the library." "Yes, sir." See? Is that in the Bible? Every word of it—as to purpose and philosophy. How does God speak? First, attention. "Moses, Moses," and he said, "Here am I." "Samuel, Samuel." "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." "O earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord." There is a science herein; study it, speaker and hearer.

The first thing to be done is to compel the ear to listen for the right thing. When I enter the house of God, it is to hear the word of God. If I went to hear a professional elocutionist I should go to judge of the balance of his voice; I should look out for the colouring of his tones; I should measure the velocity and the weight of his articulation; I should make an elocutionary study of the man. But in going to hear God's preacher, I go to hear God's word, how I may be saved, redeemed, purified, and fitted for Divine uses in this world. I want to hear how I may get home again after many weary wanderings in stony places; I want to hear what Christ said about sin, and pain, and woe, and want, and pardon; I want to hear about those who have gone up, who cares for them, what do they, how near are they; I want to hear about the secret place where the light is pure and the rest is without shock, or pain, or dream. My soul being alive with expectation and aflame with hope, God will not disappoint it, or he will expunge from his own book the sweet promise 'Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

It is said that the manner of the speaker has a good deal to do with the attention of the hearer. That is true, but an earnest hearer will care very little about the manner if he is deeply interested in the matter itself. Just look at that company of men, and listen to that person with a long paper standing at the head of the table. He seems to have chronic bronchitis. How he chammers his words, how hoarsely he utters his sentences, how poor his enunciation! he calls a bush a bash, and a foot a fut. Listen to him and see how the people are all on the qui vive. What is the matter? He is reading a WILL, and every man in the company expects to get something. How choice they are about the elocution! They say to one another, "Rather a bad manner, don't you think? His manner is much against him, don't you think?" No, no. "What is there for me? and how much for me?" and they would go twenty times a day to hear that wheezy, asthmatic, non-elocutionist read a WILL, if they had any hope of getting anything out of it. Now I have a will; hear it:—"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." That is your portion. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." That is yours. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Claim your inheritance and enjoy it! "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Take it all. Have you heard the will? Claim your property!

You say that manner has a good deal to do with speaking. So it has. Let me remind you that manner has a good deal to do with hearing. Our Saviour is reported in the Gospel of Luke to have said, "Take heed, therefore, how ye hear." There is an art of hearing; attention is not without a science of its own. Hear for eternity, hear for your soul's good. Do you want to hear the gospel now? Then you shall. "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." You hear that? "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin." "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come." Hear ye these words, or do they fall upon the cold ears of a dead soul? If you have heard these words you never can say again, long as you live, that you never heard the gospel!

Yes, there is a manner of hearing. Some persons listen captiously—they go for the purpose, express, of finding fault and showing their own cleverness in pointing out the fault which they suppose they have found. "These are spots in your feasts of charity." Some listen critically. They will make a man an offender for a word. They will dwell upon non-essential points: they prefer the pleasure-ground of art to the entangled forests of nature, out of which you cut the navies of the world. "These are clouds without water." Some listen indifferently: they care not what is said, or who says it: the preacher sheds his blood in vain for them—they see not nor heed the living sacrifice; they know not what the passion costs. "These are trees twice dead," and will be "plucked up by the roots."

When I was at Niagara I could not get a drink of water out of the cascade, not because there was so little water, but because there was so much. It is the worst place in the world to go for a glass of water, is the torrent of Niagara; it will drown both you and your glass! If there had been less, I could have got more. It is even so with some discourses. You do not get the benefit of them at the time, but down the river of the week, as far as about Wednesday, you can stoop and drink the quiet stream; the water that was shattered into foam by its infinite plunge is now healed and calmed like a redeemed life, and a mile down you may see your face reflected in the water that was snow a day since, silver foam making rainbows round the rocks—now it falls and quiets itself into a stream which makes glad the city of your life. The torrents of Chalmers are even now settling into quiet streams which many people are drinking with thankful gladness. Even as far down the Time-river as this, the torrents of puritan eloquence and theology are only just flowing at pace enough to be caught and used for the soul's drinking. Wondrous is this. Jesus Christ's speeches dazed the people at the time; they said, "He is mad;" and now these speeches, having taken their plunge like the Niagara cascade, are streams that make glad the city of God.
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." "Take heed how ye hear."

"Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man." Have you heard these things? If you say, "Yes, every word," then "Be ye DOERS of the word, and not hearers only."

Luke 8:9  His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.

KJV  And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

Parallel Passages:

Mark 4:10+ As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.  

Matthew 13:10+ And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”


From Mark's version, the disciple's questioning occurs after the crowds have dispersed, for only Mark records the detail "as soon as He was alone." Mark also has the unique phrase "His followers, along with the twelve which indicates that at this time the inner circle of followers consisted of more than just the twelve disciples. Mark 4:34+ adds that "He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples."

His disciples began questioning Him - Began questioning is in the imperfect tense depicting the disciples asking Jesus over and over. Their repetitive questioning indicated they were eager to know the answer.  Some writers may be correct in surmising that the disciples were too embarrassed to ask questions in public. 

Darrell Bock explains "After Jesus tells the story, the disciples ask why he is resorting to parables. They know him well enough to recognize that this is not a lesson in agriculture for a 4H class or a polytechnic school." (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21)

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. As discussed below mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus as well as of genuine believers.

Understanding the Word by Dr. Paul Chappell

“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.” Luke 8:9–10

One of the most important archaeological discoveries in history was made in 1799 by a soldier in Napoleon’s army fighting in Egypt. The French troops were tasked with building a fort when the man found a stone with written inscriptions in three different languages. Dating to some two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Rosetta Stone unlocked secrets of the past. The discovery proved crucial to understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics because it contained the same decree written in Greek. By first translating the known language, historians were able to then develop an understanding of the Egyptian language that had not been possible before.

The Bible is not a normal book. While it was penned by men, it is not their thoughts and impressions. 2 Peter 1:21+ says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” God has given us what we need to know in His Word. And He has given us the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of Scripture to help us understand what it says. Jesus said that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit coming to live within us was so that he would guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13).

Not everything in the Bible is simple and easy to understand, but if we are diligent students of the Word, we can know what God expects from us. Paul highlighted the vital importance of the Bible in his final letter to Timothy. “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15+).

Luke 8:10  And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

KJV  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.

  • To you Lk 10:21-24; Ps 25:14; Matthew 11:25; 13:11,12; 16:17; Mark 4:11; Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7-11; 12:11; Ephesians 3:3-9; Colossians 1:26-28; 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:10-12
  • that seeing Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 6:9-13; 29:14; 44:18; Jeremiah 5:21; Matthew 13:14-17; John 12:40; Acts 28:26,27; Romans 11:7-10
  • Luke 8:4-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 1 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:4-15 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Mt 13:11+ Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

To you it has been granted - Light has been granted, illuminating the way to God and the great truths about God and His kingdom. This is an example of the "divine passive" with God being the "Granter." The perfect tense speaks of the enduring effect of this divine gift. The implication of course is that unless God had opened their eyes to see and ears to hear, they would not have been about to understand the parable. Notice that it is disciples who had been granted this privilege. Amazing grace indeed! Disciples is not a special class of believers as some have proposed. In fact the most common designation of the believers in the book of Acts is "disciples." All true believers are disciples!

Spurgeon - 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?

John MacArthur responds to His disciples question regarding the meaning of the parable -  He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  But to the rest, it is in parables in order that seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand."  Isn't that interesting?  To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. When we talk about mysteries, mustērion here, we're not talking about some esoteric, incomprehensible, divine idea.  We're not talking about being able to look into all the deep things of God and sort them out rationally.  What the word "mysteries" means is spiritual truth hidden in the Old Testament revealed in the New. It's referring to those things that the Old Testament people didn't know that the New Testament reveals: the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory, the mystery of the church, the mystery of the rapture, the mystery of the resurrection.  Truths hidden in the Old revealed in the New and He says it's given to you, it's granted to you by God to know these things. Paul said in Ephesians 3:8-9 that God had sent him to explain the mysteries, what was hidden in the past and is now revealed.  It's not a mysterious idea, it's something that was hidden and is now revealed. But to the rest, I speak in parables, unexplained ones, so that seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand.  That's the judgment....In Mt 13:11 "He answered and said to them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but to them it has not been granted.'" You are select, you are elect. You are chosen. You are blessed. You are privileged.  It's just staggering, that we are not anymore worthy but to us God has chosen to reveal His great truth.  In Mt 13:12, "For whoever has, to him shall more be given and he shall have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."  Jesus says it is a sad day today in Israel, splitting the people here.  I'm separating those who know the truth from those who don't.  Those who know the truth are those who believe in Me.  Those who don't believe in Me don't know the truth.  I'm going to start explaining parables only to those who believe so that they are parables of revelation to them.  But to those who don't believe, I will not explain and they become parables of concealment.  And so He says, "Whoever has, you already know the truth.  I'm going to give you more truth.  You're going to have an abundance of truth."  And I know we feel that way, don't we, who know the Word of God?  

Mt 13:13+, Jesus says explicitly, "I speak to them in parables because while seeing they do not see and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."  I speak this way to conceal it.  I don't want to cast my pearls before swine.  I don't want to give spiritual truth to people who have no ability to grasp it.  Rather I will put them in a deeper darkness as an act of judgment.  And it's just like Mt 13:14 says. "It's just like in the days of Isaiah."  You remember that Isaiah was called as a minister, as I mentioned earlier, and He says in Mt 13:14, "In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled which says you will keep on hearing but will not understand, you will keep on seeing, will not perceive, for the heart of this people has become dull, their ears...with their ears they scarcely hear and they have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return and I should heal them."  God says I don't want to heal them, I don't want them to return so I'm judicially confirming them in deafness and blindness and lack of understanding.  What a serious judgment!  You will not believe so you cannot believe!  They're hardening their own hearts and then God hardened their hearts.  But Mt 13:16, "Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear." (Receptivity to the Gospel)

Robertson on mysteries - Part of the mystery here explained is how so many people who have the opportunity to enter the kingdom fail to do so because of manifest unfitness. (ED: Their manifest unfitness is their steadfast refusal to hear the truth of the Gospel, receive it, believe it and act upon it. Their houses are built on sand! Lk 6:47-49+!)

To know the mysteries of the kingdom of God - The Kingdom is not like a mystery novel, like we normally think of when we hear the English word mystery. As explained below, they would be given insight into truths about the kingdom of God that heretofore had been concealed by God. 

Kingdom of God - 66x in 65v - Matt. 12:28; Matt. 19:24; Matt. 21:31; Matt. 21:43; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 4:11; Mk. 4:26; Mk. 4:30; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 10:14; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:23; Mk. 10:24; Mk. 10:25; Mk. 12:34; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:28; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 13:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:29; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 17:21; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:24; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 22:18; Lk. 23:51; Jn. 3:3; Jn. 3:5; Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:31; Rom. 14:17; 1 Co. 4:20; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:10; 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 5:21; Col. 4:11; 2 Thess. 1:5

Related Resources: 

Know (1097)(ginosko) means to acquire information through some modality, as through sense perception (hearing). However ginosko involves experiential knowledge, not merely the accumulation of known facts.

Darrell Bock on mysteries - "Mystery" is an important biblical term. Its roots go back to the image of the raz in Daniel (Dan 2:20-23, 28-30; Bornkamm 1967:814-15, 817-18). There Daniel unlocked the mystery hidden in an already revealed dream. Some New Testament texts on mystery highlight the newness of the revelation (Eph 3:4-6; Col 1:27-29), while other mystery texts note the connection of what is revealed in Jesus to what was revealed in the Old Testament (Rom 16:25-27). Thus the term speaks of new truth emerging alongside old promise. Discontinuity in God's plan emerges within continuity. Jesus is revealing further detail and fresh twists in God's plan, but those details fit together with the program that God has already promised. The twists and turns in the promised and progressing kingdom program are being revealed to the disciples in these parables. But the parables do not only reveal secrets to the disciples; they also conceal truth from outsiders, those Jesus calls others. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21)

Mysteries (3466) (musterion from mustes = one initiated [as into the Greco-Roman "mystery" religions] from mueo = to close or shut) in the NT is a truth never previously known, and a truth which human intellect could never discover, but one which has now been made known by divine revelation. Mystery in modern usage is similar to this ancient use for it usually means a secret for which no answer can be found (cf "mystery novel"). In contrast to this contemporary use of "mystery", Scripture uses musterion to indicate truth which was previously unknown but which now has been made known through revelation mediated by God.

Related Resource

Vincent on mysteries -  From muo, to close or shut. In classical Greek, applied to certain religious celebrations to which persons were admitted by formal initiation, and the precise character of which is unknown. Some suppose them to have been revelations of religious secrets; others of secret politicoreligious doctrines; others, again, scenic representations of mythical legends. In this latter sense the term was used in the Middle Ages of miracle-plays—rude dramas representing scenes from scripture and from the apocryphal gospels. Such plays are still enacted among the Basque mountaineers. (See Vincent, “In the Shadow of the Pyrenees.”) A mystery does not denote an unknowable thing, but one which is withdrawn from knowledge or manifestation, and which cannot be known without special manifestation of it. Hence appropriate to the things of the kingdom of heaven, which could be known only by revelation. Paul (Philip. 4:12) says, “I am instructed (μεμύημαι) both to be full and to be hungry,” etc. But Rev. gives more correctly the force of instructed, by rendering I have learned the secret: the verb being μυέω (from the same root as μυστήρια) to initiate into the mysteries.

But (a "deadly" term of contrast) to the rest it is in parables - To reject Jesus' truth is dangerous, because it potentially places you into a group He calls "the rest," which only get His word in parables. Darrell Bock explains it this way "The danger of exposure to revelation is that if we do not respond in faith, eventually hardness sets in and God acts to judge. Here is a warning about the ultimate perils of rejection: God may sovereignly involve Himself in cementing the process. These words are harsh, yet they serve as a warning of the extreme danger of rejecting Jesus' message" (Ibid)

Rest (others, remaining) (3062)(loipos from leipo = to leave or to lack) is an adjective which refers to that which remains over - where it refers to people the sense is the rest, those that are left, the remainder. Thus the parables do not only reveal secrets to the disciples, but they also conceal truth from outsiders, those Jesus calls the rest

Parables (see discussion above)

POSB - Jesus knew that many were following Him not because they wanted to know God, not because they were genuine and sincere. The insincerity of so many, of course, cut the heart of Jesus; but He still wanted to warn and reach as many as possible. This is what the parable of the seed is all about. Jesus wanted people to know that hearing the Word of God was not enough. There are many ways to hear the Word of God, but only one way bears fruit. Only one reception makes us acceptable to God. If we receive the Word of God any other way, then it becomes fruitless and does no good. It is snatched away or scorched or choked out. Only one reception will bear fruit. Note how the parable speaks to every person. It is a warning to all hearers of the Word, especially to those who are not genuine followers of Christ. It gives great assurance to those who do hear: they shall definitely bear fruit. It is great encouragement to the preacher and teacher and to the lay witness. The seed they sow shall bear some fruit. (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Luke)

Jon Courson - Why would Jesus teach in such a way that truth would be concealed? Simply because He will honor the wishes of every person. Therefore, if a person does not want to see, the Lord won't force His way upon him. You see, Jesus could have spoken so persuasively and argued so powerfully that people who didn't want to be converted would be converted even against their own will. But Jesus is not after conversion by force. Because He honors man's free choice, He says, "If you don't want to know the truth, I will conceal truth from you. If you don't want to know Me, I won't force Myself upon you." Teaching through parables provided a way that those who wanted to know truth could receive it, while those who didn't want to know would be unable to receive it.At whatever point you say, "My mind is made up. I don't want to know what the Word says or how the Lord might feel about any given situation," you will be cut off from revelation. It is a dangerous place to be. But eventually, you'll get so banged up trying to blindly walk in your own darkness that you'll finally say, "I'm tired of arguing my case or trying to prove my point. Show me Your heart, Lord." And He will—when you're ready. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary)

So that (hina) introduces the purpose for the parables. 

SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND - This is divine judgment for failing to receive and believe. We see a similar dynamic in 2 Th 2:10-12. 

And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 

Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 6+ (prophetic warning was given some 150 years in advance of its fulfillment) - Isaiah 6:9-13+ describes God's judicial punishment on the nation of Israel - they would not hear Him, so they then could not hear Him! Be careful ignoring the voice of the Lord, dear reader, for a time may come when the omniscient God says you can see and hear but not understand! This is a thought that should frighten any rational soul! 

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’  10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive (“Make the heart of this people fat” = obtuse and unresponsive), Their ears dull, And their eyes dim (cf Isa 42:20 This is judicial hardening of their hearts), Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” (God in His omniscience knew in advance that the nation would not respond but would remain indifferent and unrepentant, and thus would become hardened. The judgment on the nation Israel did not preclude the repentance of a remnant cf Isa 11:11-12)  11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate (Though the people would not pay attention, Isaiah was to continue to prophesy of the Babylonian deportation.),  12 “The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.  13 “Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, (remnant who hear and believe) And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth (an oak-like tree from which, when cut, flows a fragrant, resinous juice) or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.” 

Related passages - see Acts 28:27, Eph 4:19, Heb 3:13, Pr 29:1, Ro 2:5

MacArthur adds "in that day when Jesus gave these parables, He didn't give any explanation to the unbelievers in Israel because this was a judicial act in which He was hiding the truth from those who are obstinate and stiff-necked.  The same thing exactly that He did in Isaiah's day when He said to Isaiah, "You go preach, but I'm going to tell you this, nobody is going to listen to what you say.  Their ears will be deaf, their eyes will be blind, their hearts will be like stone, they will not hear."  And then Isaiah said, "How long do I do that?"  He said, "Just keep doing it until nobody is left in the land, they'll all be taken into captivity and know this, there will be a tenth.” There will be a tenth.  There will be a remnant who will hear and they will believe.  In the equation of the parable of the soils, there's a fourth, one out of four soils.  I don't think you can count on that in every situation, one out of four, but it's always the minority.  But what a privilege, we know the truth. (Receptivity to the Gospel)

Understand (4920)(suniemi from sun/syn = with + hiemi = send) (Click study of related noun sunesis) literally means to send together or bring together. The idea is to put together "pieces of the puzzle" (so to speak) and to exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is describes the ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them. Suniemi means to put together, grasp or exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is the manifestation of the ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them and thus describes the exercise of the faculty of comprehension, intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness. The noun sunesis was originally used by Homer in the Odyssey to describe the running together or a flowing together of two rivers.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary has an interesting comment - Jesus' speaking in parables was actually an act of grace to those listening to Him. If they refused to acknowledge Him as Messiah, their judgment would be less severe than if they had understood more (cf. Luke 10:13-15+).

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

KJV  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Parallel passages - Luke alone says directly "the seed is the Word of God." Neither parallel passage has the phrase "Word of God."

Mt 13:19+  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand (“while everyone is listening and not comprehending” “not putting together”  “not grasping.”) it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

Mark 4:14-15+ “The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 

Multiple related passages dealing with "judicial hardening" and the related topic of Jesus speaking in parables - Dt 29:4+, Isa 6:9,10+ Mt 13:11-15+ Mk 4:11-12+ Lk 8:10+ Jn 9:39-41, Jn 12:38-40 Acts 28:26,27+ Ro 11:7-10+, 2Co 3:14-15+, Eph 4:17-18+, 2Th 2:10-12+.


Now the parable is this - Jesus gives us the interpretation.

The parable (see discussion above)

The seed (see discussion above

Spurgeon on 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 (Ed: cf Jefferson's Bible - he cut out all the parts having to do with the supernatural!). Let us not do so, my brethren. (Exposition on Luke 8)

Darrell Bock - The picture of the word as seed is important. Often we think of evangelism and preaching as something that happens in an instant. But the picture of a seed makes us think of a farmer who prepares the ground, sows seed, waters and then must wait for the crop. Producing a crop is a process over time. Often the message of the word, too, takes time to bear fruit....Of the various options, only one type of soil yields fruit; every other type proves inhospitable to the precious seed.  (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21)

The seed is the word of God -  Matthew says the seed is the word of the kingdom. In Mk 1:15+ Jesus said "“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” In Mt 4:23+ we read that "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom." And so the seed is the word of God which in turn is the Gospel of God,, the good news of how one gains entrance into the Kingdom of God. There is no mention of the sower for this can be anyone who sows the Word of God. What is critical is that it is the Word that is sown, not who sows it. In fact in Philippians 1:15 "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife." These individuals also sinful are sowers! In explaining the parable of the tares Jesus said "the one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man," but the context is entirely different from the parable of the soils. 

Word (3056) (logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In this context the Word of God is the word of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel (Lk 8:10, cf Lk 9:2, 6)

Word of God - 47x in 46v - 1 Sam. 9:27; 2 Sam. 16:23; 1 Ki. 12:22; 1 Chr. 17:3; Prov. 30:5; Matt. 15:6; Mk. 7:13; Lk. 3:2; Lk. 5:1; Lk. 8:11; Lk. 8:21; Lk. 11:28; Jn. 10:35; Acts 4:31; Acts 6:2; Acts 6:7; Acts 8:14; Acts 11:1; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:7; Acts 13:46; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:11; Rom. 9:6; 1 Co. 14:36; 2 Co. 2:17; 2 Co. 4:2; Eph. 6:17; Phil. 1:14; Col. 1:25; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:5; 2 Tim. 2:9; Tit. 2:5; Heb. 4:12; Heb. 6:5; Heb. 11:3; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 1:23; 2 Pet. 3:5; 1 Jn. 2:14; Rev. 1:2; Rev. 1:9; Rev. 6:9; Rev. 19:13; Rev. 20:4

Paul explains the believer's role (using his example - cf 1 Cor 11:1) in sowing the seed, the Word, the Gospel 

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.  (1 Cor 3:6-10)

Peter uses the same picture showing the power of the seed, the Word, the Gospel, to "germinate" the new birth in Christ...

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,  25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.  (1 Peter 1:23-25+)

James also picks up the picture of the Gospel as a seed...

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21+)

MacArthur - Seed being the Word of God simply means the gospel, the gospel, the Word from God about salvation, about how to enter the kingdom, the Word from God about forgiveness and reconciliation and justification, sanctification, glorification.  That is the seed.  People sometimes will say, "If I go out to evangelize, what should I say?"  The gospel.  "Well, I'm not...I'm not sure I'm really good at presenting it."  Are you a Christian?  "Yes."  You have confirmation that you're really a true Christian?  "Yes."  Then you knew enough to get saved, so you know enough to tell somebody else how to get saved.  It's not any more complicated than that....People think that somehow seed doesn't work or it's offensive.  Look, if you're trying to get everybody that you present the gospel to saved, you better go back and study this parable again.  It's not going to happen.  So know this, that there's no artificial way to overcome the fact that it's going to be a few. It's going to be a minority.  There's no artificial way for you to create a synthetic seed that's going to make everybody embrace it.  That will be false conversion.  The seed is the gospel, the seed is the Word of God, that's the seed and that's what you give, that's what you proclaim, whether you're preaching like I do, or whether you're witnessing one on one, seed is the Word of God, not your thoughts, ideas, insights, the Word of God.  We are utterly dependent on divine truth revealed in Scripture....So don't beat yourself up if you don't seem to be effective. First of all, throw some more seed. You're more likely to hit some good soil. But in the end, it's the heart. (Receptivity to the Gospel)

In another sermon MacArthur emphasizes that "If you know the gospel well enough to be saved by it, you know it well enough to present it to somebody else.  And the message of the gospel is what it is and it isn't anything else and it doesn't need to be altered.  And as we're learning in the story, it's not a matter of the sower and it's not a matter of the seed, it's a matter of what?  The soil. Responses to the proclamation of the gospel are determined not by the skill of the sower and not by the state of the seed, but by the soil.  It's really important to know that because that helps us to understand what to do in evangelism, what to expect and what not to expect." (Receptivity to the Gospel - Part 3)

Steven Cole - Jesus’ words and the quote from Isaiah plunge us into one of the deep mysteries that we cannot fully grasp, the fact that God sovereignly grants salvation to His elect, but that sinners are fully responsible for their persistence in sin and their ultimate condemnation. For the disciples, God sovereignly granted that they know the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Lu 8:10). No one can boast that he discovered these mysteries by his own reasoning or investigation. Only God can reveal them and He does not reveal them to everyone. Is God then unfair? Not at all, because men are responsible for their selfishness, stubbornness, and sin. They have no one but themselves to blame for their own hardness of heart. John Calvin (Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists [Baker], 2:108) uses the illustration of the effects of the sun on a person with weak eyes. When such a person steps out into bright sunlight, his eyes become dimmer than before, but the fault lies not with the sun but with the person’s weak eyes. Even so, when the Word of God blinds the reprobate, it is not the fault of the Word, but of the person’s own depravity. Thus by speaking in parables, Jesus was seeking to foster a genuine response from His elect who would apply the truth to their hearts. But He was also concealing the gospel from those who were merely curious but who were not willing to apply it to their hearts. They would continue in their spiritual blindness. But they would not thwart the sovereign purpose of God’s kingdom. (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

Cole adds on the seed is the word of God - Of His own ministry, Jesus said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me” (Jn 12:49-50). Also, as Paul stated, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2Ti 3:16, literal translation). In other words, Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles were not religious geniuses who gave us their best ideas about God and man. Rather, they were inspired and moved by the Holy Spirit to record what God chose to reveal to us in His written Word (2Pe 1:21). God uses that word implanted to save our souls (Jas 1:18, Jas 1:21). Just as a seed has life in it, so the Word of God is alive and can impart life to those who are spiritually dead. Just as a seed has great power in it, so that it can sprout and grow to the point that eventually it cracks the foundation of a house, so the Word of God can germinate in the human heart and do a mighty work of transformation. Just as a seed can produce a tree that bears much fruit which gives nourishment, sustains life, and in turn produces more seeds to produce more trees and fruit, so the Word of God can bear fruit in human lives. This means that when we talk to people about Jesus Christ, we must share the content of the gospel from God’s Word. So often in our day Jesus is presented as an emotional experience: “Believe in Jesus and you’ll feel better and your problems will be solved.” But many people know nothing of the Jesus in whom they are being encouraged to believe. To encourage a person who does not know what the Bible says about Christ to believe in Him is to encourage him to believe in a figment of his own imagination. Before you encourage such a person to make a decision for Christ, encourage him to read the Bible, especially the Gospels. He needs to know something about who God is, who man is, and who Jesus is as revealed in the Word before he can intelligently repent of his sin and believe in Jesus Christ.....One reason that I have devoted hours every week for almost 22 years now to preparing biblical sermons is that I believe that God’s Word will not return to Him empty without accomplishing the purpose for which He sent it forth (Is 55:10-11). So whether you give people tapes or printed copies of biblical sermons or tracts or Gospels of John or New Testaments, scatter the seed of God’s Word. In due time you will reap fruit for eternity. By the way, are you sowing, watering, and nourishing the seed of God’s Word in your own life? I sometimes wonder what would happen if Christians would spend as much time each week reading the Bible as they spend reading the newspaper and watching TV. If you feed your mind on the world, you won’t grow in the things of God. If you sow God’s Word in your heart repeatedly, some of it will sprout and bear fruit if you’ve got good soil.(Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

Jon Courson - We are born again not of corruptible seed, Peter declared, but of incorruptible—the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). Do you want to be more like the Lord, to experience blessing and joy, to radiate love and peace? The way to do so is not by mustering your efforts to be more Christlike. The seed is the Word. You will be more Christlike if you allow the Word of God to continually and consistently penetrate your inner person (Ed: cf Jesus' prayer for sanctification - John 17:17). That is how you were born again initially. And that is how more of Jesus will be birthed through you continually. There's just no other way. The seed is the Word of God. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament)

Beautiful Fruit

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

Today's Scripture & Insight: Luke 8:4–8, 11–15

“Kids should be able to throw a seed anywhere they want [in the garden] and see what pops up,” suggests Rebecca Lemos-Otero, founder of City Blossoms. While this is not a model for careful gardening, it reflects the reality that each seed has the potential to burst forth with life. Since 2004, City Blossoms has created gardens for schools and neighborhoods in low-income areas. The kids are learning about nutrition and gaining job skills through gardening. Rebecca says, “Having a lively green space in an urban area . . . creates a way for kids to be outside doing something productive and beautiful.”

Jesus told a story about the scattering of seed that had the potential of producing “a hundred times more than was sown” (Luke 8:8). That seed was God’s good news planted on “good soil,” which He explained is “honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest” (v. 15 nlt).

The only way we can be fruitful, Jesus said, is to stay connected to Him (John 15:4-5). As we’re taught by Christ and cling to Him, the Spirit produces in us His fruit of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). He uses the fruit He produces in us to touch the lives of others, who are then changed and grow fruit from their own lives. This makes for a beautiful life. By:  Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How are you staying connected to Jesus? What fruit do you want Him to produce in you?

I want a beautiful life, Father. Please produce Your fruit in me that I might live a life that points others to You.

Luke 8:12  "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 13:19+ “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

Mark 4:15+ “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.


Callous means made insensitive, having feelings or morals deadened,  describing one who is  emotionally hardened,  insensitive; indifferent; unsympathetic. One might be discouraged by this soil, but remember this is a parable and it does not state that the soil cannot be altered by plowing, etc.

THOUGHT - Many (most?) of us were "hard soil" until God got our attention and plowed our heart with adversity or affliction (as was the case in my late conversion at age 39). God is the ultimate Husbandman and He knows how to cultivate the conditions of the soil of His elect in order that they receive the Word implanted which is able to save their soul! And not only that but in Jeremiah, God reminds us about the power of His Word asking "Is not My Word like fire? And like a hammer which breaks the rock?" (Jer 23:29). So dear sower who has been frustrated by failure of results in a dear friend or loved one whose "soil" seems so hard for so long, for God is able to break the soil of their heart and penetrate it with His Gospel which has His inherent power (dunamis) (Ro 1:16+). So keep praying for the soil of their soul and keep sowing the Gospel seed as God's Spirit gives you opportunity to do so. My father prayed for me literally for 20 years before God's adversity plowed deep furrows in my heart for His Gospel seed (My Testimony to God's Grace). And then I prayed 20 years for my youngest son who was ensnared in opioid addiction almost to the point of death and God's Gospel penetrated his hard heart and saved him from addiction and gave him a new life in Christ. As Paul writes in Galatians "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (Gal 6:9-10+)  So pray and sow, pray and sow, pray and sow! 

Sow with a view to righteousness,
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. 
Hosea 10:12

Jesus is not saying 1/4 of the people who receive the Gospel seed will respond this way. He is giving 4 general reactions people will manifest when we speak the Gospel to them. And just as it takes time for seed to germinate, it may take a considerable time for the response to be seen to the seed of the Word. In this person's heart (soil) there is utterly no response to this presentation of the Gospel.  

Those beside the road are those who have heard - The Old Testament would call them the hard-hearted and the stiff-necked (cf Acts 7:51).  They are resolute and rigid in their indifference, disinterest and love of sin.  This is the condition of the heart which corresponds to the hardness of that footpath around the field.  The heart of this kind of person is a thoroughfare, crossed by the mixed multitude of iniquities that traverse it day after day after day after day.  And it's not fenced so it lies exposed to all the evil stompings of everything that comes along.  It's never broken up.  It's never plowed by conviction.  It's never plowed by self-searching, self-examination, contrition, honest assessment of guilt, repentance.  The heart is callous.  It's callous to the sweet reasonings of grace and it's callous to the fearful terrors of judgment. Nothing wrong with the seed. Nothing wrong with the sower. Something terribly wrong with his hard, impenitent heart.  (MacArthur)

This soil reminds me of several men in the NT - 

King Herod -  Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. (ED: AND WE KNOW HE PREACHED THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM!) (Mark 6:20+)

Felix - And as he (PAUL) was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time, I will summon you." (Acts 24:25+)

King Agrippa - And Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."  And Paul said, "I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains." (Acts 26:28-29+)

We see this same principle in the last days when Antichrist is given power to rule during the tribulation

Then that lawless one (ANTICHRIST) will be revealed (IN THE LAST 3.5 YEARS OF THE TRIBULATION) whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming (Rev 19:20+); 9 that is, the one (ANTICHRIST) whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan (Rev 13:2-6+), with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because (EXPLAINS WHY THEY PERISH) they did not receive (THEY MADE A PERSONAL CHOICE TO REJECT) the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason (AGAIN SEE THE PRINCIPLE OF Mt 13:12b)  God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false (THEY BELIEVE THE LIES OF THE ANTICHRIST - THESE ARE THE EARTH DWELLERS IN REVELATION THOSE WHO ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE SAVED BECAUSE OF THEIR PERSONAL CHOICE TO REJECT TRUTH), 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth (THEIR INABILITY TO EVEN NOW BELIEVE TRUTH IS JUDICIAL HARDENING OF THEIR HEARTS!), but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Th 2:8-12)

Then - This expression of time describes succession. Seed is sown. The Devil sweeps in to remove it. 

Takes away the word from their heart - The heart of this parable is the heart. The heart is the key, for it is the soil. There are four types of hearts according to this parable. Mt 13:19+ has "snatches away (harpazo = same word used to rapture saints!)  what has been sown in his heart." In context clearly their heart is the soil in which the seed was sown.

And so the problem is not the power of the word or the performance of the preacher,
but the problem of the heart of the hearer! 
-- C H Spurgeon

Robertson - The birds pick up the seeds while the sower sows. The devil is busy with his job of snatching or seizing like a bandit or rogue the word of the kingdom before it has time even to sprout. How quickly after the sermon the impression is gone.

MacArthur explains "the parable is about heart condition. It's not about the skill of the sower, it's not about the seed. The seed is fixed eternally.  It is the Word of God that is the only seed. The sower is anybody who presents the gospel in its simple and magnificent truth.  The issue about response has not to do with the seed. You can't fix the seed to make it more palatable.  It has not to do with some methodology on the part of the sower.  It's all about the condition of the heart.  The basic truth of the parable is the result of the hearing of the gospel always depends on the condition of the heart.  It's so important to know that.  I don't know how many people in the world today in evangelicalism think that people's response to the gospel depends on the skill of the sower, or it depends on the nature of the seed, and so they want to work on the methodology of the sower, or they want to work on a more palatable seed.  The issue is the heart.  That's what Jesus is saying.  The character of the heart of the hearer determines the response."  (Receptivity to the Gospel)

Steven Cole writes that "Satan hardens people’s hearts by the traffic of worldly philosophies. People engage in worldly, man-centered thinking so often that their hearts grow callused to the truth of God. For example, many in our culture are so steeped in the postmodern ideas that spiritual truth is relative and that it doesn’t matter what you believe that they automatically reject the exclusive claims of the Gospel because it runs counter to the ideas they have trafficked in for all their lives. It is ironic that these are people who would scoff at the idea of a personal devil, and yet that very devil is the one who snatches away the seed of the Gospel from them! (ED: WAS THIS NOT THE STRATEGY PAR EXCELLENCE IN "SCREWTAPE LETTERS" = THERE IS NO DEVIL!) In their hardness of heart, they feel no need for God. We need to pray that God will break up the hard ground of their hearts with the plow of trials so that they will be open to receive the truth of the Gospel." (Luke 8:4-15)

Darrell Bock gives all of us a good word to remember whenever we speak forth the Word of God, the Gospel - When God seeks to speak to humanity (Ed: Through His ambassadors = US!), a cosmic battle breaks out. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21) We should not fear the inevitable spiritual war, but we must not be ignorant of it either lest we be caught unaware with our guard down and become as it were a "wounded soldier." Many saints simply do not grasp the gravity and certainty of this titanic invisible war for human souls! To be forewarned is to be forearmed! (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21))

Spurgeon on devil - 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. (Exposition on Luke 8)

I do not completely agree with Robertson who says "Many reasons are offered today for the failure of preachers to win souls. Here is the main one, the activity of the devil during and after the preaching of the sermon. No wonder then that the sower must have good seed and sow wisely, for even then he can only win partial success." Robertson is giving the devil too much credit in my opinion. The heart of the problem is less the devil than it is the heart! Spurgeon seems to agree saying that  it is "easy for birds to pick up seed which lies exposed on a trodden path. If the soil had been good and the seed had entered it, he would have had far greater difficulty. But a hard heart does the Devil’s work for him. There lies the un-received Word on the surface of the soul, and he takes it away. The power of the evil one largely springs from our own evil!" And so the problem is not the power of the word (WHICH HAS INHERENT POWER = DUNAMIS- Ro 1:16+) or the performance of the preacher, but the problem of the heart of the hearer! 

The great Puritan writer John Flavel wrote that…

THE heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God. Here lies the very force and stress of religion; here is that which makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of heaven a strait gate.  (from Proverbs 4:23 Keeping The Heart which has been called "one of greatest Christian books of all time" - Recommended Reading!)

MacArthur explains how evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart - How does he snatch it?  Through false teachers that come and attack the Gospel.  He snatches it through the fear of man (ED: Pr 29:25 = The fear of man brings a snare [moqesh]."), an embarrassment about being identified with Jesus Christ or fear of being put out of the synagogue or cut off from your friends (ED: THIS IS PARTICULARLY AT PLAY IN MUSLIM AND HINDU CULTURES WHERE AN BELIEVER MAY LOSE HIS/HER FAMILY OR HIS LIFE!)  He snatches it through pride. You think you know everything and you are not willing to confess that you don't and be broken before God.  He snatches it through doubt, through prejudice, through stubbornness, mostly through the continual love of sin which he panders to this wretched world system. It's either crushed under the continual pedestrian activity of wickedness or snatched away by Satan.  That's such a sad thing.  (Receptivity to the Gospel)

So that (see terms of purpose or result) - Purpose clause and in this case a "bad" purpose.

They will not believe and be saved - This is unique to Luke and not found in Mt 13 or Mk 4. This is surprising as this is the crucial aspect that results in fruit as a result of the new birth. One must personally believe the Gospel in order to be saved. There is no other way (cf Jn 14:6, Acts 4:12). Failure to believe the Gospel will result in eternal damnation. Sadly it is that simple!

Darrell Bock explains that "Faith saves; the absence of faith does not. So to believe for a time is not to believe in a commendable way, since the end result is not faith. One cannot end up unbelieving and have a faith that saves, for then salvation comes in unbelief. Another way to say this is that genuine faith is permanent …. Our theological problems may emerge here because we tend to view faith as a response of the moment. The New Testament stresses that faith in Jesus is permanent, being established by a rebirth. Its permanence is suggested by its nature as the product of the regenerating work of God." (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Lk 8:4-21)

Rich Cathers on how Satan takes away the Word is he shoots flaming arrows (Eph 6:16) reminding them of "the insidious lies the world has told us: (1) “The Bible is just a bunch of made-up stories” (2) “Jesus was not a real person” (ED: Or one I hear a lot - "Jesus never claimed to be God.") (3) “We are all products of evolution, there is no God who created everything” (ED: THANK YOU CHARLES DARWIN!) When a person has swallowed some of these lies, it’s easy for them to just blow it off when they hear that God loved them so much that He gave His Son to die for them."

Ray Stedman says this person has "what we can call the callous heart. The seed is sown upon the beaten, trodden-down pathway. This represents people whose hearts are busy, who are not open, who have been beaten down so many times they have grown cynical, hardhearted, callous to truth. When the seed hits them, the birds come and gather it up immediately. (Perhaps there are people like that here this morning. You are here not because you wanted to hear the Word but because coming to church is the "right" thing to do. Your hearts are callous and unresponsive, and the Word falls on them as on asphalt.) What does Jesus say about that kind of a life? He says it is strictly for the birds! The seed will be snatched away by Satan before you even have a chance to hear it. C S. Lewis, in his Screwtape Letters, describes a man who goes into a library to read and meditate. His mind is suddenly opened to deep thoughts of God. Confronted with his own standing before God, he starts thinking in terms of his eternal welfare. Then, Lewis says, the demons that are assigned to keep him from discovering truth call his attention to the sounds on the street, to the newsboy calling out the latest news, and to the fact that he is hungry, ready for lunch. And that is all it takes. All thoughts of God disappear, and he is involved in the mundane affairs of life. And, from the point of view of the satanic emissaries, he is delivered from this danger of thinking about God. That is what happens to the callous mind and heart. (Seed Thoughts)

Devil (Mk 4:15+ = Satan, Mt 13:19+  = evil one)(1228)(diabolos from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuserslanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting (malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions).

Takes away (142)(airo) literally means to lift up something (Mt 17:27) and to carry it (Lxx - Ge 44:1, Ex 25:28 = the Ark). 

Heart (2588)(kardia) does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God. Our "control center" (to make a play on the "air traffic control center" at the airport which carefully guards and guides what flies in and what flies out. How applicable to our "hearts" which are so prone to wander!). In short kardia refers to the the affective center of our being wherein lies the capacity of moral preference and volitional desire. The kardia generates thoughts that make the decisions which the mind works out. In other words, our logic flows out of our heart-decisions and not vice versa. Gleason Archer called the kardia, the "desire-producer that makes us tick" for it is the place where our "desire-decisions" occur, and which establish who we really are. WHO ARE YOU? HAVE YOU HAD A HEART CHECK UP RECENTLY? We are assiduous to do this medically, but woefully lax in doing it spiritually (beloved, I speak from experience!). At regeneration God reverses the spiritual atherosclerosis of our old sinful heart by giving us a total heart transplant! Daily confession and repentance are thereafter necessary to avoid "spiritual atherosclerosis" and gradual, subtle hardening (and becoming cold to the things of God) of our heart! (Read and practice daily "preventative maintenance" = 1 Jn 1:9+, Pr 28:13+).

Will...Believe (4100)(pisteuo means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of.  The respected Greek lexicon author W E Vine defines genuine, saving belief as consisting of

(1) a firm conviction which produces full acknowledgment of God's revelation of Truth - (2Thes 2:11 -"in order that they all may be judged who did not believe [pisteuo] the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.")

(2) a personal surrender to the Truth (Jn 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe [pisteuo] in His name") and

(3) a conduct inspired by and consistent with that surrender. (Reference)

Be saved (4982) (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo is sometimes used of physical deliverance from danger of perishing (see Mt 8:25; Mt 14:30; Lk 23:35; Acts 27:20, 27:31), physical healing from sickness (Mt 9:21, 22; Mk 5:23, Acts 4:9), and deliverance from demonic possession (Lk 8:36). More often sozo refers to salvation in a spiritual sense as illustrated in the following passages: Matthew recorded the angel's conversation with Joseph declaring "She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21) In Mt 1:21 sozo is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus' Name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".

Satan's Strategies to take away the Word 
John Piper

There are two other kinds of soil where the Word bears no fruit. There is the rocky ground in Mk 4:16 and the thorny ground in Mk 4:18. Jesus doesn't mention Satan in connection with these. But we know from other teachings in the New Testament that Satan is very much at work in these soils to nullify the Word of God and make the hearers fruitless. So there are really three strategies (at least!) by which Satan takes away the Word. Let's look at each briefly.

1. Immediately—with Inattention, Ill-Will, or Ignorance

In Mk 4:15 it says that he does it immediately. He does it before there is any sympathetic response at all. "Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them." I can think of at least three ways this happens. It happens through people's inattention, ill-will, or ignorance.

Satan works overtime to keep people from giving serious attention to the Word of God. He may keep you up late Saturday night so that you can't stay awake during the sermon or Sunday School. He may put a dozen different distractions around you in the service to take your mind away from the message. He may send thoughts into your mind (ED: Eph 6:16b+ Note the antidote/defense is found in the first clause in this same verse!) about tomorrow's meeting with your supervisor. If he can only distract you so that the sounds coming out of the preacher's mouth go in one ear and out the other, he will have successfully taken away the Word of God and made it ineffectual for you (ED: cf James 1:25+ = contrast "forgetful hearer but an effectual doer"). Inattention is his game. (ED: disregard; heedlessness; neglect; ATTENTION  is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of processing resources.).

He also uses ill-will. (ED: a hostile, very unfriendly, disposition, enmity, dislike) He causes feelings of aversion to block the Word. These feelings might be against the preacher or against his language or simply against the truths of the gospel. People may hear and understand exactly what is being said, but despise it. Paul said the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing (ED: 1 Cor 1:18). Satan works to maintain their worldly sense of values so that the value of the death of Christ is as nothing. Satan gives people such a high estimation of themselves that the evangelical message of brokenness before the cross for our sin is disgusting and threatening. So the Word of God gains no foothold. Satan takes it away.

Satan also uses ignorance. The work of Satan can be so thorough that his servants can actually lose the capacity to grasp what is being said well enough even to get angry about it. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:3–4, "Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God." When the glory of God is described, Satan blinds the eyes of his people so that they wonder what in the world is going on when spiritual people are deeply affected by this glory. Thus Satan takes away the Word of God.

2. Eventually—with Shallow Soil and Persecution

But Satan's battle against the Word is not just directed against that first hearing of the Word. Even after a person has heard the Word and received it with joy, Satan does his best to take it away and bring the person to fruitlessness and ruin. Mark 4:16–17 describe this attack. "And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away."

The reason I feel confident in saying that this too is the work of Satan, even though Jesus doesn't mention him here, is that persecution is mentioned and this is a key strategy of Satan elsewhere in the New Testament. For example, when Paul heard that the Thessalonian Christians were being persecuted, he chalked it up to the devil and said, "For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent that I might know your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor would be in vain." (1 Th 3:5+) It's clear that Paul saw persecution as a work of Satan that could destroy the gospel labor he had expended. In other words, the Word could be taken away.

Just because Satan is not able to keep everyone from responding joyfully to the Word of God, doesn't mean he gives up on those people. He brings many of them to ruin by keeping their soil shallow and battering them with hard times so that they fall for the lie that the Word of God is not worth the trouble it brings. And so Satan takes away the Word of God even after it has gained a little toehold.

3. Eventually—with Prosperity

If persecution doesn't look like it will work, Satan will try prosperity. This is his third strategy for taking away the Word and making people fruitless. Mk 4:18–19 describe this strategy: "And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the deceit of riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."

Ephesians 2:2–3+ teaches that when people follow Satan they are not dragged along against their desires, but are giving in to their ungodly desires. Satan takes away the Word by making us feel that if we hold fast to the Word, we will have to give up something better. He is the great deceiver. And in America he majors not on soil 2 but on soil 3. He doesn't snatch the Word as much by the threat of persecution (ED: AS IN PLACES LIKE INDIA AND MUSLIM NATIONS WHERE A PERSON'S LIFE MAY BE AT STAKE IF THEY RECEIVE THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL!) as by the deceptive promise that things will go better if you don't get fanatical about the Word of God. And so thousands of people who had made a start with the Word of God give in to his lies and have the Word choked out of their lives.

In summary, Satan has three strategies to take away the Word of God.

  1. First, he often acts immediately as soon as the Word is heard to make people inattentive, or cause them to feel ill-will, or to simply be so ignorant of spiritual reality they can't grasp what's being said.
  2. Second, he comes in after the Word has been received with joy and attacks it with hard times. He convinces some that holding fast to the Word is not worth the trouble.
  3. Third, he comes in where the Word has begun to take root and strangles it with the lie that too many good things are being sacrificed. (Read the rest of Dr Piper's message as he discusses 3 strategies to fight the enemy's 3 strategies).

Luke 8:13  "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

KJV  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.

NET  Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in a time of testing fall away.

  • receive Ps 106:12-14; Isaiah 58:2; Ezekiel 33:32; Matthew 13:20,21; Mark 4:16,17; 6:20; John 5:35; Galatians 3:1,4; 4:15-20
  • and these Job 19:28; Proverbs 12:3,12; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7; Jude 1:12
  • which Lk 22:31,32; Hosea 6:4; John 2:23-25; 8:30-32; 12:42,43; 15:2,6; Acts 8:13-23; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 15:2; Colossians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Timothy 1:19; 2 Timothy 2:18,19; Hebrews 10:39; James 2:26; 2 Peter 2:20,22; 1 John 2:19
  • Luke 8:4-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 1 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:13 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 2 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:4-15 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 13:21+ “yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

Mark 4:17+ “and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.


Those on the rocky soil - for an explanation of the problem with this soil see note on Luke 8:6. It is not soil that is rocky on the surface but which has only a thin layer of soil that hides hard rock (like limestone) beneath the surface. The results are two-fold, rapid growth (a "greenhouse" effect) and rapid withering. This soil typifies the shallow heart, one that is superficial, emotional, easily interested and impressed, but with no depth of conviction. They have feeling but lack faith! (cf the rich young ruler - Lk 18:18-21, second son of Mt 21:30. These are those who may shed tears, but once they are dry, they fall away when tested.

Phillips comments that "High pressure evangelism often produces this kind of shallow "conversion." Professions of faith are unsubstantial and worthless. People who respond to the gospel on this level have awakened souls, but they are not regenerated in spirit." (See Exploring the Gospel of Matthew)

MacDonald - The rock-hearers heard the word too, but they did not let the word break them. They remained unrepentant. No encouragement (moisture) was given to the seed, so it withered away and died. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy - What a tragic description "receive the word with joy". They are emotional about hearing the good news, which is clearly a good thing, but only if it continues. Sadly the joy is only transient and soon falters. At first glance these look like genuine believers, but with time they prove they are not genuine and fall away. Remember that joy is not the distinguishing feature of true salvation. I have been fooled by this because their emotional reaction (including a flood of tears of apparent contrition) certainly suggested they were real but as the days and weeks went by, they clearly demonstrated they had never truly been born again. These have been some of the most painful and soul searching times in my own life -- I thought "Could I have done better? Should I have tried to disciple them sooner?, etc, etc." Jesus' parable teaches us the "soil" of their heart was simply too shallow to continue to keep the plant alive, so to speak. Conversely, we need to be aware that absence of an emotional reaction (joy, etc), does not mean someone's conversion is not authentic. 

Phillips writes that "There was just enough soil to give promise but not enough to give performance. What is depicted for us here is mere profession of faith rather than true possession of Christ. People who exhibit this kind of response to the gospel often have only an emotional experience of some sort. Sometimes people give only an intellectual assent to the truth. In neither case is there more than a superficial stirring of the soul. The condition described is illustrated in the case of Orpah. Both Ruth and Orpah initially responded to Naomi's testimony. However, as soon as Orpah was confronted with the hard facts involved, she went back on her profession and returned to Moab (read Ru 1:14-15+). Ruth went all of the way. "Two walked the aisle," so to speak, "but there was only one wedding. (read Ru 1:16-17+)" (See Exploring the Gospel of Matthew)

Spurgeon - 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. (Exposition of Luke)

Steven Cole adds that "If you have been a Christian for a while, you have ridden the roller coaster of great joy in seeing someone make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, followed by awful disappointment as the same person later fell away from the faith. For a while he seemed to be dramatically changed. He got involved in the church. He was zealous for the things of God. But then a difficult trial hit. Perhaps he had a conflict with someone in the church. Or he had a personal health problem or he lost a loved one. His zeal cooled off and gradually he stopped coming to church. Every effort to restore him failed. Today he is back in the world. Others don’t fall away altogether, but their early enthusiasm wanes. They settle into a routine that includes going to church as long as there isn’t something “better” to do for the weekend. But God is not central in their lives. They are more focused on their things and on having a good time in life. They profess to be Christians, but they have no burden for the lost and no desire to serve God. They are living basically for self and for pleasure. But they are not living in light of eternity. How do you explain such people? Some would say that they have lost their salvation, but that clearly contradicts the many clear passages that teach that those whom God saves, He keeps for eternity. Others say that these folks are saved, but they are “carnal.” They can go through life living in this carnal or worldly state and they will still go to heaven, but they won’t have many rewards waiting for them. But this popular but false teaching contradicts Heb 12, which says that if a person is truly God’s child, then God will discipline him. If a person lacks such discipline, he is not a true child of God at all....The parable serves both as an encouragement to His followers and a warning to His hearers. The encouragement to His followers is that when we see people respond superficially to the gospel and later fall away, we should not be discouraged in that even Jesus had the same response. The problem was certainly not in His preaching, but in the audience’s hearing. The warning to those who hear the parable, of course, is to take it to heart so that we avoid a superficial faith. (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

John MacArthur explains this "shallow soil" noting that "People will respond to a presentation of the gospel for wrong reasons because they're at the end of a broken relationship, because they've just gone through a divorce and lost their wife and kids, because they've lost their job, because they've been told they have a terminal disease, because they're tired of being left out socially and now they’ve found a group that they can belong to, because they, and this often happens, they believe that if they give their life to Jesus He will fix everything that's wrong in their life.  All those are really bad reasons to become a Christian, but...or to make superficial response to the gospel.  The joy doesn't mean anything.  They could feel happy because they're accepted.  They could feel happy because now they think they're not going to go to hell.  They could fell happy because now Jesus is going to solve all their life problems and fix everything and they're not going to have so much personal pain, social pain, family pain.  That's why you never want to present the gospel that way.  You never want to present the gospel that Jesus wants to make you happy and if you come to Jesus you'll be happy.  You don't have that kind of promise.  There's a deep, abiding joy, but that deep, abiding joy doesn't translate into all the problems going away." (Receptivity to the Gospel - Part 2)

Receive the word - The verb dechomai pictures the hearer of the Gospel initially "putting out the welcome mat" so to speak. How many times I have been so encouraged by what seems like such a promising response to the Gospel "seed" and later to be disappointed when they fell away! In my immaturity, I thought I had done something wrong, that my presentation of the Gospel was faulty, etc. I wish I had fully understood Jesus' parable of the soils when I was a younger believer, for it would have saved me a great deal of angst. The problem is not with the sower nor with the seed but with the soil, the heart of the person who hears the Gospel. Remember, that the Gospel by definition is like a natural seed which has within its husk the power to germinate into a plant which grows and flourishes. Paul "defines" the Gospel as "the power (inherent power, "germinating power" - dunamis) of God for salvation to everyone who believes." (Ro 1:16+). So the Gospel has the intrinsic, supernatural power but the person's heart lacks true belief. The heart of the problem is the heart (the soil), not the Gospel seed or the Gospel sower! Add to this the sad truth that most of the souls with whom we share the Gospel will not believe the Gospel for as Jesus clearly warned 

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction (not loss of existence, but loss of the purpose and reason for existing!), and there are MANY who enter through it. 14 “For (term of explanation) the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are FEW who find it. (Mt 7:13-14+)

Stein on receive the word with joy - The term “receive” is a Lukan expression for responding positively toward Jesus, the gospel, or the gospel messengers. These hearers even receive the word with the proper attitude of “joy” (cf. Lk 1:14; 2:10; 24:41, 52). (New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke)

Spurgeon - “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! (Exposition on Luke 8)

They believe for a while (see above believe = pisteuo) - This is a crucial statement. The key phrase is "for a while." No true believer believes just "for a while." To be sure, the faith of most believers (yours truly included) will wax and wane over time. There are times in my Christian walk where I honestly would asked "Am I even saved?" Perhaps you can identify with those low times. But our faith never drops to zero. It never completely fails, even though it may feel like it has failed during those "low times." So what is the upshot of this phrase believe for a while? What Jesus is describing a quality of belief which falls short of saving belief. These are not those who truly believed and then lose their salvation. That is not what Jesus is saying. He is saying the root (their faith) never went deep enough into the soil of their heart to bring about genuine regeneration (And even more literally Jesus said they did not even have a root! It is impossible for a plant to live if it has no root system! And the same applies to a "plant" who says he or she is a believer but has no saving faith!) Stated another way, Jesus is indicating that there is a faith which one can demonstrate that falls short of faith that truly saves. 

John gives an example in 1 John 2:19-note writing that

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us (IF THEY HAD BEEN GENUINE DISCIPLES), they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (THEIR GOING OUT PROVED THAT THEY WERE NOT GENUINE JUST AS JESUS DESCRIBES HERE IN Luke 8:13).

ESV Study Bible on they believe for a while - A few interpreters (Ed: E.g., Dr Thomas Constable) think this is saving faith because these people “believe,” and though they “fall away” (from fellowship?), this is not an ultimate rejection of Christ. But it is more likely that this is temporary, merely intellectual “faith” (cf. James 2:17) that is not saving faith, for these plants [1] have no root (see Mark 4:17), [2] they bear no fruit, and [3] they do not persevere but last only for a while (on perseverance, see John 6:40; Ro 8:29; 8:30; 2 Ti 2:11-13; Jude 1:21). (Ed: Notice the ESV note lists 3 very specific markers [1-3] strongly support this soil is not an example of a true believer. If there were no markers of true belief, anyone could say they believe and live the rest of their life like the devil, fully convinced when they died, they would wake up in heaven. This type of "gospel" disparages the cost paid by Jesus' precious blood to procure a salvation that was powerful enough and efficacious enough to take a man out of darkness and transfer them to the Kingdom of light [Col 1:13-14, Acts 26:18]. To think that such a person would or could go back permanently into the kingdom of darkness and still be a citizen of the kingdom of light is totally illogical!)

NIV Study Bible - They believe for a while. This kind of belief is superficial and does not save. It is similar to what James calls "dead" (Jas 2:17,26) or "useless" faith (Jas 2:20)


James alludes to this writing "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. " (James 1:2-4-note) Truth faith in matured by trials not wrecked! Jesus is saying in Lk 8:13 that "various trials (tests)" prove the rocky soil's conversion to be false.

The writer of Hebrews 12:11-note says "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." MacArthur asks "You know what happens to a false believer? Trials produce unrighteousness. To a true believer, trials produce righteousness.  To a false believer, it drives them back toward sin.  To a true believer, it drives them to an increasing holiness (cf Heb 12:10).  The more trials that come into your life the stronger the drive toward God, if you're the real thing."

Several Biblical examples come to mind -

  • John Mark who at first failed to endure (Acts 13:13) but who later was shown to clearly endure (2 Ti 4:11) (This should encourage us to keep sowing).
  • Demas - Chart on the Tragic Downward Spiral of Demas 
  • Men who discovered that following Christ cost too much (Luke 9:57-62)

Matthew 13:21 (Mk 4:16,17 is virtually identical word for word) amplifies the "temptation" writing that this individual  "has no [firm] root in himself, but is only temporary (proskairos), and when affliction (thlipsis) or persecution (diogmos) arises because of the word (NOTE THIS CRUCIAL QUALIFIER - BECAUSE OF THE GOSPEL) , immediately he falls away (skandalizo = "is scandalized!")." As an aside the phrase "no firm root" is more literally "no root" and the Greek negative particle (ou) signifies absolute negation (= "absolutely no root" is the idea). 

John MacArthur comments on their beginning to experience affliction or persecution - They thought when you got Jesus you got rid of all your problems.  They thought you got health, wealth and happiness.  They thought you got prosperity.  They thought you got an endless wardrobe, money coming out of heaven, miracles, bodily healings.  They thought angels were going to come down and talk to you and solve all your problems if God didn't.  They thought that this was going to be a fellowship of people where there wouldn't be any problems or conflicts or disappointments.  They thought they would find a new kind of life socially, relationally.  Now all of a sudden: trouble, pressure, trials, tests, affliction, and persecution for the Word.  Matthew talks about when they were going through tribulation and persecution for the Word, because of the gospel.  Wasn't everything supposed to be better?  Everything got worse and now I've got a new thing in my life I never had before; I have people who used to love me who now hate me (Ed: Just as Jesus warned in Jn 15:18, 19).  I have people I used to hang around and we got along fine, and now because I claim to be a Christian, they resent everything about me, want nothing to do with me.  Now I have a whole new group of enemies who used to be my friends (Ed: cf 1 Pe 4:3, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16).  And when I, you know, ran to them and told them what had happened to me, they...they shut me out of their lives.  Matthew 13:21 records that Jesus said, in explaining this parable, that the person — because of the tribulation, because of the persecution — is offended, scandalized (cf skandalizo), trapped, caught in a trap.  And that's the test, the temptation Jesus is talking about in Luke 8:13.  They'll believe for a while. They're gone when the testing comes, when the tribulation comes, when of all the things they expected Jesus to do for them don't happen, when they don't get the health, the wealth, the prosperity, when they don't get the problem solved, when life is not euphoric anymore, when the relationships aren't what they were thought...thought they would be, when it doesn't fix their marriage, when it doesn't fix their family instantaneously, etc., etc.  When it doesn't give them power over their vices or their debilitating habits and when they come to tests they just can't pass them. (Receptivity to the Gospel - Part 2)

Jon Courson - The problem with the plant withering under the heat of the sun is not the sun, for the same sun could make the plant healthy and prolific. No, the problem is the shallowness of the root system. All too often, we try to shield people from the sun, insulate people from the heat, shelter people from problems. That's all wrong. The sun, the heat, the trial, the difficulty will make them grow. That's why James says we are to count it all joy when we fall into various trials (James 1:2), and why Peter said we are not to think it strange concerning the fiery trials that come our way to purify our faith (1 Peter 4:12). If you desire to truly help people, the key is not to try to shield them, but rather to say, "This trial is causing you to cave in and give up because your roots are too shallow to draw from the water of the Word. You're sporadic in your study. You're inconsistent in your worship. Your prayer is hit and miss. Tend to your root system and you'll overcome." We spend most of our time trying to figure out how to give people sunscreen for their noses when we should be dealing with the root systems of their hearts. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament)

Robertson on fall awayPresent (continually - all of us have moments when we might look like we are falling away but NOT continually) middle (they initiate the action to fall away and participate in the result) indicative. They stand off, lose interest, stop coming to church, drop out of sight. It is positively amazing the number of new church members who "stumble" as Mark 4:17 has it (skandalizontai), do not like the pastor, take offence at something said or done by somebody, object to the appeals for money, feel slighted. The "season of trial" becomes a "season of temptation" (en kairōi peirasmou) for these superficial, emotional people who have to be periodically rounded up if kept within the fold.

MacArthur comments that Charles Finney at the end of his life of evangelism said something to this effect (this is a paraphrase), "It seems to have been my lot in life to have produced many half-converts." You can explain the gospel half, but if they aren't brought under the law half and understand that they can do nothing to contribute to their salvation and they can only cry out to a God of mercy to be gracious to them because of their hopelessness and plead that He would grant them a righteousness they don't have and could never earn, you have indeed preached a half gospel and it's a non-saving gospel.  And when Finney was done, all you had in New York was the burned out area where you couldn't even preach the gospel anymore because the people didn't buy it. It proved to be as vacuous as could be.  So if you're going to try to avoid this shallow stuff, you've got to go deep. You've got to pray that the Spirit of God would do the deep convicting but you need to put into the mind of the person the instrument that the Spirit of God uses to do that convicting, and that is a biblical understanding of one's sinful condition....And back to Charles Finney for a minute, that was the half gospel that he preached that had such devastating results.  He was fine to preach the Jesus would save, but he did not believe in the true depravity of man and so sinners actually were led to believe they could contribute to their own conversion.  That's half, and that's a deadly presentation of the gospel.  (Receptivity to the Gospel - Part 2)

As as aside I realize many evangelicals hold Charles Finney in high regard but it behooves all of us to examine what Finney actually taught. Tim Challies a respected young reformed writer says "Perhaps the closest modern-day successor to Pelagius was Charles Finney. Like Pelagius, he denied original sin saying, “Moral depravity is sin itself, and not the cause of sin.” He believed the whole notion of a sinful nature is “anti-scriptural and nonsensical dogma” and taught that we are all born in a state of moral neutrality, able to choose between good and evil—to choose between being good or being sinful." (False Teachers) (If you are still not convinced and hold Finney in high regard, you might want to read some of his statements recorded here

Phil Johnson records some of the evangelical fallout of Finney's "revivals" - Predictably, most of Finney's spiritual heirs lapsed into apostasy, Socinianism, mere moralism, cultlike perfectionism, and other related errors. In short, Finney's chief legacy was confusion and doctrinal compromise. Evangelical Christianity virtually disappeared from western New York in Finney's own lifetime. Despite Finney's accounts of glorious "revivals," most of the vast region of New England where he held his revival campaigns fell into a permanent spiritual coldness during Finney's lifetime and more than a hundred years later still has not emerged from that malaise. This is directly owing to the influence of Finney and others who were simultaneously promoting similar ideas. The Western half of New York became known as "the burnt-over district," because of the negative effects of the revivalist movement that culminated in Finney's work there. These facts are often obscured in the popular lore about Finney.....One of Finney's contemporaries registered a similar assessment, but more bluntly:

During ten years, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, were annually reported to be converted on all hands; but now it is admitted, that real converts are comparatively few. It is declared, even by [Finney] himself, that "the great body of them are a disgrace to religion" [cited in Warfield, 2:23]. (from A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing)

Steven Cole on the seed in rocky soil - This represents the person who impulsively welcomes the gospel without counting the cost. Perhaps he heard that following Jesus would magically solve all his problems and that Jesus offers an abundant life, so he emotionally responds. At first, he seems to be zealous for the Lord. He seems to make rapid progress in the faith. But then, trials hit. Because his Christian experience was based more on emotion than on truth, he has no deep roots into the Word. He falls away. It’s not that he lost his salvation; it’s that he never truly was saved in the first place. When we share the gospel, we need to be careful not to paint too rosy a picture. Yes, God freely forgives all a person’s sins the moment he trusts in Christ. Yes, God’s Word is sufficient for all the problems we face in this life. But, no, God usually does not solve our problems instantly or easily. The Christian life is a fight of faith, and while we are assured of final victory, the battle can get pretty tough in the meanwhile. We don’t do people a favor to gloss over the reality of what it means to follow Jesus.  (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

Ray Stedman says these "are the impulsive hearts. The seed falls upon them and they immediately respond with joy. The seed takes root and grows up quickly. The trouble is, they respond like this to everything -- food fads, new books, political leaders, whatever popular movement happens to be abroad at the time. As a result, their lives are so shallow that the seed of the life-giving Word cannot take deep root and change them. Consequently, the life which apparently is there withers away and dies. Jesus says that this kind of life is shallow; it cannot stand the heat. When persecution and tribulation come, immediately it is withered. They turn away and lose interest, and cannot abide." (Seed Thoughts)

Adrian Rogers says of this soil "what you have is a false profession. And it is all emotionalism. Oh, there are these people. You can give an invitation and get people to get emotional and to give their heart to Jesus, but they don’t really mean business with God. There is no root. It is all emotion. Now I’m not against emotion. Praise God for emotion. But, friend, you’re not saved by emotion. Sometimes people think that in order to be saved you have to shout or cry. You may do both, but you don’t have to do either. The Bible doesn’t mention feelings. You’re not saved by feelings. As a matter of fact, as far as I can find, the word feeling is only used twice in the entire New Testament. Over and over again, the Bible speaks of faith, trust, and commitment—of a life that is rooted in Jesus Christ. Now let me tell you something, friend, about these emotional, candy-legged soldiers. They say, “Yes, I’m going for Christ.” They’ll join anything if you give them a badge and a button. But listen. As soon as persecution and affliction comes, they fall away. There are some people who would give up membership in this church before they would give up getting a new car. There are some people, if it gets tough and if it gets tight, they will fall away. They won’t lose their salvation. They never had it. They are about a half-inch deep. Listen. Salvation is the deepest work of God. Your emotions are the shallowest part of your life. God doesn’t do His deepest work in the shallowest part. I’m not against emotions, but you’ve got to be more than just a half-inch deep. Do you mean business with God? (Be Careful How You Hear). 

The discerning reader needs to be aware of a teaching among some evangelicals that says only the first soil represents lost souls and the other three represent saved souls, a teaching with which I strongly disagree, but  present so that you are not caught off guard. I have been shocked at how many people have gotten upset when I taught that the first 3 soils are lost souls. Here is a short critique from Middletown Bible Church regarding the interpretation that only one soil is lost which is what is taught by Zane Hodges (former professor at Dallas Theological Seminary) and Joseph Dillow. They teach that...

The carnal, barren believer is represented by the rocky ground and the thorny ground. The rocky ground represents a saved person who believes at first but then falls away from the faith. The thorny ground represents a saved but carnal person who is given over to the things of the world and thus is fruitless

According to this understanding of the parable the only ground which represents the heart of an unsaved person is the hard ground by the way side (Luke 8:12). The other three categories, according to Hodges and Dillow, all refer to saved people. Hodges explains his position on this parable in the book The Hungry Inherit and Dillow explains this parable in The Reign of the Servant Kings on pages 396-400.

This interpretation contradicts our Lord’s clear teaching in Matthew 7:16-20 where we are told that "every good tree brings forth good fruit." Since there is no good fruit connected with the rocky soil and the thorny soil, how can there be a good tree? The root is corrupt!

It is correct to understand all of the saved as represented by the "good ground." Matthew 13:23 teaches two important principles: 1) All those who are truly saved are fruitful at least to some extent (see Matt. 3:8-10; 7:16-20); 2) Some believers are much more fruitful than others. There is a big difference between 30 baskets of apples and 100 baskets of apples! (The Parable of the Sower)

(In a separate note) The Hungry Inherit is the title of one of Zane Hodges’ earlier books. In this book Hodges sets forth the position that in Jesus’ parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-9), all of the soils except the first soil represent saved individuals. This view is quite consistent with Hodge’s teaching that a person can have eternal life but not evidence it in any way. (ED: READ THAT LAST SENTENCE AGAIN!) Hodges thus teaches that a saved person can be totally worldly (thorny ground) and a saved person may believe only for a time, have no root, and then fall away (stony ground).  In either case, there is no fruit. It is interesting to contrast Hodges’ position with that of the Free Will Baptists. The Free Will Baptist position is that a true believer may depart from the faith and be lost forever. Hodges position is that a true believer may depart from the faith and be saved forever. The teaching of the Word of God is that a true believer’s faith will not fail because of the intercessory ministry of Christ (Luke 22:31-32+; John 17) and the keeping power of God (1 Pet. 1:5+). God’s Word teaches that a true believer may have a very serious lapse of faith (as Peter did) but not a total departure from the Lord, because "we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39+). (ED: ILLUSTRATIONEvery believer is on the ship of faith, as it were. We may fall down on the deck and we may fall very hard, but we will never fall overboard. Our faith will never fail in a final way because we have the blessed intercessory ministry of our Saviour on our behalf, as did Peter (Luke 22:31-32+). The Lord prays for us, as He did for Peter, that our faith will not fail! (The Hungry Inherit) (Addendum - Hodges and Dillow teach that a "Spiritual Believer" will be the "Heir of the Kingdom" (this person's salvation is accompanied by works) and the "Carnal Believer" is a saved person who DOES NOT inherit the Kingdom (this person is said to be saved but his life is devoid of good works. In contrast James 2:17, 26+ says "This 'faith' is called a 'dead faith.'" see The Hungry Inherit)

The upshot is Be a Berean (Acts 17:11+) and be very discerning when reading (any) commentary (including the one you are reading). Always check the comments of the commentary with the Scripture under prayerful tutelage by your Teacher, the Holy Spirit! 

Receive (1209)(dechomai) means to accept with a deliberate and ready reception of what is offered, to receive kindly and so to take to oneself what is presented or brought by another. It means to welcome as a teacher, a friend, or a guest into one's house. The word describes accepting persons with open arms, minds, and hearts, even going beyond normally expected gracious hospitality. The term was often used of welcoming honored guests and meeting their needs with special attention and kindness.

Dechomai in the writings of Luke - 16x in 13v in the Gospel and  8x in 8v in Acts  (total NTuses of dechomai - 56x in 45v) - Lk. 2:28; Lk. 8:13; Lk. 9:5; Lk. 9:48; Lk. 9:53; Lk. 10:8; Lk. 10:10; Lk. 16:4; Lk. 16:6; Lk. 16:7; Lk. 16:9; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 22:17;Acts 3:21; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:59; Acts 8:14; Acts 11:1; Acts 17:11; Acts 22:5; Acts 28:21

Joy (5479)(chara) is a feeling of great pleasure, of inner gladness, or of delight. Joy is an emotion evoked by a sense of well-being. It is a deep feeling of happiness and contentment. Joy in the NT is virtually always used to signify a feeling of "happiness" that is based on spiritual realities (independent of what "happens"). Joy is a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart. It is a cheerful heart that leads to cheerful behavior. 

Root (4491)(rhiza) is used to describe a literal root. Literally this section reads "absolutely not continually having a root." No root signifies no fruit which in turn describes a lost soul. It is sad to see some evangelical commentators try to parse this person into the category of a "fruitless believer" (This is a deceptive, damning oxymoron!)

Temptation (3986)(peirasmos from peirazo = to make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense) describes first the idea of putting to the test and then refers to the tests or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature or the quality of some thing. The context of the use determines whether it is simply a trial or as in the present passage clearly a temptation to sin. And remember we cannot always say the "devil made me do it." First, he cannot make a genuine believer do anything ungodly against his will. The true is our fallen flesh is quiet sufficient to tempt us to do evil for "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust" (see James 1:13-15-note)

Fall away (868)(aphistemi from apo = separation of one thing from another + histemi = stand and is the root of our English = apostasy) literally means to stand off from means to withdraw, to stand off, to forsake, to depart from or to remove oneself from. To apostatize or to fall away from. To withdraw from a place, an association or a relationship. 

Aphistemi is used by Luke 10/14x  - Lk. 2:37; Lk. 4:13; Lk. 8:13; Lk. 13:27; Acts 5:37; Acts 5:38; Acts 12:10; Acts 15:38; Acts 19:9; Acts 22:29; 2 Co. 12:8; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:19; Heb. 3:12

The sense of aphistemi in Lk 8:13 is similar to that in Paul's description in First Timothy...

1 Timothy 4:1  But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons

The sense is also similar to the warning passage in Hebrews 3...

Hebrews 3:12  Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

Related Resources: All of the resources below are from

Spurgeon's devotional  - These have no root." - Luke 8:13 My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah's gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me feel the energy of his Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature, the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest. 

Luke 8:14  "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 13:22+ “ yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

Mark 4:18+ “and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.


See Jesus' parable in Luke 8:7+.

This heart could be called the divided heart or the preoccupied heart. 

The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard - They heard the seed of the Gospel, but as Jesus goes on to point out they don't heed the Gospel. 

Darrell Bock - The thorny soil represents those who are choked out of a walk with God by life's distractions. The world's worries, riches and pleasures take any benefit the seed has to offer or any nutrients the soil possesses. They swallow up any opportunity for fruit to come to maturity. Luke often notes how wealth can influence people adversely and become a harmful distraction (Luke 6:24; Luke 12:16-21; Luke 14:12; Luke 16:1, Luke 16:19, Luke 16:21-22; Luke 18:23, Luke 18:25; Luke 19:2; Luke 21:1). Pleasures translates a Greek word from which our term "hedonism" is derived. Clearly, wrong priorities can kill off the seed of the word. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Luke 8:4-21) 

POSB - This is a person who receives the Word and honestly tries (professes) to live for Christ. Christ and His followers and the church and its activities appeal to him. So he joins right in, even professing Christ as he walks about his daily affairs. But there is one problem: the thorns or worldliness. He is unwilling to cut completely loose from the world: "[to] come out from among them and [to] be separate" (2 Cor. 6:17-18). He lives a double life, trying to live for Christ and yet still live out in the world. He keeps right on growing in the midst of the thorns, giving his mind and attention to the cares and riches and pleasures of this world. Note what happens. He bears fruit. Fruit does appear, but it never ripens; it is never able to be plucked. The thorns choke the life out of it. It never lives to be used. (Borrow Luke Commentary)

Matthew's description of this soil says "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry (merimna) of the world (this "age" - aion) and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word (THE GOSPEL), and it becomes unfruitful (akarpos). (Matthew 13:22)

CommentDeceitfulness (539)(apate from apatao = cheat, delude, deceive, beguile) describes that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement or influence. It is spoken of anything which is seducing (a leading astray by persuasion or false promises), in this case wealth. Apate describes that which causes someone to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the truth.

Mark's description of this soil says "but the worries of the world (this "age" - aion), and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:19+)

CommentDesires (1939)(epithumia from epi = at, toward {the preposition "epi-" in the compound is directive conveying the picture of "having one’s passion toward"} + thumos = passion. The root verb epithumeo = set heart upon) is a neutral term denoting the presence of strong desires or impulses, longings or passionate craving (whether it is good or evil is determined by the context) directed toward an object. 

Brian Bell - The preoccupied heart! Three is a crowd: Cares & Riches & Pleasures.Cares & Riches – Note the following are exact opposites - Cares - poverty & the anxiety/worries it creates. Riches – wealth, with the dissatisfaction it creates.. Lack of weed killer! [They need a good dose of Round Up!] He or she receives the Word, but does not truly repent and remove the weeds out of his or her heart! See, a gardener must not only love flowers & fruit, But hate weeds! Jer.4:3 "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.” Biblical Examples: Achan; Gehazi, Judas, Demas. (Luke:8:1 -18 Parable of the Soils)

MacArthur describes this soil with thorns as "the worldly heart, the preoccupied heart.  The reception looks good.  On the surface the ground looks good, it's not hard.  It doesn't have rock underneath it.  It looks good on the surface.  But the truth is crowded out. It's crowded out by the presence of sin.  There are just impurities all through this heart.... This is not a stupid fool, hard-hearted (FIRST SOIL). This is not a shallow, emotional person, the rocky soil underneath (SECOND SOIL), this soil appears good .  But there are all kinds of impurities in it.  There's other life there that's much more advanced, much stronger and natural to that soil, whereas the seed which is the Word of God is unnatural.  It is the foreigner to the already established weeds and thorns.  The good seed can't survive in this double-minded man.  Jesus put it this way. You cannot serve God and riches (Mt 6:24-note).  It's the worries and riches and pleasures of this life. That's the key, this life.  This person is consumed with the temporal, consumed with the world, sinful pleasures, sinful longings, desires, ambitions, career, money, home, car, prestige, whatever that crowds out the true seed.  This is the preoccupied, worldly heart, swept up in the deceitfulness of riches. At the end of his letter to Timothy, his first letter, 1 Timothy 6:9, Paul said, "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, or a snare, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction, for the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many a sorrow,” or a pain or pang.  If you never deal with the love of the world, riches, all that the world has to offer, will choke out the truth, the Gospel.....In First John we have been learning that John is very matter of fact, very straightforward, very black and white, very absolute, and here is a perfect illustration of it.  1 John 2:15 (note), "Do not love (present imperative with a negative) the world, nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is (Greek particle = absolutely) not in him." That's pretty clear, isn't it?  If you love the world, the love of the Father's not in you.....Very clearly what it means to love the world is to have as your primary hankering, your primary longing, your primary desire, your primary lust, those things that gratify your flesh.  The lust of the flesh, simply to pander your physical, fleshly appetites, the things you feel.  Lust of the eyes: pandering to the desire of what you see.  And the boastful pride of life undergirds everything. Self-fulfillment is everything to you.  If you live that way, if what drives you is what your flesh wants and what your eyes see and what your pride longs for, then you don't know God whatever you may claim....As long as the weeds are there, as long as the thorns are there, they're going to grow faster.  They've already established themselves.  You've just got one little fragile, seed of truth in there, but you've got strong roots of weeds native to that soil, whereas the Word of God is not native to that soil.  It's not natural to that soil.  The weeds are.  That's their home.  The... The sinner is at home with his sin and his sin finds a home in him.  Very natural, the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  That is true.  And as long as those weeds live, they grow.  And as they grow, the thorns tear and lacerate the fragile life of the seed and it can't survive.  (Luke 8:14-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 3

Spurgeon on thorny hearers - How many we have of that sort! They do continue somewhat longer than the others, yet they get choked after all. (Exposition on Luke 8)

Courson - Cares (Worries) affect those who live in poverty. Riches affect those who live in prosperity. Pleasure affects everyone. When you find yourself no longer studying the Scripture, the reason can be found in one of these three areas. (Ibid)

As they go on their way - The "choking" occurs as go about their life which makes sense because that is where they would encounter the worries, riches and pleasures. Phillips writes that "Worry, wealth, and worldliness are all enemies of the gospel. The Lord says of such that they give some place to the Word when they hear it, but then they "go forth," and it is choked. The word that the Lord used describes the bustle of an active life and the coming and going of people who are transacting business. In other words, they profess faith in Christ, but then it is "business as usual." This world remains the predominant factor in the equation of life. They love this world rather than the world to come." 

Robert Stein - Criticism is not directed to the quality or kind of faith these hearers possess. The problem is rather that they only hold this faith “for a while”; but as the rest of this text and the full canonical message suggest, this faith is not saving faith. (New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke)

Warren Wiersbe - This soil illustrates the person who does not repent and "weed out" the things that hinder the harvest. There is enough soil so the roots can go down, but not enough room for the plant to grow up and produce fruit. The plant is crowded out and the fruit is choked. "Cares, riches, and the pleasures of this life" are like weeds in a garden that keep the soil from being fruitful. The person with the "crowded heart" comes closest to salvation, but he still does not bring forth "fruit to perfection (maturity)." (Borrow Be compassionate)

John MacArthur - This is the worldly heart, the worldly heart, preoccupied heart.  The reception looks good.  On the surface the ground looks good, it's not hard.  It doesn't have rock underneath it.  It looks good on the surface.  But the truth is crowded out. It's crowded out by the presence of sin.  There are just impurities all through this heart. (Luke 8:14-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 3)

Steven Cole - This is the person who wants the best of both worlds. He professes to believe in Jesus, but his heart is divided. He is still drawn after what this world has to offer. He may be rich or he may be poor. Jesus is not talking about the amount we possess, but about our focus. This heart among the thorns is not fully committed to seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He is trying to serve two masters, but he really is serving mammon, not God. The Bible does not condemn riches or pleasure per se, but it does condemn living for riches or pleasure (1Ti 5:6; 1Ti 6:9-10). Even those who truly know Christ must continually pull out the weeds of greed and sensuality. We must constantly deny the lure of the world that falsely tells us to live for this life only. We must continually remember the exhortation, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jn 2:15).  The common factor of these first three soils is that none of them bear fruit. Some look promising for a while, but there was no fruit because they were never truly saved. So we all must examine our own lives and ask, “Am I bearing fruit for God over the long haul? Is my faith superficial or genuine?” (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

They are choked (4846)(sumpnigo from sun = with + pnigo = to choke, strangle, "seizing by the throat") means to crowd together and thus to choke or suffocate (Mt 13:22, Mk 4:7, 19, Lk 8:14). BDAG has "to check the growth or well-being of someth. by pressure." Figuratively it means to crowd around, to press upon, almost to crush ("crowds were pressing against Him" = Lk 8:42, 12:1). The present tense indicates the choking effect was continual. Friberg on sumpnigo - literally, of weeds too thickly surrounding plants choke, cause to die; metaphorically, of things causing a message to be ineffective in a life crowd out, i.e. overwhelm, take over (Mk 4.19); exaggerated for effect, of a thronging crowd suffocate, almost crush, crowd in around (Lk 8.42) (Analytical Lexicon) Sumpnigo - 5x in 5v - Mt. 13:22; Mk. 4:7; Mk. 4:19; Lk. 8:14; Lk. 8:42. Not found in the Septuagint. 

Bring no fruit to maturity (only use in Bible)(5052)(telesphoreo from telos = end, outcome, goal + phoreo = to bear) bring to ripeness, produce ripe fruit, used of spiritual character (becoming gall that one should be).  The present tense indicates their fruit bearing was continually "no yield." This verb was used in Greek to refer to fruits, animals, pregnant women.

Worries (anxieties) (3308)(merimna from merizo = to divide or draw different directions - which is exactly what anxiety does to most of us!) refers to a care (the sole way it is translated in the KJV) or concern and so to care for someone or something. It is often used in a negative sense and thus is translated as worry. From the origin, one can see that merimna describes the state of "being pulled apart.” Thus when circumstances are difficult, it is easy to let oneself be dominated by anxiety and worry.

Some cross references on worries - Mt 6:25, Mt 6:31, Lk 12:29, Lk 21:34, Php 4:6, 1 Pe 5:7, Ps 39:6, Ps 127:2

The Etymology of worry is fascinating (especially the idea of "to strangle"!) and very relevant to the effect worry exerts on the Word - Middle English wirien (c. 1300), "to slay, kill or injure by biting and shaking the throat" (as a dog or wolf does), from Old English wyrgan "to strangle," from Proto-Germanic *wurgjan (source also of Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen "to strangle," The "strangle" sense was obsolete in English after c. 1600; the figurative meaning "to annoy, bother, vex" is by c. 1400. Meaning "to cause mental distress or trouble" is attested from 1822; intransitive sense of "to feel anxiety or mental trouble" is attested by 1860.  Related: Worried; worrier; worrying.

Riches (wealth) (4149)(ploutos from pletho = to fill) properly denotes abundance, plentitude, and literally is used to refer to material wealth or prosperity (abundance of earthly, temporal goods) which is the meaning in the parable of the seed and the soils (Mt 13:22, Mk 4:19, Lk 8:14 = Material riches are deceitful and choke out reception of the Word of God. Be careful all you wealthy readers! Contrast spiritual riches - Ep 3:8) Indeed, think of the people who know whose whole lives glow with the glory of God for they are rich in spiritual possessions, albeit often poor in material possessions!

Some cross references on riches - Mk 4:19, 1 Ti 6:9, Jas 5:2, Mt 19:23, 1 T 6:7, Dt 8:13-14, Job 20:28, Ps 49:10, Pr 23:5, Eccl 2:18, Jer 17:11

Pleasures (2237) (hedone from hedos = delight, enjoyment > hedomai = have sensual pleasure) describes the state or condition of experiencing pleasure for any reason and thus speaks of gratification and enjoyment. Hedone is the root of our English hedonism, which is the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life, and is manifest as an insatiable pursuit of self-satisfaction that so characterizes our modern society. 

Some cross references on pleasures - Lk 12:19, 1 Ti 5:6, 2 Ti 3:1-2,4, Titus 3:3, Jas 5:5, 2 Pe 2:13, Isa 47:8-9

Luke 8:15  "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

NET  Luke 8:15 But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.

GNT  Luke 8:15 τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον κατέχουσιν καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ.

NLT  Luke 8:15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 8:15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

NIV  Luke 8:15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

ASV  Luke 8:15 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.

CSB  Luke 8:15 But the seed in the good ground-- these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.

NKJ  Luke 8:15 "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

NRS  Luke 8:15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

YLT  Luke 8:15 'And that in the good ground: These are they, who in an upright and good heart, having heard the word, do retain it, and bear fruit in continuance.

NAB  Luke 8:15 But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.

NJB  Luke 8:15 As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.

GWN  Luke 8:15 The seeds that were planted on good ground are people who also hear the word. But they keep it in their good and honest hearts and produce what is good despite what life may bring.

BBE  Luke 8:15 And those in the good earth are those who, having given ear to the word, keep it with a good and true heart, and in quiet strength give fruit.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 13:23+ “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Mark 4:20+ “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 


It is worth noting that all four responses may be found in the life of one individual over time. I know that I was much like the first soil for some 20 years. Then one day I heard the Word of God at age 39 and received and repented and believed. I think a lesson for me is to not judge the "book by its cover", but even if the message seems to fall on rocky soil, my call is to keep showing them the love of Christ unconditionally, and the Spirit might use that to "plow" that person's heart enabling them to receive the Word implanted which is able to save their soul (James 1:21b+). What we need to remember is that all three of the "failures" may be changed over time. That's God's business. 

Phillips sums up the soils - The first kind of hearer is illustrated by the scribes and Pharisees, who "rejected the counsel of God against themselves" (Luke 7:30). Judas, Herod, and Pilate belong to the same terrible company. The second kind of hearer is illustrated by Demas, who abandoned Paul in his hour of need when the going got tough. The Lord had His share of those who "went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). The third kind of hearer is illustrated by the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:22). The fourth kind of hearer is illustrated by the Lord's own disciples, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Cornelius, and the various Marys. (Exploring Luke)

But (de) in this context is an important term of contrast which serves to set this soil apart from the previous three soils. 

The seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart - Notice that in this passage the seed is the word which has been heard. Jesus explains that the good soil is an honest and good heart. Matthew's version adds "this is the man who hears the word and understands it." (Mt 13:23+). The word  understands is suniemi in the present tense (continually understands) and literally means to bring together. Jesus uses it figuratively meaning this man is able to "piece together" the "puzzle" of the Gospel (E.g., [1] you are a sinner, [2] you need a Savior, [3] you must repent and receive/believe Jesus. See the Romans Road to Salvation). Mark 4:20+ adds that "they hear the word and accept it" where accept is in the present tense indicating they continually accept the Word. The verb accept is paradechomai (para = near + dechomai = receive deliberately and readily) means to accept deliberately, willingly, favorably, readily, kindly taking to oneself which in the reflexive middle voice signifies they are personalizing the seed of the Gospel. Combining the three synoptic accounts, we learn that the good soil hears the good word of the Gospel, gladly accepts it and fully understands it.

THOUGHT - Beloved, let us study the meaning of kardia, but let us be far more diligent in guarding our kardia in this short life. In Pr 4:23+ Solomon commands us "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (cf 1Ti 4:7, 8+ = "discipline yourself for godliness," 2Co 5:9+ 2Co 5:10+). Spurgeon writes "A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour. Neither are we sure of enough life to justify us in procrastinating for a moment. If we were wise in heart we should see this, but mere head wisdom will not guide us aright." See his full note on Ps 90:12+. The great Puritan divine John Flavel wrote that "THE heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions."

And hold it fast - Hold fast is katecho in the present tense and active voice (volitional choice, decision of our will) signifying that holding fast to the truth of the Gospel is to be the continual choice of our will! Notice also that one's continually holding fast to the Word of the Gospel is evidence that God's Spirit is continually holding us fast, this "dual dynamic" emphasizing the mysterious juxtaposition of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, God's part, our part! We continually choose to hold fast to the Gospel because the Spirit continually enables us to make the choice to hold fast (see Php 2:13NLT+).

We see a similar pattern in another use of katecho in 1 Cor 15:2+ where Paul writes "by which (REFERRING TO THE GOSPEL - 1 Cor 15:1+) also you are saved, if (see First Class Conditional = "Since") you hold fast (katecho) the word (GOSPEL) which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." Paul is saying that to hold fast the Word of the Gospel is evidence one is genuinely saved by the Gospel. He is not implying one can lose their salvation but is saying that the only ones who are able to hold fast (cf perseverance of the saints) are those who have been born again and therefore have the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit (katecho is used in similar descriptions of perseverance of the saints in Hebrews 3:6+ = "if we hold fast our confidence" and Hebrews 3:14+ = "if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance"). In another use of katecho we see the antithesis of the good heart in Romans 1:18+ where Paul describes unbelievers who actively, willfully (active voice) "suppress (hold down) the truth (ABOUT GOD AND THE GOSPEL) in unrighteousness!"

John Phillips on hold it fast - The Lord demands a response of some sort to the proclamation of His Word. Honesty and openness will result in God's Word taking permanent root in a human heart. Demonic activity, shallowness, materialism, and ulterior motives are primary causes for hearing God's Word in vain.

Good hearts receive and hold the Word fast!
Bad hearts reject and hold the Word down!

THOUGHT - When we are holding fast the Gospel, we will find that in times of trial, persecution and affliction, the Gospel will hold us fast! We should frequently, even daily "preach the Gospel" to ourselves (see What it Means to be Gospel Centered - excellent chart; Video by Jerry Bridges - Preach the Gospel to Yourself) Remember also that one of the best ways to hold fast to God's Word is by memorizing it. Are you memorizing God's Word? If not, you need to begin today! See Memorizing His Word and Memory Verses by Topic. You can hardly experience the priceless supernatural benefits of Meditating on the Word (e.g., Joshua 1:8+, Ps 1:2-3+, Ps 119:9-11+) if you fail to internalize the Word in your heart and mind. Memorization is the best way to internalize the Word! 

Bear fruit with perseverance - As alluded to in the discussion above on hold fast and its association with the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, Luke adds that perseverance is the condition in which we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to bear fruit, this fruit bearing serving to prove that we are genuine saints! Stated another way, a saint without fruit ain't! That is, one who professes to be a saint but never at any time bears fruit "ain't a saint," bad grammar, but accurate theology! Bear fruit with perseverance also implies that bearing genuine spiritual fruit will take perseverance. This is especially true when one considers the pressures that Jesus had just descried as affected the integrity of the soils/hearts, so not only does bearing fruit take time, it also necessitates (Holy Spirit enabled) steadfast endurance to resist the distracting, destructive pressures Jesus described! Bear fruit (karpophoreo) is in the present tense and thus Jesus is teaching that true believers will bring forth fruit ("good works") continually (present tense) in all manner of activity undertaken for the glory of the Father (cf Mt 5:16+, Jn 15:8), in the Name of the Son and in the energizing/enabling power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, upon Whom the believer is entirely dependent. Indeed, good works could be aptly termed "God works" and those are the only works that will endure throughout eternity!  The corollary is that when people abandon their profession of faith in Christ, it is evidence that their profession was never real, that they had not exercised saving faith. The proof of authenticity of one's salvation is perseverance and fruit bearing. But don't be confused because perseverance does NOT save a person, but only serves to show that a person is truly saved.

MacArthur elaborates on the important truth of perseverance - Sometimes you hear an evangelist say "Come forward and pray this prayer and now we're happy to tell you you're all in the kingdom of God."  They don't know that is true, because you cannot tell simply because someone  prayed a prayer.  You cannot tell because they had an outburst of joy.  So how can you tell?  Fruit with perseverance.  Come back in a year, in five years, ten.  The good soil, the honest and good heart holds permanently to the truth and manifests fruit with hupomone, with perseveranceHupomone means “to remain under.” Menō is “to remain.” Hupo is “under.”  So this is the person who can remain under trials, temptations, pressures, and difficulties and yet will continue to persevere and bear spiritual fruit.  That is the test of a genuine believer!  You cannot tell someone that simply because they prayed a prayer  they are now a Christian because you do not know.  (Luke 8:14-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 3)

As Spurgeon says regarding perseverance "He is not converted at all who is not converted eternally. The work of man is temporary; the work of God is everlasting." (Exposition on Luke 8)Darrell Bock emphasizes the vital role of perseverance (or patience) writing that "The mention of patience (perseverance) is important, for Luke assumes that believers live under much pressure because of their faith. Associating with Jesus will not help people to win popularity contests. If we care about the world's respect or are too weak to resist temptation, we will not hold on to the WORD with patience; tragically, we may fall away, or our potential for fruitfulness may be choked out (ED: THIS IS THE DESCRIPTION OF AN UNBELIEVER IN Lk 8:14. CF DEMAS - 2 Ti 4:10+). Three of the examples end with the seed failing to produce that for which it was sown. God sows the word to bear fruit in the heart. Only by clinging patiently to what God offers does the seed reach maturity. In other New Testament texts such reliance is called faith. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

Courson on perseverance - When planting a garden, one plants the seed, then waters it, then waits, then waters it, then waits before there's even the slightest breakthrough. We understand this about gardens, but we don't understand the same thing is true spiritually. "I've gone to church five times in a row," we say, "but nothing's happening." Or, "I've had morning devotions for two weeks straight, yet I'm not seeing any fruit, or my situation is not changing, or I still don't have peace. I'll give it one more week, and then it's back to sleeping in." We sow the seed, but we don't allow it time to take root and bear fruit. The one who bears fruit is the one who receives the Word with patience. (Ibid)

Wiersbe concludes that "This soil alone is fruitful. It illustrates the individual who hears the Word, understands it, receives it within, is truly saved, and proves it by patiently producing fruit (see 1 Th. 2:13; 1 Pe 1:22-25). Not everybody produces the same amount of fruit (Mt. 13:8), but all true believers will produce some fruit as evidence of spiritual life. That fruit may include winning others to Christ (Ro 1:13), money given to God's work (Ro 15:25-28), good works (Col 1:10), Christian character (Gal 5:22-23), and praise to the Lord (Heb. 13:15). (Borrow Be compassionate)

J Vernon McGee adds that the fruit bearers "are the hearers who are genuinely converted by the Word of God."

Related Resources:

William MacDonald - They not only received the word but allowed it to mold their lives. They were teachable and obedient, developing true Christian character and producing fruit for God. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

THOUGHT: The preceding comment begs a simple question - Are you allowing the Word to mold you or is the world molding you? (Ro 12:2+) You can't have it both ways (cf Mt 6:24+, 1 Ki 18:21, James 1:8+). Either you are growing more Christ-like or more worldly-minded! For a true believer to fall into this trap of backsliding is sad and will result in eternal loss of rewards. If this condition persists, then one who professes Christ as Savior and Lord needs to do an honest internal examination as in 2 Cor 13:5+ lest they end up shocked when they hear Jesus tell them to "Depart from Me. I never knew you!"  (Mt 7:21-23+).

Luke adds that these "bear fruit with perseverance." Thus perseverance is the condition in which we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to bear fruit, this fruit bearing serving to prove that we are genuine saints! Stated another way, a saint without fruit ain't! That is to say, a person who professes to be a saint, but never bears fruit "ain't a saint," bad grammar, but accurate theology! 

THOUGHT - Those figures represent yields of 3,000, 6,000, and 10,000 percent! Usually the yields were less than eightfold, and a crop that produced tenfold would have been extraordinary. But here God speaks of supernatural fruit not natural fruit. This should get us excited, for this fruit is not necessarily harvested on this earth, but it will be harvested in Heaven and it will remain or endure eternally (cf Jn 15:16)! Mark it down beloved, when we sow the Gospel, it goes forth empowered by the Spirit of God and the results are supernatural, even "far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power (THE SPIRIT) that (WHO) works within us." (Eph 3:20+). What is the upshot? Sow the Gospel seed today while it is still called today, "night is coming when no one can work." (Jn 9:4) Redeem the Time for eternity, for the glory of the Lord! 

MacArthur -  Though believers are not saved by doing good works (Eph. 2:8-9+), those who are truly saved will give evidence of their new life in Christ through the fruit of obedience (Eph. 2:10+; cf. Matt. 7:16-20+; 2 Cor. 5:17+).

John the Baptist called for fruit bearing to validate the authenticity of one's repentance...

“Therefore bear fruit (aorist imperative only possible as one depends on the Holy Spirit - which in fact is evidence that one has the Spirit indwelling!) in keeping with repentance." (Mt 3:8+)

Abundant fruit bearing is God's will for every believer for Jesus declared 

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (Jn 15:8)

David Thompson - Some produced a yield of 30 times, some 60 times and some 100 times. Naturally, 100 times yield would be the ideal. But all these numbers are good. Now Palestinian interpreters say that a typical yield in Palestine would be fivefold or tenfold at most, so the numbers described here are remarkable. Herodotus, the Greek historian who lived about 450 B.C., claimed that some of the soil was so rich in Palestine that it had a 700 fold return. He was probably exaggerating a bit, but Jesus uses the top number of 100 times return.(Sermon)

Alan Carr asks "So, what kind of fruit does good soil produce?"

  • Good works – Col. 1:10+, cf Col 1:6+
  • Holiness and righteousness – Ro 6:22+; Phil. 1:11+
  • Genuine spirituality – Gal. 5:22-23+
  • A burden for souls – Ro 1:13+
  • Praise and thanksgiving – Heb. 13:15+
  • Sharing material goods – Ro 15:27-28+ (Mark 4:1-20 The Parable Of The Soils)

Notice the prepositions used with each soil...

  • BY (beside) the wayside (Lk 8:5, 12)
  • ON the rock (Lk 8:6, 13)
  • AMONG the thorns (Lk 8:7, 14)
  • INTO the good ground (Lk 8:8, 15)

W H Griffith-Thomas - Let us therefore heed not only--

  • What we hear -- Gospel message, inspirational challenge, etc., but also...
  • How we hear -- simply, sincerely, sympathetically, surrendering lip and life, personality and possessions.
  • The Word of God just be received and retained in order that it may reveal. Are we doing this?

Good (soil)...honest...(heart) (2570)(kalos) describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. The soil is synonymous with the heart and Jesus says both are kalos

Kalos uses by Luke - Lk. 3:9; Lk. 6:38; Lk. 6:43; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 9:33; Lk. 14:34; Lk. 21:5; 

Good ("good heart")(18)(agathos) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality with the idea of that which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence. 

Agathos uses by Luke - Lk. 1:53; Lk. 6:45; Lk. 8:8; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 10:42; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 12:18; Lk. 12:19; Lk. 16:25; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 18:19; Lk. 19:17; Lk. 23:50; Acts 9:36; Acts 11:24; Acts 23:1;

Heart (2588)(kardia) does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God. Just as the integrity of our physical heart is vital to our physical life, in a similar and even more important way the integrity of our spiritual heart is vital to our spiritual life, for our spiritual life impacts not just our enjoyment of time but of eternity! 

Kardia in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 1:17; Lk. 1:51; Lk. 1:66; Lk. 2:19; Lk. 2:35; Lk. 2:51; Lk. 3:15; Lk. 5:22; Lk. 6:45; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 9:47; Lk. 10:27; Lk. 12:34; Lk. 12:45; Lk. 16:15; Lk. 21:14; Lk. 21:34; Lk. 24:25; Lk. 24:32; Lk. 24:38; Acts 2:26; Acts 2:37; Acts 2:46; Acts 4:32; Acts 5:3; Acts 5:4; Acts 7:23; Acts 7:39; Acts 7:51; Acts 7:54; Acts 8:21; Acts 8:22; Acts 8:37; Acts 11:23; Acts 13:22; Acts 14:17; Acts 15:9; Acts 16:14; Acts 21:13; Acts 28:27

Hold it fast (2722)(katecho from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain, hold or keep in one's possession and in the present context is used figuratively referring to holding the Gospel fast. 

Katecho - 16v -  afflicted(1), bound(1), heading(1),, hold fast(5), hold firmly(1), keep(2), occupy(1), possess(1), possessing(1), restrains(2), suppress(1). Lk. 4:42; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 14:9; Jn. 5:4; Acts 27:40; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 7:6; 1 Co. 7:30; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 15:2; 2 Co. 6:10; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Thess. 2:6; 2 Thess. 2:7; Phlm. 1:13; Heb. 3:6; Heb. 3:14; Heb. 10:23

Bear fruit (2592)(karpophoreo from karpos = fruit, produce + phero = bear, bring) literally means to bring forth fruit, to be fertile, productive. It is used figuratively to refer to bringing forth deeds or works (fruit), which depending on the context can be good fruit or bad fruit (Ro 7:4, 5-note)

Karpophoreo - 8v -  bear fruit(4), bearing fruit(2), bears fruit(1), produces crops(1). Matt. 13:23; Mk. 4:20; Mk. 4:28; Lk. 8:15; Rom. 7:4; Rom. 7:5; Col. 1:6; Col. 1:10

Perseverance (5281) (hupomone from hupo = under + meno = stay, remain, abide) literally means abiding under. The root idea of hupomone is to remain under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something which demands the submission of one's will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. The picture is that of steadfastness, constancy and endurance. It has in it a forward look, the ability to focus on what is beyond the current pressures (eg Jesus "Who for the joy set before Him endured [verb form hupomeno] the Cross despising the shame" Heb 12:2+). As alluded to in the preceding section, this supernatural quality of "abiding under" is possible only as we rely on the enabling power of the Spirit.

Hupomone - 32x/31v - endurance(7), patient enduring(1), perseverance(21), steadfastness(3).Lk. 8:15; Lk. 21:19; Rom. 2:7; Rom. 5:3; Rom. 5:4; Rom. 8:25; Rom. 15:4; Rom. 15:5; 2 Co. 1:6; 2 Co. 6:4; 2 Co. 12:12; Col. 1:11; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:10; Tit. 2:2; Heb. 10:36; Heb. 12:1; Jas. 1:3; Jas. 1:4; Jas. 5:11; 2 Pet. 1:6; Rev. 1:9; Rev. 2:2; Rev. 2:3; Rev. 2:19; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 13:10; Rev. 14:12

Related Resources:

Puritan Thomas Watson on Effectual Hearing - If you would hear the Word aright, be not only attentive, but retentive. Lay the Word up in your memories and hearts. "The seed on the good ground are they who, having heard the Word, keep it." The Greek word for "keep" signifies "to hold the Word fast, that it do not run from us." If the seed be not kept in the ground, but is presently washed away, it is sown to little purpose: so, if the Word preached be not kept in your memories and hearts, it is preached in vain. Many people have memories like leaky vessels — the Word goes out as fast as it comes in: how, then, can it profit? If a treasure be put into a chest and the chest not locked, it may easily be taken out: a bad memory is like a chest without a look, the devil can easily take out all the treasure. Labour to keep in memory the truths you hear: the things we esteem we are not so apt to forget.

Steven Cole - The fact that Jesus calls this heart “honest and good” does not mean that He believed in the inherent goodness of some people. Jesus certainly agreed with the Hebrew Scriptures which repeatedly affirm the sinfulness of every human heart (Ge 6:5; Ge 8:21; Ps 14:3; Je 17:9). Jesus Himself taught that the human heart is the source of all sorts of wickedness (Mk 7:21-23). He told even His disciples that they were evil (Lu 11:13) and He told the rich young ruler that none is good except God alone (Lu 18:19).Any good heart is good because God graciously has wrought the miracle of regeneration in that heart. In response to God’s grace, this person hears the Word, holds it fast, and bears fruit over the long haul with perseverance. Fruit is that which the life of God produces in and through a believer. It includes Christlike character, conduct, and converts. The fruitful Christian is not only a hearer of the Word, but also a doer of it. He feeds on it continually so that it confronts his sin, it challenges his wrong attitudes, and it shows him how to live in a manner pleasing to God. He is not being conformed to this world, but is being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Ro 12:2).

ILLUSTRATION OF DIFFERENT SOILS - The popular preacher, Chuck Swindoll, tells of ministering at a family conference. There was a young couple there with several small children, and it was obvious that they had some serious problems in their marriage. But as the week progressed, Chuck watched this couple change as they sat under the teaching of God’s Word. The husband seemed to hang on every word. The wife had her Bible open and followed carefully from passage to passage. On the last day, they both came up to Chuck and said, “We want you to know that this week has been a 180 degree turn around experience for us. When we came, we were ready to separate. We’re going back now stronger than we have ever been in our marriage.”That’s tremendous! But the sad thing, Chuck said, is that at the same conference with the same speakers, the same truths, and the same surroundings, another man was turned off. He wasn’t open to God’s Word. He attended the first few sessions, but his guilt became so great and his conviction so deep that he went home. His family left hurting, perhaps even more so than when they came. What was the difference between those two men at the same conference? The difference was the condition of the soil of their hearts.


  1. In light of this parable, should we give assurance of salvation to new believers? Why/why not?
  2. Do you agree that only one soil is truly saved? Could types two and three be “carnal” Christians? What difference does this make?
  3. When we sow the seed of the gospel, to what extent should be try to be persuasive and to what extent should we fall back on the sovereignty of God (see 1Co 9:19-23; 2Co 5:11)?
  4. How can we guard against worries, riches, and pleasures choking out the Word in our lives?  (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

MacArthur discusses the nature of the fruit -  

There's two kinds of fruit: attitude fruit and action fruit; attitude fruit and action fruit. The fruit that's demonstrated in your inner man and the fruit that's demonstrated in your outer man.  You can see the fruit of conversion in the attitudes such as, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, faith, meekness, gentleness, goodness." (Gal 5:22-23) You see it in their love for God, love for Christ, love for others.  You see it in the joy and trials, peace in tribulation.  The fruit of attitude is manifest. You get to know a person and you know whether you're seeing evidence of transformed life in how they deal with all the stuff that comes in life.... you can do a little spiritual EKG on yourself by just taking inventory of your attitude.  Are you compelled by the love that you have for Christ?  Are you compelled by the love for God?  Is it the heart cry to worship God, to honor God, to serve God, to love others?  Do you find your heart is filled with hope?  Do you find yourself at peace in the midst of disappointment?  Is there a constant undergirding of incessant joy because everything in the end is controlled by the sovereign purpose of God for your well-being and His glory?  That's evidence of transformation. Action fruit is what you say, what you do.  John says, 1 John 3:9, 10 "If you're born of God you don't continue in sin."  Oh there will be sin there but it won't be that unbroken pattern of sin that's characterized in an unregenerate life.  You look at your life and you see righteous deeds.  Philippians 1:11, "Their life will be filled with all the fruits of righteousness."  They will be, as Hebrews says, the fruit of lips praise to God (Heb 13:15).  As Paul said when he was going to the Romans, I want to come and have some fruit among you. You'll be leading people to Christ, spreading the Gospel.  You can put on the "action fruit," without the attitude fruit but that's legalism.  The Pharisees were good at that. They could do the action. They were painted white on the outside but inside they were full of dead men's bones.  So action fruit without attitude fruit is damning legalism.  Action fruit as a result of attitude fruit is true spirituality. This is not a new concept.  The way you know that somebody is a believer is not by what they said somewhere or sometime, what they prayed somewhere sometime. And parents: Don't hold on to that.  You know when your child is in the teen-aged years, or their twenties or older, or whatever, and they're out living a life that disregards God all together and pays no attention to Jesus Christ and demonstrates no love of righteousness, no consuming desire to worship and honor God, don't think they're Christians because sometime in the past they prayed a prayer. That doesn't mean anything.  This is not new, as I said.  Psalm 1:1, you can go all the way back to the beginning of the Psalms. "How blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. His delight is in the law of the Lord."  You find somebody who is regenerated and he will love the law of the Lord.  “In His law he meditates day and night.  He's like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water which yields its fruit in his season.” (Ps 1:2)  He's going to have a love for God.  He's going to have a love for the truth of God, the Word of God.  It's going to show up in the fruit of his life."   (Luke 8:14-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 3)

J C Ryle on Luke 8:4-15 - THE parable of the sower, contained in these verses, is reported more frequently than any parable in the Bible. It is a parable of universal application. The things it relates are continually going on in every congregation to which the Gospel is preached. The four kinds of hearts it describes are to be found in every assembly which hears the word. These circumstances should make us always read the parable with a deep sense of its importance. We should say to ourselves, as we read it: “This concerns me. My heart is to be seen in this parable. I, too, am here.” The passage itself requires little explanation. In fact, the meaning of the whole picture is so fully explained by our Lord Jesus Christ, that no exposition of man can throw much additional light on it. The parable is preeminently a parable of caution, and caution about a most important subject,—the way of hearing the word of God. It was meant to be a warning to the apostles, not to expect too much from hearers. It was meant to be a warning to all ministers of the Gospel, not to look for too great results from sermons. It was meant, not least, to be a warning to hearers, to take heed how they hear. Preaching is an ordinance of which the value can never be overrated in the Church of Christ. But it should never be forgotten, that there must not only be good preaching, but good hearing.

The first caution that we learn from the parable of the sower, is to beware of the devil when we hear the word. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of some hearers are like “the wayside.” The seed of the Gospel is plucked away from them by the devil almost as soon as it is sown. It does not sink down into their consciences. It does not make the least impression on their minds. The devil, no doubt, is everywhere (Ed: This is not accurate theology! His demonic underlings undoubtedly are everywhere, but he is finite and fixed at any moment in time!). That malicious spirit is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He (HIS DEMONS) is ever watching for our halting, and seeking occasion to destroy our souls. But nowhere perhaps is the devil so active as in a congregation of Gospel-hearers. Nowhere does he labor so hard to stop the progress of that which is good, and to prevent men and women being saved. From him come wandering thoughts and roving imaginations,—listless minds and dull memories,—sleepy eyes and fidgetty nerves, weary ears and distracted attention. In all these things Satan has a great hand. People wonder where they come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull, and remember them so badly! They forget the parable of the sower. They forget the devil. Let us take heed that we are not way-side hearers. Let us beware of the devil. We shall always find him at Church. He never stays away from public ordinances. Let us remember this, and be upon our guard. Heat, and cold, and draughts, and damp, and wet, and rain, and snow, are often dreaded by Church goers, and alleged as reasons for not going to Church. But there is one enemy whom they ought to fear more than all these things together. That enemy is Satan.

The second caution that we learn from the parable of the sower, is to beware of resting on mere temporary impressions when we have heard the word. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of some hearers are like rocky ground. The seed of the word springs up immediately, as soon as they hear it, and bears a crop of joyful impressions, and pleasurable emotions. But these impressions, unhappily, are only on the surface. There is no deep and abiding work done in their souls. And hence, so soon as the scorching heat of temptation or persecution begins to be felt, the little bit of religion which they seemed to have attained, withers and vanishes away. Feelings, no doubt, fill a most important office in our personal Christianity. Without them there can be no saving religion. Hope, and joy, and peace, and confidence, and resignation, and love, and fear, are things which must be felt, if they really exist. But it must never be forgotten that there are religious affections, which are spurious and false, and spring from nothing better than animal excitement. It is quite possible to feel great pleasure, or deep alarm, under the preaching of the Gospel, and yet to be utterly destitute of the grace of God. The tears of some hearers of sermons, and the extravagant delight of others, are no certain marks of conversion. We may be warm admirers of favorite preachers, and yet remain nothing better than stony-ground hearers. Nothing should content us but a deep, humbling, self-mortifying work of the Holy Ghost, and a heart-union with Christ.

The third caution contained in the parable of the sower is to beware of the cares of this world. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of many hearers of the word are like thorny ground. The seed of the word, when sown upon them, is choked by the multitude of other things, by which their affections are occupied. They have no objection to the doctrines and requirements of the Gospel. They even wish to believe and obey them. But they allow the things of earth to get such hold upon their minds, that they leave no room for the word of God to do its work. And hence it follows that however many sermons they hear, they seem nothing bettered by them. A weekly process of truth-stifling goes on within. They bring no fruit to perfection. The things of this life form one of the greatest dangers which beset a Christian’s path. The money, the pleasures, the daily business of the world, are so many traps to catch souls. Thousands of things, which in themselves are innocent, become, when followed to excess, little better than soul-poisons, and helps to hell. Open sin is not the only thing that ruins souls. In the midst of our families, and in the pursuit of our lawful callings, we have need to be on our guard. Except we watch and pray, these temporal things may rob us of heaven, and smother every sermon we hear. We may live and die thorny-ground hearers.

The last caution contained in the parable of the sower, is to beware of being content with any religion which does not bear fruit in our lives. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of those who hear the word aright, are like good ground. The seed of the Gospel sinks down deeply into their wills, and produces practical results in their faith and practice. They not only hear with pleasure, but act with decision. They repent. They believe. They obey. Forever let us bear in mind that this is the only religion that saves souls. Outward profession of Christianity, and the formal use of Church ordinances and sacraments, never yet gave man a good hope in life, or peace in death, or rest in the world beyond the grave. There must be fruits of the Spirit in our hearts and lives, or else the Gospel is preached to us in vain. Those only who bear such fruits, shall be found at Christ’s right hand in the day of His appearing.

Let us leave the parable with a deep sense of the danger and responsibility of all hearers of the Gospel. There are four ways in which we may hear, and of these four only one is right.—There are three kinds of hearers whose souls are in imminent peril. How many of these three kinds are to be found in every congregation!—There is only one class of hearers which is right in the sight of God. And what are we? Do we belong to that one?
Finally, let us leave the parable with a solemn recollection of the duty of every faithful preacher to divide his congregation, and give to each class his portion. The clergyman who ascends his pulpit every Sunday, and addresses his congregation as if he thought every one was going to heaven, is surely not doing his duty to God or man. His preaching is flatly contradictory to the parable of the sower.

Prepared Soil

Read: Luke 8:4-15

The ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit. —Luke 8:15

The farmer may be shoveling snow or enjoying the warmth of a winter fire right now, but he’s thinking ahead to spring planting. Already he’s anticipating those days when he turns over the soil. He’ll pull out rocks that have risen with the frost, spread the right fertilizers, and get the earth ready for the seed. He knows that the harder he prepares in the spring, the better his harvest will be.

Jesus used that kind of word picture in the parable of the sower. The seed is the Word of God, and the soil is our hearts. The “noble and good heart” (Lk. 8:15) receives the Word, retains it, and produces fruit.

How about our hearts? Are they prepared to receive the seed of God’s Word? Or are there hindrances that keep it from growing and bearing fruit? Jesus identified three kinds of thorns that spring up and choke out the seed—”the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” (Mk. 4:19).

If you’ve grown cold toward God’s Word, if it’s not firmly established in your life and producing fruit, it may be that you’re too concerned about this world with its riches and distractions. Tear out those thorns! How much fruit you’ll harvest depends on how well you prepare the soil. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It may not be some heinous deed
That chills our heart and chokes the seed;
It's often just a trifling toy
That grabs our eye and steals our joy.

To bear good fruit, clear out the weeds of sin.

Gardening Tips

These are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the Word, accept it, and bear fruit. —Mark 4:20

Today's Scripture: Mark 4:1-9

I picked up a gardening book the other day and got some good advice: Take care of the soil, and don’t worry about the plants. If the soil is good, the seed will take root and grow.”

In the parable of the sower in Mark 4, Jesus spoke of the importance of “good ground” (or good soil). He defined good soil as referring to those who “hear” God’s Word, “accept it,” and “bear fruit” (v.20). If we keep our heart soft and receptive, God’s Word will take root, grow, and produce fruit.

In gardening, life is in the seed. Under the right conditions, it will grow until it reaches maturity and produces fruit. Similarly, if the seed of the Word is planted in the good soil of a receptive heart, it will grow until the character of Jesus is seen.

For the Christian, the power of the spiritual life comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. As we open our heart to the Word with an eagerness to obey it, the Spirit causes us to grow and bear fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

We can’t make ourselves grow, any more than we can force growth from the seeds in our gardens. But we can tend the soil, keeping our hearts soft, receptive, and obedient to God’s Word. Then we will yield the fruit of righteousness.

What kind of soil are you? By:  David H. Roper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, I would be soil in which You can plant
Your Word with its promise of fruit;
I want to be open to You every day,
So what You have planted takes root.

A heart open to God is soil in which the seed of His Word can flourish.

Son Followers

The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.Luke 8:15

Today's Scripture & Insight:Luke 8:11–15

Sunflowers sprout in a carefree manner all over the world. Pollinated by bees, the plants spring up on the sides of highways, under bird feeders, and across fields, meadows, and prairies. To produce a harvest, however, sunflowers need good soil. Well-drained, slightly acidic, nutrient-rich soil “with organic matter or composted,” says the Farmer’s Almanac, finally produces tasty sunflower seeds, pure oil, and also a livelihood for hard-working sunflower growers.

We also need “good soil” for spiritual growth (Luke 8:15). As Jesus taught in His parable of the farmer scattering seed, God’s Word can sprout even in rocky or thorny soil (see vv. 6–7). It only thrives, however, in the soil of “honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest” (v. 15 nlt).

Young sunflowers are just as patient in their growth. Following the sun’s movement throughout the day, they turn sunward daily in a process called heliotropism. Mature sunflowers are just as deliberate. They turn eastward permanently, warming the face of the flower and increasing visits from pollinator bees. This in turn produces a greater harvest.

As with those who care for sunflowers, we can provide a rich medium for God’s Word to grow by clinging to is Word and following after His Son—developing honesty and a good heart for God’s Word to mature us. It’s a daily process. May we follow the Son and grow. By:  Patricia Raybon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What’s the condition of your spiritual soil? Rocky, thorny, or rich in spiritual “nutrients”? Why? When you follow the Son daily, how does this practice impact your honesty and heart?

What Kind Of Soil Are You?

Those who [hear] the Word with a noble and good heart keep it and bear fruit. — Luke 8:15

Today's Scripture: Luke 8:4-15

A new resident at the drug rehabilitation center where I worked was given the task of planting runner-bean seeds. With no experience growing vegetables, Jim quickly became bored waiting for the seeds to sprout.

After weeks of seeing nothing happen, Jim finally noticed signs of life coming up. Before long, he had to put poles in the ground for the beans to climb. One day Jim ran excitedly into the kitchen with some freshly picked beans for dinner. “Wow! All this from tiny seeds!” he exclaimed. “I’ve sure learned a lot!”

As I talked with Jim, it became clear that he learned more than how plants grow. He gained a new insight: If we willingly listen to God in His Word and do what’s right for the right reasons and for the right length of time, our lives will be fruitful.

In Luke 8, Jesus used a parable to teach that the seed of the Word of God will produce a harvest in good soil. But the seed is productive only if the soil is receptive.

People with receptive hearts hear God’s Word, obey it, and bear fruit. Others, however, have resistant hearts that fall prey to the devil, do not allow the seed to take root, or are overgrown with the cares and temptations of life.

God’s Word is good seed. Is your heart good soil?  —JEY   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, I would be soil in which You can plant
Your Word with its promise of fruit;
I want to be open to You every day,
So what You have planted takes root. —Hess

To be spiritually fruitful, plant God's Word in your heart.

Luke 8:16  "Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.

KJV 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.

Related passages:

Luke 11:33+ “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.

Mt 5:15+ nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Context - Mt 5:14-16+ - “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 

Mark 4:21-25+  And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

Ancient Oil Lamp



Keep in mind that since Jesus used this saying about a lamp several times, that does not mean it is interpreted exactly the same in all the uses. In fact, as is always the case in good Bible study, the most accurate interpretation depends on the context, the content of the surrounding passages. 

The question in this section is to whom is Jesus speaking? Some commentators think it is the multitude, but the fact that He has just been speaking privately to His disciples (see Lk 8:9+) would support the premise that He is still addressing the disciples. And remember that at this time, the disciples is not referring to just the 12 who were also apostles, but also to others who were following Jesus as "learners." The disciples in this latter group does not signify they were believers in Jesus for they likely spanned the spectrum from some who were becoming believers to others who were not but who were interested. 

Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container or puts it under a bed - This is a self-evident. No one would do this with a lamp that was lit. Now think about what Jesus is saying. It is straightforward. You have a candle which is lit. What do you normally do with it? Hide it? Cover it? Of course not (in fact doing so might even extinguish the candle for lack of oxygen!) You place the candle where the light can be useful, where it is seen. Jesus clearly liked this simple picture for it is recorded several times in the Gospels - Luke 11:33, Mt 5:15 and Mk 4:21. The question is what does the light (lamp that is lit) represent? Light reveals what we cannot otherwise see. The Word of God reveals truth about God we could otherwise not see. The Gospel reveals the way into the Kingdom of God which we could otherwise not see (Jn 3:3). The word also brings to light the secret things in people’s hearts (cf "reproof" in 2Ti 3:16+). When a disciple hears the truth of the Word of God, the Gospel, he should not hide it from others, nor hide from it himself! Instead he should seek opportunities to proclaim it to those in darkness. He should also respond to any area of evil in his heart that has been exposed by the light! 

Why would Jesus tell this story at this time? I think John MacArthur is correct when he says "The fact that Christ taught mysteries in parables was not to suggest that His message was meant for elite disciples or that it should be kept secret." The point is that Jesus' teaching (whether in parables or not) should not be hidden, but should be displayed so that it can benefit others. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 
Psalm 119:105

Steven Cole explains that "The flow of thought seems to go back to verse Lu 8:10+, where Jesus explained that the purpose of His parables was both to reveal truth to the spiritually responsive and to conceal truth from the spiritually superficial. Jesus does not want His disciples to think that His main purpose is to conceal truth. Thus He gives the illustration of the lamp being set on the lampstand, not hidden under a container or bed, to show them that the main purpose of His teaching is to illumine the truth, not to hide it. But, at the same time, light serves two functions: it illumines, but it also exposes. Jesus’ teaching not only illumines the truth, it also exposes the evil that lurks in the dark corners of the human heart (Lu 8:17). Therefore, we must take care how we listen, so that we respond obediently to Jesus’ teaching, rather than shrink from it because it convicts us of sin. If we respond obediently, we will receive more light. If we shrink back, what light we think we have will be taken from us. Luke then inserts the story about Jesus’ mother and brothers (Lu 8:19-21) to underscore the importance of obeying Jesus’ teaching. (cf 1 Sa 15:22-23) The key to being close to Jesus is not blood relationship or any other natural privilege, but obedience to God’s Word. This means that any person, Jew or Gentile, male or female, can be closer to Jesus than His natural mother and brothers were. The way to be close to Jesus is to listen carefully to His Word with a view to obedience. As in the parable of the sower, there is both an encouragement and a warning in these verses: Since God’s truth is revealed in Jesus, we must listen carefully and obediently or His teaching ultimately will judge us. Thus verses Lu 8:16 and Lu 8:17 make the point that God’s truth is revealed in Jesus. Verse Lu 8:18 applies it by stating that we must listen carefully or that very truth will some day judge us. Verses Lu 8:19-21 illustrate the point, that obedience to God’s Word is primary. (Luke 8:16-21 Take Care How You Listen!)

Warren Wiersbe - The disciples were perplexed because Jesus taught in parables, so they asked Him for an explanation (Luke 8:9–10; also see Matt. 13:10–17). His reply seems to suggest that He used parables in order to hide the truth from the crowds, but just the opposite is true, and Luke 8:16–18 makes that clear. His teaching is a light that must be allowed to shine so that sinners may be saved....A parable starts off as a picture that is familiar to the listeners. But as you carefully consider the picture, it becomes a mirror in which you see yourself, and many people do not like to see themselves. This explains why some of our Lord’s listeners became angry when they heard His parables, and even tried to kill Him. But if we see ourselves as needy sinners and ask for help, then the mirror becomes a window through which we see God and His grace. To understand a parable and benefit from it demands honesty and humility on our part, and many of our Lord’s hearers lacked both. (Borrow Be compassionate)

Tell it again! Tell it again!
Salvation’s story repeat o’er and o’er.
Till none can say of the children of men,
Nobody ever has told me before.
(True story behind this song)

Ancient Lampstand

But He puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see the light. - Mk 4:21 says "A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket." So what is the light? In context of the parable of the sower/soils it would seem to be another metaphorical picture of the Word of God. First Jesus said it was a seed to be planted in soil and now He says it is a light to shine into dark places. NET agrees writing that "Jesus is comparing revelation to light, particularly the revelation of His ministry. (cf Lk 1:78-79+)"  Life Application Study Bible says "When the light of the truth about Jesus illuminates us, we have the duty to shine that light to help others. Our witness for Christ should be public, not hidden. We should not keep the benefits for ourselves alone but pass them on to others. In order to be helpful, we need to be well placed. Seek opportunities to shine your light when unbelievers need help to see."

The highest form of selfishness is that of the man who is content to go to heaven alone.
The truest charity is to endeavor to share with others every spark of religious light we possess ourselves
-- J C Ryle

David Guzik -  If you have the truth of God, you have a solemn responsibility to spread that truth in whatever way God gives you opportunity, even as someone who has the cure for a life-threatening disease has the moral responsibility to spread that cure. God didn’t light your lamp so that it would be hidden. One must either spread the word itself, or spread the influence of God’s word by bringing others to a place where they will hear it; and you really should be doing both.

Spurgeon - 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 Exposition)

John MacArthur has an interesting analysis of this section and in these passages he sees 4 ways a true disciple hears the Word -  evangelistically, authentically, fruitfully and obediently.  And that's all in this little text, as we will see.  And that's very much in contrast.  The people who don't hear the way they should hear don't respond evangelistically.  They don't respond authentically.  They don't respond fruitfully.  They don't respond obediently.  So you can look at your life and you can know whether you're hearing the way you should hear....Now, if you're looking for that word (evangelistically) in verse 16, you're not going to find it, but that's where the point is made.

Darrell Bock entitles Luke 8:16-18 a "Call to Respond to Light" and mentions three approaches to the interpretation - 

  1. Many see the saying as an exhortation to the disciples to function as light, to go openly into the world and proclaim the message. This is clearly the force of the remark in Mt. 5:15, where the following verse exhorts them to let their light shine before people. If one sees this saying as a strict parallel to Matthew, then this interpretation is natural (Hendriksen 1978: 430; Plummer 1896: 222).
  2. Others hold to the same thrust and appeal to the previous context, where the parable concerns the fruitfulness of the preached word. Since the section is about the preaching of the word, such an emphasis is only natural (Geldenhuys 1951: 247; Marshall 1978: 328; Schürmann 1969: 467; Fitzmyer 1981: 718; W. Robinson 1966: 132–33).
  3. Another way to view the reference is as a characterization of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus’ teaching is light; it is given in public and illumines the way to God (Danker 1988: 178; Wis. 6:22; Sir. 39:1–3). (Baker Exegetical Commentary- Luke)

J C Ryle  says that "We learn, firstly, from these verses, that spiritual knowledge ought to be diligently used. Our Lord tells us that it is like a lighted candle, utterly useless, when covered with a bushel, or put under a bed,—only useful when set upon a candlestick, and placed where it can be made serviceable to the wants of men. When we hear this lesson, let us first think of ourselves. The Gospel which we possess was not given us only to be admired, talked of, and professed,—but to be practised. It was not meant merely to reside in our intellect, and memories, and tongues,—but to be seen in our lives. Christianity is a talent committed to our charge, and one which brings with it great responsibility. We are not in darkness like the heathen. A glorious light is put before us. Let us take heed that we use it. While we have the light let us walk in the light. (John 12:35.) But let us not only think of ourselves. Let us also think of others. There are millions in the world who have no spiritual light at all. They are without God, without Christ, and without hope. (Ephes. 2:12.) Can we do nothing for them?—There are thousands around us, in our own land, who are unconverted and dead in sins, seeing nothing and knowing nothing aright. Can we do nothing for them?—These are questions to which every true Christian ought to find an answer. We should strive, in every way, to spread our religion. The highest form of selfishness is that of the man who is content to go to heaven alone. The truest charity is to endeavor to share with others every spark of religious light we possess ourselves, and so to hold our own candle that it may give light to every one around us. Happy is that soul, which, as soon as it receives light from heaven, begins to think of others as well as itself! No candle which God lights was ever meant to burn alone.

Lamp (3088)(luchnos/lychnos)  literally refers to a portable lamp fed with oil and not to a candle but candles were not invented until the Middle Ages! The lamp was originally an open bowl, then a closed lamp in various forms, usually put on a stand to give better light, the luchnía being the stand.. A number of the uses of luchnos are figurative or metaphorical. 

Luchnos -  Matt. 5:15; Matt. 6:22; Mk. 4:21; Lk. 8:16; Lk. 11:33; Lk. 11:34; Lk. 11:36; Lk. 12:35; Lk. 15:8; Jn. 5:35; 2 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 18:23; Rev. 21:23; Rev. 22:5

Luke 8:17  "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

NET  Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light.

GNT  Luke 8:17 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον ὃ οὐ μὴ γνωσθῇ καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ.

NLT  Luke 8:17 For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

NIV  Luke 8:17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

ASV  Luke 8:17 For nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest; nor anything secret, that shall not be known and come to light.

CSB  Luke 8:17 For nothing is concealed that won't be revealed, and nothing hidden that won't be made known and come to light.

NKJ  Luke 8:17 "For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

NRS  Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.

YLT  Luke 8:17 for nothing is secret, that shall not become manifest, nor hid, that shall not be known, and become manifest.

NAB  Luke 8:17 For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.

NJB  Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be made known and brought to light.

GWN  Luke 8:17 There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.

BBE  Luke 8:17 For nothing is put out of view which will not be made clear, and nothing is secret of which the knowledge will not come to light.

For nothing is hidden that will not become evident (phanerós), nor anything secret (apokruphos) that will not be known and come to light. This statement ultimately applies to the fact that nothing can be concealed on judgment day. 

For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Eccl 12:14)

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Cor 4:5)

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. (Lk 12:2-3)

Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. (Isa 59:1)

The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against him. (Job.20:27) 

Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. (Pr.26:26)

Compare these passages with Luke 8:17...

Matthew 10:26 “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Luke 12:2  “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Spurgeon on For nothing is hidden that will not become evident - 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 - exposition)

This verse echoes the OT teaching of Moses

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out (Lxx for find you out = katalambano = to seize, grasp with force, overpower you!). (Numbers 32:23)

Comment: This warning was issued specifically to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, exhorting them to fulfill their commitment to participate with the other tribes in the campaign in Canaan. Yet, it expresses a universal principle. No sin against God or His Word will remain secret and unpunished. Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Gal. 6:7; Hos. 8:7). One day every man must give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10, 12).

NET Note on nothing is hidden - Light also exposes, and Jesus was suggesting that his teaching likewise revealed where people are and where they will be. Truth will be manifest in the future, just as it was declared by him then. Nothing will be concealed.

Henry Morris - This is a sobering warning to those who feel they can sin or cheat with impunity because no one knows. Sooner or later, everyone will know: "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). (Borrow The Defender's Study Bible)

Darrell Bock - The imagery shows that response to Jesus’ teaching is absolutely crucial. He functions as the revealer of truth, and the response to him exposes where the heart is and where one’s future with God resides. (Miracle 1: Jesus' Authority over Nature and Care for Us 8:22-25)

J C Ryle - The application of these words and their connection with the context are not quite clear. Their primary sense appears to be that the disciples must not suppose that our Lord’s instructions were intended to be kept secret, and reserved from the world. They were not to be confined to a few favored hearers, like the lessons of the heathen philosophers, but to be published, proclaimed, and made known to all mankind. In this way the light given to the apostles would be “placed on a candlestick,” and not covered and hidden. Some think that the words point to the day of judgment, and the account which will then be taken of the use which all who have seen the light of the Gospel have made of it. (Luke 8)

Steven Cole - You may wonder, why wouldn’t everyone want God’s light to illumine their lives so that they can see how to avoid the holes and dangers of the dark? Jesus explained, “Men loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn 3:19-20). This shows us a  secondary purpose of Jesus’ teaching is to expose all that is hidden in the human heart (Lk 8:17). There also is debate about the meaning of this verse. Some think it refers to God’s truth that will be made obvious through the apostles’ teaching. But the warning in the next verse to hear carefully fits better with the view that God’s light exposes the sinfulness of human hearts. But therein lies the danger: we all are inclined to hide from the light rather than to allow it to expose the foulness of our hearts. (ILLUSTRATION) Years ago, a wealthy Chinese businessman visited England and was fascinated by a powerful microscope and the wonders it uncovered. So he bought one and took it back to China. He thoroughly enjoyed using it until one day when he looked at some rice that he was planning to eat for dinner. To his shock, he saw tiny living creatures crawling in it. He didn’t know what to do, since rice was a staple of his diet. Finally, in frustration, he smashed his microscope to bits. It had revealed something distasteful to him, so he destroyed the source of the discovery! That was rather foolish, but how many people do the same thing with the Bible or with sermons from the Bible that expose their sin. They don’t feel comfortable with what they see, so they get rid of the source rather than deal with the sin! The Puritan pastor, Thomas Watson, said concerning the Scriptures, “Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the word thunders against sin, think thus: ‘God means my sins;’ when it presses any duty, ‘God intends me in this.’ Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the word, bring it home to yourselves: a medicine will do no good, unless it be applied” (cited by Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life [Navpress], p. 53). That is what Jesus exhorts us to do in verse Lu 8:18. (Luke 8:16-21 Take Care How You Listen!)

John MacArthur interprets Lk 8:17 in a slightly different sense - Although commentators offer various interpretations of this statement, it seems reasonable to understand it as talking about authenticity; what a person is on the inside. Because nothing is hidden that will not become evident, or to put it another way there is nothing secret that will not be known and come to light, the true condition of the heart will eventually be revealed. Generally speaking, time and truth go hand in hand. Given enough time the truth comes out for men to see. It is, of course, never hidden from God....Jesus’ words evidently are a warning against hypocrisy, as an examination of the parallel statement in Luke 12:1-2 suggests. In verse 1 the Lord “began saying to His disciples first of all, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.’” He cautioned His hearers to avoid imitating the Pharisees, who “say things and do not do them” (Matt. 23:3); who “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly… are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (v. 28). He exhorted them not to be like the false disciples who call Him “Lord, Lord,” but do not obey Him (Matt. 7:21-22; Luke 6:46); who build their spiritual houses on the sand (Matt. 7:26-27).All such hypocrisy will eventually be unmasked, because “there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Lk 12:2). Since that phrase in the context of chapter 12 clearly refers to exposing hypocrisy, it likely has that same meaning in the present passage. In light of the coming judgment, Jesus called for self-examination on the part of those who claim to be His disciples. (See The MacArthurCommentary)

William Barclay - There are three people from whom we try to hide things.

  1. Sometimes we try to hide things from ourselves. We shut our eyes to the consequences of certain actions and habits, consequences of which we are well aware. It is like a man deliberately shutting his eyes to symptoms of an illness which he knows he has. We have only to state that to see its incredible folly.
  2. Sometimes we try to hide things from our fellow men. Things have a way of coming out. The man with a secret is an unhappy man. The happy man is the man with nothing to hide. It is told that once an architect offered to build for Plato a house in which every room would be hidden from the public eye. “I will give you twice the money,” said Plato, “if you build me a house into every room of which all men’s eyes can see.” Happy is the man who can speak like that.
  3. Sometimes we try to hide things from God. No man ever attempted a more impossible task. We would do well to have before our eyes forever the text which says, “Thou art a God of seeing.” (Genesis 16:13.) (Luke 8)

Evident (5318)(phanerós = manifest, visible, conspicuous, from phaino = give light; to make to shine, to cause to become visible from phos = light; Study verb phaneroo) means made visible as an external manifestation to senses. Phaneros stresses what is visible to sight. Conspicuous, apparent, (openly) manifest, obvious, visible, evident, plain, clear, easily seen, open to sight. What is open and public (Mk 4:22).

Phaneros - 16x/16v - apparent(1), disclosed(2), evident(6), light(2), obvious(1), outward(1), outwardly*(1), tell(2), well known(2). Matt. 12:16; Mk. 3:12; Mk. 4:22; Mk. 6:14; Lk. 8:17; Acts 4:16; Acts 7:13; Rom. 1:19; Rom. 2:28; 1 Co. 3:13; 1 Co. 11:19; 1 Co. 14:25; Gal. 5:19; Phil. 1:13; 1 Tim. 4:15; 1 Jn. 3:10

Secret (614)(apokruphos from apo = from, away from + krupto = to hide, cover, conceal, keep secret) means concealed from the notice or knowledge of all persons except the individual or individuals concerned. It pertains to what is not being able to be known and thus that which is kept secret or hidden. In Col 2:3 it refers to that which is laid up in store. Hendriksen adds "Cf. apocryphal books. Those were the ones that were hidden away from—i.e., were not to be read to—the assembled congregation, because they were not considered authentic but spurious."

Three uses - Mk 4:22, Lk 8:17, Col 2:3.

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."

NET  Luke 8:18 So listen carefully, for whoever has will be given more, but whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."

GNT   βλέπετε οὖν πῶς ἀκούετε· ὃς ἂν γὰρ ἔχῃ, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ· καὶ ὃς ἂν μὴ ἔχῃ, καὶ ὃ δοκεῖ ἔχειν ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ.

NLT   "So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them."

KJV   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.

ESV   Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."

NIV   Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."

ASV   Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath.

CSB   Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him."

NKJ "Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him."

NRS   Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away."

YLT   'See, therefore, how ye hear, for whoever may have, there shall be given to him, and whoever may not have, also what he seemeth to have, shall be taken from him.'

NAB   Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."

NJB   So take care how you listen; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he thinks he has.'

GWN  "So pay attention to how you listen! Those who understand these mysteries will be given more knowledge. However, some people don't understand these mysteries. Even what they think they understand will be taken away from them."

BBE   So take care how you give hearing, for to him who has will be given, and from him who has not will be taken even what he seems to have


Parallel Passage:

Mark 4:23-25+ “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

So take care (blepohow you listen (hear)NLT paraphrases it "So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them." Take care is present imperative which calls for this to be a believer's lifestyle, only possible by continually depending on the Spirit's enabling power. Take care continually how you listen is not referring to hearing the sound of words, but of acting on what one hears. To hear truth and not to act on it is equivalent to not "listening." Jesus is actually going to give us an example of the importance of this principle in the next section where He says those who are spiritually related to Him are those "who hear the word of God and do it." (Lk 8:21). 

 Guzik reminds us "When we hear the word, we become accountable; so we must take care how we hear."

Adrian Rogers - Now what does that mean? It means, dear friend, the way to have more light is to obey the light that you have. 

Ryle  - Let it be remembered, in reading such sayings as these, that the bulk of mankind in all ages are peculiarly dependent on oral teaching. The number of those who have time and abilities for reading and private study will always be small. In the days when printing was not invented, and the writings of men were few, the lesson must have been specially important. But it will never lose its importance as long as the world endures.

Ryle's comment reminds me of the fact that "Incredibly 80% of the world, cannot or does not prefer to learn from reading." So one way to take the Gospel to them is orally. There is an interesting  ministry designed to reach those who cannot read called Simply the Story. Of course there is the Jesus Film as well as audio recordings of Scripture that are widely available in many languages. 

Spurgeon - 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.” 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. (Exposition on Luke 8)

Compare these passages with Luke 8:18a take care how you listen...

Matthew 11:15+ “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 

Matthew 13:9+ “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:43+ “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Mark 4:9+  And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

Luke 14:35+   “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

For  - term of explanation - explains why it is so critical to take care how we listen (or hear). If your hearing is in one ear and out the other, soon it won't even be coming in your ear!

David Jeremiah - If people choose to meditate deeply on His words, along with a settled determination (ED: AND DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT) to put them into practice, then God will open their minds to even more of His truth. But if they listen only to be entertained or to find fault --giving only careless attention to it-- then even what they think they understand will be taken from them.. (Study Bible)

For whoever has to him more shall be given - The question is "Has what?" In context it is the Word of God, specifically Jesus' teaching. The New Living Translation paraphrases it in a way we can better see what Jesus is saying - "So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them." Practically, Jesus says if you hear and you obey (as He illustrates in Lk 8:21), you will understand. But if you disobey, you will not understand what He is saying. Beware of listening to the Word of God superficially (and disobediently)! God's Word is not like a human writing. It deserves our utmost attention and our appropriate Spirit enabled response! 

Guzik says more shall be given is a reminder from Jesus reminds "that spiritual growth follows momentum, positive or negative - when we have the godly habits of receiving the word and living it, more is built on to that. When we lose those godly habits, they are extremely difficult to get back. (Ed: Ouch! This hurts!) If we want to hear more from God, we must obey what we have already heard." 


Whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away (airofrom him - NLT = "But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them." Whoever hears God's Word but does not receive it, respond to and obey it, is simply deceiving himself. 

Compare these passages with Luke 8:18b

Matthew 13:12 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Luke 19:26  “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

What he thinks he has shall be taken away (airofrom him - This contrasts Whoever has and makes good use of what he has with whoever does not have and does not make use of what he has received. The Pharisees and other religious leaders thought they were in touch with God and had a highway to heaven, because they had their religious rules and the Holy Temple (What he thinks he has), but some 40 years after the Messiah's crucifixion what they thought they had was abruptly taken away from them!

THOUGHT - This principle applies to all mankind who hold on to their possessions which end up possessing them, but in the end their possessions will all be taken away from them. What are you holding to or counting on to hold you when all hell breaks loose on earth? There is only one Solid Rock, Christ Jesus "A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”  and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word (OBEDIENCE IS EXACTLY WHAT JESUS IS CALLING FOR IN THIS SECTION), and to this doom they were also appointed." (1 Pe 2:6-8+) There is a warning here for all of us - self-deception is by its very nature deceiving and none of us should think we are immune to being deceived by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13+). 

One is also reminded of Judas, who listened "superficially" to Jesus, but tragically did not let it sink into his own heart, a "hard soil" heart! It is worth noting that Judas was not some irreligious pagan. Ostensibly he appeared zealous for the things of God and was counted in the inner circle of Jesus' disciples. And  Yet Judas was deceived. He thought he knew God, but he did not know Him at all because he failed to apply His Word to his heart and in the end lost everything eternally!

ESV Study Bible The one who [already] has a knowledge of God’s Word will understand it better (more will be given), whereas the one who does not listen carefully (has not) will lose even what he has heard (cf. Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:25-28; and notes on Matt. 25:29; Mark 4:24; 4:25; Luke 12:41-48). (Borrow ESV study Bible

Steven Cole applies this passage to all of us - Because there is this element of self-deception, we must be very careful here. It’s easy for spiritual pride to slip in, where our knowledge of the Bible fools us into thinking that we are spiritually mature because we know so much (cf 1 Cor 10:12). We must constantly confront ourselves with the standards of Scripture applied to our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior, especially as seen in our relationships at home. Is my thought life pure? Do I deal with my grumbling, unbelieving, ungrateful spirit? Does my family see the fruit of the Spirit in my dealings with them? If I put on a good front at church, saying, “Lord, Lord,” but I don’t practice His Word in private and at home, I will be shocked some day to hear Him say, “Depart from Me, I never knew you, who practice lawlessness.” (Mt 7:23+) (Take Care How You Listen! Luke 8:16-21)

Darrell Bock - those who think they have something but do not have anything (because they do not receive the word), even what they thought they had will be taken away. To refuse to hear God’s word is to be left desolate and naked before God. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Luke 8:4-21)

NET Note on what he thinks he has - The phrase what he thinks he has is important, because it is not what a person thinks he has that is important but whether he actually has something or not. Jesus describes the person who does not heed His word as having nothing. The person who has nothing loses even that which he thought was something but was not. In other words, he has absolutely nothing at all. Jesus’ teaching must be taken seriously.

Barclay has an interesting comment - Verse 18 lays down the universal law that the man who has will get more; and that the man who has not will lose what he has. If a man is physically fit and keeps himself so, his body will be ready for ever greater efforts; if he lets himself go flabby, he will lose even the abilities he has. The more a student learns, the more he can learn; but if he refuses to go on learning, he will lose the knowledge he has. This is just another way of saying that there is no standing still in life. All the time we are either going forward or going back. The seeker will always find; but the man who stops seeking will lose even what he has.

Take care (take heed) (991)(blepo) basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware").

Uses of blepo by Luke - Lk. 6:41; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 7:44; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 8:16; Lk. 8:18; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:23; Lk. 10:24; Lk. 11:33; Lk. 21:8; Lk. 21:30; Lk. 24:12; Acts 1:9; Acts 1:11; Acts 2:33; Acts 3:4; Acts 4:14; Acts 8:6; Acts 9:8; Acts 9:9; Acts 12:9; Acts 13:11; Acts 13:40; Acts 27:12; Acts 28:26

Shall be taken away (142)(airo)  literally means to lift up something (Mt 17:27) and to carry it (Lxx - Ge 44:1, Ex 25:28 = the Ark). As lifting up and carrying something away remove, carry off, take away (Jn 11.39). This is a frightening thought - truth being lifted up from one's mind (so to speak) and carried away! 

Uses of airo by Luke - Lk. 4:11; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 5:25; Lk. 6:29; Lk. 6:30; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:18; Lk. 9:3; Lk. 9:17; Lk. 9:23; Lk. 11:22; Lk. 11:52; Lk. 17:13; Lk. 17:31; Lk. 19:21; Lk. 19:22; Lk. 19:24; Lk. 19:26; Lk. 22:36; Lk. 23:18 Acts 4:24; Acts 8:33; Acts 20:9; Acts 21:11; Acts 21:36; Acts 22:22; Acts 27:13; Acts 27:17

James Smith - Take heed how you hear!" Luke 8:18

The gospel is a message sent from God to man; it is directed to everyone who hears it, and is as much intended for each, as if every man's name were appended to it. No one has therefore a right to say, "I am not interested in it, it does not concern me;" nor can any one be justified in refusing to listen to it. It is sent to all, it is addressed to every creature; and it proves either a savor of life unto life, or a savor of death unto death. Every man is either softened or hardened by the gospel; it always has an effect — but not always the same effect; therefore, "take heed how you hear!"

The gospel should be heard with close attention, for it is the Word of God — and not the word of man.

It should be listened to with deep seriousness; for it speaks of the most solemn and important subjects.

The thoughts should be exercised upon it, for it is deep, and conveys the thoughts of God.

It should be heard with prayer; for as the Holy Spirit alone can unfold and apply it to the heart, so that it shall work effectually — prayer should ascend while we are hearing, that the Holy Spirit would take of the things of Christ and show them unto us.

It should be mixed with faith, or be cordially and heartily believed; it demands our credence, it calls for the confidence of the heart, and should be received with warm affections.

Every one should hear for himself, as though there was no one present but himself to listen to the Word; and should hear as if death was at his back, judgment before his face, and eternity opening in the distance before him.

"Take heed how you hear!" for there are many thoughtless people, who hear the word — but understand it not!

There are many trifling hearers, whom Satan amuses even while they profess to listen to the voice of God!

There are many prayerless hearers, on whom the Word falls as good seed upon a barren rock!

There are many unbelieving hearers — and the Word does not profit them, because they have no faith!

There are many who hear for others, instead of themselves, and imagine that the Word is suited to those around them, forgetting that it is God's message to them!

So many are hardened by the Word, and become twice dead, like trees plucked up by the roots, and dried in the summer's sun.

"Take heed how you hear!" for all is not done when you have heard; you are accountable for the use you make of the Word, and must answer for the use or abuse of it before God. God will not allow anyone to trifle with His gospel, slight His mercy, and insult His messages with importunity. He is a jealous God. He will maintain His right. He will avenge His injured grace!

The gospel brings a vast responsibility with it, and places us in very solemn circumstances. It brings God near to us; by it He speaks with us; and we either welcome Him — or say, "Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of your ways."

"Take heed what you hear." Compare it with God's written Word; for many false teachers have gone out into the world." Imitate the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily, to see if what an Apostle preached corresponded therewith. We are solemnly bound to compare the preacher's message — with God's Word; and receive or reject it, in proportion as it corresponds with or differs from it. We shall be judged by the Word of God; which Word of God, in His kind and gracious providence, has put into our hands, in our own mother tongue.

"Blessed are they who hear the Word of God — and keep it;" who . . . hide it in their hearts, write it on their memories, embrace it with their affections, and obey it in their lives.

It is a blessing to have an opportunity to hear it; a greater blessing to have an inclination to embrace it; but the greatest blessing of all is, to be conformed to it in our hearts and lives.

Such are indeed blessed; for they have . . . a lamp, to enlighten their darkness; a map, to mark out their road; plentiful provision for their souls, and eternal life in promise and prospect!

Reader, is this blessedness yours? Do you hear the Word of God as a message sent to you from God? Do you hear it regularly, thoughtfully, prayerfully, with faith, for yourself? Do you keep it, in your thoughts, in your affections, in your life?

Steven ColeListening carefully to God’s Word involves several elements:

First, listening carefully means taking the time to read the Word and meditate on its meaning. Even among those who attend church regularly, so many are simply ignorant of what the Bible says because they do not take the time consistently to read it and think about what it means. In our busy schedules, we often rush through devotions (if we have them at all) without taking the time to chew on what the text means and how it applies to our lives. A few years ago there was a man in his eighties named Carl Sharsmith who had spent over 50 summers as a guide in Yosemite National Park. This man delighted in the spectacular beauty of that place, and he was always discovering some new facet of it to revel in. But often he got hit with a question that a lady asked him one afternoon: “I’ve only got an hour to spend at Yosemite,” she declared. “What should I do? Where should I go?” The old naturalist ranger finally found a voice to reply. “Ah, lady, only an hour.” He repeated it slowly. “I suppose that if I had only an hour to spend at Yosemite, I’d just walk over there by the river and sit down and cry.” Just as there is enough in Yosemite to spend a lifetime of summers exploring, so there is enough in the Bible to spend your lifetime digging out and meditating on. If we do not understand it, we must ask God to open our minds to its meaning. We must go back and spend more time observing what it says and does not say. We must read the context over and over to get the flow of thought. Take the time often to spend with the Lord in His Word. 

Second, listening carefully means always looking for Christ in the Word. Jesus chastised the Jews by saying, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me” (Jn 6:39). With the two men on the Emmaus Road, “beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, [Jesus] explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Lu 24:27+). Whether we’re in the Old Testament or in the New, we ought to draw closer to the Lord Jesus if we are listening carefully to what God has revealed. Spurgeon tells the story of a young preacher who preached a very fine sermon—what Spurgeon calls “a highfaluting, spread-eagle sermon.”

When he was done, the young man asked an old Welsh preacher who had heard him what he thought of it. The old man replied that he did not think much of it. “Why not?” asked the young man. “Because there was no Jesus Christ in it.” “Well,” said the young preacher, “my text did not seem to run that way.” The old preacher said, “Never mind, but your sermon should have run that way.” He went on, “This is the way to preach. From every little village in England—it does not matter where it is—there is sure to be a road to London. Now, from every text in the Bible there is a road to Jesus Christ, and the way to preach is just to say, ‘How can I get from this text to Jesus Christ?’ and then go preaching all the way along it.” The young preacher said, “Well, but suppose I find a text that has not got a road to Jesus Christ.” “I have preached for 40 years,” said the old man, “and I have never found such a Scripture, but if I ever do find one, I will go over hedge and ditch but what I will get to him, for I will never finish without bringing in my Master.” (Sermon, “How to Read the Bible.”)

The  third way to listen to God’s Word carefully: Listening carefully means always seeking to apply the Word to my own heart and life. The two questions that Paul asked the Lord on the Damascus Road are good ones to ask when you read the Word or listen to it being preached: “Who are You, Lord?” and, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:8+, Acts 22:10+). Those two questions are linked: If He is the risen Lord and Savior, who gave Himself for my sins, then it has a great deal of bearing on how I must live. To read the Word without applying it doesn’t do us any good. The Word was not given to fill our heads with interesting facts, but to change our hearts into conformity to Jesus Christ. I have met Christians who can tell you the tense of Greek verbs in the New Testament and who will argue the subtle nuance of some theological point, but they are angry and insensitive toward their families. The whole point of Scripture is summed up in the two great commandments, to teach us how to love God and to love one another. If we aren’t learning to do that, we’re missing the point. If we listen carefully to God’s Word, He will give us more light so that we can grow more. Luke 8:16-21 Take Care How You Listen! 

Listening is a major theme throughout the Bible:

  • Hear the Word of the LORD - 29x in NAS (34x in ESV) - 1 Ki. 22:19; 2 Ki. 20:16; 2 Chr. 18:18; Isa. 1:10; Isa. 28:14; Isa. 39:5; Isa. 66:5; Jer. 2:4; Jer. 7:2; Jer. 9:20; Jer. 19:3; Jer. 21:11; Jer. 22:2; Jer. 22:29; Jer. 29:20; Jer. 31:10; Jer. 34:4; Jer. 44:24; Jer. 44:26; Ezek. 16:35; Ezek. 20:47; Ezek. 25:3; Ezek. 34:7; Ezek. 34:9; Ezek. 36:1; Ezek. 36:4; Ezek. 37:4; Amos 7:16; Acts 13:44
  • Listen to Me - Ps 34:11, 81:8, Ps 81:13, Pr 5:7, Pr 7:24, Pr 8:32, Isa 41:1, 46:3, 46:12, 48:12, 49:1, 51:1, 7, Jer 7:26, Jer 17:27, Jer 26:4, Ezek 3:7, Ezek 20:8, 20:39, Mk 7:14, 1 Cor 14:21 (Isaiah 55:2-3)
  • Listen to My Voice - Ps 81:11, Jer 11:4, 7
  • Hear, O Israel - Dt. 5:1; Dt. 6:4; Dt. 9:1; Dt. 20:3; Mk. 12:29
  • Hear, O My people - Ps 50:7, 81:8
  • Hear this - Ps. 49:1; Isa. 47:8; Isa. 48:1; Isa. 51:21; Jer. 5:21; Hos. 5:1; Joel 1:2; Amos 3:1; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:1; Amos 8:4; Mic. 3:9
  • Today if you hear His voice - Ps. 95:7; Heb. 3:7, 15; 4:7

At the transfiguration in all three synoptic Gospels God the Father commanded the disciples to listen to His Son...

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen (present imperative) to Him!" (Mt 17:5, see also this command repeated in Mk 9:7, Lk 9:35)

In Luke 8:8 Jesus has already emphasized the importance of listening

 As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

In Luke 8:10 Jesus describes the judicial effects of rejecting the Word of God - they will not be able to see or hear with understanding!

And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

The way one hears the Word (the Gospel) is mentioned in all four soils, with only one soil hearing with faith and obeying what is heard -

(1) Luke 8:12 (Rocky Soil) refers to "those who have heard" but the Word but it did not penetrate their heart).

(2) Luke 8:13 (Shallow Soil) says "when they hear, receive the word with joy" (but again it did not penetrate their heart).

(3) Luke 8:14 (Thorny Soil) "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard" (but again it did not penetrate their heart).

(4) Luke 8:15 (Good Soil) "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart."

Finally in 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."

MacArthur on listening - Frankly, good listeners make good company.  Good listeners make good friends.  Good listeners make good learners.  And good listeners then make good teachers.  Good listeners make good counselors.  On the other hand, poor listeners who only want to hear themselves talk and even while forced to listen are only planning what they're going to say as soon as you take a breath are usually cheated out of the best relationships in life.  Just from a human standpoint, learning how to listen is important.  It determines an awful lot about our relationships to others.  Far more important, however, than how we listen to others is how we listen to the Lord.  How good are we at listening to God?  What kind of listeners are we?...The kind of listener you are, the kind of hearer you are will tell you your spiritual condition....That will reveal to you whether you're the good soil or not.  Many, as I said, profess to believe in Jesus Christ. They had an incident somewhere, prayed a prayer at some point in the past but how they listen proves whether they are really saved.  The theme again takes us back to the soils, superficial hearers, emotional hearers, worldly hearers, as opposed to good and honest hearers.  It's all about hearing. (Be Careful How You Listen)

Hendriksen - With respect to men's responsibility in the matter of hearing or listening, three things are stressed in the Gospels:

a. That they should hear (Luke 8:8b), the emphasis being on hearing over against refusing to hear;

b. What they should hear (Mark 4:24), over against what not to hear; and

c. How they should hear (the present passage, Luke 8:18), attentively, judiciously, over against how not to hear...Some people listen hardly at all (Isa. 40:21).

Some listen merely to be entertained (Ezek. 33:31, 32).

Some listen in order to find fault (Mark 12:13; Luke 11:54).

 Some listen in order to obtain true wisdom and to put it to good use (Acts 17:10, 11). (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke - can be borrowed)

ILLUSTRATION OF LISTENING - Challenging his wife with a riddle, the man began, “You’re the engineer of a train. There are 36 people on board. At the first stop, 10 get off and 2 get on. At the next stop, no one gets off, but 5 get on. At the third stop, 4 get off and 2 get on. Now for the question: What is the name of the engineer?” “How should I know?” snapped the wife. “See, you never listen! Right at the start I said, ‘You are the engineer of a train.’” That little story shows how we often fail to listen carefully. What husband or wife has not had the experience of mumbling “Uh huh” while his partner is talking, but his mind is tuned out? One husband dropped his newspaper, looked directly into his wife’s eyes, and gave her his full attention while she was speaking. “Stop it,” she snapped. “You’re deliberately listening just to confuse me.” Just as we often fail to listen carefully to other people, so we often fail to listen carefully to the Lord. His Word is often clear on the issue we are facing. But our minds are already made up and we don’t want to hear what God says because it confronts the direction we want to go. God can speak clearly, but if we are not listening carefully, we miss His will for our lives. (Luke 8:16-21 Take Care How You Listen!)

J C Ryle - We learn, secondly, from these verses, the great importance of right hearing. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to impress that lesson deeply on our hearts. He says, “Take heed how ye hear.” The degree of benefit which men receive from all the means of grace depends entirely on the way in which they use them. Private prayer lies at the very foundation of religion; yet the mere formal repetition of a set of words, when “the heart is far away,” does good to no man’s soul.—Reading the Bible is essential to the attainment of sound Christian knowledge; yet the mere formal reading of so many chapters as a task and duty, without a humble desire to be taught of God, is little better than a waste of time (Ed: Which is one of my cautions to those who seem to place themselves under a legalistic burden to read through the Bible in a year no matter what. Better one verse per day every day if that verse is chewed upon, digested and practiced throughout the day!).—Just as it is with praying and Bible reading, so it is with hearing. It is not enough that we go to Church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and “be nothing bettered, but rather worse.” “Take heed,” says our Lord, “how ye hear.” Would any one know how to hear aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules. (1) For one thing, we must hear with faith, believing implicitly that every word of God is true, and shall stand. The word in old time did not profit the Jews, “not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Heb. 4:2-note)—(2) For another thing, we must hear with reverence, remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul’s message, “not as the word of men, but the word of God.” (Ed: And notice the effect it had on them! = 1 Th 2:13-note)—(3) Above all, we must hear with prayer, praying for God’s blessing before the sermon is preached, praying for God’s blessing again when the sermon is over. Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing, and so they have none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind. Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let us not rush into God’s presence careless, reckless, and unprepared, as if it mattered not in what way such work was done. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions, we shall hear with profit, and return with praise.

Luke 8:19  And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.

KJV Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.


John MacArthur on the timing of this event in the Gospel narratives - Both Matthew (Mt 12:46–50) and Mark (Mk 3:31–35) place this event involving Jesus’ mother and brothers earlier in His ministry, before the parable of the soils. Luke places it here because it fits the theme of this section of his gospel, the importance of properly hearing the word. (See Luke Commentary)

In Luke 8:19-21 Jesus drives home His point that hearing is must be linked with obedience for that hearing to be spiritually efficacious. One is not related to Jesus by natural birth, but by spiritual re-birth. Jesus was a Jew but most of the Jews were spiritually unrelated to Jesus because they were disobedient to His Word! Jesus not teaching we are to reject our family ties or obligations. He took care of Mary even as He hung on the cross (John 19:26, 27). What He is doing is giving us priority -- obedience takes precedence over natural family relationships. Allegiance to God always trumps allegiance to one's family. One of the greatest promises in the Gospels is from Jesus giving us the promise of increased intimacy...

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father (AND WHAT IS LOVE OF JESUS? Jn 14:15), and I will love him and will disclose (emphanizo - make known, manifest, reveal) Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

Cole - If you want Jesus to disclose Himself to you, you must hear His word with a view to obedience. He calls such ones His mother and His brothers! The wonderful privilege of being close to Jesus is open to anyone who walks in obedience to Him!

Hendriksen - Loyalty to one's spiritual family—see Eph. 3:15—should transcend all other loyalties (cf. Luke 9:59-61; 14:26). Observing this rule is also the best service we can render to our earthly family. (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd - Mark 3:20+ gives an added detail to help envision how crowded the house was - "And He *came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal." 

NET Note on His...brothers - The issue of whether Jesus had brothers (siblings) has had a long history in the church. Epiphanius, in the 4th century, argued that Mary was a perpetual virgin and had no offspring other than Jesus. Others argued that these brothers were really cousins. Nothing in the text suggests any of this. See also John 7:3 ("Therefore His brothers said to Him...")

Spurgeon - 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. (Exposition on Luke 8)

Ryle on His mother and brothers - From this expression, many have concluded that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was now dead. Whether this was the case we do not know. He certainly seems to have been dead at the time of the crucifixion. from the fact of our Lord commending His mother to the care of John. (John 19:27.)

Barclay - IT is not difficult to see that, at least during his lifetime, Jesus’ family were not in sympathy with him. Mark 3:21+ tells us how his kinsmen came and tried to restrain him because they believed him to be mad. In Matthew 10:36+ Jesus warns his followers that a man’s foes may well be those of his own household—and he was speaking out of hard and bitter experience.

James Edwards - In the second century Marcion, who believed Jesus was divine but not human, expunged v. 19 from his edition of Luke in an attempt to repudiate Jesus’ earthly lineage. Tertullian scored a point against Marcion and other Docetists by rightly insisting on the originality of the verse, assuring readers of Jesus’ earthly family and humanity. (See The Gospel According to Luke)

They were unable to get to Him because of the crowd - "We might have expected that Jesus’ family would have special privileges before Him; it almost surprises us that they do not." (Guzik)

Criswell - Mark indicates that Jesus has four brothers and an unspecified number of sisters (Mark 6:3 - “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.). Some argue they are children of Joseph by a previous marriage or even Jesus' cousins. There is no reason to think that they are other than younger children of Joseph and Mary (cf. Mt. 1:25). (Believer's Study Bible)

Hughes - You and I are Jesus’ family if we hear and do his Word (Ed: Doing does not save us, but doing demonstrates we are saved and have been given the Holy Spirit Who alone can give us the desire and the power to do God's will! One who says he is saved and never does God's will is a liar and tragically deceived!). This is the key to intimacy with God. We have the most intimate relationship with him if we hear and do his Word. (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

THOUGHT - Do you feel like you lack intimacy with Jesus? Then do a moral inventory, a heart check if you will, to see if there are areas in which you are not obeying His Word. Then make a "course correction" by confessing and repenting, and you are on the road to increased intimacy with Jesus! You can sit in the circle around His feet. 

QUESTION -  Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)?

ANSWER - Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several Bible verses. Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings.

Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for “cousin,” and it was not used. Further, if they were Jesus’ cousins, why would they so often be described as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother? There is nothing in the context of His mother and brothers coming to see Him that even hints that they were anyone other than His literal, blood-related, half-brothers.

A second Roman Catholic argument is that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were the children of Joseph from a previous marriage. An entire theory of Joseph’s being significantly older than Mary, having been previously married, having multiple children, and then being widowed before marrying Mary is invented without any biblical basis. The problem with this is that the Bible does not even hint that Joseph was married or had children before he married Mary. If Joseph had at least six children before he married Mary, why are they not mentioned in Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7) or their trip to Egypt   (Matthew 2:13-15) or their trip back to Nazareth (Matthew 2:20-23)?

There is no biblical reason to believe that these siblings are anything other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary. Those who oppose the idea that Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters do so, not from a reading of Scripture, but from a preconceived concept of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is itself clearly unbiblical: “But he (Joseph) had no union with her (Mary) until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25). Jesus had half-siblings, half-brothers and half-sisters, who were the children of Joseph and Mary. That is the clear and unambiguous teaching of God’s

Luke 8:20  And it was reported to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You."

KJV And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

Related Passages:

Mark 3:32+ A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.”


And it was reported (apaggello) to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You - They had arrived (Mark 3:31+) at Capernaum after the 30 mile journey from Jesus' hometown Nazareth, with the specific goal "to take custody (krateo - seize Him, used of arresting Jesus in other contexts) of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses (gone off His rocker)." (Mark 3:21+Your brothers when interpreted using the rule of common sense to let the plain sense say what it says, clearly refers to the brothers of Jesus, sons born to Joseph and Mary after Jesus’ birth. Any other interpretation is simply spurious speculation.

Guzik - Jesus plainly had many brothers and sisters. The Roman Catholic idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary contradicts the plain meaning of the Bible. The brothers of Jesus never seemed to be supportive of His ministry before His death and resurrection (Mark 3:21+). 

John records " For not even His brothers were believing in Him." (John 7:5) Their belief would occur later for we see them among the group in the upper room in Jerusalem after Jesus' ascension Luke recording that they were "all with one mind (great word in Acts - homothumadon) were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." (Acts 1:14+) But NOW they are worried that He had "gone off His rocker"!  (Mark 3:21+) So His family had made the trip of about 30 miles from Nazareth to Capernaum and Mark records "Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him." (Mk 3:31+) They had come to take hold (krateo) of Him. 

John MacArthur - The belief that Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Jesus is foreign to the New Testament and the apostolic era, first appearing in the apocryphal literature of the second century. Catholics have argued that these were Joseph’s children from a prior marriage and hence Jesus’ step brothers. There is no evidence, however, of such a marriage. Further, if that were the case one of those older brothers would have been Joseph’s heir and hence the rightful king of Israel, not Jesus (Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke, The International Critical Commentary [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1922], 224). All historical evidence points to both Joseph and Mary being young teenagers when they married, making a previous marriage and family nonsense. Others have argued that these were Jesus’ cousins, not His brothers. But adelphos (“brother”) is never used in the New Testament in the sense of “cousin.” In fact, the New Testament writers had a word available that specifically means “cousin” (anepsios), and when Paul referred to Barnabas’s cousin Mark he used that word (Col. 4:10). Mark 3:20–21 reveals that they were concerned about the massive crowds that followed Jesus everywhere, and fearful of the rising hostility of the Jewish religious leaders. Having erroneously concluded that Jesus had taken leave of His senses (Mark 3:21), Mary and His brothers had come to rescue Him. That Joseph does not appear here or anywhere in the New Testament after the incident in the temple (Luke 2:41–50) suggests that he was dead by this time. Jesus’ assigning Mary into the care of the apostle John at the cross (John 19:27) further confirms that Joseph was dead. The Lord’s brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:5) until after the resurrection (Acts 1:14), but Mary understood who He was from the beginning. She knew that He had come to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21), and acknowledged her own need for a Savior (Luke 1:47). She confessed that she was neither sinless nor co-redemptrix with Jesus. (See MacArthur CommentaryRelated -   Is the perpetual virginity of Mary biblical?

Was reported  (declared, told) (518)(apaggello from apó = from + aggéllo = tell, declare from aggelos = messenger, one who speaks in place of one who has sent him) means to bring a message from any person or place. To bring tidings from a person or thing. To relate, inform, tell what has occurred.

J C Ryle on Lk 8:19-21 - We learn from these verses, the great privileges of those who hear the word of God and do it. Our Lord Jesus Christ declares that He regards them as his “mother and his brethren.” The man who hears the word of God, and does it, is the true Christian. He hears the call of God to repent and be converted, and he obeys it. He ceases to do evil, and learns to do well. He puts off the old man, and puts on the new.—He hears the call of God to believe on Jesus Christ for justification, and he obeys it. He forsakes his own righteousness, and confesses his need of a Saviour. He receives Christ crucified as his only hope, and counts all things loss for the knowledge of Him.—He hears the call of God to be holy, and he obeys it (1 Pe 1:14-15-note). He strives to mortify the deeds of his body (Col 3:5-note, Ro 8:13-note), and to walk after the Spirit (Gal 5:16-note). He labors to lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets him (Heb 12:1-note).—This is true vital Christianity. All men and women who are of this character are true Christians. Now the troubles of all who “hear the word of God and do it” are neither few nor small. The world, the flesh and the devil  continually vex them. They often groan, being burdened. (2 Cor. 5:4-note) They often find the cross heavy, and the way to heaven rough and narrow. They often feel disposed to cry with St. Paul, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Ro 7:24-note, Answer? Ro 7:25!) Let all such take comfort in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ which we are now considering. Let them remember that the Son of God himself regards them as his own near relations! Let them not heed the laughter, and mockery, and persecution of this world. The woman of whom Christ says, “She is my mother,” and the man of whom Christ says, “He is my brother,” have no cause to be ashamed (1 Jn 2:28-note).

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."

KJV And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.


One could title this passage "Spiritual ties supersede physical ties!" One could also subtitle it "How to draw near to God!"

But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." - Hearers that do not "do" really have not heard! They have spiritual deafness. Both hear and do are in the present tense, calling for this to be our continual practice and the only way to continually obey the word is by continually depending on the Holy Spirit to obey

Jesus' half-brother James addressed this deceitful danger of hearing and not doing giving a command to "But prove (present imperative - only possible as we rely on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers (akroates) who delude (paralogizomai in the present tense indicating one is continually in a state of spiritual deception, a dangerous place because of the truth of James 4:14+) themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25+)

James Edwards writes that "Even Mary does not occupy the epicenter of Jesus’ fellowship, however. Luke already established that God and his house—not Mary and Joseph—constituted Jesus’ true family (Lk 2:48–50+), and he twice reaffirms here and nearly verbatim again in Lk 11:27–28+ that allegiance to the word of God determines Jesus’ true and eternal family....According to Lk 8:21, the Holy Family cannot assume privilege, and sinners cannot assume rejection. This is at once a warning to the comfortable and complacent, and an encouragement to the dejected. In the kingdom of God true family is determined not by biology or physical proximity to Jesus, but by hearing “the word of God and doing it!”" (See The Gospel according to Luke)

Jesus emphasizes the importance of hearing and Heeding (doing) the word of God

“Everyone (NO EXCEPTIONS!) who comes to Me and HEARS My words and ACTS (DOERS) on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 “But the one who HAS HEARD and has NOT ACTED accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:47-49+)

THOUGHT - Perhaps you are attending a Bible preaching church and you come on Sunday and make a good impression, but you know deep down your impression is only a profession, for you hear the Word of God proclaimed on Sunday and then go out and for six days "live like the devil." You are in grave danger! A storm is coming. You are hanging by a spider's web over the eternal flames of Hell! God's wrath will soon be unleashed on the unbelieving world (see Revelation 6-19) and every professor of Christ will hear the horribly frightening words and the irresistible command from Jesus "‘I never (ABSOLUTELY NEVER) knew (THIS VERB SPEAKS OF INTIMACY, OF UNION AND COMMUNION WITH JESUS) you; DEPART (aorist imperative) FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense - CONTINUALLY LIVING LIKE THE LAWLESS ONE, THE DEVIL!) LAWLESSNESS.’ (Mt 7:23+). It is not too late for you if you are breathing and your heart is beating! Come while the day of salvation still exists for you (2 Cor 6:2) "for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” (Romans 10:13+)

A true hearer listens obediently.
-- John MacArthur

Spurgeon - 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!

Wiersbe -  Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach another spiritual lesson: being a part of His spiritual family is much more important than any human relationship and is based on obedience to the Word of God. It is not enough to “hear” the Word of God; we must also “keep it” (Luke 8:15+). In one of my radio series, I emphasized the importance of doing the Word of God, putting it into practice in daily life (James 1:22–25+). I warned listeners that it is easy to think we are “spiritual” because we listen to one preacher after another, take notes, mark our Bibles, but never really practice what we learn. We are only fooling ourselves. A listener wrote that my words had made her angry, but then she faced up to the fact that she was indeed guilty of being an “auditor” and not a doer of the Word. She began to listen to fewer radio preachers, to listen more carefully, and to practice what she heard. “This new approach to Bible study has transformed me!” she wrote. “The Bible has become a new Book to me and my life has changed!” (Borrow Be compassionate)

J Vernon McGee - Christ is declaring a new relationship in this passage. He was not denying His family relationship but was getting ready to declare one infinitely deeper, higher, and more permanent, transcending by far any blood relationship. This brings a believer mighty close to Him. (See Thru the Bible)

We see Jesus' emphasis on obedience in Luke 11

While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe (DOERS OF THE WORD) it.” (Luke 11:27-28+)

MacArthur - Only those who are “doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22), who hear His words and act on them (Matt. 7:24+), who continue in His word (John 8:31), and who demonstrate their love for Him by obeying Him (John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10) have a spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

(WATCH WHAT WE HEAR) And He was saying to them, “Take care WHAT YOU LISTEN TO. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. (Mark 4:24+)

(WATCH HOW WE HEAR) “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.”  (Lk 8:18+)

Wiersbe -  God will hold us accountable. Listening to the wrong things, or listening to the right things with the wrong attitude, will rob us of truth and blessing. If we are faithful to receive the Word and share it, God will give us more; but if we fail to let our light shine, we will lose what we have. It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God.  (Borrow Be compassionate)

My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it - Hearers who are doers. Stated simply, Jesus makes it very clear that spiritual relationship is far more important to Him then is physical relationship. And that genuine relationship to Him is shown by loving obedience to His commands and instructions. Genuine believers obey because the CAN obey, not in their own fleshly strength, but because we are enabled by His indwelling Spirit. This truth does not absolve us of responsibility to obey, but now we obey because we can, not because we must. The former is grace obedience, the latter legalistic obedience. Of course this does not indicate we will obey perfectly. What do it in the present tense means is that as our habitual practice we "do it." In short, we are not talking about perfection (that's called glorification!) but about direction!  This begs the simple question of every reader - are you related to Jesus? Are you in the family of God? Are you traveling in a "heavenward" direction, as shown by your Spirit enabled earthly obedience? As Paul explained...

for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death (present tense - as the general habit of your life enabled by the Spirit) the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For (TERM OF EXPLANATION - EXPLAINS HOW TO IDENTIFY A BELIEVER) all who are being led (present tense and divine passive) by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Ro 8:13-17+)

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:11-13+)

Do it - This is equivalent to obey.  Do it is an indication a person is a believer...

1 John 2:29+ If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices (present tense - as habit of their life) righteousness is born of Him.

3 John 1:11  Beloved, do not imitate (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good (present tense - as habit of their life)  is of God (CHILD OF GOD, BORN AGAIN); the one who does evil (present tense - as habit of their life) has not seen God (SPIRITUALLY DEAD IN THEIR TREPASSES AND SINS).

Darrell Bock - To drive the point home even more (Ed: The need to hear and heed the Word - Lk 8:18), Jesus contrasts his biological family with his real family. Hearing that his mother and brothers desire to see him, Jesus remarks, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Jesus affirms kinship with those who have heeded his authority and responded to his message. As he has said in Luke 6:47–49 (and as his brother notes in James 1:22–25), we should hear and do what the word calls for. James apparently learned from the Lord’s remark here. Kinship with Jesus means responsiveness to his message. (The Parable of the Seed and the Importance of the Word Luke 8:4-21)

Jon Courson - Thinking He was so involved in ministry that He was losing His mental stability, Jesus' family came to check on Him (Mark 3:21). Upon hearing this, Jesus identified His family as anyone who hears the Word of God and does it. And the three events that follow will give His disciples the opportunity to do just that as they discover that the key to calming storms is faith; the dynamic to defeat the devil is faith; the prescription for painful problems is faith... (See Jon Courson's Application Commentary)

Guzik - Jesus plainly had many brothers and sisters. The Roman Catholic idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary contradicts the plain meaning of the Bible.

D A Carson -  “The most natural way to understand ‘brothers’ is that the term refers to sons of Mary and Joseph and thus to brothers of Jesus on his mother’s side.” Efforts to make brothers mean something else are “nothing less than farfetched exegesis in support of a dogma that originated much later than the New Testament.” (See Matthew)

Marvin Pate comments that “The erudite Catholic scholar Fitzmyer concedes this point. He writes about the supposed perpetual virginity of Mary, ‘There is no indication in the New Testament itself about Mary as aei parthenos, ‘ever virgin.’ This belief in one form or another can only be traced to the second century a.d.’” (Luke- Gospel Commentary)

Related Resource:

Kent Hughes - Hearing is worthless if it does not result in doing. Attention to God’s Word must be coupled with a willingness to do it, or the truth of it will fade.

  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must forgive? Then do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must confess a wrongdoing? Do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must apologize? So do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must speak the truth regardless of the consequences? Then do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must discontinue a certain practice? Do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must make a gift? Do it!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must bear witness to an acquaintance? Do it today if you can!
  • Has God’s Word impressed on you that you must leave all to serve him? Do it! 

Or if you realize that you are a soil other than the good soil, repent and believe without delay! Ask God to put eternal life in your soul today and to produce the fruit of the Spirit abundantly in your life. (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

John Oxenham wrote:

    “In Christ there is no East or West,
      In him no South or North,
    But one great fellowship of love
      Throughout the whole wide earth.

    In him shall true hearts everywhere
      Their high communion find,
    His service is the golden cord
      Close-binding all mankind.

    Join hands, then, brother of the faith,
      Whate’er your race may be!
    Who serves my Father as a son
      Is surely kin to me.

    In Christ now meet both East and West,
      In him meet South and North,
    All Christly souls are one in him,
      Throughout the whole wide earth.”

Steven Cole concludes this section - Sometimes people complain that reading God’s Word or listening to it being preached is boring. I admit that some portions of the Word are difficult and that some preachers are not very exciting. But often our problem is with our own attitude, not with the Word or with the preacher.

Shortly before he died, Rowland Hill, an 18th century British preacher who was used greatly by God, was visiting on old friend who said, “Mr. Hill, it is now 65 years since I first heard you preach; but I remember your text, and a part of your sermon.” “Well,” asked the preacher, “what part of the sermon do you recollect?” His friend answered, “You said that some people, when they went to hear a sermon, were very squeamish about the delivery of the preacher. Then you said, ‘Supposing you went to hear the will of one of your relatives read, and you were expecting a legacy from him; you would hardly think of criticizing the manner in which the lawyer read the will; but you would be all attention to hear whether anything was left to you, and if so, how much; and that is the way to hear the Gospel’” (Told by C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students [Zondervan], condensed and edited by David Fuller, pp. 374-375).

Whether you’re listening to a sermon or reading God’s Word, take care how you listen! The Bible is God’s revealed truth. If you listen with a view to obedience, you will be blessed. There are riches there for you—if you will listen carefully as God speaks.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can we keep Bible reading from becoming dull and routine? How can we stay fresh in the Word each day?
  2. How can we avoid the self-deception of the one who thinks he has spiritual knowledge but really has none at all (Lu 8:18)?
  3. The sermon mentioned several elements of careful listening. List other elements you can think of.
  4. Why is it important to take obedience to the thought level?

Luke 8:22  Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.

KJV Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

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"The Jesus Boat


Parallel Passages

Matthew 8:23-27+ When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Mark 4:35-41+  On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they *woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Note that in Mt 8:18+ there is a detail not found here in Luke "Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea." As they were preparing to cross the Sea of Galilee, Matthew also records a conversation on the "Cost of Discipleship" in Mt 8:18-22+.

ESV Study Bible comments on Lk 8:22-56 "The sequence of this section shows the extent of Jesus’ authority—over nature, demons, disease, and even death." (Borrow ESV Study Bible

Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples (mathetes) got into a boat, and He said to them - Luke is less exact writing "on one of those days." Mark 4:35 tells us this event occurred, "On that day when evening came" when He had given them teaching in parables. We cannot discern for certain whether this is only the 12 disciples (more likely) or whether it also includes the women in Lk 8:1-3. Mk 4:36 says "other boats were with Him" and presumably this includes other disciples of Jesus, remembering that not all disciples were believers (cf Jn 6:66). In any event 12 disciples of Jesus plus Jesus means this was a big boat!  In 1986, a boat dating from Jesus' time was discovered in the mud near the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is 26.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet deep, with an elevated stern. It could hold up to fifteen people. (See picture of Jesus Boat above).

Robert Stein notes that "Whereas the preceding section (Lk 8:1–21) focused upon Jesus’ teaching and preaching, this new section will focus on his power. The four miracle stories that follow in Lk 8:22–25, 26–39, 40–48, 49–56 demonstrate Jesus’ power and might over nature, demons, physical disease, and death respectively. They answer the Christological question, “Who is this?” (Lk 8:25). This question, although not repeated in the last three accounts, is to be asked with regard to all four miracle stories. It appears again in Lk 9:9, where Herod asks, “Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” (Cf. also Lk 9:18–19.) It will be answered in part by the confessions we find in Lk 8:28; 9:20, 35. This account is a typical miracle story and contains (1) a description of the need (Lk 8:23), (2) the miracle itself (Lk 8:24), and (3) the reaction to the miracle (Lk 8:25).  (See Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition)

Ralph Earle - As followers of Jesus we are to be, first of all, learners. We are to learn from Him by listening to Him, learn the truth that will set us free (John 8:32) and keep us from error. But we are also to learn from Him by looking at Him‑ learn how to live a life of beauty and blessing. (Borrow Word meanings in the New Testament)

"Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out (anago) - Note that the disciples obey without hesitation. Obedience does not mean we will not experience trials. Many think that storms only come when they’ve disobeyed God. Jonah ended up in a storm because of his disobedience; The disciples got into a storm because of their obedience. "When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him." (Mt 8:23+) Mark 4:36+ adds "Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him." Don't miss the fact that it Jesus Himself that led them into this storm. Did He know a storm was coming? Without a doubt He knew. 

"The storms of life prove the strength of our anchor."
-- Unknown

THOUGHT - The storm would provide a "pop test" for the disciples, a test of their faith. They had been taught deep truths, mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven and now it was time for an examination. Untested faith is weak faith. As someone has said "The storms of life prove the strength of our anchor."

MacArthur - Leaving the vicinity of Capernaum on the northwest tip of the Sea of Galilee, they headed for the region known as Gerasa, on the eastern shore. There Jesus had a divine appointment with a demon-possessed maniac, whom He would heal (Lk 8:26–39). (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Vance Havner wrote that "It was a mountain preacher who followed a strange outline in his sermon on the text, "And there were also with him other little ships" (Mark 4:36). The main ship, he declared, is Lordship. If that ship leads, all the other ships will fall in line: Church membership, Worship, Stewardship, Discipleship, Fellowship."

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study). Remember that you need to examine the context to determine the exact meaning of disciple, for some uses refer to true believers, others those who are not believers and those in between. A classic text is John 6:66 which says in context of his "hard teaching" in John 6 on bread and blood, "many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." 

Mathetes in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 5:30; Lk. 5:33; Lk. 6:1; Lk. 6:13; Lk. 6:17; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 6:40; Lk. 7:11; Lk. 7:18; Lk. 7:19; Lk. 8:9; Lk. 8:22; Lk. 9:14; Lk. 9:16; Lk. 9:18; Lk. 9:40; Lk. 9:43; Lk. 9:54; Lk. 10:23; Lk. 11:1; Lk. 12:1; Lk. 12:22; Lk. 14:26; Lk. 14:27; Lk. 14:33; Lk. 16:1; Lk. 17:1; Lk. 17:22; Lk. 18:15; Lk. 19:29; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 19:39; Lk. 20:45; Lk. 22:11; Lk. 22:39; Lk. 22:45;  Acts 6:1; Acts 6:2; Acts 6:7; Acts 9:1; Acts 9:10; Acts 9:19; Acts 9:25; Acts 9:26; Acts 9:38; Acts 11:26; Acts 11:29; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:20; Acts 14:22; Acts 14:28; Acts 15:10; Acts 16:1; Acts 18:23; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:1; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:30; Acts 20:1; Acts 20:30; Acts 21:4; Acts 21:16

Launched out  (321)(anago from ana = up, again, away + ago = to bring, lead) literally speaks of movement from a lower to a higher point. Anago is used here as a nautical technical term - In the passive voice it was a  nautical term meaning to put (out) to sea, to set sail. (Lk 8:22, Acts 13:13; 16:11; 18:21; 20:3, 13; 21:1,2; 27:2,4,12, 21; 28:10,11). Anago "literally means to lead up; hence to lead up to the high sea, or take to sea; put to sea. It is the word used of Jesus' being led up into the wilderness and the mount of temptation (Matthew 4:1; Luke 2:22); also of bringing up a sacrifice to an idol-altar (Acts 7:41)." (Vincent)

Steven Cole - When serious trials hit, I often hear people say, “The Lord didn’t cause this trial; He only allowed it.” Somehow they think that they are getting God off the hook. Sometimes they will even say, “Satan, not God, caused this tragedy.” They think that by blaming Satan or by saying that God only allowed it, they preserve His love. But they do so at the expense of His sovereignty. But the Bible clearly affirms that God is both loving and sovereign. You will not derive any comfort in trials by denying God’s sovereignty. True, God may use Satan to bring trials, as He did in the case of Job. But God clearly states, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these” (Is 45:6-7). You will find comfort in trials only if you affirm both God’s absolute sovereignty and His unfailing love. Note several features of life’s storms as seen in this storm:

Storms hit suddenly and without warning. When we lived in California, we woke up to a news station. Sometimes their morning traffic report would mention a fatal accident and I would think, “That guy left home this morning to go to work, never thinking that he had just minutes to live. His family perhaps said a perfunctory good-bye, never imagining that they would never talk to him again.” Life’s storms are like that: Right now everything is smooth sailing. In a matter of hours, without warning, you’re in the middle of a crisis. Such a storm not only tests and develops your character; it reveals it. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, was talking to a young missionary who was about to start work in China. “Look at this,” he said. He pounded his fist on the table. The tea cups jumped, and the tea spilled. While the startled young man was wondering what was going on, Taylor said, “When you begin your work, you will be buffeted in numerous ways. The trials will be like blows. Remember, these blows will bring out only what is in you.” So the time to develop resources to face the sudden storms that inevitably will strike is before they hit. If you don’t spend time with the Lord in the calm of life, you won’t know how to trust Him in the storms.

Storms hit believers. This storm hit those with Christ in their boat as well as those without Christ in their boat. Mk 4:36 records that other boats were with them. If this were a fairy tale, we might read that when the storm arose, the other boats were swamped, but the boat with Christ in it sailed as smooth as glass. The fact is, Christians are not magically exempted from the storms of life. Just because you’re in Jesus’ boat doesn’t mean that it’s going to be smooth sailing. Christians are not exempt from trials. Some think, “Yes, that’s true. But I’m serving Christ.” They think that being committed earns them special protection from storms. But observe:

Storms hit obedient believers who are serving Christ. In fact, this storm did not hit the disciples because they had been disobedient but, rather, because they had been obedient! Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side” (Lu 8:22). These men, who had committed their lives to serve Christ, obeyed. And He led them straight into a storm! And in the same way, obediently serving Christ may place you smack-dab in the middle of storms you would have avoided if you had stayed on the shore. I have often found that the most severe times of testing have come right after I have taken a new step of obedience. Just after Marla and I returned to Dallas so that I could complete my seminary training, we were mugged at gunpoint and I had to get four stitches in my hand. While my hand was still bandaged, I slipped in the mud and cut my other hand on a thermos I was carrying. We also encountered several other trials around the same time. Shortly after we moved to California to begin in the pastorate, our six-month-old daughter, Christa, had to be hospitalized with a congenital hip problem that meant being in a body cast for two months and wearing a leg brace for several years. The very day we decided to move to Flagstaff, we learned about a major problem with our house that entailed months of difficulties. Shortly after I began here I had to deal with some major problems in the church that resulted in a lot of turmoil. The point is, being obedient to the Lord does not exempt you from storms; it often leads you right into storms! Not only did the Lord lead the disciples into this storm. (Luke 8:22-25 What to do When Life Gets Stormy)

In The Same Boat

When He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. —Matthew 8:23

Today's Scripture & Insight:Matthew 8:23-27

When the cruise ship pulled into port, the passengers got off as quickly as possible. They had spent the last few days enduring an outbreak of a virus, and hundreds of people had been sickened. One passenger, interviewed as he disembarked, said: “Well, I don’t mean to complain so much. I mean I know everybody was in the same boat.” His seemingly unintentional pun made the reporter smile.

In Matthew 8, we read about another trip on the water (vv.23-27). Jesus got into the boat and the disciples followed Him (v.23). Then a terrible storm arose, and Jesus’ disciples feared for their lives. They awakened a sleeping Jesus, who they assumed was unaware of the crisis.

While Jesus was literally in the same boat as His followers, He was unconcerned about the weather. As the all-powerful Creator, He had no fear of a storm. “He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (v.26).

But we are not all-powerful, and we are oh-so-prone to fear. So what are we to do when the storms of life rage around us? Whether they quickly blow over or last for a long time, we can be confident in this: We are in the same boat with the One whom even the winds and the sea obey.By:  Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Heavenly Father, this life is full of uncertainty. But You have promised us Your unfailing presence. May we see You today—especially when we are tempted to panic or to do things in our own strength.

No danger can come so near the Christian that God is not nearer.

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.

KJV  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.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 8:24+ (BOLD NOT IN LUKE) And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.

Mark 4:37+ (BOLD NOT IN LUKE) And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;

Wuest - Someone has said, “Jesus did not say, ‘Let us go down to the sea and be drowned,’ but, ‘Let us pass over to the other side.’ ” (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

But as they were sailing along He fell asleep - The detail of sailing in only recorded by Luke. Mark 4:38 has the verb for sleep (katheudo) in the present tense and at the end of the sentence (in Mark) for emphasis. The present participle in Mark 4:38 pictures Jesus as continually asleep, slumbering peacefully. Jesus is fully God to be sure, but He is also fully Man and so He was tired. So Jesus was subject to hunger (Mt. 4:2; 21:18), thirst (Jn 4:7; 19:28), and fatigue (cf. Jn 4:6). Recall also that it was evening. This is quite a picture, for the storm is swirling around Him, the sky is dark and boat is shaking as the waves crash against the sides and the boat begins to take on a dangerous level of water. In all this Jesus remained sound asleep! Cf Jonah falling asleep - Jonah 1:4–5. 

And a fierce gale of wind descended (katabainoon the lake - A squall of wind. As God's providence would have it, He sent a storm, a storm not meant to destroy but to increase the faith of the disciples. A small storm might not have had the same effect for as professional fishermen, they had undoubtedly weathered many storms on the sea, but this one was "great" or "fierce," implying it was unlike any they had encountered before. Matthew's description uses seismos emphasizing the shaking of the boat (a "sea quake" so to speak) (Mt 8:24+). 

Wuest - Vincent quotes a Mr. Macgregor: “On the Sea of Galilee the wind has a singular force and suddenness; and this is no doubt because that sea is so deep in the world that the sun rarefies the air in it enormously, and the wind speeding swiftly above a long and level plateau, gathers much force as it sweeps through flat deserts, until suddenly it meets this huge gap in the way, and it tumbles down here irresistible.”(Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Robertson suggests that the storm fell suddenly from Mount Hermon down into the Jordan Valley and hit the Sea of Galilee violently at its depth of 682 feet below the Mediterranean Sea. He explains that the hot air at this depth draws the storm down with sudden power. Luke says (Lk 8:23), “there came down a storm on the lake.” Matthew describes it as a seismos, a violent upheaval like an earthquake (Mt 8:24). These sudden storms continue to this day.

THOUGHT - Indeed, God sometimes takes us into storms not to discipline us but to disciple us, not to break us, but to make us better, more like His Son. God knew how "hot" to turn up the "thermostat" to create a viable test of the faith of these men, many  of whom were seasoned fishermen. Likewise, God knows the best means to test His children, turning up the thermostat not to destroy us but to increase our faith and our their heart. Are you in a furnace of affliction? Then remember the words of Paul promising that ""No temptation (TEST - peirasmos) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted (TESTED - peirazo) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (TEST - peirasmos) will provide the way (NOT "A" WAY BUT "THE" WAY - KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR THIS DIVINE "ESCAPE HATCH") of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (NOT TOTALLY ESCAPE IT BUT PERSEVERE THROUGH THE TRIAL).  (1 Cor 10:13+)

Darrell Bock on fierce gale - Such storms are not uncommon on the Sea of Galilee, since the surrounding topography lends itself to sudden weather changes. The sea is some 680 feet below sea level. It is surrounded by hills, the steepest of which lie on its eastern shore. Coming through the hills, cool air reaches a ravine and collides with trapped warm air over the water. As any meteorologist will tell you, this produces volatile conditions. (Jesus' Authority over Nature and Care for Us Luke 8:22-25)

A fierce gale of wind -  NET NoteThe Sea of Galilee is located in a depression some 700 ft (200 m) below sea level and is surrounded by hills. Frequently a rush of wind and the right mix of temperatures can cause a storm to come suddenly on the lake. Storms on the Sea of Galilee were known for their suddenness and violence.

Vincent - Mr. Macgregor ("Rob Roy on the Jordan") says that "on the sea of Galilee the wind has a singular force and suddenness; and this is no doubt because that sea is so deep in the world that the sun rarefies the air in it enormously, and the wind, speeding swiftly above a long and level plateau, gathers much force as it sweeps through flat deserts, until suddenly it meets this huge gap in the way, and it tumbles down here irresistible."

They began to be swamped (sumpleroo) and to be in danger (kinduneuo) - Swamped is in the imperfect tense which pictures the waves hitting the side of the boat again and again, lapping over the side of the boat picturing the potentially deadly plight of the disciples - a most dramatic scene!

When the storms of life surround me,
And the world seems dark and cold,
When the rain beats down upon me,
And the lightning stabs my soul,
I cry out to my Savior,
Lord, help me, lest I die!
Do You care not that the billows
Push my boat toward the shoal?

When the raging winds and tempest,
And the noxious clouds of sin,
Whirl around me like an army,
And my faith is wearing thin,
In a whispering distant thunder,
Comes a voice like morning calm:
“Fear not, I am with you ever,
Till the world shall see its end.

I command the winds of heaven,
And the lightning does My will,
I who walked upon the waters,
And who bid the storm be still.
I seek not your destruction,
But to strengthen and make pure;
Keep your faith in Me, believing
I My promises fulfill.

He is greater than the thunder,
He is mightier than the storm;
He extends His hand to lift me,
And protect my soul from harm.
He will see me safe to harbor,
To the haven of my rest,
Sheltered by the Rock of Ages,
Held in His almighty arm.

Fierce gale (2978)(lailaps) refers to a whirlwind, a tempestuous wind, a squall or a violent wind, a furious gust of wind like a hurricane. This is a storm that breaks forth in furious gusts, a fearful squall or series of squalls. Wuest says lailaps "never refers to a single gust, nor a steadily blowing wind, however violent, but to a storm breaking forth from black thunder-clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything topsy-turvy. According to Aristotle, it is a whirlwind revolving from below upwards. It is used in the LXX of the whirlwind out of which God answered Job."  Luke uses a different word in Acts 27:14+ to describe "a violent wind, called Euraquilo" a name meaning literally "north wind-east wind" a treacherous wind in which to sail. "Lailaps is an old word for these cyclonic gusts or storms. Luke's "came down" shows that the storm fell suddenly from Mount Hermon down into the Jordan Valley and smote the Sea of Galilee violently at its depth of 682 feet below the Mediterranean Sea. The hot air at this depth draws the storm down with sudden power. These sudden storms continue to this day on the Sea of Galilee." (Robertson

Lailaps - 3x in the NT. 3x in the Septuagint - Job 21:18; Job 38:1; Jer. 25:32

Mark 4:37  And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.

2 Peter 2:17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.

Job 38:1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 

Jeremiah 25:32  Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, evil is going forth From nation to nation, And a great storm is being stirred up From the remotest parts of the earth. (Ed: God was the author of the storm winds of destruction.)

Descended (fell upon)(2597)(katabaino from kata = down, against + baino = to go) describes the storm coming down or descending upon the boat. It is worth noting that katabaino is the root of the meteorological term “catabatic wind” which refers to winds created by air flowing downhill (see diagram). Catabatic winds can rush down elevated slopes at hurricane speeds. Examples of true catabatic winds include the  bora (or bura) in the Adriatic, the Bohemian Wind or Böhmwind in the Ore Mountains, the Santa Ana in southern California, and the oroshi in Japan. Luke in using this specific verb (not used in the parallel accounts by Matthew or Mark)  accurately describes the storm-producing winds that plunge down the surrounding heights (see Mt Hermon) to strike the low-lying Sea of Galilee. So while there is clearly a scientific explanation for the intensity of this storm in Lk 8:23, it is clearly under the sovereign supervision of the Almighty God! 

Swamped (4845)(sumpleroo from sun = with + pleroo = fill) means to fill completely, become quite full, literally in Lk 8:23 of the boat being swamped. Sumpleroo is used figuratively in the other two uses describing a span of time in God's planning as being fulfilled or coming to an end. There are no uses in the Septuagint.  Sumpleroo is found in classical Greek meaning “to completely fill, to complete” (cf. Liddell-Scott). Both Philo and Josephus used it in the sense of “become complete” or “come to an end."

Lk 9:51+ When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;

Acts 2:1+ When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

Be in danger (2793)(kinduneuo from kindunos = danger from kineo = to move, put in motion) means to be in peril, to face danger or to run a risk (Lk 8:23), to run the risk a risk of something, to be in jeopardy (Acts 19:27). Their lives were at risk! Presumably the same thing is happening to the other boats that are accompanying the boat with the disciples and Jesus.

Kinduneo - 4x in 4v - translated danger all 4 times. Four times in the Septuagint - Eccl. 10:9; Isa. 28:13; Dan. 1:10; Jon. 1:4. 

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.

Acts 19:27+  “Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.” 

Acts 19:40+ “For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.”

1 Corinthians 15:30   Why are we also in danger every hour?

J C Ryle - THE event in our Lord’s life described in these verses is related three times in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all inspired to record it. This circumstance should teach us the importance of the event, and should make us “give the more heed” to the lessons it contains.

We see, firstly, in these verses, that our Lord Jesus Christ was really man as well as God. We read that as he sailed over the Lake of Gennesaret in a ship with his disciples, “he fell asleep.” Sleep, we must be all aware, is one of the conditions of our natural constitution as human beings. Angels and spirits require neither food nor refreshment. But flesh and blood, to keep up a healthy existence, must eat, and drink, and sleep. If the Lord Jesus could be weary, and need rest, He must have had two natures in one person—a human nature as well as a divine.

The truth now before us is full of deep consolation and encouragement for all true Christians. The one Mediator, in Whom we are bid to trust, has been Himself “partaker of flesh and blood.” The mighty High Priest, Who is living for us at God’s right hand, has had personal experience of all the sinless infirmities of the body. He has Himself hungered, and thirsted, and suffered pain. He has Himself endured weariness, and sought rest in sleep.—Let us pour out our hearts before Him with freedom, and tell Him our least troubles without reserve. He who made atonement for us on the Cross is One Who “can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” (Heb. 4:15) To be weary of working for God is sinful, but to be wearied and worn in doing God’s work is no sin at all. Jesus himself was weary, and Jesus slept.

ILLUSTRATION - The Perfect Storm - Back in October of 1991, a storm stronger than any in recorded history hit the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The storm was officially known as “The Halloween nor’easter of 1991.” It has become known as “THE PERFECT STORM” - inspiring the book and movie with the same title. It is called “The Perfect Storm” because it was 3 storms combined into one. Hurricane Grace that was beginning to die out in the Atlantic, energy coming across from the Great Lakes, and an old frontal system that was around the New England area. Sebastian Junger in his book “The Perfect Storm” wrote, “A mature hurricane is by far the most powerful event on Earth. The combined nuclear arsenals of the United States and the former Soviet Union don’t contain enough energy to keep a hurricane going for one day.” In the case of “The Perfect Storm”, when these 3 elements combined, it regenerated the hurricane creating an almost apocalyptic situation in the Atlantic Ocean. Boats encountered waves of 100 ft; the equivalent of a 10-story building. Winds blasted over the ocean at more than 100 mph. Waves 30 and 40 feet high battered the New England Coast, destroying 200 homes, and property damage totaling $500 million. Nine people died, including the 6-man crew of a ‘sword-fish boat’ named the Andrea Gail from Gloucester, Massachusetts.

ILLUSTRATION - One of the most awful experiences of my life occurred when I was in the Coast Guard. Sixty mile-per-hour gale-force winds were churning up 20-30 foot seas and we had to rescue a man and his daughter whose sailboat was dead in the water somewhere beyond Catalina Island. Our 82-foot cutter would roll until the screws came out of the water and green water came over the above-deck porthole. I would think, “We’re going over this time!” Then, we would roll the other direction. Sometimes we would crash head on into a gigantic wave and the whole boat would shudder as if it was going to come apart at the seams. I tried to calm my fears by thinking, “You never read about the Coast Guard losing any boats in storms, so maybe we won’t go down.” I was so seasick that when I wasn’t afraid that we would die, I wished that I could. It took us nine hours from the time we left Long Beach until we had the sailboat safely in Avalon harbor. Storms aren’t fun, either at sea or in real life. Yet we learn lessons through storms that we never would learn if life were always calm. The Christian faith is not just to get us to heaven when we die. It teaches us how to live in the here and now, especially when life gets stormy. Lu 8:22-25 relates the miracle of Jesus calming the storm at sea as the first of a series of miracles that culminate in Peter’s confession (Lu 9:20). These miracles have much to teach us (as they taught the disciples) about who Jesus is and what that means to us in the trials of life. This miracle shows us that …Since Jesus is Lord over all, we must trust Him in the storms of life. (Luke 8:22-25 What to do When Life Gets Stormy - Steven Cole)

Steven ColeThe Lord checked out and seemed to leave them alone in the storm. This is the only incident in the Bible that mentions Jesus sleeping, and what a time to fall asleep! It would be one thing if Jesus had said, “Men, a storm is coming. Peter, you stay on the helm! John, make sure that sail is secure! James, get that gear tied down!” If Jesus had been actively involved, giving orders, telling them, “Hang in there, guys, we’re going to make it,” the storm would have been difficult, but bearable. But just when they needed Jesus’ calm leadership and assurance, where was He? Sacked out in the back of the boat, oblivious to their dire need! Have you ever felt like that in the midst of a trial? You get into it and it seems as if the Lord checked out and left you all alone! You’re bailing like crazy, but the waves are winning. You’re about to go under, and you wonder, where is the Lord?

In reality, the Lord was with them in the storm. He’s always there, even though sometimes it seems as if He’s not. But often He waits until we are at our wit’s end so that we sense how great our need really is. But even before the disciples called on Him, Jesus was there with them in the boat, going through the storm with them. He has promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb 13:5+). As Paul triumphantly affirms, no trial can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro 8:38-39+). I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who obeyed the Lord and found themselves in a storm of a different sort, thrown into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. As he peered into the flames, Nebuchadnezzar was astounded and said to his officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered, “Certainly, O king.” He replied, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” (Da 3:24-25+). I believe the fourth man was the Lord Jesus. He didn’t leave those faithful men alone in their trial, but went and stood with them in the flames. Whenever you’re in a storm, even though you may think at first that the Lord is not there, He is there! The first thing we must do in the storms of life is to affirm that Jesus is Lord, even over the storms. (Luke 8:22-25 What to do When Life Gets Stormy)

He's the Master of the Sea By Sammy Burgess - This story helps us to understand that - WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED WHEN WE GO THROUGH A STORM! You may be surprised (when) it comes; you may be surprised (how) it comes; you may even be surprised (where) it comes - but ladies and gentlemen, storms are a part of life and there is nothing we can do to prevent them.

I need to fill you in on something that learned as I was studying this particular story. I believe that our Lord does things in proper order; and He does what He does for particular reasons.

1) The Teaching That Is Excellent - If you study this same story in {Mark 4} you will find a particular order that Jesus uses. (1)- There Is The Teaching That Is Excellent. Jesus was the Master teacher of His day. In {Mark 4} you will find that He is teaching “Parables”. A “parable” is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. Jesus used the boat as His pulpit and taught the people some great lessons that day. He had taught all day long, this is the reason why the disciples found Him in the “hinder” part of the boat. He was tired because He was man. But thank God we are going to discover that He was also God, because He was able to calm a raging storm.

2) The Test That Is Experienced - There are going to be times after Jesus teaches us His Word that He will then put His children through a test and see if they have learned anything that He has taught them. Jesus wants us not only to be “hearers” of His Word, He wants us to be “doers” of His Word.

3) The Trust That Is Expected - The Lord will put His children in a situation to where they have to trust Him. Jesus expects us to trust Him, even when we don’t understand why we are in the circumstance we are in.

If I may for just a moment help you to understand that this is the order the Lord often uses in our lives. First there is the teaching (there are some truths that we must know); then there is the testing (this is when the Lord puts us in a trial, a test to put to practice what we have learned); then there is the trusting. {Proverbs 3:5,6}- “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart…” This is what I want us to learn from this passage of Scripture. There are going to be times when the Lord allows us to go through a storm.

Now, since we know that we will have to go through storms, we should remember what we have been taught from God’s Word. Then, we should remember to put to practice those things that we have learned. But the most important lesson we should learn is - we must put our trust in the Lord, no matter what comes our way. As Warren Wiersbe would say, “When we can’t trace God’s Hand, we can always trust God’s heart.” Let me tell you up front one of the lessons that we are going to learn from our study. We are going to see that Jesus will test our faith in order that it may grow. We are doing to discover that even if our faith is weak, Jesus will not allow us to collapse. Jesus will hold us up and He will see us through.

There are 3 simple things that are seen in the passage of Scripture.

I. THERE IS THE MOMENT OF THE STORM Look at {Mk 4:37}- “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.” Keep in mind as you read the account in {Mark 4} that Jesus had been teaching by the Seaside. The crowd was so large that Jesus got into a boat that was docked and from the boat He spent the day teaching the multitude many things by Parables. During the evening, Jesus told His disciples; {Mk 4:35}- “And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.” The Disciples lifted up the anchor and began a normal sailing trip across the Sea of Galilee that usually took about an hour and a half at the most. At some point during their trip, they found themselves in a storm. The Moment of the Storm reminds us of the storms that we face in our lives. Think with me about 2 things as we look at this storm that arose.

A. The Storm Could Not Be Predicted By the Disciples - In our day and time, the weather can be predicted with fair accuracy. Science Meteorology with the use of satellites and other means, enable weather forecasters to be generally accurate in predicting the weather. In the case of the disciples, being on the Sea of Galilee, storms were unpredictable. Storms would come suddenly and without warning. Many times a storm would come with vengeance. The Sailors could look at the sky and then look at a calm sea and think that it would be perfectly safe to sail. Yet, in a matter of minutes they could be fighting for their lives. The Sea of Galilee was located down between two hills, in a basin surrounded by hills. Through those hills were ravines, which made it possible for the wind to sweep down into the sea. From time to time cold air would use those ravines like a funnel. Cold air sweeping down onto the Sea of Galilee and hot air rising from the Sea would collide and cause a violent storm. The storm would just fall out of the thunder clouds. It could be perfectly calm one moment and the next moment people would find themselves in a furious fight with waves threatening the stability of the boat. It appears as if the disciples found themselves in one of those unpredictable and unsuspected storms.

This story describes our lives. Things can be as calm as calm can be, then all of a sudden, we are engulfed with a severe storm. One moment we see the blue skies, sparkling with a new beginning. The next moment, without warning, sudden winds whip the calm waters into a terrible and violent storm. Have you thought about the fact that storms intrude into our schedules whether we like it or not. Storms are great interrupters. Troubles and trials do not knock at our doors and ask if it would be all right if they have some of our time. Storms come no matter how important the person; no matter what the event may be - storms are unpredictable.

B. The Storm Would Not Be Partial To The Disciples - There is something in this story that I don’t want you to overlook or take for grant it. You will notice that it was the Disciples who found themselves in this storm. You will also notice that Jesus was on this boat. This means that when the storm came, these disciples were in the Presence of Jesus. They were close to Jesus. Listen carefully. THIS STORM SHOWED NO FAVORITISM OR PARTIALITY TOWARD THESE DISCIPLES! These disciples were in the path of duty. They were obediently following the Lord wherever He went. They were daily attending to the Lord’s ministry; listening to His Word being taught. This reminds me of the fact that God’s people ARE NOT exempt from storms. So many times we get the idea that if we are following the Lord; if we are close to the Lord, then we will be protected and sheltered from storms. Listen carefully. If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything to be smooth in our journey to Heaven. We must not count it a strange thing if we have to endure sickness, losses, bereavements and disappointments. I thought about something the other day. Since Jesus was on board, it seems to reason that He could have prevented this storm from taking place. As far as I can tell in this story, there was really no “real” reason for this storm; except for the fact that the Lord allowed it. That is all that can be explained about this storm. This leads me to say this: God’s infinite Wisdom schedules our storms. This thought should be a great comfort to us because not only does (the Lord schedule the beginning of the storms) - He schedules the ending of the storms. We must respect the fact THAT GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING IN OUR LIVES! Ps 107:25, “For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea.” Think about something. Jesus never promised that we (as Christians) would be free from afflictions. I believe that He loves us too much to promise us this.

Let me take a moment and teach you some things that we may learn from “afflictions” that come into our lives.

(1) By Afflictions - Jesus teaches us many precious lessons that without them we would never learn.
(2) By Afflictions - Jesus exposes to us our emptiness and our weakness.
(3) By Afflictions - Jesus draws our attention from our self-sufficiency to the fact that God’s Grace is sufficient and will always be sufficient.
(4) By Afflictions - Jesus weans us from the world and makes us long for Heaven.

You will discover that storms cannot be predicted and storms will not be partial. Storms are going to take place in your life. Someone has said, “You are either in a storm right now; or you are getting out of a storm, or you are about to head into a storm. Either way, you will have storms in your life.” John Butler said, “A life without trials is not good for our character, and God does not want His people to have poor character. Hence, we will experience plenty of trials in this life.” We may not like storms, but don’t be surprised at the moment they come.

II. THERE IS THE MISERY OF THE STORM - Now this was not just any kind of storm the disciples found them selves in. Matthew 8:24 describes it as a “great storm.” Mark 4:37 calls it “a fierce gale of wind.” Luke 8:23 we are told that “a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake:” This storm challenged the talents and trust of the disciples. I want us to notice the misery that was found in this storm.

A. The Severity Of The Storm They Faced - These descriptions of the storm that was given in the Gospels give us an insight of how severe it really was. This storm was not a single gust of wind; it was not a steadily blowing wind. Matthew 8:24 “great tempest” means “mega” - “great”. It means a shaking such as in an earth-quake. This storm shook things up on the Sea of Galilee. Mark 4:37 & Luke 8:23 tell us about this storm being a “great storm; wind” … “storm of wind.” This word “wind” describes “a whirlwind” … “tornado” … “hurricane”. These words are used to describe a furious storm or hurricane. This was a ferocious and violent storm. This boat was tossed about by the violent wind; the waves were reaching such heights that it was filling the boat with water. These disciples were in danger of being over-turned at any moment. This storm exceeded all their past experiences. They had not experienced such a storm before. The other storms were mild compared to this particular one. I have heard people talking about some of the things that they are going through now or things they have been through in the past. “It hasn’t been this bad before. This is the most difficult situation I have been through in my life. I didn’t know that it could be this bad.”

B. The Struggle In The Storm They Felt - When you think of these disciples, you think of men that were trained and skilled sailors. Why should they have to struggle? Storms shouldn’t make skilled men such as these men struggle as much as they did. They should have known what to do. They should have known how to act. We find in Luke’s account - {Luke 8:23}- “nd a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.” My question is this; If they are use to storms, then why not just use their skills and get through the storm? Richard C. Trench, “These men, exercised to the sea from their youth, familiar with all the changes of that lake, would have not been scared by the mere shadow and ghost of a danger.” Let me tell you why they struggled in this particular storm. This was not just ‘another thunder-storm’ they were going through. The fact that they panicked and struggled teaches us that this storm was too great for them to handle on their own. These men were no sissy’s. They were acquainted with sailing through storms. They had gotten use to the waters on the Sea of Galilee. This was a storm designed by God for them to teach them a lesson. The Lord was going to teach them that there would be times when they wouldn’t know which way to turn. The Lord was going to teach them that they would get into situations where their resources would be insufficient. I can imagine the panic that is on their faces. I can see each one of them looking at one another trying to figure out just how they are going to get out of this mess. They are in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. The winds are out of control. The water is filling the boat. The weight of the water is now on their clothes. They couldn’t work like they ought to work because they were wet. They don’t know what to do. So they begin to be afraid. Their hope of survival is now quickly slipping away. The storm was now so severe that they are out of control. The Condition Of The Storm: The waves were so high that they were going over the boat. The water was crashing up against the boat and flooding the boat. The wind was about to make the boat turn over. Their resources were little compared to their storm. If something or some one doesn’t come up with a good idea, the boat is going to sink; and if the boat sank, they would not be able to survive such a storm if they had to try to swim to shore.

FEAR SETS IN! FRUSTRATION SETS IN! FAILURE SETS IN! This was the greatest storm that they had ever faced. [Their anchor would not be able to hold their boat.] - [Their sailing skills are now useless.] - [Their “lessons on surviving the storm” they learned are all used up.] And the way things are going, this might be the last storm they may ever face. Listen carefully. The storms we face many times fill our hearts with “fear”. Then a feeling of “frustration” and “failure” set in. The angry winds and dashing waves can cause us to fear - thinking that we may be going under. The magnitude of the storm is far beyond our resources to fight or face. We find ourselves trying to cope with it, but just a matter of moments fear sets in and we feel like that we are not going to make it. What do you do when you are faced with a fierce situation? What do you do when it seems like all your hope is taken from you? What do you do when you have used all your known resources, and you don’t know which way to turn next? (The Severity Of The Storm They Faced) - (The Struggle In The Storm They Felt)

C. The Supplication For The Storm They Formed - When the storm threatened the lives of the disciples, they did what you and I would do, THEY WENT TO THE LORD FOR HELP! Look at Luke 8:24, “And THEY CAME TO HIM.” The disciples stopped turning to one another and turned to the Only One that could help them. They had reached the place to where they realized that there was no other person who could save them from this severe storm - EXCEPT JESUS! If you haven’t heard anything I have said up to this point of our study, I want you to pay close attention to this next statement. THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN GOD WILL PUT YOU IN A POSITION (in a storm) WHERE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE BUT TO TURN TO HIM! There are some of you that have been slack concerning your Church attendance; just let a severe storm come your way and you will get back to where you need to be. There are some of you that have been letting up in your personal time with God; just let a severe storm come your way and you will find the time to spend with God. There are some of you that have just about quit on God all together; just let a severe storm come into your life and you will then realize that you can’t live or breathe without Him! (4)- There are some of you that have put the Lord in second place in your life; just let a storm come your way, and the things you put before Him won’t be near as important then as they are now. I have learned a valuable lesson in my life - STORMS HAVE A WAY OF DRIVING US BACK TO GOD! These disciples should have turned to Jesus first. They had seen Him perform many Miracles in the past. They had seen Him do Supernatural Works in the past. At this point of the story the disciples were facing one of the greatest enemies any Christian will ever face - the enemy of “fear”. The disciples had “fear” because they had lost faith. When the storm arose, they shouldn’t have feared or fretted. They should have went straight to Him and let Him handle the situation. But they became afraid because they got to the place to where they couldn’t handle the storm by their selves any more, so they ran and got Jesus to help them. We should never get to the point to where Jesus is the last resort in our lives. Jesus should be the first resource of your lives.  Let me say this for your benefit and I hope for your encouragement. You may be here and you know that you haven’t been the Christian that God wants you to be - if you are in a storm; or you are heading into a storm, I am going to make you a Promise. If you will turn to the Lord, He will be there to see you through.

III. THERE IS THE MASTER OF THE STORM - There is a song that goes something like this: “He’s been there all the time…Waiting patiently in line; He was there all the time.” There are some of you that are facing the (storms of suffering) - the (hurricane of heartache) - the (tempest of turmoil). You may be wondering what the disciples were thinking… Look at Mark 4:38, “And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, MASTER, CAREST THOU NOT THAT WE PERISH?” I can hear the disciples telling the Lord; “Lord, don’t just lie there; do something. We are about to go under. If You don’t come through for us, then we’re through. Help us; please!” There is something interesting here in this story. We are told that Jesus was sound to sleep while this storm was going on. Mark 4:38, “And He was asleep IN THE HINDER PART of the ship.” The “hinder part of the ship” where Jesus was riding was where the pilot of the ship stayed. This reminds us that Jesus was not only in control of the storm - JESUS WAS CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP! Often times we find ourselves in a storm and we begin to question if God really cares. I want you to know that JESUS CARES ABOUT YOU! He cares about you and the situation you are facing. Now let me explain to you why I know Jesus Cares. If you have been paying careful attention to the story, you have learned that by now that this boat is filled with water. It has been tossed all in the water. It is about to go under. But Jesus is still asleep. He was exhausted from teaching the great multitude that day. He means that He was fully man. But it wasn’t the storm that woke Him up. The condition of the storm didn’t wake Jesus up; IT WAS THE CRY OF THE SAINTS THAT WOKE JESUS UP! Yes Jesus cares! Look at Him. HE IS NOT SLEEPING - HE IS NOW STANDING! I can see Jesus now. His robe was wet with water; the foam of the wind blown water was in His beard. He stands to His feet - in the captains quarters and He takes control of the situation. There was no need for the disciples to be afraid. The storm had risen to its peak - but now King Jesus rises to His Position. The Storm Arose Suddenly but THE SAVIOR AROSE SUPREMELY. Look at {4:37}- “Then there arose a great storm of wind” Now look at {4:39}- “AND HE AROSE” This Great Storm Was About To Meet It’s Match! THE DISCIPLES WERE NOT GOING DOWN - THEY WERE GOING OVER! They were not defeated - they were about to be delivered. Ps 44:26, “Rise up, be our help, And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.”

As we close, I want us to 3 things we see as the Lord arose in this storm.

A. There Is The Power Of The Lord Over The Storm

We are told that when He arose {Mk 4:39}- “And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a GREAT CALM.” Mark 4:39 gives us the words that Jesus spoke; "peace be still", which literally means, "be muzzled." Jesus told the winds and waves; “Sit down and shut up!” The winds and waves lay down at His command like whimpering puppies at His feet and there was a great calm. Dr. Jerry Vines said, “Do you think for one moment that a puddle of water can stymie Omnipotence.” You think about something. Any delay in stopping the storm would have resulted in the boat sinking and the passengers on board drowning. So there was an instant calming of the storm. The instant calming that came to the Sea of Galilee is supernatural. Normally, even after the wind has died down, it takes a long time for a sea to calm down. A sudden stoppage of the wind will not result in a sudden stoppage of the waves. Once a sea or lake is churned up, it can take hours to calm down. {continue}…But here the sea became calm instantly. {Mark 4:39}- “And the wind ceased, and THERE WAS A GREAT CALM.” This fact substantiates that the stopping of the storm here by Christ was indeed a Divine Miracle. There was an eerie silence - as if Jesus took His great Hand and brushed away the wind and pressed down the Sea. Dr. Jerry Vines, “The winds fell as if they were shot with a tranquilizing dart. The sea turned into a mirror of glass.” The Lord has power over the storms that we face in our life. He can calm our troubled seas. The winds in your life may be reaching record proportions and the waves may be rising to unprecedented heights, but the Lord can speak the words, "Peace be still" and calm the storm instantly.

I think of a story that Robert Louis Stevenson told. A ship was caught in a storm off a rocky coast. The winds and waves threatened to drive the ship to its destruction. In the midst of the terror, one passenger groped along a passageway, making his way across the ship to the pilothouse. There he beheld an intriguing sight. The ship's pilot was fastened to his post. Secure against the raging elements, he held the wheel fast, turning the ship, inch by inch, out to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. The passenger made his way back below deck where the other passengers huddled. He said to them, "I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well." Are you in a storm? Then look to the Lord! Look into His Face. He is at the wheel; He is the Master of the sea and His Face says “All is well”. He can calm our stormy seas.

B. There Is The Presence Of The Lord In The Storm

Notice Mk 4:36, "Leaving the crowd, they *took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him." As the boat that carried the Lord set sail, there was “other boats” that followed. This seems to suggest to me that these ships were also caught in the storm. But there is one difference between the other little ships and the ship the disciples were on. Jesus was on board the ship with the disciples. He may have been sleeping, but none-the-less He was on board. The Lord was present! Thank God He is with us when we go through the storm. Whether He is sleeping or standing, we are safe in the storm when He is with us.

ILLUSTRATION I read a story about a little boy that was to have heart surgery. The surgeon sat beside the boy's bed and his parents sat across from him. The surgeon said to the little boy, "Tomorrow morning, I'll open up your heart." The little boy interrupted the surgeon and said; "You'll find Jesus there." The surgeon looked annoyed and continued, "I'll cut your heart open to see how much damage has been done." The little boy quickly said, "But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus there." The surgeon looked at the parents, ignoring the little boy, "When I see how much damage has been done, I will know what to do next." Again the little boy said, "But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart." The surgeon had had enough and he said to the little boy, "I'll tell you what I'll find there. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. I'll find out if I can make you well." Once again the little boy said, "You'll find Jesus there. He lives there." After surgery, the surgeon sat in his office recording his notes from the surgery: "damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis:," he paused before recording his next words, "death within one year." He stopped his recorder and sat there. Then he asked aloud, "Why? Why did You do this? You put him here. You put him in this pain. You cursed him to an early death. Why?" Then the Lord began to speak to the heart of the surgeon: "The boy was not meant to live long on this earth. He belongs to Me and soon he will be with Me forever." Hot tears started running down the surgeon's face and in anger he said aloud, "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?" Then the Lord spoke to the heart of the surgeon, "I sent the boy to reach you and make you one of My children." Later the surgeon sat down beside the little boy's bed; the parents sat across from him. The little boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" asked the little boy. "I found Jesus there," said the surgeon. I want you to know that when you go through the storm you will find Jesus there. He is on board. He is with us.

C. There Is The Promise Of The Lord For The Storm - Once again notice {Mk 4:35} and pay close attention to what Jesus said: "And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, 'Let us pass over unto the other side." Notice Mark 5:1, "And they came over unto the other side of the sea." I like what {Luke 8:26} said: “AND THEY ARRIVED.” He told them that they were going to the other side and they got to the other side. He did not promise them smooth sailing but He was promising them a safe landing. He told them they were going to the other side. The Lord has promised us that we are going to the other side. It matters not how dark the skies may get, it matters not how strong the winds may blow, or how high the waves may get. We are going to the other side. That is the Lord's promise. When you go through the storm don't ever forget His promise. We are going to make it!

I want you to learn 2 valuable lessons from this story.

(1) The Boat Could Not Sink Because Jesus Was On Board.

(2) The Storm Wasn’t Going To Last Forever. You are not going under you are going over. I would rather be in a storm with Jesus than in a calm anywhere else. Safety is not the absence of the storm - it is the Presence of the Savior. We need “REAL FAITH” in the Lord Jesus to make it through the storms of life. Faith does not necessarily mean that every time a storm comes - we can call upon the Lord and He will immediately calm the storm down. Some times Jesus will say to the [wind] and the [waves] “PEACE BE STILL” and there will be a great calm to the storm. *Other times Jesus will say to the saint “PEACE BE STILL” and there will be a great calm in the saint. Some times Jesus will change the situation for the saint. Other times Jesus will change the saint in the situation. There will be times that Jesus will remove the ‘mountains’ from our lives. Then there will be times that that Jesus will enable us to walk over the ‘mountain’ in our lives. See Ps 29:10, 11, Ps 107:27-31, Ps 34:4. He’s the One Who sails with Me - HE’S THE MASTER OF THE SEA!

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.

KJV And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

Matthew 8:25+ And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 

Mark 4:38+ Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;  and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked (epitimao) the wind and said to the sea, “Hush (siopao = command to keep silent), be still (phimoo = command to be "muzzled", become calm).” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm (Literally = a great calm occurred).

Storm Tossed Ship


They came to (proserchomai) Jesus and woke Him up (diegeiro), saying, "Master, Master (epistates), we are perishing! (apollumi)" - Mt 8:24+ tells us Jesus Himself was asleep, and Mk 4:38+ adds He was in the stern...on a cushion. Repetition of Master, Master describes their emotion, their fear and their sense of urgency. One can fault their faith, but to Whom did they come when the storm came? Matthew, Mark and Luke have "Lord (kurios - Mt 8:25+)," "Teacher" (didaskalos - Mk 4:38+) and "Master," (epistates - Lk 8:24a+) respectively.  Jesus was fully Human and that surely must have stung a bit.  Notice the "we" in we are perishing implying that Jesus too will perish! Perishing is in the present tense so that they are saying we are in the process of perishing. In other words the disciples described themselves are already "going under!"  Only Matthew 8:25+ records their specific request “Save (sozo) us, Lord; we are perishing!” where Save is an aorist imperative, their plaintive plea to Jesus to do this quickly because the boat was being swamped with water! 

Make the Savior your first option
when the storms of life threaten to swamp you!

Mk 4:38+ adds that the disciples' cried out “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Of course Jesus cares! They simply did not have enough faith to believe He really cared. And perhaps since He was still sound asleep they saw that as lack of concern. In either event it was clearly a reproach of Jesus, by His closest human associates.

Hendriksen paraphrases Mk 4:38 - "Do we mean so little to you? With death staring us in the face, how can you sleep? Don't you care whether we're all swallowed up by the angry deep?" Nevertheless, before we judge these men too harshly, the following facts must be borne in mind: a. They were thoroughly frightened: in such a situation even normally loyal and courageous people will at times say things which they later regret; and b. their bitterness is not unmixed with a measure of trust. If that were not true, they—some of them being experienced sailors—would not now have turned to a "carpenter" for help. To be sure, their faith was far from perfect, but even "little faith" is faith, and holds out hope for purification and enlargement. (Ibid)


And He got up and rebuked (epitimao) the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped (pauo), and it became calm (galene) - Mark's version is dramatic "Hush, be still!" where "be still" is literally "be muzzled!" (Mk 4:39+) It is remarkable that our Lord did not rebuke the disciples for their rebuke! The incident reveals the humanity and the deity of the Lord Jesus. He slept in the stern of the boat; that's His humanity. He spoke and the sea was calm; that's His deity.

THOUGHT - One word of our Lord can change the face of nature, and calm the troubled ocean, as well as restore peace to the disconsolate soul.

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow,
If only we are in the boat with Thee?
—Amy Carmichael

MacArthur - Skeptics, determined to deny the miraculous at all costs, have pointed out that storms on the Sea of Galilee often stop as rapidly as they start. But while the wind might have died down almost at once, it would have taken much longer for the waves to subside. When Jesus commanded the wind and waves to stop, both did so instantly, and it became absolutely calm (both Matthew and Mark use the adjective megas [“great”] to describe the glassy calm). (See Luke Commentary)

William MacDonald - Jesus was asleep when the storm broke; the fact that He slept attests His true humanity. The storm went to sleep when Jesus spoke; this fact attests His absolute deity.....What He did to the Sea of Galilee, He can do to the troubled, storm-tossed disciple today. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary

Hendriksen on rebuked the wind notes that some say Jesus' rebuke implies the storm was caused by Satan, but he notes that "this line of argumentation is rather weak, because: 1. According to Job 28:25 it is God, not Satan, who is in control of the winds. See also Ps. 48:7; 78:26; 104:3; 107:25; 135:7; 147:18; 148:8; Isa. 11:15; Jer. 10:13; Amos 4:13; Jonah 1:4; 4:8. 2. That these demons had anything to do with bringing on the storm is not stated. Far more reasonable, therefore, is the theory according to which it was God who made use of physical forces he had himself brought into being, employing them for the realization of his own purpose. The so-called "laws of nature" are, after all, his laws. In this connection note the following: The sea of Galilee is located in the north of the valley of the Jordan. It is about thirteen miles in length and seven and one-half miles in width. It lies approximately six hundred eighty feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its bed is a depression surrounded by hills, especially on the east side with its precipitous cliffs. When cool currents rush down from Mt. Hermon (9,200 feet) or from elsewhere and through narrow passages between the steep hills collide with the heated air above the lake basin, this downrush is impetuous. The violent winds whip the water into a fury, causing high waves that splash over bow, side rails, etc., of any vessel that happens to be plying the water surface. In the present instance the fishing craft, swamped by towering billows, was becoming water-logged, the toy of the raging elements. When Luke says, "They began to be swamped," he means "Their boat did." From a human point of view the little group was certainly in great danger. (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke

Hendriksen adds "What is very striking is that not only the winds immediately quiet down, but so do even the waves. Generally, as is well-known, after the winds have perceptibly diminished, the billows will continue to roll for a while, surging and subsiding as if unwilling to follow the example of the now subdued air currents above them. But in this instance winds and waves synchronize in the sublime symphony of a solemn silence. Something comparable to an evening stillness of the starry heavens settles upon the waters. Suddenly the surface of the sea had become smooth as a mirror."

No water can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.

Play a beautiful version of 
Be Still My Soul 

In the next miracle (Lk 8:26ff) Jesus shows His power over the supernatural (demonic) world. Here He demonstrates His power over the natural world. 

Ryle - The well-known story of King Canute, in vain attempting to stop the rising tide by his command, will naturally occur to any reader of English history. There is a striking contrast between the utter failure of Canute’s attempt and the almighty power of Christ’s words here recorded.

Be still, my heart; for faithful is thy Lord,
And pure and true and tried His holy Word;
Though stormy flood which rageth as the sea,
His promises thy stepping-stones shall be.

NET Note - Who has authority over the seas and winds is discussed in the OT: Ps 104:3; 135:7; 107:23–30. When Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves he was making a statement about Who He was. 

Ps 107:29 He (God) caused (Lxx = epitasso = ordered or commanded, emphasizing His authority over) the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed (Lxx = sigao = to be silent, keep still). 

Ps 89:9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 

Better the storm with Christ,
than smooth waters waters without Him
Sometimes God calms the storm,
sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.


Lord of all creation
Of water, earth, and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on High

God of wonders, beyond out galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
And as I stumble through the darkness
I will call Your name by night

God of wonders, beyond out galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
God of wonders, beyond out galaxy
You are holy, holy
Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me
Father holy, holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy, holy, holy, holy

Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

This scene recalls the proverb "Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know!" (Proverbs 30:4)

That Jesus should be able to rebuke His creation should come as no surprise to us. Recall also that it was Jesus Who spoke and created the universe with His Word! 

John 1:3+ All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Col 1:16+ For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 

Hebrews 1:2+ in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world.

Hebrews 11:3+ By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

This was clear evidence that He was God, for only the Creator could exercise authority over the creation! 

Ps 89:9  You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 

Ps 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; 

Ps 135:7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries. 

Ps 107:23-30 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters;  24 They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.  25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea.  26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery.  27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits’ end.  28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses.  29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.  30 Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. 

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be,
No water can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.

Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.

They came to (4334)(proserchomai from prós = facing + erchomai = come) means to come facing toward. To approach, come near, visit, figuratively to worship, draw near, go near to. This is the same verb used by the writer of Hebrews to describe drawing near to Him in prayer, worship, devotion of heart and life (cf Heb 4:16+, cf Heb 10:22+, Heb 7:25+, Heb 11:6+).

Proserchomai in Luke and Acts - Lk. 7:14; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 8:44; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 10:34; Lk. 13:31; Lk. 20:27; Lk. 23:36; Lk. 23:52;  Acts 7:31; Acts 8:29; Acts 9:1; Acts 10:28; Acts 12:13; Acts 18:2; Acts 22:26; Acts 22:27; Acts 23:14; Acts 28:9

Woke (stirred Him up, aroused Him - one can almost see them shaking Him for He is so sound asleep!)(1326)(diegeiro from dia = through and verb used in previous verse = egeiro = awaken, rouse) in the active voice means to cause to wake up or to awaken (Mt 1:24+) and in the passive voice to become awake (Mk 4:39+). It is interesting that this same verb diegeiro is used figuratively in Jn 6:18 to describe the sea "began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing." And so in the present context, Jesus was stirred awake and quieted the stirred up sea.

Diegeiro - 5v - got(2), stir(1), stirred(1), stirring(1), woke(1). Mk. 4:39; Lk. 8:24; Jn. 6:18; 2 Pet. 1:13; 2 Pet. 3:1

Master, Master (1988)(epistates from ephistemi =  to set over) means a person of high status, chief, commander. All NT uses by Luke (except the 10 lepers in Lk 17:13), all spoken by the disciples and all refer to Jesus. Matthew and Mark use either "Teacher" or "Rabbi" instead of Master. TDNT comments that "the transcription rabbi used by the other Evangelists is avoided by the Hellenist Luke (directed to Greek audiences who would not understand "rabbi")." Luke employed epistates as an equivalent of didaskalos, “teacher” (Luke 8:24; cf. Mark 4:38; 9:38; Luke 9:49). Epistates could describe  a chief commander, a magistrate, a governor of a city, or a president of a college, but one thing all have in common is authority. In using Master Simon recognized Jesus' authority.

Epistates - 7x/6v - Lk. 5:5; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 8:45; Lk. 9:33; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 17:13

We are perishing (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin) means to destroy utterly but not to cause one to cease to exist. Apollumi has the basic meaning of describing that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. If the disciples drowned they would certainly no longer be of use as Jesus' disciples. Apollumi is used to describe Jesus purpose for coming to earth "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (apollumi).” (Luke 19:10+) Apollumi speaks of rewards “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose (apollumi) his reward.” (Matt. 10:42+) Jesus paradoxically declaring that  “He who has found his life will lose (apollumi) it, and he who has lost  (apollumi) his life for My sake will find it." (Mt 10:39+Apollumi speaks of eternal punishment Jesus declaring "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy (apollumi) both soul and body in hell." (Mt 10:28+). In one of the most famous verses in the Bible John writes "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish (apollumi), but have eternal life." (John 3:16).

All uses in Luke - Lk. 4:34; Lk. 5:37; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:25; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 11:51; Lk. 13:3; Lk. 13:5; Lk. 13:33; Lk. 15:4; Lk. 15:6; Lk. 15:8; Lk. 15:9; Lk. 15:17; Lk. 15:24; Lk. 15:32; Lk. 17:27; Lk. 17:29; Lk. 17:33; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 19:47; Lk. 20:16; Lk. 21:18;

He rebuked (2008)(epitimao from epi = upon + timao = to honour) means literally to put honor upon and then to mete out due measure and so then to find fault with, to censure severely, to rebuke, to express strong disapproval of, or to denounce. Epitimao is stronger than the word reprove (elegcho) implying more authority and less argument. This is the same verb used by Peter in his rebuke of Jesus! (Mt 16:22), of Jesus rebuking a demon (Mt 17:18), of Jesus' disciples rebuking those who brought children to Him (Mt 19:13), of Jesus rebuking the fever of Peter's mother (Lk 4:39, of Jesus rebuking an unclean spirit (Lk 9:42), of Jesus rebuking His disciples (Lk 9:55), of the Pharisees exhorting Jesus to rebuke His disciples, of one of the men on the cross next to Jesus rebuking the man on the other side of Jesus (Lk 23:40). This verb is used in all 3 synoptic accounts (Matt. 8:26+, Mk 4:39+ and Lk 8:24+). In a somewhat similar use in the Septuagint (Lxx), epitimao is used in Ps 106:9 "Thus He rebuked (Lxx - epitimao) the Red Sea and it dried up, and He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness." Epitimao is used in God's addressing Satan in Zech 3:2 where "The LORD said to Satan 'The LORD rebuke (Lxx - epitimao) you, Satan," and again in Jude 1:9+ "Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke (epitimao) you!” However, these latter two uses in the rebuke of Satan should not be taken as evidence that Satan was the instigator of the storm of the wind and the waves in the present context. "In classical Greek the verb epitimaō can mean both “to honor” and “to censure or penalize.” The positive and negative meanings are similar to those carried by the English word citation." (Gilbrant) 

Epitimao - 30v - rebuke(6), rebuked(13), rebuking(3), sternly telling(2), sternly told(1), warned(5). Matt. 8:26; Matt. 12:16; Matt. 16:20; Matt. 16:22; Matt. 17:18; Matt. 19:13; Matt. 20:31; Mk. 1:25; Mk. 3:12; Mk. 4:39; Mk. 8:30; Mk. 8:32; Mk. 8:33; Mk. 9:25; Mk. 10:13; Mk. 10:48; Lk. 4:35; Lk. 4:39; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 9:21; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 9:55; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 18:15; Lk. 18:39; Lk. 19:39; Lk. 23:40; 2 Tim. 4:2; Jude 1:9

They stopped (3973)(pauo) in the active sense means to cause something to cease from some activity. To come to an end. A storm normally fizzles out but this time it came to an abrupt halt! Mark 4:39 says it was "perfectly calm" (a "deep or great calm"). 

Calm (1055)(galene) is a tranquility, quietness or stillness of the sea, "an unruffled surface on a body of water," (BDAG), or that which is calm and is used often to describe the weather. In NT it is used only to describe sea as calm -  Mt 8:26, Mk 4:39, Lk 8:24. In Classic Greek it is used metaphorically to describe the spirit of serenest calm, Aesch.;  in calm, Soph.  

William F. Harrell Deep Water Blessings - There is a crucial need within the Church today and that need is for Christians to go deeper into the spiritual realities of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. There are several occurrences in the New Testament which show us the value of venturing out into deeper water.

Deeper water is "faith territory." The blessings are out where you are over your head and Jesus must be trusted to get you through whatever the situation may be. The scripture says…"the just shall live by faith", and that says that the self is given up and placed in the hands of Jesus Christ. And, really, this is the safest place to live. Only after your feet won't touch bottom will you truly have to trust the Lord completely.

Most people want to be satisfied wading around where the only blessing is cool feet. We must learn and desire to launch out because the fish are in the deep water. Our assurance is out in the deep water also. As we grow deeper and learn to live in that environment, our assurance grows stronger.

When Peter walked on the water it was a miracle no one else has ever been able to do. But, his survival still depended on Jesus. He is necessary for our survival as well whether we are in shallow spiritual water or whether we are out in the deep continuously growing closer to him in actions and understanding.

Here is a lesson to learn: Jesus is a good man to have on board on the ship of your life. Let me ask this question: "Where is the ship of your life sailing to?" "How dependent is it on Jesus for survival?" Most people today think they can make it on their own, but the reason we have the Biblical examples we have is so that we can readily see that our course in life is a disaster unless He is on board and unless we are yielding to Him from day to day.


There are several factors about swimming is shallow spiritual water. First, only minnows swim there. Also, you can control your direction and speed. Furthermore, the water is not very deep in the shallows and can always touch the bottom with your feet. When you are in the shallow water, land is only a step away, and you can always see where you are. In our natural environment we are creatures of the land and it takes very little faith to survive there.

Sadly, many Christians just want to get in the water, but they never equip themselves to go out any further – to go out into the deeper water that Lord is calling them to. This is like the person who just wants to be saved, but does not desire to go any further. Bible Study and regular church attendance are not on the agenda of people in the shallow waters. Personal prayer time is too much for the person wading in the shallows. The shallow Christian can be careless in shallow water of Christian living and this can become a deadly spiritual habit. Essentially a person like this is swimming around in the area reserved for children, but they don't voluntarily tell people that.

Shallow Christians want people to know that they are in the water, but how deep the water is will not be mentioned. You've seen them. They are all around us. They never learn to swim or fish in deeper water where the real blessings are.


Now, when one’s feet cannot touch the bottom, he must have some trust in something beyond himself. A person in the deep water might trust in a boat. In other words, a person like this will construct a boat in which to feel comfortable in life. It may involve our education, our occupation, our money, our stocks, our possessions, or our families. We construct all this around us in order to feel comfortable with who we are and how things are going.

Let me assure you that God has more for you than just constructing a comfort zone around you. This world and its things can never compete with a right relationship with God. In fact, nothing else is really right without Jesus Christ at the helm.


Our safety is there. Look at Luke 8:21-25. Jesus is the one who told them to go over to the other side. He led them out into the deep. They, in faith, obeyed and launched forth but that was in shallow water. They were not afraid there because they felt in control of the situation. But when they were in deep water, and the storm came, they were afraid. Jesus knew what was going to happen and He knows about situations which arise in your life and mine as well.

You may find yourself disturbed by the winds and waves swirling around your life. That is what happened to the disciples. But the Lord is not disturbed. Not verse 23 in our text. You see, when they could do nothing, he had the answer for their safety.

Up in the shallows they would try to do it themselves. But, in the deep, they needed Him! So, remember, your safety is out there in the deeper water where you cannot depend on yourself, but where you must depend only upon the Lord.

Our Reward is Out in the Deeper Water. Note John 21:5-6. The disciples, like most of us, had worked themselves to the bone striving to be successful catching some fish. But, when Jesus instructed them, and they listened and obeyed, they found their reward Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, tries continuously to get Christians to follow him into a deeper relationship where the true blessings and abundance really are. Notice this, they did not argue with His instructions. They did exactly as He said to do. So often people standing in shallow water will argue with Jesus because they can still touch the bottom of the pool or the lake of life. But to survive in deep water, we must follow His instructions.

I hate to tell you, but most people and most churches today know nothing about living in the deep waters where a true, vibrant relationship with the Lord exists. We are too busy occupying ourselves with the minnows rather than out there in the depths of God’s leadership where we can catch a net full of big fish.

Let me tell you again, our security is out there in the deep water. Look at Matthew 14:28-31. This is in total opposition to the way we think. We think that we can handle it and that is a giveaway as to where we are spiritually. Those who think they can handle it are wading in shallow water. In the midst of the storms of life we must trust Jesus. Peter was willing, even in deep water, to do something no man had ever done. He was willing to attempt walking on the water - and he did. When he started failing and sinking, his Security reached out for him and saved him.

Conclusion There is a wonderful lesson here. Even though we start the journey and fail from time to time, the Lord never lets us down. Our Security is found in the deep water where we have no hope unless He comes through for us. We ought t be people who are living in Deep Waters so that we can receive the blessings that it will bring. Don't be a person who is satisfied in the shallows. Allow the Lord to develop you into a Deep Water Christian so that you can receive the Deep Water Blessings from the only one equipped to give them to you - the Lord Jesus Christ.

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?"

KJV And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 8:26+ He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Mark 4:40+ And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”


Where is your faith? (pistis) (cf Lk 12:28, Mt 6:30, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20) "O men of little faith (pistis)" (Matthew 8:26+). "Have you still no faith (pistis)?” (Mark 4:40+). Why would Jesus ask about their faith. What had they seen already? Without a doubt they had seen more miracles than even those recorded in the Gospels (cf Jn 20:30). As MacArthur says "The lesson for the disciples was clear: they were to trust the Lord even in the most severe and threatening circumstances."

The storm couldn’t disturb Him, but the unbelief of His disciples did!
- G. Campbell Morgan

David Gooding writes, "We live in a universe that is lethally hostile to human life: only the miracle of creation and divine maintenance preserves our planet and its wonderful adaptations and provisions for the propagation of human life. Within our earth itself wind, wave, lightning, storm, flood, drought, avalanche, earthquake, fire, heat, cold, germ, virus, epidemic, all from time to time threaten and destroy life. Sooner or later one of them may destroy us. The story of the stilling of the storm is not, of course, meant to tell us that Christ will never allow any believer to perish by drowning, or by any other natural disaster. Many believers have so perished. It does demonstrate that he is Lord of the physical forces in the universe, that for him nothing happens by accident, and that no force in all creation can destroy his plan for our eternal salvation or separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (see Rom. 8:38–39). (Borrow According to Luke : a new exposition of the Third Gospel)

J C Ryle - The lesson now before us is one of deep practical importance. To have true saving faith is one thing. To have that faith always ready for use is quite another. Many receive Christ as their Saviour, and deliberately commit their souls to Him for time and eternity, who yet often find their faith sadly failing when something unexpected happens, and they are suddenly tried. These things ought not so to be. We ought to pray that we may have a stock of faith ready for use at a moment’s notice, and may never be found unprepared. The highest style of Christian is the man who lives like Moses, “seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27.) That man will never be greatly shaken by any storm. He will see Jesus near him in the darkest hour, and blue sky behind the blackest cloud.

Hendriksen - They were "men of little faith," that is, men who were too timid sufficiently to rely upon the comfort and confidence which they should have derived from the presence, promises, power, and love of their Master (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28); too hesitant to realize that the Father's loving care was bestowed upon them through the Son. Still no faith; that is, no faith in spite of all that you have seen, heard, experienced? This little word "still" must not escape us (only in Mk 4:40). By using it Jesus is teaching that the experiences of life are sent to men with a purpose. They must be used to good advantage, for furtherance in sanctification. Joseph understood this (Ge 50:19-21). So did David (2 Sa 23:5; Ps. 116:1-19); the man born blind (Jn 9:25, 30-33); Paul (1 Cor 15:9, 10; Php 2:7-14; 4:11-13). Laban, too, learned something by experience, but applied his knowledge selfishly (Ge 30:27b). (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

Maybe you’ve asked, “Jesus, why did you fall asleep at this important time in my life?” Although God does not always shield us from the destructiveness of all life’s storms. He can always be trusted to be there in the storm with us!

A severe squall threatens to sink the disciples! What’s threatened to sink you this week? Jesus certainly knew the storm was coming, yet He went to sleep in the ship. They knew His word, “let us go to the other side” (not drown in the middle); but they did not believe when they faced this life test. It’s easy to learn the truth, quite something else to live it!

Guzik - Where is your faith? Jesus did not say, “Wow, what a storm.” Instead, He asked, “Where is your faith?” The storm could not disturb Jesus, but the unbelief of His disciples could and did. i. Their unbelief was not in that they were afraid of a fearful circumstance, but because Jesus had said Let us go over to the other side of the lake (Luke 8:22). Jesus didn’t say, “Let’s do the best we can and maybe we will all drown.” Difficult circumstances – storms, so to speak – are not evidence of unbelief. Unbelief is the rejection of a promise or a command of God relevant to a particular situation.. The disciples also should have known that God would not allow the Messiah to perish in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. It was not possible for the story of Jesus the Messiah to end with Him drowning in the Sea of Galilee. This account shows the abiding care Jesus has for His people. “There are many Christians today who seem to think the boat is going down! I am tired of the wailing of some of my friends who take that view. The boat cannot go down. Jesus is on board.” (Morgan)

Brian Bell - Crisis! {comes from the Greek krisis “decisive moment”} [1] dangerous or worrying time: a situation or period in which things are very uncertain, difficult, or painful, especially a time when action must be taken to avoid complete disaster or breakdown. [2] critical moment: a time when something very important for the future happens or is decided. Crisis is a good thing…it helps people change! God knows that, & lovingly provides those times of crisis for us! They can come in countless of forms: disaster; catastrophe; emergency; calamity; predicament; job loss; spouse loss; child loss; etc.Issac Newton said in his First Law of Motion “Everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.”No one is willing to do real change until real Crisis comes! Some people will change when they see the light; Others change only when they feel the heat!

William MacDonald - He asked the disciples, "Where is your faith?" They should not have worried. They did not need to awaken Him. "No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies." To be with Christ in the boat is to be absolutely safe and secure.The disciples did not fully appreciate the extent of the power of their Master. Their understanding of Him was defective. (Believer's Bible Commentary - borrow)

Warren Wiersbe -  faith must be tested before it can be trusted. It is one thing to learn a new spiritual truth, but quite something else to practice that truth in the everyday experiences of life....The disciples failed this test of faith because they did not lay hold of His word that He was going to the other side. It has well been said that faith is not believing in spite of circumstances; it is obeying in spite of feelings and consequences. The disciples looked around and saw danger, and looked within and saw fear; but they failed to look up by faith and see God. Faith and fear cannot dwell together in the same heart. A woman said to D.L. Moody, “I have found a wonderful promise!” and she quoted Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” “Let me give you a better one,” said Moody; and he quoted Isaiah 12:2, “Behold God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.”  (Borrow Be compassionate)

Life Application Study Bible - Problems occur in every area of life. The disciples needed rest, but they encountered a terrible storm. The Christian life may have more stormy weather than calm seas. As Christ's follower, be prepared for the storms that will surely come. Do not surrender to the stress, but remain resilient and recover from setbacks. With faith in Christ, you can pray, trust, and move ahead. When a squall approaches, lean into the wind and trust God. The disciples lived with Jesus, but they underestimated him. They did not see that his power applied to their very own situation. Jesus has been with his people for 20 centuries, and yet we, like the disciples, underestimate his power to handle crises in our lives. The disciples did not yet know enough about Jesus. We cannot make the same excuse. (Luke Application Study Notes)

They were fearful (phobeo) and amazed (thaumazo)  - We don't need to fear the storm with Jesus as our anchor but the 12 had not yet come to fully understand this truth. A variation of "shock and awe." In Matthew and Mark Jesus asked "Why are you afraid" (Matthew 8:26, Mark 4:40). Compare a similar reaction by Jesus to the disciples in Mark 8:17-21; 9:19.  Timidity was their frequent response - Mark 5:15, 33; 6:50; 9:32; 10:32; 11:18; 16:8. Their lack of faith thus made them fearful in the crisis. They were afraid before the storm and now they were afraid after the storm! They were suddenly conscious that they were in the presence of the One Who had miraculously stilled the storm. And so they reacted much like Isaiah in Isa 6:5 "“Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” or like Peter in Luke 5:8 who when he "saw that (the catch of fish as a result of Jesus' direction), he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”"


Notice that all 3 synoptic Gospels leave this question unanswered at this juncture. It is as if the Holy Spirit by fixing attention of Jesus the Messiah, is calling on everyone who reads these words to give his own answer, express his own faith and add his own doxology! Dear reader, What saith YOU? Who is this Man Jesus

Saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands (epitasso) even the winds and the water, and they obey (hupakouo) Him -  This is in a sense really a rhetorical question for they knew that it was God "Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might;  Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples.) (Ps 65:6-7)  Clearly the implication is that Jesus is the Lord over Creation. One can picture this little band of disciples buzzing over this miracle. And remember Judas Iscariot witnessed this and yet refused to believe in Jesus! Miracles of Jesus have never saved anyone! Only faith in Jesus saved then and now and forever. Amen

Their question in a sense shows some ignorance of their own Psalms for "Psalm 89:8-9 would have given them a clear answer to what king of a man Jesus was - "O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.  You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

Guzik observes that "In the span of a few moments, the disciples saw both the complete humanity of Jesus (in His tired sleep) and the fullness of His deity. They saw Jesus for who He is: truly man and truly God."

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatening
A grave in the angry deep?


The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

Were fearful (5399)(phobeo from phobos = fear source of our English "phobia") means to be in an apprehensive state that can range from mild uneasiness to stark terror as when one is frightened, terrified or alarmed. In ancient Greek the word phobos came from the word phebomai meaning to flee, or to be startled. Thus phobos meant flight or terror, and was connected with fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and fear of authorities.

Phobeo in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 1:50; Lk. 2:9; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 9:34; Lk. 9:45; Lk. 12:4; Lk. 12:5; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 18:2; Lk. 18:4; Lk. 19:21; Lk. 20:19; Lk. 22:2; Lk. 23:40; Acts 5:26; Acts 9:26; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:35; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26; Acts 16:38; Acts 18:9; Acts 22:29; Acts 23:10; Acts 27:17; Acts 27:24; Acts 27:29;

Amazed (2296)(thaumazo from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder, admiration) means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. Thaumazo describes the human response when confronted by divine revelation in some form (Mt 9.33). 

Thaumazo in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:21; Lk. 1:63; Lk. 2:18; Lk. 2:33; Lk. 4:22; Lk. 7:9; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 9:43; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:38; Lk. 20:26; Lk. 24:12; Lk. 24:41; Jn. 3:7; Acts 2:7; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:13; Acts 7:31; Acts 13:41

Commands (orders)(2004epitasso from epí = upon, over + tasso = arrange, appoint or place appropriately) literally means to arrange upon, i.e. order. To appoint over, put in charge; put upon one as a duty. Epitasso was a Greek military term, the noun form used of an “orderly array.” The root verb tasso was used in classical Greek meaning to draw up in order of battle, array, marshal. The noun form epitage referred to a royal command that is not negotiable, but mandatory. Of Jesus' command to the people to sit in groups (Mk 6:39). Of Jesus command to demons (Mk 1:27, 9:25, Lk 4:36, 8:31) Of King Herod's order to sever the head of John the Baptist (Mk 6:27). Of Jesus' commanding the winds and water (Lk 8:25, cf similar use of epitasso in Lxx of Ps. 107:29)

Epitasso - 10v - command(2), commanded(4), commands(3), order(1). Mk. 1:27; Mk. 6:27; Mk. 6:39; Mk. 9:25; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 8:31; Lk. 14:22; Acts 23:2; Phlm. 1:8

Obey (5219hupakouo from hupó = agency or means, under, assumes the need for submission + akoúo physical hearing and apprehension of something with the mind - akouo gives us our English acoustics - the science of design which helps one hear) (Click related noun hupakoe) literally means "under the hearing" or to listen under, listening with attentiveness and then responding positively to what is heard -- to obey what is heard. The sense is that one understands and responds accordingly. Hupakouo implies really listening with a readiness to execute (obey) what is requested or ordered. Hupakouo implies an inward attitude of respect and honor, as well as external act of obedience. Obedience on the part of children consists in listening to the advice given by parents. In Genesis 22 Isaac's willingness to be offered as a sacrifice is a model of such submission. Hupakouo means to hear under authority and pictures the one hearing as being under the authority of some one else. Hupakouo means to obey on the basis of having paid attention to. In short, the picture of hupakouo is that of placing oneself under what has been heard and submitting to and obeying what is heard.

Hupakouo - 21v - answer(1), became obedient(1), becoming obedient(1), heed(1), obedient(2), obey(12), obeyed(3). Matt. 8:27; Mk. 1:27; Mk. 4:41; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 17:6; Acts 6:7; Acts 12:13; Rom. 6:12; Rom. 6:16; Rom. 6:17; Rom. 10:16; Eph. 6:1; Eph. 6:5; Phil. 2:12; Col. 3:20; Col. 3:22; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2 Thess. 3:14; Heb. 5:9; Heb. 11:8; 1 Pet. 3:6

QUESTION -  What is the significance of Jesus calming the storm?

ANSWER - The story of Jesus calming the storm is told in the three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus had been teaching near the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, He wanted a respite from the crowds so decided to take a boat with the apostles to the opposite shore where there were no large towns (Mark 4:35–36). The Bible reports not long after they sailed, Jesus fell asleep and a storm arose (Luke 8:23).

Here are two important points that reveal the true humanity of Christ: He needed rest and time away from crowds, and He was so exhausted that even the battering of the boat did not awaken Him (Matthew 8:24). These truths should help us realize that Jesus was genuinely human with the same basic needs we all have. Christ’s humanity is part of what qualifies Him to be our merciful intercessor between us and God the Father (Hebrews 2:17).

Although the text doesn’t say which apostles were with Christ on the boat, it’s probable that seasoned fishermen (at least four of the twelve) were aboard. These men were quite familiar with the ways of the sea; certainly, this was not their first squall on the Sea of Galilee, which was known for its sudden raging storms. Even these professional fishermen were frightened by this storm, to the point of fearing they would die (Luke 8:24). “The waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion” (Mark 4:37–38). It’s significant that Jesus’ sleep was deep and sound, even through the storm, which was “already filling” the boat. The Bible says the sleep of a believer will be sweet and peaceful because he knows the Lord is with him (Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 4:8). This is why Jesus, when He was awakened, rebuked the disciples with the question “Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

The apostles’ lack of faith reminds us that even those who lived and walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, and heard His message still found it difficult to be 100 percent faith-filled all the time. In that way, the disciples were a lot like us. However, their lack of faith was rebuked—and, by extension, so is ours. If Jesus was able to rescue the apostles from the storm, He is also able to rescue us from the storms of everyday life: sickness, job loss, marriage problems, and even the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:55).

When Jesus “gave orders to go over to the other side” (Matthew 8:18), He knew the storm was coming. He is omniscient (John 2:25); even with a storm brewing, He decided to launch out to sea. The Lord never promised we will never see a storm in life (as a matter of fact, He has told us to expect trouble, John 16:33). Rather, He has promised that He will be with us in the storm. He will never leave His children alone in the midst of trouble; with perseverance they will overcome (Deuteronomy 31:8; James 1:12).

This passage not only reveals Jesus’ true humanity, but also Jesus’ deity because only God can make the “winds and water obey” (Luke 8:25). With one quick word from Christ, the storm abated and the sea became calm (Mark 4:39). The apostles marveled at this powerful display of Jesus’ supernatural ability over the elements (Luke 8:25). This can be immensely comforting to the Christian in a storm. Faith in Christ is never misplaced. If He can calm the storms of the sea with one word, He can calm the storms of life as well.

No danger can come so near the Christian that God is not nearer.

To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.

We sail into the uncertain future surrounded by the faithfulness of God!

Brian Bell - Jesus gives three purposes behind the plans God has for us.

(1) To deal with our fear. After rebuking the storm, Jesus reproves the disciples by asking some questions in verse 40. Here’s the first: “Why are you so afraid?” That word means “timid, to the point of giving up.” He had already promised they were going to the other side. They had seen His power in other settings and He was present with them. What more did they need? Jesus asks you and me the same question: Why are you so afraid?

(2) To grow our faith. And here’s His second question: “Have you still no faith?” This can be translated, “Do you not yet have faith?” Fear can fillet our faith; and faith can force out our fears. The biggest issue is not that Jesus stopped the storm but that He couldn’t find their faith. It’s ironic that it’s only the wind and the waves that are obeying Him in this passage.

Before moving on, as the Master Teacher, don’t miss that Jesus loved to ask questions. I listened to a Breakpoint Commentary this week in which John Stonestreet urges us to utilize questions when interacting with people about cultural issues. Here are some he suggested: What do you mean by that? How do you know that is true? Where did you get this information? How did you come to this conclusion? What if you’re wrong?

(3) To increase our awe. One pastor has said that the only thing worse than having a storm outside your boat is to have the Lord Almighty inside your boat. After Jesus asks them two questions, the disciples are very unsettled and in turn ask a question in verse 41 - “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the seas obey Him?’” Luke adds that they were afraid and “they marveled.”

You’ve heard of the calm before the storm, right? This is the storm before the calm. The sea is at rest but the disciples are all churned up. You would think they would chill when the waves were still. The storm made them afraid but the power of Christ made them petrified. The word “fear” literally means, “They feared a great fear; to be stricken with awe and amazement in the presence of one greater than self.” They had a combination of fear and reverence. With deity on full display, they are twice as terrified after the storm. If Jesus did that to the forces of nature, what would He do to them? (Sermon)

Storms on the Horizon

What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him! Matthew 8:27+

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 8:23-28

Our son, Josh, is a commercial salmon fisherman in Kodiak, Alaska. Some time ago he sent me a photograph he took of a tiny vessel a few hundred yards ahead of his boat moving through a narrow pass. Ominous storm clouds loom on the horizon. But a rainbow, the sign of God’s providence and loving care, stretches from one side of the pass to the other, encircling the little boat.

The photograph reflects our earthly voyage: We sail into an uncertain future, but we are surrounded by the faithfulness of God!

Jesus’ disciples were surrounded by a storm, and He used the experience to teach them about the power and faithfulness of God (Matt. 8:23-27). We seek answers for the uncertainties of life. We watch the future growing closer and wonder what will happen to us there. Puritan poet John Keble captured this in one of his poems in which he watched the future as it drew near. But as he watched he was “waiting to see what God will do.”

Whether young or old we all face uncertain futures. Heaven answers: God’s love Hgoodness encircle us no matter what awaits us. We wait and see what God will do! By:  David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We sail into the uncertain future surrounded by the faithfulness of God!

Steven Cole - We must trust Jesus the Lord in the storms of life. This lesson comes through with Jesus’ question, “Where is your faith?” (Lu 8:25). If there is ever a time when it seems as if panic would be legitimate, it’s when you’re in a major storm and your boat is being swamped. And yet Jesus rebuked not only the storm, but also the disciples’ lack of faith! The fact is,

A. Storms often expose how we are not trusting in the Lord. We all can fake it in calm waters. We can impress others with how together we seem to be. And, the disciples could cope with normal storms quite well. They had been in storms on this lake many other times. They were experts at handling their boat in rough waters. At first they probably thought, “No problem, we can handle it.” But this storm brought them to the end of themselves and showed them how they were trusting in themselves. Often, a crisis shows us a side of ourselves we were blind to. The Lord uses it to reveal new areas where we need to learn to trust Him. We all must come to know our weakness so that we will rely on the Lord’s strength. Storms often show us things that we don’t see in calmer times:

Storms reveal our distorted view of the problem. The disciples excitedly cried, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” They thought they all were going to drown. But wait a minute! Who was on board with them? God’s promised Messiah! To think that God’s long-awaited Messianic kingdom could sink to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee was absurd! But in their panic, the disciples had a distorted view of the problem. Not all fear is wrong, but Jesus rebuked the disciples because their fear was excessive. Some fear is useful because it leads us to take prudent caution for our safety. Sometimes fear makes us spring into immediate action to save our own lives or the life of a loved one who is in danger. But fear is excessive and wrong when it causes us to panic so that we are not thinking carefully in light of God’s promises. If we’re so focused on the problem that we cannot see God’s control over it, then we’re not trusting Him.

Storms reveal our distorted view of ourselves. - “Master, Master, we are perishing!” That “we” probably included Jesus, but I’m not sure that He was their uppermost concern. They weren’t saying, “Hey, guys, if we don’t get out of this storm, the Messiah will die!” First and foremost they were fearing for their own lives. Storms have a way of exposing our self-focus. We can put on a front of caring about others until we realize that it’s going to cost us. Suddenly, it’s every man for himself! Self-pity is another sure sign that we have a distorted view of ourselves. Any time we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, we’re too focused on ourselves. We need to stop and get the big picture of what God is doing.

Storms reveal our distorted view of the Lord Jesus. The disciples ask in awe, “Who then is this?” (Lu 8:25). That was their problem—they really didn’t realize who Jesus is. If they had known, they would not have been so amazed at what happened. They underestimated His power. We do the same thing when we panic in a crisis. We try to solve our problem by figuring everything into the equation—except the supernatural power of Christ. Our distorted view of the problem and of ourselves clouds our vision so that we fail to see the marvelous person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although Luke does not mention it, Mark’s account tells us that the disciples (I would guess, Peter) also said, “Lord, don’t You care that we’re perishing?” In a time of severe trial, it’s easy to doubt the Lord’s loving care for us. That’s why, by faith, we must always affirm two things in our trials: God’s sovereignty and His love (1Pe 5:6-7). Thus we often think that we’re trusting in the Lord until a storm hits. It reveals to us how we’re not really trusting Him.

B. Storms should drive us to trust in the Lord of the storm. The disciples may have protested, “We were trusting in the Lord! We called to Him for help!” But they were not really calling to Jesus in faith or He wouldn’t have rebuked them by asking, “Where is your faith?” What they needed most in this dire situation was to trust in the living God. That’s also what we need most in our trials. Sad to say, trusting God has fallen on hard times. Many “Christian” psychologists scoff at pastors who tell people that they need to trust God, as if that is worthless advice. But trusting God in a crisis is not useless advice! It is what has sustained the saints in many horrible trials down through the centuries. If you don’t know how to trust God in the storms of life, you need to learn because we are commanded to walk by faith and to be built up in faith (Col 2:6-7).

The better we know the Lord, the better we can trust Him. “Who then is this?” is the crucial question. Clearly, this Jesus is fully human. He had a body that got so exhausted that He could sleep in the midst of this storm. The full humanity of Jesus Christ should be of tremendous comfort to us when we are suffering from the limitations of our bodies. “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15). But not only is our Lord fully human, He is also fully divine. He merely had to speak the word and the howling winds ceased and the surging waves were instantly as smooth as glass. Just as Jesus’ full humanity encourages us because He understands, so His full deity should encourage us because He is powerful to act on our behalf. Nothing is too difficult for the living God. Not a breath of wind or a drop of water can defy His sovereign will. The better we know Him, the better we can trust Him in our trials.

The bigger the storm, the more the Lord will be glorified when we trust Him. We need always to keep in mind that the chief end of man is not to use God for our own happiness, but to glorify God no matter what happens to us. This storm revealed the glory of Christ in a way that would have been hidden had it not happened. The disciples got a glimpse of His majestic power, that “He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.” The bigger the problem, the more our almighty Lord will be glorified when we trust Him. Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place and survivor of the German concentration camps, said that people often came up to her and said, “Corrie, my, what a great faith you have.” She would smile and respond, “No, it’s what a great God I have.” Our faith in trials should point people toward our great God.

The more we trust Him in this storm, the more we will know Him and be able to trust Him in the next storm. The winds and the water obey Jesus without question, but we always have a choice. Sadly, we often fail to obey and trust Him. But notice that first the disciples feared the storm; then, they feared the Lord. Their fear of the storm was due to their lack of faith. Their fear of the Lord stemmed from their new awareness of His awesome power. Faith in the Lord is not an automatic thing. It is something that we must choose to exercise, often in the face of overwhelming circumstances that seem to scream at us, “God doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t even exist or you wouldn’t be in this trial.” Faith sometimes must go back to previous situations where God has shown Himself faithful and say, “I rest there.” Often we have to go back to the history recorded in Scripture, where we read of God’s faithfulness to His people in horribly difficult situations. If you actively trust the Lord Jesus in your current trial, your faith will be strengthened to trust Him in the next storm.

Conclusion I’ve heard Bible teachers say, “With Christ in the boat, you can smile at the storm.” Certainly there is a sense in which that’s true. But I don’t want to give you an overly rosy picture. We need to face squarely the fact that sometimes Jesus doesn’t calm the storm. Sometimes the boat does sink, even if we’re trusting in Jesus. John the Baptist wasn’t delivered from prison; he lost his head. Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, but James was put to death (Ac 12:1-17). So what should we do if we trust in the Lord, but the boat sinks? The miracle doesn’t come. The answer is, “We trust in the Lord Jesus as we go under. We go down singing the doxology.” John Hus was burned at the stake for his faith, but he went out singing. Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were burned at the stake together. As the fires were lit, Latimer cried out, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!” Hudson Taylor lost his beloved wife Maria as they both sought to take the gospel to inland China. But he stood at her grave and sang, “Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.” Do you know Jesus in that way? If not, don’t wait until the storm hits. Seek Him now! Trust Him as your Savior, your only hope for heaven. Trust Him daily in the small problems you face. Then, whether He instantly calms the storm or whether your boat sinks, you will know peace that the world can’t know, the peace that comes from trusting in Jesus, the Lord over all of life’s storms.

Discussion Questions

  1. Since the world is watching when storms hit us, to what extent can we show our grief? Should we fake that we are calm?
  2. A child is molested and murdered; a critic asks, “How can God be both sovereign and loving?” Your answer?
  3. What has helped you fight feelings of self-pity in a time of trial?
  4. Why is “Trust in the Lord” not worthless advice?
    (Luke 8:22-25 What to do When Life Gets Stormy)

Thunderstorm Thoughts

The God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:9

Today's Scripture: Matthew 8:23-27

I laugh every time I hear the radio commercial that has a woman shouting to her friend in conversation. She’s trying to talk above the sounds of the thunderstorm in her own head. Ever since a storm damaged part of her home, that’s all she hears because her insurance company isn’t taking care of her claims.

I’ve heard thunderstorms in my head, and maybe you have too. It happens when a tragedy occurs—to us, to someone close to us, or to someone we hear about in the news. Our minds become a tempest of “what if” questions. We focus on all the possible bad outcomes. Our fear, worry, and trust in God fluctuate as we wait, we pray, we grieve, and we wonder what the Lord will do.

It’s natural for us to be fearful in a storm (literal or figurative). The disciples had Jesus right there in the boat with them, yet they were afraid (Matt. 8:23-27). He used the calming of the storm as a lesson to show them who He was—a powerful God who also cares for them.

We wish that Jesus would always calm the storms of our life as He calmed the storm for the disciples that day. But we can find moments of peace when we’re anchored to the truth that He’s in the boat with us and He cares. By:  Anne Cetas    (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Fierce drives the storm, but wind and waves
Within His hand are held,
And trusting His omnipotence
My fears are sweetly quelled.

To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.

Risky Business

He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. —Matthew 8:26

Today's Scripture: Matthew 8:23-27

Denis Boyles knew it would be challenging to interview a man on a roller coaster—especially when the interview took place during an attempt to set a world’s record for continuous riding. After several times around the track, Denis was so overcome with fear he could hardly talk.

Then the man showed him how to use his body and feet to lean into the loops, twists, and turns. Writing in AARP Magazine, Boyles explained how that took away the terror. It also taught him a lesson about risk and fear. The roller coaster felt risky though it was quite safe. But driving his car to the amusement park posed a far greater risk of injury. Risk and fear are easily confused.

As Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a storm came up and waves swept over their boat. Incredibly, Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke Him and said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (Matt. 8:25). In a gentle rebuke, Jesus asked, “‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (v.26).

Like the disciples, the more we learn about Jesus, the more we trust Him. Our greatest risk is failing to depend on Him when life seems out of control. By:  David C. McCasland   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

But we see Jesus! Oh, what peace!
What balm for troubled heart!
His very name brings rest and calm
And bids the fears depart!

Keep your eyes on Jesus and you’ll soon lose sight of your fears.

Life’s Storm-Tossed Sea

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. —1 Peter 5:7

Today's Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

Emilie, wife of 19th-century Ger man pastor Christoph Blumhardt, envied his ability to pray for his parishioners and then effortlessly fall asleep. So one night she pleaded, “Tell me your secret!”

He answered, “Is God so powerless that my worrying would help the well-being of our parish?” Then he added, “There comes a moment each day when we must simply drop what weighs on us and hand it over to God.”

One evening Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. Weary after a long day of ministry, He fell asleep in the stern of the boat. A fierce squall suddenly arose—so fierce that even the Lord’s fishermen-turned-disciples were terrified. But Jesus continued to sleep serenely until His frightened followers woke Him, crying out, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). You see, Jesus was in the habit of entrusting Himself to His heavenly Father. Having made that commitment, He could sleep through the turbulent squall.

When worries begin to gnaw at our mind, let’s surrender them to the Lord and not take them back again (1 Peter 5:7). That’s the secret of soul-serenity when we’re on life’s storm-tossed sea. By:  Vernon Grounds  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Jesus knows the pain you feel,
He can save and He can heal—
Take your burden to the Lord
And leave it there. 

Drop what weighs you down by giving it to God.

Terror Or Trust?

Read: Mark 4:35-41 

In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me. —Psalm 56:4

A sudden squall swept down with almost hurricane force through the funnel-like ravines above the lake of Tiberias, 682 feet below sea level. Huge waves washed into the little boat, threatening to sink it.

Terrified, the disciples of Jesus wakened Him. How could He sleep through the shrieking winds and ship-tossing tempest? (Jesus was sleeping because He was exhausted after a day of strenuous ministry.) “Do You not care that we are perishing?” they shouted (Mk. 4:38).

Calmly Jesus arose and commanded the raging storm to cease. Then, amid the calm and the darkness, He asked two questions of His awe-stricken disciples: “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v.40).

As we voyage through the sea of life, terrifying gales may threaten to overwhelm us. Illness, loss, and danger may pummel us without relief. In our anxiety we may cry out to our seemingly indifferent Lord, “Don’t You care about our problems?” And Christ, completely in control of every circumstance, gently and lovingly rebukes us for failing to exercise faith. He urges us to trust His almighty and all-wise sovereignty. When God is with us, we are safe for time and eternity. By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be,
No water can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.

Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.


Why are you fearful? —Matthew 8:26+

Falling asleep was a challenging event during my childhood. No sooner had my parents turned the lights out than the crumpled clothes I had thrown on the chair would take on the form of a fiery dragon; and the thought of something living under my bed put me into a panic that made sleep impossible.

I’ve come to realise that the immobilising power of fear is not just a childhood experience. Fear keeps us from forgiving, making a stand for what’s right, giving our resources to God’s kingdom or saying no when all our friends are saying yes. Left to ourselves, we are up against a lot of fiery dragons in our lives.

In the story of the disciples in the storm-tossed boat, I’m struck by the fact that the only one who was not afraid was Jesus. He was not afraid of the storm, nor was He afraid of a crazy man in a graveyard or of the legion of demons that possessed him (Matt. 8:23-34).

In the face of fear, we need to hear Jesus ask, “Why are you fearful?” (v.26) and be reminded that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6). There is nothing that He can’t overcome and therefore nothing for Him to fear. So, next time you’re haunted by your fears, remember that you can rely on Jesus, our fearless Champion! - Joe Stowell  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


The Perfect Storm

Read: Mark 4:35-41+ They feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” —Mark 4:41

In his book The Perfect Storm, author Sebastian Junger reports astonishing facts about the power of a hurricane: “A mature hurricane is by far the most powerful event on earth; the combined nuclear arsenals of the United States and the former Soviet Union don’t contain enough energy to keep a hurricane going for one day. A typical hurricane . . . could provide all the electric power needed by the United States for three or four years.”

Seafarers encounter diverse weather conditions. But those who experience a severe storm have one emotion in common—fear. Mark 4:35-41 records a gale that threatened the boat carrying Jesus and His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. In a panic, the disciples awakened Jesus. He calmly rebuked the wind and sea by saying, “Peace, be still!” (literally “hush”) as if He were quieting an agitated child (v.39). Immediately, the gale stopped and the water became inexplicably placid. The disciples asked, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v.41).

Do you feel as if your life’s circumstances are a mighty storm? Look to the God-man Jesus Christ, who has authority over heaven and earth. He will give you the strength to survive the storm until He ultimately calms it. By Dennis Fisher  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our loving God is always near,
Forever by our side;
He’ll bring us comfort in our fear
And peace that will abide. —Sper

When we trust the power of God, His peace keeps us from panic.

Peace, Be Still

Read: Mark 4:35-41+ He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” —Mark 4:39+

My friend Elouise has a wonderful way of putting life into clever perspectives. Once when I asked her, “How are you today?” I expected the usual “fine” response. Instead, she said, “I’ve got to wake Him up!” When I asked what she meant, she kiddingly exclaimed, “Don’t you know your Bible?!” Then she explained: “When the disciples faced trouble, they ran to wake up Jesus. I’m going to run to Him too!”

What do we do when we are stuck in a troubling situation with nowhere to run? Maybe, like the disciples who were stuck in a life-threatening storm, we run to Jesus (Mark 4:35-41). Sometimes, however, we may try to bail ourselves out of trouble by seeking revenge, slandering the one who has caused our problem, or just cowering fearfully in the corner as we sink into despair.

We need to learn from the disciples who fled to Jesus as their only hope. He may not bail us out immediately, but remembering that He is in our boat makes a difference! Thankfully, He is always with us in the storms of life, saying things like “Peace, be still!” (v.39). So, look for Him in your storm and let Him fill you with the peace that comes from knowing He is near. By Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, teach us to run to You in the midst of trouble.
Forgive us for trying to bail ourselves out, and lead
us to the peace of trusting Your wisdom and ultimate
deliverance. Thank You that You will help us!

Make Jesus your first option when the storms of life threaten you.

No Worries

Mark 4:35–5:1+ Let us go over to the other side. Mark 4:35+

A comfortable plane ride was about to get bumpy. The voice of the captain interrupted in-flight beverage service and asked passengers to make sure their seatbelts were fastened. Soon the plane began to roll and pitch like a ship on a wind-whipped ocean. While the rest of the passengers were doing their best to deal with the turbulence, a little girl sat through it all reading her book. After the plane landed, she was asked why she had been able to be so calm. She responded, “My daddy is the pilot and he’s taking me home.”

Though Jesus’ disciples were seasoned fishermen, they were terrified the day a storm threatened to swamp their boat. They were following Jesus’ instructions. Why was this happening? (Mark 4:35-38). He was with them but He was asleep at the stern of the craft. They learned that day that it is not true that when we do as our Lord says there will be no storms in our lives. Yet because He was with them, they also learned that storms don’t stop us from getting to where our Lord wants us to go (Mk 5:1).

Storms don’t stop us from getting to where our Lord wants us to go.

Whether the storm we encounter today is the result of a tragic accident, a loss of employment, or some other trial, we can be confident that all is not lost. Our Pilot can handle the storm. He will get us home.

What storms are you encountering today? Perhaps you have lost a loved one or are facing a serious illness. Perhaps you are having difficulty finding a job. Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith and take you safely through the storm to the other side.By C. P. Hia  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We don't need to fear the storm with Jesus as our anchor.

INSIGHT: Jesus’ calming of the storm is a remarkable witness to the power of our Creator over nature, for He spoke directly to the storm threatening the ship He and His disciples were in. He rebuked the wind and waves and said, “Quiet! Be still!” (4:39). The Greek word used here for "still" denotes the muzzling of a hostile animal. When we are overcome with worries and concerns, we can trust that our powerful Creator will still our fears. 

In The Storm

Read: Mark 4:35-41+ [Jesus] said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” —Mark 4:39

A storm was brewing—not just on the horizon but also in a friend’s home. “When I was in Hong Kong,” she shared, “the local meteorological service announced that there was a superstorm approaching. But more than the storm that was looming outside my window, there was a storm brewing at home. While my dad was in the hospital, family members were trying to balance their home and work responsibilities while also traveling to and from the hospital. They were so tired that patience was wearing thin, and the situation at home was tense.”

Life can feel like a storm—tossing us around with winds of misfortune, grief, or stress. Where can we turn? When Jesus’ disciples were caught in a great windstorm and wondered if He cared, they still knew where to turn. He demonstrated His power by calming the howling storm (Mark 4:38-39).

But often He does not calm the storm immediately. And, like the disciples, we may feel that He doesn’t care. To calm our fears, we can cling to faith in who God is and what He can do. We can take shelter in Him (Ps. 91:1). We can find His help to relate to others with grace. We can rest in an all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving God. He is with us in the storm and cradles us through the storm.By Poh Fang Chia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of the ocean, and earth, and skies.

One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think. —Brother Lawrence

Growing in the Wind

Read: Mark 4:36–41+ Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him! Mark 4:41+

Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.

Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith (Mark 4:36–41). During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke Him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was He thinking? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet—and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.

Help us remember anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing You.

If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstance howl? By Mart DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father in heaven, please help us to remember that anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing and trusting You.

God never sleeps.

Christ In The Storm

Read: Mark 4:33-41 Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? —Mark 4:40

At the age of 27, Rembrandt painted the seascape Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee based on the story in Mark 4. With its distinctive contrast of light and shadow, Rembrandt’s painting shows a small boat threatened with destruction in a furious storm. As the disciples struggle against the wind and waves, Jesus is undisturbed. The most unusual aspect, however, is the presence in the boat of a 13th disciple whom art experts say resembles Rembrandt himself.

Mark’s gospel describes the disciples’ vivid lesson about who Jesus is and what He can do. While they were frantically trying to save a sinking boat, Jesus was asleep. Didn’t He care that they were all about to die? (v.38). After Jesus calmed the storm (v.39), He asked the penetrating question, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v.40). Then they were even more afraid, exclaiming to each other, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v.41).

We could also put ourselves in this story and discover, just as Jesus’ disciples did, that to each person who trusts in Jesus Christ, He reveals His presence, compassion, and control in every storm of life.By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Be still, my heart; for faithful is thy Lord,
And pure and true and tried His holy Word;
Though stormy flood which rageth as the sea,
His promises thy stepping-stones shall be.

God is a safe dwelling place in life’s storms.

INSIGHT: Mark 4:35–5:43+ records four miracles that answer the question, “Who can this be?” (Mark 4:41). These miracles demonstrated Jesus’ absolute power over nature (Mark 4:35-41+), the spiritual world (Mark 5:1-20), physical illnesses (Mark 5:21-34), and death (Mark 5:35-43). Each miracle shows Jesus as the omnipotent sovereign God. Yet in this passage, Mark provides one of the most amazing contrasts. Just before Jesus displayed the awesome powers of His deity, we are given a touching picture of His humanity: Jesus was so tired that even the violent tossing of the waves did not wake Him (Mark 4:38).

The Storms of Life

Mark 4:35–5:1+ You may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith . . . may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

In the book of Mark we read about a terrible storm. The disciples were with Jesus on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. When a “furious squall came up,” the disciples—among them some seasoned fishermen—were afraid for their lives (4:37-38). Did God not care? Weren’t they handpicked by Jesus and closest to Him? Weren’t they obeying Jesus who told them to “go over to the other side”? (v. 35). Why, then, were they going through such a turbulent time?

No one is exempt from the storms of life. But just as the disciples who initially feared the storm later came to revere Christ more, so the storms we face can bring us to a deeper knowledge of God. “Who is this,” the disciples pondered, “even the wind and the waves obey him!” (v. 41). Through our trials we can learn that no storm is big enough to prevent God from accomplishing His will (5:1).

While we may not understand why God allows trials to enter our lives, we thank Him that through them we can come to know who He is. We live to serve Him because He has preserved our lives. By Albert Lee

Lord, I know I don’t need to fear the storms of life around me. Help me to be calm because I stand secure in You.

The storms of life prove the strength of our anchor.

INSIGHT: In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer tells of four miracles to prove that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” and therefore has absolute authority over the forces of this physical world (Mk 4:35-41), over the powers of the spiritual world (Mk 5:1-20), over physical illnesses (Mk 5:24-34), and over death (Mk 5:35-43). These miracles were designed to answer the question, “Who is this?” (Mk 4:41). The first miracle was Jesus calming the storm on Galilee. Because the Sea of Galilee is in a basin about 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, sudden and violent storms are common (Mk 4:37). That Jesus was tired and soundly asleep showed that He was fully human (Mk 4:38); that the storm instantly obeyed Him showed He was divine (Mk 4:39). Sim Kay Tee (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Calming The Storm

Read: Mark 4:35-41+ - He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. —Mark 4:39

While Hurricane Katrina headed toward the coast of Mississippi, a retired pastor and his wife left their home and went to a shelter. Their daughter pleaded with them to go to Atlanta where she could take care of them, but the couple couldn’t get any money to make the trip because the banks were closed. After the storm had passed, they returned to their home to get a few belongings, and were able to salvage only a few family photos floating in the water. Then, when the man was taking his father’s photo out of its frame so it could dry, $366 fell out—precisely the amount needed for two plane tickets to Atlanta. They learned they could trust Jesus for what they needed.

For the disciples, trusting Jesus in a storm was the curriculum for the day in the dramatic narrative of Mark 4:35-41. Jesus had instructed His disciples to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and then He went to sleep in the boat. When a quick and violent storm blew in, the disciples dripped as much with fear and anxiety as water from the waves. They woke Jesus, saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v.38 niv). Jesus stood up and with three words, “Peace, be still!” He muzzled the storm.

We all experience storms—persecutions, financial troubles, illnesses, disappointments, loneliness—and Jesus does not always prevent them. But He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He will keep us calm in the storm. By Marvin Williams

Are you in a storm? What do you know about God’s character that could help bring calm to your heart? (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In the storms of life, we can see the character of our God.

INSIGHT: Mark 4:35–5:43 records four miracles that answer the question asked in 4:41: “Who can this be . . . ?” They demonstrate Jesus’ absolute power over nature (4:35-41), the spiritual world (5:1-20), physical illnesses (5:21-34), and death (5:35-43). Each miracle shows Jesus as the Omnipotent Sovereign God. In Jewish minds the power to control the sea and the waves was exclusive to God (Job 38:8-11; Ps. 65:5-7; Isa. 51:10; Nah. 1:3-5). It’s interesting, however, that in today’s passage Mark provides an amazing contrast. Just before Jesus displayed the awesome powers of His deity by calming the sea, we are given a touching picture of His frail humanity: Jesus was so tired that even the violent tossing of the waves did not wake Him (4:38).

We learn the lesson of trust in the school of trial.

The Unseen Keel - Luke 8:22-25

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. —Hebrews 6:19

The president of Gordon College, R. Judson Carlberg, was driving along the ocean near his home in Massachusetts when he saw two stately 17th-century sailing ships. They were replicas that were built for a movie being filmed nearby. “The breeze was stiff,” Carlberg reported, “straining the rigging and the crews. Yet each ship stayed the course and didn’t capsize.” He explained the secret of their stability. “Beneath the waterline each had a deep, heavy keel—a part you don’t see.” The keel was essential for keeping the vessel steady in rough weather.

What is it that holds us steady when fierce winds are blowing across life’s sea? What keeps us from capsizing when we are under stress and tension? What enables us to sail on, despite the strain? It’s the stabilizing keel of faith in our sovereign God. It’s our unseen relationship with Christ. As He commanded the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee, He also controls the storms and squalls of life that threaten to sink us or drive us off course. Our faith in Christ is an “anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19) that can keep us from ultimate shipwreck. 

Do you have that unseen keel of faith? By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love. —Owens

Faith in Christ will keep us steady in the stormy sea of change.

Luke 8:26  Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.

KJV And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:28+; When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 

Mark 5:1+   They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 


I like John MacArthur's title of Lk 8:26-39 - The Maniac Who Became a Missionary

Jesus showed Himself lord over the Natural realm, and now He will over the Supernatural realm!

Jesus had calmed a tempestuous sea and would now calm a tormented soul!

Steven Cole - It is interesting to compare this miracle with the one that immediately precedes it, the stilling of the storm. In that miracle, we see Christ’s power over nature; here, we see His power over the supernatural. In that one, we see Christ’s ability to tame the wild sea; here, we see His ability to tame a wild man. In that one, we see Christ giving peace in a storm; here, He gives peace in a soul. (Luke 8:26-39 Christ's Transforming Power)

Brian Bell has an alliterative title and outline of Lk 8:26-39 - Cleansed, Clothed and Commissioned

  • Cleansed - Lk 8:26-34
  • Clothed - Lk 8:35-37
  • Commissioned - Lk 8:38-39

Hendriksen adds "The connection between the preceding story and the present narrative is easy to remember. From a description of the wild sea the Gospel writer moves on to that of a wild man. Humanly speaking both were untamable, but Jesus subdued both....Note the sharp contrast between, on the one hand, the howling tempest and hysterical disciples of Lk 8:22-25; similarly, the screaming demoniac, clamoring demons, terrified pigs, and frightened populace of Lk 8:26-39; and, on the other hand, in both accounts, Jesus, endowed with majestic calm, as is clear from all his words and actions.

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes - Matthew has "the country of the Gadarenes" (Mt 8:28+) One author referred to the whole district, of which the city of Gadar was dominant; and the other referred to Gerasa, the more particular location.

MacArthur - Luke (along with Mark 5:1) calls their destination the country of the Gerasenes, which was opposite Galilee on the eastern shore, while Matthew refers to it as “the country of the Gadarenes” (Matt. 8:28). Mark and Luke evidently referred to a small village (Gerasa; modern Kersa) near the shore of the Sea of Galilee, while Matthew referred to the larger town, Gadara, which gave its name to the region (and may have been its capital). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10).

NET Note - The region of the Gerasenes would be in Gentile territory on the (south)eastern side of the Sea of Galilee across from Galilee. Matthew 8:28 records this miracle as occurring "in the region of the Gadarenes." "Irrespective of how one settles this issue, for the Third Evangelist the chief concern is that Jesus has crossed over into Gentile territory, 'opposite Galilee'" (J. B. Green, Luke [NICNT], 337). The region of Gadara extended to the Sea of Galilee and included the town of Sennabris on the southern shore - the town that the herdsmen most likely entered after the drowning of the pigs.

Criswell on Gerasenes (Gadarenes in KJV) - "The country of the Gadarenes" is probably the small village of Khersa on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (NU Gerasenes).

Which is opposite Galilee - This refers to the eastern shore. 

Hendriksen gives a summary of all three accounts of this demonic encounter by Jesus -  In each of the three Gospels certain details are added: Matthew, in addition to mentioning two men instead of one, states that they were so violent that travel on their road had become unsafe; that they expressed fear that Jesus had come to torture them "before the appointed time"; and that the herd was feeding "at some distance away" from the point where the confrontation between Jesus and the demoniacs took place. Luke adds that the demon-possessed man was "from the city"—had apparently lived there—; that for a long time he had been running around naked; that the demons caused their presence to be felt by spurts ("seized him many a time"); and that the man had been kept under guard, and driven into the deserts by the demons. He also reports that the demons begged Jesus not to send them "into the abyss," and that the liberated man was sitting "at the feet of Jesus" and subsequently proclaimed "throughout the whole city" what the Lord had done for him. Mark vividly describes how all previous attempts to keep the demoniac under control and to subdue him had failed; that he was screaming night and day and cutting himself with stones; that the spokesman of the demons wanted Jesus to swear that he would not torment him; that the herd consisted of about two thousand pigs; and that everybody was amazed about the cured man's report concerning the great things God had done for him. Finally, the question of Jesus, "What is your name," and the answer to that question; as well as the request of the cured and grateful man to be allowed to accompany Jesus on the latter's further travels, and his reply, are reported only by Mark and Luke.

Sailed (2668)(katapleo from katá = down + pléō = to sail) means literally to sail down as from the high sea to land, to sail to a place. In classical literature katapleō indicated movement from the open sea to the coast, especially to a port. It was also used of sailing down the Nile to Alexandria. This nautical term occurs only once in the New Testament in Luke 8:26.

Luke 8:27  And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:28+; When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 

Mark 5:2-5+  When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.


And when He came out onto the land - Notice that here we are with Jesus clearly in close proximity to tombs and swine, both unclean for the Jew! Jewish ceremonialism was no hindrance for Jesus Who "come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Lk 19:10+) “Like a warm front hitting a cold front head on, the forces of good and evil collide.” (Gire)

He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons - Mark 5:2+ has "When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him." Matthew 8:28+ has "two men (see note below) who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way." What happened to the second demoniac is not clear but Mt 8:33+ supports that there were indeed two possessed men for Matthew records "The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.("demoniacs" plural, not singular)." Possessed with demons means literally "having demons" (which in turn had him!)

MacArthur - As those terms make clear and the present passage demonstrates, demon possession involves demons indwelling their victims and taking control of their minds, bodies, and voices. How the man in this story became demon possessed is not known, but all unbelievers are part of Satan’s kingdom of darkness and hence vulnerable. Since this man was a Gentile, perhaps his idolatrous religion provided the entry point for the demons to enter him. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

Hendriksen on He was met by a man from the city - He had seen better days. There was a time when he lived among his fellows and wore clothes. Now he wore scarcely any; in fact, in view of such passages as Mark 5:5b, 15+, probably none at all. He used to have a home (Luke 8:39), but no longer. For a long time he had been living where he was living now, in the tombs.

Cole - Picture the scene: It was either at night or very early in the morning when Jesus and the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake after the storm. As they are stepping out on the beach, they hear a terrifying shriek. They look up to see this naked wild man running toward them. (Actually, there were two men according to Matthew. Apparently, one was more notorious and the other was a silent follower, but we don’t know for sure. Mark and Luke only report one, but they do not say that there was only one.) The man’s naked body was covered with scars and caked on blood, with fresh bloody wounds in some places (Mk 5:5+). His uncut hair and untrimmed beard were matted and tangled. He had a wild, demented look in his eyes. He reeked of body odor. Luke does not record what the disciples did, but I can picture them scrambling back into the boat or looking for rocks and sticks to defend themselves. But Jesus stepped forward, spoke the word to the demons, and Legion was a different man. (Luke 8:26-39 Christ's Transforming Power)

Met (5221)(hupantao from hupo = by, below + antao = to meet face to face with; antao is from anti = opposite) means to go to meet and may include an element of hostility or opposition as in Jesus' encounter with demon possession (Mt 8:28+; Mk 5:2+; Lk. 8:27+) and also in Lk 14:31+ meaning to meet to oppose in battle which is a good picture of what we see here - the Kingdom of darkness "meets" the Kingdom of light (the King of that kingdom). Compare the "hostile meeting" in Acts 16:16+.

Demons (1140)(daimonion from daímon = demon) most often describes demons or evil spirits who have supernatural powers and are neither human nor divine (Mt 7:22). Acts 17:18+ refers specifically to to heathen gods. In the context of a Jewish use it more often refers to a demon, evil spirit, devil, or one who is subject to Satan.

And who had not put on any clothing for a long time - This detail is not found in the version in Mark 5:2-5+. What a scene and a scandal this naked demon possessed man must have created in the community! Kent Hughes adds that "Typically, those under the sway of demons descend to filthy living, both physically and morally. It is not at all incidental that the rise of occultism and Satanism in recent years has been accompanied by increasing drug abuse, pornography, and obscenity." (PTW – Luke)

Spurgeon - To what a frightful state of wretchedness this poor creature was reduced by Satanic power! Yet he is only a picture of the state of mind into which many are brought through sin. They seem as if they could not live with their fellowmen; they have grown so mad through sin, so utterly beyond restraint, that they can scarcely be endured in ordinary society. Yet, as Christ healed this man, so he is equal to the cure of the worst case of spiritual and moral disease that may be brought before him. (Exposition on Luke 8)

And was not living in a house, but in the tombs - This poor demon possessed man was more at home among the dead than the living. Mark adds considerable detail to Luke's description "And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones." (Mk 5:3-5)

Hughes on this man's horrendous condition - In his lucid moments he surely realized how repulsive, unloved, and unwelcome he was. He was dehumanized, animalized, marginalized, and both frightening and fearful. What incredible misery!

J C Ryle - Trench quotes a remarkable circumstance, mentioned by the traveller Warburton, in “The Crescent and the Cross,” which throws some light on this expression. “On descending from the height of Lebanon, I found myself in a cemetery, where sculptured turbans showed us, that the neighboring village was Moslem. The silence of the night was now broken by fierce yells and howlings, which I discovered proceeded from a naked maniac, who was fighting with some wild dogs for a bone. The moment he percieved us, he left his canine companions, and bounding along with rapid strides, seized my horse’s bridle, and almost forced him backwards over the cliff.”

Tombs (3418)(mnema from mnaomai = to remember) is literally a memorial, a sign of remembrance” for the dead, and so  monument for the dead; more generally grave, tomb, sepulcher. A monument intended to preserve the memory of some person or thing. 

Gilbrant - The Jews commonly used at least two types of tombs. First, there was the common burying ground used for the poor or stranger. Not every town had its own such burial place, resulting in funeral processions to carry the dead some distance (Luke 7:12ff.). Second, there were private family tombs in a cave, usually located in a garden of the rich or moderately well-to-do. Inscriptions were made on stones placed over the vaults and were thus “a sign of remembrance.” The grave or tomb was marked by a stone and kept whitened in order to warn the passerby against defilement (Matthew 23:27; see Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2:316). In Mark 5:3 (and parallel Luke 8:27) the demoniac of the Gerasenes was living among the tombs. This was considered a sign of madness. Also, uncleanness and unclean spirits were thought to rule over the dead (Michel, “mnēma,” Kittel, 4:680).

Thayer -  1. a monument or memorial to perpetuate the memory of any person or thing (Homer, Pindar, Sophocles, others).  2. a sepulchral monument (Homer, Euripides, Xenophon, Plato, others).  3. a sepulchre or tomb (receptacle where a dead body is deposited (cf. Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., 316f)):  Mark 5:3 G L T Tr WH; 5:5; (xv. 46 T WH); Luke 8:27; 23:53; 24:1; Acts 2:29; 7:16; Rev. 11:9 (Josephus, Antiquities 7, 1, 3; the Septuagint for rb,q,).* 

Liddell-Scott -  I. a memorial, remembrance, record of a person or thing, Od., Soph., etc. 2. a mound or building in honour of the dead, a monument, Il., Hdt., Att. 3. a memorial dedicated to a god, Simon. 

TDNT mnema means lit. "memorial," but it is connected esp. with remembrance of the dead (from Hom.) and can even mean the grave (Hdt., Plat., Ditt. Syll.3 and BGU, common in the LXX = ‏קֶבֶר‎ and ‏קְבוּרָה‎); mnema and mnemeion may be used without distinction. In antiquity the grave is a lonely place to which one may withdraw and which can be in some sense a dwelling (Luc. Vito Auct., 9). This is particularly true of the Palestinian tombs hewn out of the rock, which can serve as hide-outs. Ace. to popular belief, however, the burial ground is a sinister place, for the souls of the dead wander around there. Living in graves is definitely forbidden for the first time in Judaism, which teaches that uncleanness and unclean spirits rule over the dead. It can be a sign of madness to lodge among tombs (jTer., 1, 40 b. 23; bChag., 3b., Bar.). It is also feared that the one concerned is sacrificing to demons or will draw to him the spirit of uncleanness (bSanh., 65b, Bar.; bNidda, 17a). In this case "a man sins against his own soul and his blood is on his own head" (he is responsible) (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament – Volume IV)

Related Resource - Tombs:

  • Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Tombs
  • Nave Topical Bible Tomb
  • American Tract Society Tomb
  • Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Tomb
  • Easton's Bible Dictionary Tombs
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Tomb
  • Smith Bible Dictionary Tomb

MATTHEW 8:28–34 (cf. Mark 5:1–20; Luke 8:26–39)—How many demoniacs were healed?

PROBLEM: Matthew reports that two demoniacs came to Jesus, while Mark and Luke say that only one demoniac approached Him. This appears to be a contradiction.

SOLUTION: There is a very fundamental mathematical law that reconciles this apparent contradiction—wherever there are two, there is always one. There are no exceptions! There were actually two demoniacs that came to Jesus. Perhaps Mark and Luke mentioned the one because he was more noticeable or prominent for some reason. However, the fact that Mark and Luke only mention one does not negate the fact that there were two as Matthew said. For wherever there is two, there is always one. It never fails. If Mark or Luke had said there was only one, then that would be a contradiction. But, the word “only” is not in the text. The critic has to change the text to make it contradict, in which case the problem is not with the Bible, but with the critic. (Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask)

QUESTION - Why are there two demon-possessed men in the Gerasene tombs in Matthew, but only one in Mark and Luke?

ANSWER - The three passages that describe the incident with the demoniacs in the country of the Gerasenes, also called Gadarenes, are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, and Luke 8:26-39. The Matthew account mentions two demon-possessed men, while Mark and Luke only mention one. Is there a discrepancy in these accounts, and do the Gospel writers contradict one another?

The first thing to determine is whether the three writers are describing the same event. The timing of the event in all three accounts—immediately following the calming of the storm on the sea of Galilee—as well as other similarities (living in the tombs, the ferocity of the demoniac, the conversation with the demons, the driving of them into the pigs, the drowning of the herd, and the response of those who witnessed the scene) all give credence to Matthew, Mark, and Luke all describing the same event. The question remains, then, whether there was one demoniac or two.

Matthew tells us there were two demoniacs, while Mark and Luke only mention one of the two. It is unclear why they chose to mention only one, but that does not negate the possibility of a second demoniac being present. Mark and Luke do not say there was “only one” demon-possessed man. They simply state that one of the two met Jesus and spoke to Him. For whatever reason, Matthew simply gives us more information than Mark and Luke.

In any case, no contradiction exists. A contradiction occurs only if one statement makes the other impossible and there is absolutely no way for them to be reconciled. For example, let’s say we put two apples on a table. Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is only one apple on the table. These two statements contradict each other. Now read these two statements: Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is an apple on the table. These two statements do not contradict each other. In the same way, the biblical accounts do not represent a contradiction. All three accounts describe demon possession and the power that Jesus has over the spirit world. All three tell us that He made a point to cross the sea to save someone from the demons. All three affirm that there was at least one man who was plagued by demons. The fact that the three accounts differ in some minor details only proves that they were written by three different authors, each of whom chose to focus on a different aspect of the

Kent Hughes - C. S. Lewis wrote: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist and magician with the same delight.

Kenneth Woodward is a disbeliever and has written in Newsweek that he regards the idea of a devil as merely a "trivial personification...hardly adequate to symbolize the mystery of evil." This no doubt has given the devil some perverse joy.

On the other hand, there are believers who go overboard in their fascination with the devil and evil spirits, giving them equal delight. Several years ago in the suburbs of one of our major cities a promising spiritual renewal took place among a number of professional families—doctors, lawyers, and business executives. This gave birth to a joyous, thriving Bible study group. Many of their friends came to Christ. Marriages were enriched, families restored, and the church infused with new life. But some of the leadership became overly fascinated with the subject of spiritual warfare and, forgetting to keep their central focus on Christ, became self-styled experts in demons and exorcisms. Matters clearly got out of hand when one night they became convinced there were demons in the dining room chandelier and ended the "Bible study" by disassembling the light fixture so each could take a part of it and bury it in a different section of the city. One morning soon afterwards some of this group's children were seen by neighbors running down the street shouting, "The devil is going to get us! The devil is going to get us!" Checking on the unusual situation, the neighbors found the group's women in a backyard hacking a rosewood chest to pieces to dispose of supposed demons.

If Satan cannot pull you down with disbelief, he will just as happily push you overboard with an obsession about him. (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume I: That You May Know the Truth)

J C Ryle - THE well-known narrative which we have now read, is carefully recorded by all the first three Gospel-writers, It is a striking instance of our Lord’s complete dominion over the prince of this world. We see the great enemy of our souls for once completely vanquished,—the “strong man” foiled by One stronger than he, and the lion spoiled of his prey.

Let us mark, first, in this passage, the miserable condition of those over whom the devil reigns. The picture brought before us is a frightful one. We are told that when our Lord arrived in the country of the Gadarenes, there met Him “a certain man which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.” We are also told that although he had been “bound with chains and in fetters, he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.” In short, the case seems to have been one of the most aggravated forms of demoniacal possession. The unhappy sufferer was under the complete dominion of Satan, both in body and soul. So long as he continued in this state, he must have been a burden and a trouble to all around him. His mental faculties were under the direction of a “legion” of devils. His bodily strength was only employed for his own injury and shame. A more pitiable state for mortal man to be in, it is difficult to conceive.

Cases of bodily possession by Satan, like this, are, to say the least, very rarely met with in modern times. Yet we must not, on this account, forget that the devil is continually exercising a fearful power over many hearts and souls. He still urges many, in whose hearts he reigns, into self-dishonoring and self-destroying habits of life. He still rules many with a rod of iron,—goads them on from vice to vice, and from profligacy to profligacy,—drives them far from decent society, and the influence of respectable friends,—plunges them into the lowest depths of wickedness,—makes them little better than self-murderers,—and renders them as useless to their families, the Church, and the world, as if they were dead, and not alive. Where is the faithful minister who could not put his finger on many such cases? What truer account can be given of many a young man, and many a young woman, than that they seem possessed of devils? It is vain to shut our eyes to facts. Demoniacal possession of men’s bodies may be comparatively rare. But many, unhappily, are the cases in which the devil appears completely to possess men’s souls.

These things are fearful to think upon. Fearful is it to see to what a wreck of body and mind Satan often brings young persons! Fearful is it to observe how he often drives them out of the reach of all good influence, and buries them in a wilderness of bad companions and loathsome sins! Fearful, above all, is it to reflect that yet a little while Satan’s slaves will be lost forever, and in hell! There often remains only one thing that can be done for them. They can be named before Christ in prayer. He that came to the country of the Gadarenes, and healed the miserable demoniac there, still lives in heaven, and pities sinners. The worst slave of Satan in England is not beyond a remedy. Jesus may yet take compassion on him, and set him free.

John MacArthur gives an excellent summary of the four terms or phrases Scripture use to describe demon possession:

First, sixteen times such people are said to have a demon or evil spirit (Lk 4:33; 7:33; [8:27]; 13:11; Matt. 11:18; Mark 3:22, 30; 9:17; John 7:20; 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20; Acts 8:7; 16:16), indicating that a demon-possessed individual was indwelt, controlled, and tormented by the demon. The repeated phrases “entered him” ([Lk 8:30]), “cast out” (Matt. 8:16; 9:33; 12:24, 28; Mark 1:34), “came out” (Matt. 8:32), “come out” (Mark 5:8), and “coming out” (Mark 5:13) also indicate that demons indwell their victims. Demon possession is a supernatural phenomenon, not explicable in psychological or physical terms (though there can be physical symptoms associated with it; cf. [Lk 8:27]; Matt. 9:32; 12:22; 17:14-15; Mark 1:26; 5:5; Luke 9:42). It should be noted too that on no occasion when Jesus delivered an individual from demon possession was there a reference to forgiveness of sins. Nor did all those delivered repent and believe. The demon-possessed individuals whom Jesus delivered were not necessarily any more wicked than other sinners. The emphasis is on Jesus’ power over the demons, not on the individuals being delivered. But after Jesus and the apostles passed from the scene, the only way to be delivered from demons is through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second phrase translates the verb daimonizomai, which appears thirteen times in the New Testament ([Lk 8:36]; Matt. 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22; Mark 1:32; 5:15, 16, 18; John 10:21), and is translated, “demon-possessed” or “demoniaics.” Like the first phrase, it refers to someone indwelt and controlled by a demon or demons to the point that he cannot successfully resist, not to the general influence demons have in promoting false doctrine (1 Tim. 4:1), false worship (1 Cor. 10:20-21), immorality (1 Tim. 4:1-3), and attitudes of jealousy, divisiveness, and pride (James 3:13-16).

Third, the Bible speaks of those with an “unclean” spirit (Mark 1:23; 5:2) or having one (Mark 7:25). Those phrases also indicate that demons indwell their victims.

Finally, Acts 5:16 speaks of those “afflicted with unclean spirits” emphasizing the torment demon-possessed people suffer. (Luke 1-5, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 2009], 283)

Luke 8:28  Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me."

KJV When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

Parallel Passage:

Mark 5:6+ Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down (proskuneo) before Him 7 and shouting (krazo) with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 


Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him - This is a posture of submission to the authority of Jesus (cf "every knee will bow" - Php 2:10+). In this context the man with the unclean spirit falling down was not an act of humble reverence but of fear by the demon who possessed the man (cf "do not torment me.") Mark 5:6+ says he bowed, using the verb proskuneo which generally means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. Of course, we cannot ascribe true "worship" of Jesus to an unclean spirit! When Jesus Christ was born into this world, He was attended and worshipped by clean spirits (angels Lk 2:13, 14+). But  the unclean spirit was not bowing as an act of worship but as the context shows, as an act of fear because he recognizes the supreme authority of Jesus. 

Mark 3:11+ records a similar reaction that "Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!”

And said in a loud voice (megas phone - cf "megaphone"), "What business do we have with each other - What business do we have with each other is more literally "What to me and to you" (a Heb idiom) The Greek expression so rendered, let it be noted, is the same which our Lord uses when He addresses His mother at the marriage of Cana in Galilee. (John 2:4+) The words here used are the words of the demon by whom the man was possessed, rather than the man himself. This fact shows us how entirely all the faculties and powers of the unhappy demoniac were occupied and employed by the evil spirit which possessed him. As Spurgeon says "See the devil can make men pray against themselves (HE IS REFERRING TO THE DEMON WHO POSSESSED THE MAN AND MADE HIM CRY OUT); and this is what they do in common profane swearing when they imprecate all manner of curses upon their eyes and limbs. Ah, me! To what mischief and folly and misery can Satan drive his willing dupes!" (Exposition on Luke 8)

NET Note on what business -  The equivalent Hebrew expression in the OT had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say "What to me and to you?" meaning, "What have I done to you that you should do this to me?" (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his own, he could say to the one asking him, "What to me and to you?" meaning, "That is your business, how am I involved?" (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). These nuances were apparently expanded in Greek, but the basic notions of defensive hostility (option 1) and indifference or disengagement (option 2) are still present. BDAG suggests the following as glosses for this expression: What have I to do with you? What have we in common? Leave me alone! Never mind! Hostility between Jesus and the demons is certainly to be understood in this context, hence the translation: "Leave me alone…."

Jesus, Son of the Most High God (Mk 5:7, Lk 8:28, Acts 16:17, Heb 7:1) - Matthew 8:29 "And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? (This designation is used 7x in Matthew's Gospel)" It is interesting that the demon has the answer for the very question the disciples were asking in Lk 8:25 - "Who then is this")! Surely the disciples must have heard the demon possessed man's declaration of Jesus as God

Notice that the demons believe in Jesus and yet they are not saved...the only belief that truly saves is belief that obeys, that brings forth fruit in keeping with repentance, that brings forth works as sure evidence of solid faith! 

James 2:19; 20+ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Related Resource - 

I beg You, do not torment me - What irony -- the tormentor begging not to be tormented! This is a good example of reaping what you sow! In Mark 5:7+ the demon says "I implore you by God." Mt 8:29+ has  "Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Time in Mt 8:29 is kairos, a specific period of time in the future when they would be judged and condemned forever. This was a certainty and they knew it! It is sad that men made in the image of God are less sensitive to their ultimate fate if they never express faith in Jesus! This demon is praying for himself (or for Legion). He is not praying for the fate of the man who was demon possessed, who in fact appears to have been saved (cf Lk 8:38, 39+).

The NET Note explains that "Though it seems unusual for a demon to invoke God's name ("I implore you by God") in his demands of Jesus, the parallel in Mt 8:29 suggests the reason: "Why have you come to torment us before the time?" There was an appointed time in which demons would face their judgment, and they seem to have viewed Jesus' arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God's plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed." 

Spurgeon on I beg You, do not torment me - If we understand these words to be the exclamation of the evil spirit which demented this poor demoniac, they are very natural words, and one can very readily understand them, for the presence of Christ is such a great torment to the prince of evil that he might well cry out, ‘art thou come hither to torment us before the time?’ If we would put Satan to rout, we have only to preach the Lord Jesus in the power of the Spirit, for this is the hell of devils. Hence it is that he roars so much against gospel preachers: he roars because the gospel makes him smart. But if these words be looked upon as the language of the man himself, they are most extraordinary. In fact they are singularly mad and foolish, that we can only account for them by the fact that, though it was a man who spoke, yet the devil was in him; for surely none but a man possessed with a devil would say to Jesus, who alone could bless him, ‘depart from me’ or ‘torment me not’. And yet there are tens of thousands of men in this world who are saying just the same thing. Thousands of persons appear to be far more anxious to escape from salvation than to escape from eternal wrath. They avoid heaven’s love with scrupulous diligence, and the prayer of their life seems to be, ‘Keep me, Lord from heaven! Prevent me ever being saved! Give me the full swing of my sins and let me live so as to ruin my soul!’ Conduct most strange! Whence comes such folly? The desire and determination of some men to destroy themselves are fixed and resolute to the last degree. Their self-hate and their suicidal avoidance of mercy’s thousand exhortations and entreaties are so extraordinary that, I repeat, we can only account for men being so besotted and maddened, by the fact that Satan has the mastery over them and leads them captive at his will. (Exposition on Luke 8)

Fell down (slam against) (4363)(prospipto from pros = to, against + pipto = to fall) means to fall towards or upon something, to strike against. To fall down at someone's knees - unclean spirits when they saw Him (Mk 3:11, Lk 8:28) the woman who touched His robe (Mk 5:33, Lk 8:47), the woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit (Mk 7:25), Simon Peter when they fished where Jesus told them to fish and caught so many it began to break the net (Lk 5:8+; Ps. 95:6), the Philippian jailer before Paul and Silas (Acts 16:29+). Queen Esther before the king when she "spoke again to the king, fell at his feet" (Esther 8:3+). We see prospipto in the psalmist's call to worship God "Come, let us worship (Lxx = proskuneo) and bow down, Let us kneel before (Lxx =prospipto) the LORD our Maker." (Ps 95:6)

Prospipto - 8v - fall down before(1), fell(1), fell before(1), fell down(1), fell down before(3), slammed against(1). Matt. 7:25; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 5:33; Mk. 7:25; Lk. 5:8; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 8:47; Acts 16:29

Cried out (349)(anakrazo from aná = intensifies force of krazo = to cry, croak or shriek as a raven) means to cry out, exclaim.  (1) of the loud cry of demonized or frightened people cry aloud, scream, shout (Mk 1.23+); (2) of an aroused multitude shout out, howl, yell (Lk 23.18+) (Friberg) Note that Lk 23:18+ might as well have been demon possessed men crying out because this was the crowd crying out for Pilate to crucify Jesus and give them Barabbas!

Anakrazo - 5x - Mk. 1:23+; Mk. 6:49+; Lk. 4:33+; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 23:18+

Anakrazo - 11x in 10v in the Septuagint - Jos. 6:5 (= "all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat"); Jdg. 7:20 (= "cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"); 1 Sa 4:5 ("As the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout"); 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 22:32; Ezek. 9:1; Ezek. 21:12; Joel 3:16 (="The LORD roars from Zion"); Zech. 1:14; Zech. 1:17; 

I beg (present tense)(beseech, request, pray) (1189)(deomai from deo = to bind) means to ask for something with the sense of pleading, beseeching or begging with a sense of urgency and need. Deomai is a strong way to ask for something - a leper imploring Jesus to heal him (Lk 5:12), a father's desperate plea to Jesus to cast a demon out of his son (Lk 9:38). The related word deesis, means prayer for a particular need (supplication).

Deomai - 22v - ask(1), beg(6), begged(1), begging(2), beseech(2), implored(1), making request(1), please(1), pray(2), prayed(3), praying(2). Matt. 9:38; Lk. 5:12; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:38; Lk. 9:40; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 21:36; Lk. 22:32; Acts 4:31; Acts 8:22; Acts 8:24; Acts 8:34; Acts 10:2; Acts 21:39; Acts 26:3; Rom. 1:10; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 10:2; Gal. 4:12; 1 Thess. 3:10

Torment (928)(basanizo from basanos - our English word basanite indicates [a] basically, a touchstone to test gold and other metals [Basanite was used in this way - If you use one thing as a touchstone of another, you use it as a test by which you judge the second thing =  a 'Lydian stone' used for testing gold because pure gold rubbed on it left a peculiar mark]; [b] Basanos described the instrument of torture by which slaves were tortured; i.e., were forced to reveal the truth by torturing them [see metaphor]; and [c] torment or acute pain) means literally to rub on the touchstone (basanos) or to test by means of the touchstone and then to test or make proof of anything. Figuratively, the verb basanizo refers to any severe distress, and so means to afflict, to harass, to vex, to torment.  Basanizo then can mean to subject one to severe torment or distress, as with diseases (Mt 8:6+), with birth pangs (Re 12:2+), by the threat of Jesus' punishment of unclean spirits of the Gadarene demoniac (Mt 8:29+, Mk 5:7+, Lk 8:28+), by prophetic warnings (Rev 11:10+), of the torment associated with God's righteous judgment (Rev 14:10+). John describes the fate of the HEAD DEMON, SATAN, writing that "the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented (basanizo) day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:10+)

Basanizo - 13v - battered(1), felt...tormented(1), pain(1), straining(1), torment(4), tormented(4). Neh. 11:8; Matt. 8:6; Matt. 8:29; Matt. 14:24; Mk. 5:7; Mk. 6:48; Lk. 8:28; 2 Pet. 2:8; Rev. 9:5; Rev. 11:10; Rev. 12:2; Rev. 14:10; Rev. 20:10

Ian Paisley - The Best of All Places   "Sitting at the feet of Jesus" Luke 10:39

We learn in the Gospels of nine prostrations before the Saviour. 1, Wise men (Matthew 2:11); 2, Jarius (Mark 5:22); 3, Women healed (Mark 5:33); 4, Syrophenician women (Mark 7:25); 5, Peter, (Luke 5:8); 6, The Leper (Luke 5:12); 7, The Gadarene (Luke 8:28); 8, The Samaritan (Luke 17:16); 9, Mary (John 11:32).

I. Mary Learned the Secret of His Person at Jesus Feet (Luke 10:42)
Only at His feet can we be taught by Him. Cumbered and worried with much service we will never have time to be at His feet. If we have not time to sit there we will not have time to learn.

II. Mary Learned the Secret of His Purpose at Jesus Feet (John 11:32)
Only there could she understand why Lazarus died and why Martha and herself must be plunged into the deepest sorrow. To the grave she led him and there at the very place of deepest sorrow, came the highest joy.

III. Mary Learned the Secret of His Passion at Jesus Feet
This was revealed when she anointed Him for His burial. The secret was out and everywhere her testimony has been told. See Matthew 26:12-13. As I write this I help to fulfil the Lord's prophecy.

Do you sit at Jesus feet?
Have you learned these three secrets?

Luke 8:29  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

KJV  (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

Parallel Passages:

Mark 5:3-5+  and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.


For - term of explanation in this case explaining the demon's angst over his possible fate.He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man - Mark 5:8 "For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”" 

Commanded (3853)(paraggello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at the side of + aggelos = messenger, angello/aggello = to announce) means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge.Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior (2Ti 4:1-note) and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. 

Unclean (169)(akathartos from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse from katharos = clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, in an ethical sense, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt) (See akatharsia which refers to filth or refuse! Now think about the DEMONS!!!) in a moral sense refers to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. It can describe a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin and the word foul is an excellent rendering. The idea is that which morally indecent or filthy. In light of these meanings, it is not surprising that akathartos is repeatedly applied to filthy demonic spirits in the Gospels. Listen! When filthy thoughts suddenly shoot in like fiery missiles, while it sill could be our wicked flesh, consider that it could also be a demonic missile seeking to take you down with that filthy thought!!! Submit therefore to God. Resist (empowered by the Holy Spirit) the devil (and his evil spirits) and he must flee from you (James 4:7-note). 

Related Resources:

For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert - This pictures the man's possession as episodic. This detail is not present in Mark's account.  Spurgeon - Such cases have we often seen, — young men who have been rescued from a course of vice, and who have been for a season helped towards virtue; but they have broken loose again. There was no holding them in; they had not learned self-restraint, and no one else could restrain them. 

J C Ryle on break his bonds - Prodigious muscular strength has often been remarked as accompanying some cases of mania.

Stein on he would break his bonds - The comment about the demoniac’s frequent breaking of his chains serves to emphasize the demon’s power and thus Jesus’ greater power.

However we need to remember that the greatest spiritual battle we face today as Christians is not a power struggle with the demons but a truth struggle, for Satan is the father of lies (Jn 8:44) and if the demons can shoot lying fiery missiles into our minds (cf Eph 6:16+), they can potentially deceive and delude us. This is just another reason to let the Word of Christ (daily) dwell in you richly (Col 3:16+, Lk 4:4+), so that the Spirit might use the Word of Truth to renew our mind, transform us from glory to glory and set us apart (Eph 4:23+, 2 Cor 3:18+, Jn 17:17). 

Seized (4884)(sunarpazo from sun = with ~ intensifies meaning + harpazo = to seize, rapture) means to seize (suddenly and violently), to grasp with great violence. Stronger than harpaz by itself! Of a mob seizing Stephen to drag him away (Acts 6.12); of demon activity seize (Lk 8.29); passive, of a ship in a storm be caught, be forced off course by the wind and swept on (Acts 27.15)

Sunarpazo - 4x in 4v - Usage: caught(1), dragged...away(1), dragging along(1), seized(1).

Luke 8:29  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

Acts 6:12+  And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.

Acts 19:29+  The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia.

 Acts 27:15+  and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.

Used once in Septuagint to describe the lure of the wicked woman - Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture (Lxx = sunarpazo - seize!) you with her eyelids. (Brothers in Christ - remember "the eyes have it" so flee from the eyes of a harlot!)

Kept under guard (5442)(phulasso) means to watch, guard, to prevent from escaping. 

Break (1284)(diarresso [diarrégnumi] from diá =denoting separation + rhéssō/rhégnumi = to tear, break, rend) means literally to tear through, rend asunder, such as tearing clothing (Mt. 26:65; Mk 14:83, Acts 14:14, in the Lxx = Rueben in Ge 37:29, Jacob in Ge 37:34 when told of Joseph's supposed death; Joshua at the defeat at Ai - Joshua 7:6, and many other OT examples), tearing a net (Luke 5:6); breaking chains (Luke 8:29; Lxx = Ps. 2:3).The Jews in expressing grief or indignation used to tear their garments from their chest to the waist (Ge 37:29, 33, 34; 44:13; Nu 14:6; Josh. 7:6; 2 Sa 3:31).

Diarresso - 5x in 5v - break(2), tearing(1), tore(2).

Matthew 26:65   Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;

Mark 14:63  Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses?

Luke 5:6+   When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; (imperfect tense = picture the net beginning to break one strand after another)

Luke 8:29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

Acts 14:14+  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out

Diarresso - 70x in 66v  in the Septuagint - Gen. 37:29; Gen. 37:34; Gen. 44:13; Lev. 10:6; Lev. 21:10; Num. 14:6; Jos. 7:6; Jdg. 11:35; 1 Sam. 4:12; 1 Sam. 15:27; 1 Sam. 15:28; 1 Sam. 28:17; 2 Sam. 1:2; 2 Sam. 1:11; 2 Sam. 3:31; 2 Sam. 13:19; 2 Sam. 13:31; 2 Sam. 14:30; 2 Sam. 15:32; 2 Sam. 23:16; 1 Ki. 11:11; 1 Ki. 11:30; 1 Ki. 21:16; 1 Ki. 21:27; 2 Ki. 2:12; 2 Ki. 2:14; 2 Ki. 5:7; 2 Ki. 5:8; 2 Ki. 6:30; 2 Ki. 11:14; 2 Ki. 18:37; 2 Ki. 19:1; 2 Ki. 22:11; 2 Ki. 22:19; 1 Chr. 11:18; 2 Chr. 23:13; 2 Chr. 25:12; 2 Chr. 34:19; 2 Chr. 34:27; Ezr. 9:3; Ezr. 9:5; Neh. 9:21; Est. 4:1; Job 1:20; Ps. 2:3; Ps. 30:11; Ps. 74:15; Ps. 78:13; Ps. 78:15; Ps. 105:41; Ps. 107:14; Ps. 116:16; Ps. 141:7; Prov. 23:21; Isa. 33:20; Isa. 45:1; Jer. 5:5; Jer. 30:8; Jer. 36:24; Jer. 41:5; Ezek. 13:20; Ezek. 13:21; Hos. 13:8; Hos. 13:16; Joel 2:13; Nah. 1:13;

Ps 30:11  You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, 

Ps 107:14  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death And broke their bands apart. 

Ps 116:16  O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. 

Jeremiah 30:8-note  ‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break (Lxx = suntribo) his yoke from off their neck and will tear off (Lxx = diarresso) their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.

Comment - This prophecy speaks of God's setting Israel free (the 1/3 of the nation that place their faith in Jesus - cf Zech 12:10, Zech 13:8-9) when Messiah returns to crush all the godless kingdoms of this world and establish His righteous reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem. 

Gilbrant - In both the Septuagint (Ge 37:29,34; 44:13; Lev 10:6; Nu 14:6; Joshua 7:6; Judges 11:35, etc.; compare Joel 2:13) and the New Testament (Matthew 26:65; Mark 14:63; Acts 14:14) diarrēssō is used of tearing one’s clothes as a sign of grief or other deep emotion. The high priest (cf. Matthew/ Mark) tore his clothes because he felt that Jesus blasphemed God. Likewise Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes to express their objection and revulsion at the Lycaonians’ attempt to regard them as divine. Both in the Septuagint (Jeremiah 30:8; Nahum 1:13) and the New Testament (Luke 8:29) diarrēssō also means “break” as, for instance, in the breaking of chains or fetters. Intransitively the word is used of nets that began to tear, i.e., “burst,” due to the weight of the large catch (Luke 5:6). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Driven (1643)(elauno) means to urge, drive or propel along, to drive (of ships - Jas 3:4, of "mists driven by a storm" = 2 Pe 2:17+). BDAG has a more figurative meaning = "Of a spirit who drives a possessed person." (Lk 8:29+ of the man who would "be driven by the demon into the desert.")  In John 6:19 elauno means "rowed" (the boat) (cf similar sense in Mk 6:48 = "straining at the oars," where oars is the verb elauno - so they were propeling the boat by rowing with oars; cf similar use in Isa 33:21).  Gilbrant - Outside the New Testament it is used in the sense of driving chariots, driving off stolen horses, and persecution (driving to extremes). Sometimes elaunō describes the act of striking with a weapon and forging metal.(Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

J C Ryle - Let us mark/// the absolute power which the Lord Jesus Christ possesses over Satan. We are told that he “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man,” whose miserable condition we have just head described. At once the unhappy sufferer was healed. 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.

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s dominion over the devil should be a cheering thought to all true Christians. Without it, indeed, we might well despair of salvation. To feel that we have ever near us an invisible spiritual enemy, laboring night and day to compass our destruction, would be enough to crush out every hope, if we did not know a Friend and Protector. Blessed be God! The Gospel reveals such an One. The Lord Jesus is stronger than that “strong man armed,” who is ever warring against our souls. The Lord Jesus is able to deliver us from the devil. He proved his power over him frequently when upon earth. He triumphed over him gloriously on the cross. He will never let him pluck any of His sheep out of His hand. He will one day bruise him under our feet, and bind him in the prison of hell. (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:1, 2.) Happy are they who hear Christ’s voice and follow Him! Satan may vex them, but he cannot really hurt them! He may bruise their heel, but he cannot destroy their souls. They shall be “more than conquerors” through Him who loved them. (Rom. 8:37.)

Luke 8:30  And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him.

KJV  And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

Parallel Passages:

Mark 5:9+  And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 

6000 TO 1 ODDS

And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion" for many demons had entered him - "The name Legion means “thousands,” a word taken from a Latin term for a large group of soldiers. The term not only suggests a multiple possession, but also adds a military feel to the account. This is a true battle."(NET) MacArthur adds that "This poor, benighted, tormented soul was indwelt by literally thousands of demons; since there were two thousand pigs in the herd, there could have been that many demons indwelling the man and his companion. (MNTC – Luke)

Wiersbe - Satan is the thief (John 10:10) who robs his people of everything good and then tries to destroy them. No amount of man-made authority or restraint can control or change the devil's servants. Their only hope is in the Saviour. (Borrow Be compassionate)

Legion (3003)(legion is related to a Latin loanword: legio) is  literally, a Roman military unit of about 6,000 foot soldiers and 120 on horse, plus auxiliaries. Figuratively in the NT, as powerful supernatural forces, whether angels ( MT 26.53) or demons. " The underlying idea is that of extremely powerful demonic or angelic forces. But Jesus, as the Son of God, can drive out the demonic legion and has the angelic legions at his command." (TDNT)

Vine - otherwise spelled legeon, "a legion," occurs in Matthew 26:53 , of angels; in Mark 5:9,15 , and Luke 8:30 , of demons. Among the Romans a "legion" was primarily a chosen (lego, "to choose") body of soldiers divided into ten cohorts, and numbering from 4,200 to 6,000 men (Gk. speira, see BAND). In the time of our Lord it formed a complete army of infantry and cavalry, of upwards of 5,000 men. The "legions" were not brought into Judea till the outbreak of the Jewish war (A.D. 66), as they were previously employed in the frontier provinces of the Empire. Accordingly in its NT use the word has its other and more general significance "of a large number."

Legion - 4x in 4v - Matt. 26:53; Mk. 5:9; Mk. 5:15; Lk. 8:30. No uses in the Septuagint.

Related Resources on Legion: 

Luke 8:31  They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

KJV  And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

  • they Lk 8:28; Job 1:11; 2:5; Philippians 2:10,11
  • the deep "The abyss," says Dr. Doddridge, "the prison in which many of these fallen spirits are detained; and to which some, who may, like these, have been permitted for a while to range at large, are sometimes by Divine justice and power remanded." Matthew 25:41; Revelation 9:2; 19:20; 20:2,3,14,15
  • Luke 8:30-39 The Maniac Who Became a Missionary, Part 2 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:26-39 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Parallel Passages:

Mark 5:10+  And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 


They were imploring (parakaleo) Him not to command (epitasso) them to go away into the abyss (abussos - Parakaleo in the imperfect tense pictures them begging him again and again. Note they knew Jesus had the authority to command them at that very moment to go to the abyss! They never question His authority.  Some think country and abyss are synonymous, but country more likely refers to the country of the Gerasenes. The demons had experienced "success" in this country! To send them there makes no sense whatsoever.

Spurgeon - So, you see, dear friends, that devils can pray: “They besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep;” that is, to their place of torment in hell. They would sooner go to the bottom of the sea than go to their own dreadful home; and, if we are half as wise as devils are, we shall dread beyond all things to be driven there. May God grant that no soul among us may ever lift up his eyes in torment, and find himself in that awful deep! (Exposition on Luke 8)

Warren Wiersbe - Demons have faith (James 2:19), but it is not saving faith. They believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God with authority to command them. They believe in a future judgment (Matt. 8:29) and in the existence of a place of torment to which Jesus could send them ("the abyss," Luke 8:31). They also believe in prayer, for the demons begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss. They asked to be sent into the pigs, and Jesus granted their request. (Borrow Be compassionate)

To command (to order)(2004)(epitasso from epí = upon, over + tasso = arrange, appoint or place appropriately) literally means to arrange upon, i.e. order. To appoint over, put in charge; put upon one as a duty. Epitasso was a Greek military term, the noun form used of an “orderly array.” 

Abyss (12)(abussos from a = an intensifier + buthós = deep) refers to an extremely deep place, a bottomless pit. Transliterated into English (see English definition). It refers to the abode of the dead (Ro 10:7) and in Luke 8:31, the prison destined for demons. In Rev. 9:1, 2; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3, abussos is a prison in which evil powers are confined and out of which they can at times be let loose. Note that the abyss does not equate with the lake of fire (Rev. 20:2, 10+). While the abyss is the place where Satan will be cast into for one thousand years (Rev. 20:1, 2), his final destination is "the lake of fire and brimstone" (Rev 20:10+). The abyss is the final destiny of the devil and his angels (cf Matt 25:41; 2 Pet 2:4). 

MacArthur - The abussos (abyss), or bottomless pit (Rev. 9:1-2) is a place where some demons are currently imprisoned. Some of these imprisoned spirits will be released for a brief time during the tribulation (Rev. 9:1-11); others, apparently those who indwelt men who then cohabitated with women before the flood (Gen. 6:1-4; cf. Jude 6), are permanently bound (2 Peter 2:4). They will remain in the abyss until they are cast into the lake of fire. (See Luke Commentary)

Gilbrant on abussos in Classical Greek - The classical understanding of abussos is as an adjective meaning “bottomless, unfathomed, without limits.” There is no classical understanding of abussos as a particular place or region (i.e., “the abyss”); this takes place only later (e.g., Diogenes Laertius Lives of Eminent Philosophers 4.5.27 [Third Century A.D.]) (see Jeremias, “Abussos,” Kittel, 1:9). Outside of the New Testament (and possibly later rabbinic material) it is common as a substantive only in later papyri (Moulton-Milligan). It is likely that abussos assumed the senses found in the Septuagint and New Testament under the influence of the Akkadian word absu (or apsu). Similarity in concept and sound may have prompted the Greek speakers in the Hellenistic period to make the equation. Absu could refer to the Subterranean waters, the ocean or sea, the netherworld, or the abode of demons (Assyrian Dictionary, “apsu”). Absu was also the name of a primordial god (ibid.). All of these senses for abussos are found in the Septuagint or New Testament yet are entirely absent in the earliest extant occurrences of the word in classical Greek (Fifth Century authors such as Herodotus, Aeschylus, and Euripides). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Abussos - 9x in 9v - Usage: abyss(7), bottomless(2). - Lk. 8:31; Rom. 10:7; Rev. 9:1; Rev. 9:2; Rev. 9:11; Rev. 11:7; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 20:1; Rev. 20:3

Abussos - 37x in 35v in the Septuagint - Gen. 1:2; Gen. 7:11; Gen. 8:2; Deut. 8:7; Deut. 33:13; Job 28:14; Job 36:16; Job 38:16; Job 38:30; Job 41:31; Job 41:32; Ps. 33:7; Ps. 36:6; Ps. 42:7; Ps. 71:20; Ps. 71:21; Ps. 77:16; Ps. 78:15; Ps. 104:6; Ps. 106:9; Ps. 107:26; Ps. 135:6; Ps. 148:7; Prov. 3:20; Prov. 8:23; Isa. 44:27; Isa. 51:10; Isa. 63:13; Ezek. 26:19; Ezek. 31:4; Ezek. 31:15; Amos 7:4; Jon. 2:5; Hab. 3:10

Gilbrant Abussos in the Septuagint - Almost always it replaces the Hebrew word tᵉhôm, a term often denoting the “deep” of the primeval ocean (Genesis 1:2) or the “depths of the sea” (Exodus 15:5, not abussos here), or some kind of “subterranean water” (Deuteronomy 8:7) (see Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, “tᵉhôm”). Abussos, too, denotes the primordial “deep” (Genesis 1:2); likewise, it equals the “subterranean springs” to be found in the Promised Land (Deut 8:7; cf. Ge 7:11; 8:2). The “deep” of the sea should probably be understood in a number of texts (e.g., Job 28:14; Wisdom of Solomon 10:19; Isaiah 44:27; Ezekiel 26:19). It functions metaphorically of the “crevices” or “folds” in the skin of leviathan (Job 41:22,23; cf. verse 1). The Psalmist exalted the Lord for the exceeding “depths” of His justice (Psalm 36:6). Abussos translates the plural of tᵉhôm in Psalm 71:20, and this may be a reference to the “place of the dead” (cf. Jeremias, “Abussos,” Kittel,1:9). This is somewhat tenuous, however. Abussos is also rendered as a plural here, showing the translators did not use abussos in the technical way (“the Abyss”). Thus, to discern in Psalm 71:20,21 a reference to the resurrection would probably be in error. There are two reasons for this: (1) the New Testament writers did not make use of this text to do so; and (2) the antithetical parallelism in the immediate context is between God’s righteousness which “reaches to the heavens” and the situation of humanity which extends “to the depths of the earth.” Moreover, abussos does not translate shᵉ‛ôl, the abode of the dead (cf. Psalm 135:6 [LXX 134:6]; Proverbs 3:19f.). Any technical understanding of abussos as “the Abyss” in the Septuagint is at best formative. Even those texts which may seem to hint at a more technical denotation for a place or region are in the later apocryphal writings (e.g., Sirach 1:3; 16:18; cf. the RSV’s slanted rendering of abussos here, but cf. Psalm 107:26, possibly used of the “place of the dead”). (For more on the Old Testament terminology for the place of the dead see Gaster, “Dead, Abode of the,” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1:787f.) (Ibid)

QUESTION - What is the Abyss?

ANSWER - The word abyss simply means “a deep hole”—so deep that it seems bottomless or immeasurable. The word is often used in modern contexts to describe the sea.

In the Bible and in Jewish theology, the Abyss is often a metaphorical reference to the place of evil spirits. Sometimes the Abyss is pictured as a deep or bottomless hole in the earth. This is the background for the New Testament usage. The King James Version usually translates the Greek term abyssou as “bottomless pit” (e.g., Revelation 9:2).

In Luke 8, Jesus cast the Legion of demons out of a man, “and they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss” (verse 31). The Abyss is obviously a place that the demons fear and try to avoid.

In Revelation a number of times we see the Abyss as a place of confinement for evil spirits:

Revelation 9:1–3, 11 — “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. . . . They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).”

Revelation 11:7 — “Now when [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.”

Revelation 20:1–3 — “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.”

In all of these instances, the Abyss is a place for the containment of evil spirits. Many Bible scholars believe that this is the same place referred to in 2 Peter 2:4 as “hell,” where some evil spirits are “in chains of darkness to be held for judgment.” The word hell here is a translation of the Greek tartarus, which can be thought of as the “deepest pit” or the “lowest part of Hades.”

It is clear from Scripture that God has ultimate power over all evil spirits. Some of the demons have been consigned to the Abyss and held captive there, while others seem to be able to move more freely upon the earth. Ultimately, all evil spirits will be consigned to the lake of fire (ED: WHICH IS DISTINCT FROM THE ABYSS), along with all unbelievers (see Revelation 20:10–15).

Related Resource:

Luke 8:32  Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:30-32+ Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 

Mark 5:11-13+ Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. 

Now there was a herd of many swine (choirosfeeding (boskothere on the mountain - Matthew 8:30+ says "Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them." Mark 5:11+ adds that "there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain." and in Mk 5:13+ says there were 2000. That's a lot of pork down the drain!

As Criswell observed "Though swine as food are forbidden to the Jews as unclean (Lev. 11:7, 8), in the predominantly Gentile territory of the Decapolis, a market for hogs apparently brings Jews into that business (cf. Mk 5:14-17+)."

The demons implored (parakaleoHim to permit (epitrepo) them to enter the swine - Here we find demons actually praying. This is quite amazing - they believe in God, in Jesus, in the abyss (hell), in prayer! 

Brian Bell explains that the demons implore Jesus to be sent to the swine because "They desire a host. They want contact with the material realm. Satan will take a pig or a man; if he gets a man he will do his best to turn him into a pig! Why into the pigs? By this dramatic act this would show they actually came out and went somewhere else."

Mk 5:12+ "The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them." 

Mt 8:31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” The paradox of "praying" demons! 

And He gave them permission - Jesus answers their "prayer" affirmatively. Jesus was not acquiescing to their will, for He always did the will of His Father in Heaven. So for some reason the demons would be allowed to stay around a few more years, centuries, millennia, until the are finally cast into the deep dark pit! Notice that in Matthew's version below, He commanded them to Go!. 

Mt 8:32+ "And He said to them, “Go (present imperative)!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region."

Swine (5519)(choiros) refers to a pig, a hog, a poker, a young swine. Swine were detestable creatures being classified with the dog (cf. Lk 8:32ff.; Lk 15:15). They were considered unclean according to the laws of purification  - Lev 11:7-8+, Dt 14:8. The ancient Canaanites sacrificed and ate swine before their so-called "gods."  Despite their being a popular sacrificial animal among the Greeks at special events, the Old Testament paints them as destructive, undesirable creatures (Ps 80:13; Pr 11:22). Most of the NT uses are in the story of Jesus casting out the demons and sending them into the swine (Mt 8:30, 31, 32, Mk 5:11, 12, 13, 16, Lk 8:32, 33+) To protect themselves from defilement for worship on the Sabbath day, Jews would not even touch pigs.

In an act of brazen disrespect to the Jews, the despicable ruler Antiochus Epiphanes raided the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, stealing its treasures, setting up an altar to Zeus, and sacrificing swine on the altar. When the Jews expressed their outrage over the profaning of the temple, Antiochus responded by slaughtering a great number of the Jews and selling others into slavery. He issued even more draconian decrees: performing the rite of circumcision was punishable by death, and Jews everywhere were ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and eat pig flesh.

Feeding (1006)(bosko) in passive voice (as here) means grazing or feeding. Bosko is used only in the Gospels and most often describe literal feeding of animals (especially the feeding of the swine) and twice is used figuratively where people are compared to lambs and sheep (Jn 21:15, 17).

Bosko - 8v - Matt. 8:30; Matt. 8:33; Mk. 5:11; Mk. 5:14; Lk. 8:32; Lk. 8:34; Lk. 15:15; Jn. 21:15; Jn. 21:17

To permit...gave permission (used twice in this sentence)(2010)(epitrepo from epi = upon + trepo = to turn) means to turn to, entrust, hence to permit. It carries the sense of release from restraint in order to have freedom of choice (cf  John 19:38, and Acts 21:39). For example, here in Lk 8:32 and the parallel in Mark 5:13 Legion gained freedom from being sent away, and instead was permitted to enter a herd of swine (see Mark 5:8-13).

Epitrepo - 17v - Matt. 8:21; Matt. 19:8; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 10:4; Lk. 8:32; Lk. 9:59; Lk. 9:61; Jn. 19:38; Acts 21:39; Acts 21:40; Acts 26:1; Acts 27:3; Acts 28:16; 1 Co. 14:34; 1 Co. 16:7; 1 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:3

Related Resources:

  • Torrey Topical Textbook Swine
  • Easton's Bible Dictionary Swine
  • Holman Bible Dictionary Swine
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Swine
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Swine
  • Smith Bible Dictionary Swine
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Swine
  • Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia Swine
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Swine
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Swine

J C Ryle - Let us mark, finally, the wonderful change which Christ can work in Satan’s slaves. We are told that the Gadarenes “found the man out of whom the devil was departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind.” That sight must indeed have been strange and astonishing! The man’s past history and condition, no doubt, were well known. He had probably been a nuisance and a terror to all the neighborhood. Yet here, in one moment, a complete change had come over him. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. The power by which such a cure was wrought must indeed have been almighty. When Christ is the physician nothing is impossible.

One thing, however, must never be forgotten. Striking and miraculous as this cure was, it is not really more wonderful than every case of decided conversion to God. Marvellous as the change was which appeared in this demoniac’s condition when healed, it is not one whit more marvellous than the change which passes over every one who is born again, and turned from the power of Satan to God. Never is a man in his right mind till he is converted, or in his right place till he sits by faith at the feet of Jesus, or rightly clothed till he has put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Have we ever considered what real conversion to God is? It is nothing else than the miraculous release of a captive, the miraculous restoration of a man to his right mind, the miraculous deliverance of a soul from the devil.

What are we ourselves? This, after all, is the grand question which concerns us. Are we bondsmen of Satan or servants of God? Has Christ made us free, or does she devil yet reign in our hearts? Do we sit at the feet of Jesus daily? Are we in our right minds? May the Lord help us to answer these questions aright!

QuestionWhy did Jesus allow the demons to enter the herd of pigs?

Answer: The story of Jesus casting the legion of demons into a herd of pigs is found in Matthew 8:28–34; Mark 5:1-20; and Luke 8:26–39. Only Matthew mentions the more prominent of the two demoniacs involved. Demoniacs were persons whose minds came under the control of an evil spirit or spirits. That such phenomena were especially prominent during the days of Christ’s earthly ministry is consistent with Satan’s efforts to counteract God’s program. It also allows us to witness the spiritual warfare in which our Savior was constantly engaged. Demons knew exactly who Jesus was—"Son of God"—and were aware of their ultimate doom (Matthew 8:28-29).

As Jesus was traveling in the hilly region east of the Jordan River, the path of this man who was controlled by demons and lived among the tombs crossed that of Jesus. Because of the physical strength the demons gave the man, he was able to break and throw off the chains with which people tried to bind him. When the demons begged Jesus to let them go into a herd of pigs, He gave them permission. They entered the pigs, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned. Jesus thereby made known His authority and thwarted whatever evil purpose the demons had.

Why the demons begged to be allowed to enter the swine is unclear from the account. It could be because they didn’t want to leave the area where they had been successful in doing their mischief among the people. Perhaps they were drawn to the unclean animals because of their own filthiness. The demons may have made this strange request because it was their last chance to avoid confinement in the Abyss, the place of confinement to which evil spirits are doomed (Revelation 9:1-6). Whatever their reasoning, it is clear from the account that demons had little power of their own and were unable to do anything without Jesus’ permission. As Christians, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the forces of the enemy of our souls are under the complete control of God and can only act in ways He allows.

The Bible doesn’t explain to us Jesus’ reasoning, but displaying His sovereign power over demons could be one reason why Jesus sent them into the pigs. If the pigs’ owners were Jews, Jesus could have been rebuking them for violating Mosaic law which forbids Jews from eating or keeping unclean animals such as swine (Leviticus 11:7). If the swineherds were Gentiles, perhaps Jesus was using this miraculous event to show them the malice of evil spirits under whose influence they lived, as well as displaying His own power and authority over creation. In any case, the owners were so terrified to be in the presence of such spiritual power that they made no demand for restitution for the loss of their property and begged Jesus to leave the region. The people were awe-struck but unrepentant—they wanted no more of Jesus Christ. This shows the hardness of their hearts and their desire to remain in sin. The healed demoniac, on the other hand, demonstrated the true faith and repentance of a changed heart and begged to be allowed to follow Jesus. Perhaps the unmistakable difference between the saved and the unsaved was an object lesson for the disciples and all who witnessed the event. Jesus sent the healed man away, giving him a commission that he joyfully obeyed: "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you" (Mark 5:17-20). (Gotquestions)

Luke 8:33  And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

KJV Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

Parallel Passages:

Mt 8:32+ "And He said to them, “Go (present imperative)!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished (apothnesko) in the waters. 

Mark 5:13+ Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. 


And the demons (daimonion) came out of the man and entered the swine (choiros) - This underscores Jesus' absolute authority over the unseen forces of darkness! Mk 5:13 "And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine." As Stein points out "The demons were conquered, not converted!"

Pigs are forbidden and unclean for Jews since they do not “chew the cud” (Lev 11:7; Deut 14:8). For a Jew therefore pigs would be a very appropriate home for the demons.

Spurgeon - Our proverb says, “They run hard whom the devil drives;” and when once he begins to drive men or swine, there is no end to their running till they are choked in the deep. Woe unto that man, then, who yields himself up to the tyrant master! Oh, seek the grace that will enable you to fling him off, never to come under his dread sway again! Better still, pray the blessed Prince of Peace to cast out the black prince of hell, and himself to rule over your spirit, soul, and body. (Exposition on Luke 8)

The herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned - Even the swine when possessed by the demons repeated the same maniacal, self-destructive frenzy that had characterized the demon-possessed man. Matthew adds (Mt 8:32) "the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters." Mk 5:13 "into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea." So were there 2000 demons in this man? Certainly a reasonable consideration! Woe!  And Stein points out "The swine’s destruction proves that the demons truly left the man as does the description of the man’s condition in Lk 8:35."

The Gadarene Swine Law: Merely because the group is in formation
does not mean that the group is on the right course.
-- Source Unknown

J C Ryle on the herd rushed down (hormao)...and was drowned (apopnígo) - The extraordinary malice, hatred of God’s creation, and love of mischief, which are attributes of Satan, appear strikingly in this fact. Satan must be doing harm. If he cannot harm man he will harm swine. Well would it be for the world, if Christians were as unwearied and zealous in doing good, as devils are in doing evil. This is a lot of bacon down the drain, which would have been a substantial economic loss. This may be part of their motivation to ask Jesus to leave their territory. 


Stein on 2000 swine drowned - None of the Gospel writers seemed to be troubled by the economic loss that the drowning of the swine would have caused their owners. For the Evangelists the spiritual issues involved in the story are far more important than financial considerations (cf. Lk 12:31). Various commentators’ concern for the owners’ economic loss may be due to a greater sensitivity for the property of others than the Evangelists had, but it may also reveal a lesser concern for the spiritual issues involved. The Gospel writers saw the story as involving a man’s deliverance from enslavement to the demonic. The demoniac’s deliverance and the demons’ judgment were their primary concerns. (See Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition)

Guzik writes that "Some protest that this was unfair to the owner of the pigs. “ ‘But the owners of the swine lost their property.’ Yes, and learn from this how small value temporal riches are in the estimation of God. He suffers them to be lost, sometimes to disengage us from them through mercy; sometimes out of justice, to punish us for having acquired or preserved them either by covetousness or injustice.” (Clarke)  Spurgeon had several wise comments on the way the demons affected the swine: “Swine prefer death to devilry; and if men were not worse than swine, they would be of the same opinion.” “They run hard whom the devil drives.” “The devil drives his hogs to a bad market.” 

Demons (1140)(daimonion from daímon = demon) most often describes demons or evil spirits who have supernatural powers and are neither human nor divine. BDAG says it refers to a "transcendent incorporeal being with status between humans and (God)." 

Rushed (3729)(hormao from horme = violent impulse from ornumi = to excite, arouse) means to set out, to rush headlong, violently, impetuously. It describes a "swift and violent forward motion uncontrolled by reason." (Friberg) It is so fitting that while here hormao describes a herd of Sanhedrin controlled by their rage rushing at Stephen in Acts 7:57+, all three synoptic accounts Mk 5:13+, Mt 8:32+ and Lk 8:33+ us hormao to describe the herd of swine controlled by evil spirits rushing to their death! There is not much difference between these two pictures, because the "religious" mob was also controlled by evil spirits and had destruction on their mind! 

Was drowned (choked) (638) (apopnígo) means to choke or suffocate,   to stifle by drowning. BDAG says this verb means "to check normal breathing or growth through pressure or other restricting measure." Hiebert comments on Mark's use of drowned (pnigo in Mark 5:13+) which paints a gruesome picture for they “Were choked in the sea” where the imperfect tense describes the sinking of the pigs as one after the other they plunged into the water and were suffocated."

Elwood McQuaid - 

               A crazy man—beside himself—
               A present danger too.
               Guard, chain, and shackle warned
               That it was surely true.
               A demon legion rampaged through
               The caverns of his mind.
               Naked, raving midst the tombs,
               More beast than humankind.
               Jesus sent a question
               To pierce his trembling frame.
               The first step on his road back home:
               “Man, tell me, what’s your name?”
               “Legion,” was the stark reply,
               For demons had control.
               "Give us pigs as habitat,
               If you plan to make him whole."
               Pigs it was, and down they ran
               To leap into the sea.
               While clothed, serene, and at His feet
               The man sat demon-free.
               But irony of ironies
               In what the people do.
               They join the demon legion
               By choosing swineherd too!
               “Go away,” they shouted.
               “Pig killer, leave this place.”
               They had no thought for their own kind,
               That one so touched by grace.
               Things haven’t really changed today,
               The question’s just as big
               For those bound by possessions:
               “Will it be Christ, or pig?”

Luke 8:34  When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country.

KJV When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:33+ The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 

Mark 5:14+  Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 


When the herdsmen saw what had happened - One would have hoped when they saw the power of Jesus over demons they would have run and fallen at He feet in praise and adoration. Their hearts were fixed on the material things of this earth, not the things of heaven (the One from Heaven) and the things of eternity. 

THOUGHT - How often we too are like these herdsman. We invert Paul's command in Colossians 3:2+ and "Set our mind on the things that are on the earth, not on the things that are above!" .

They ran away (pheugoand reported (apaggello)  it in the city and out in the country - Note the irony -- a demon possessed man runs to Jesus and falls at His feet (Lk 8:28+). These men run from Jesus!

As Spurgeon says "Sometimes, Christ wrought cures which were scarcely mentioned; but here, — and I only remember a second miracle at all like to it, — that of the withering of the barren fig-tree, — he wrought a miracle of judgment, and it caused a great stir and much talk. I have heard of bells at sea that only ring out in the roughest storms. Here is one that was heard when softer tones would not have been heeded: “They fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.” (Exposition on Luke 8)

Ran away (5343)(pheugo) means to flee away in the sense of to take to flight in order to seek safety. To flee in the sense of to escape something, being made safe from danger by eluding or avoiding it. 

Pheugo uses by Luke - Lk. 3:7; Lk. 8:34; Lk. 21:21;Acts 7:29; Acts 27:30;

Luke 8:35  The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:34+ And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

Mark 5:15+ They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 


The people went out to see what had happened - Matthew says "And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus." (Mt 8:34). So far, so good. But the verse goes on describing "when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region!" The One Who had chased out the demons from their land, was Himself charged to leave their land! As Paul said " But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+

And they came to Jesus, and found (heurisko) the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind (sophroneo); and they became frightened (phobeo) - What a before/after picture - before he was naked and out of his mind (Lk 8:27,29), now he was clothed and in his right mind! In fact, so dramatic was the man's condition, that the townspeople became afraid. They were not stupid and knew that something miraculous had occurred to  Mark 5:14b+ the very man who had had the legion; and they became frightened." This reaction of fear by the townspeople recalls a similar reaction by Jesus' disciples in Mk 4:41+ when "They became very much afraid (phobeo) and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” But what a difference in response to their fear -- the disciples continued to follow Jesus, while the townspeople begged Jesus to leave them! Woe! Two diametrically opposite responses, one leading to Heaven (except Judas Iscariot) and the other leading to Hell (unless some later repented and believed, but there is no record).  In his right mind is almost an understatement. Any person who is their right mind will be (or should be) sitting down at the feet of Jesus. God has given us a "sound mind" (2 Ti 1:7+) in Christ. In 2 Cor 5:13+ Paul writes "For if we are beside ourselves ("out of our minds"), it is for God; if we are of sound mind, (sophroneo) it is for you."

Given the incessant spiritual warfare Satan wages against our minds we all would well to frequently pray the words of Kate B Wilkinson's great hymn...

May the mind of Christ my Savior"
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow'r controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of Christ dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
  Only through His pow’r.

May the peace of Christ my Savior
Rule my life in every thing,
That I may be calm to comfort
  Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
  This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
  As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
  Seeing only Him.
(Instrumental Version - read the comments!)

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.

And who can weigh the value of knowing You
Oh, who can judge the worth of who You are
Lord, who can count the blessing of loving You
Who can sing just how great You are
How great You are

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.

Nothing I desire compares with You.
Nothing I desire compares with You.


Spurgeon - There was some clothing work done that day. I know not who provided the garments; but here was some real practical Christianity exhibited, not only by the Master in healing the demoniac, but by the friends who found clothing for this poor man. You do well, my sisters, who set yourselves to help to clothe the poor. God grant that all of them may not only be clothed, but also be led to sit at the feet of Jesus!  (Exposition on Luke 8)

John MacArthur - His radical change was complete, undeniable, and inexplicable from a human perspective. The man was clothed, not naked; seated at the feet of Jesus, not wandering aimlessly; away from the tombs, the realm of the dead, and in the presence of the Lord of life; quiet, not shrieking; calm and peaceful, not out of control and deadly; comforted, not tormented; in short, manifesting God-given sanity, not demon-inspired insanity. This is a magnificent picture of salvation transformation. No doubt Jesus had explained the gospel to him, telling him that He had come to save lost sinners (Luke 19:10+), and the man had repented and been forgiven. (See MacArthur Commentary )

Found (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover. When they found gold in California they shouted "Eureka!" (from heurisko  and the state motto of California, referring to the discovery of gold near Sutter's Mill in 1848) and here when they found God on the coast they should have also shouted "Eureka!" for Jesus is "more precious than silver... more costly than gold...more beautiful than diamonds" for in Jesus "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col 2:3+). There is only one letter difference between GOLD and GOD, but that one letter makes all the difference in time and eternity! (cf Mt 6:24+)

Heurisko uses by Luke - Lk. 1:30; Lk. 2:12; Lk. 2:45; Lk. 2:46; Lk. 4:17; Lk. 5:19; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 7:9; Lk. 7:10; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 9:36; Lk. 11:9; Lk. 11:10; Lk. 11:24; Lk. 11:25; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:38; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 13:6; Lk. 13:7; Lk. 15:4; Lk. 15:5; Lk. 15:6; Lk. 15:8; Lk. 15:9; Lk. 15:24; Lk. 15:32; Lk. 17:18; Lk. 18:8; Lk. 19:30; Lk. 19:32; Lk. 19:48; Lk. 22:13; Lk. 22:45; Lk. 23:2; Lk. 23:4; Lk. 23:14; Lk. 23:22; Lk. 24:2; Lk. 24:3; Lk. 24:23; Lk. 24:24; Lk. 24:33;Acts 4:21; Acts 5:10; Acts 5:22; Acts 5:23; Acts 5:39; Acts 7:11; Acts 7:46; Acts 8:40; Acts 9:2; Acts 9:33; Acts 10:27; Acts 11:26; Acts 12:19; Acts 13:6; Acts 13:22; Acts 13:28; Acts 17:6; Acts 17:23; Acts 17:27; Acts 18:2; Acts 19:1; Acts 19:19; Acts 21:2; Acts 23:9; Acts 23:29; Acts 24:5; Acts 24:12; Acts 24:18; Acts 24:20; Acts 27:6; Acts 27:28; Acts 28:14

In his right mind (4993)(sophroneo from sozo = to save {from sos = sound} + phren = mind, which would then literally describe a "saved mind"!) (Click studies on the related words sophron and sophronismos) means literally to b e of sound mind. The idea is to to keep one’s mind safe and sound or to be in one's right mind. To think of one's self soberly. It means to be able to reason and think properly and in a sane manner. This is the same verb used to describe the exorcised man in Mk 5:15+

Sophroneo - 6v - have sound judgment(1), right mind(2), sensible(1), sound judgment(1), sound mind(1). Mk. 5:15; Lk. 8:35; Rom. 12:3; 2 Co. 5:13; Tit. 2:6; 1 Pet. 4:7

Became frightened (5399)(phobeo)from phobos = fear source of our English "phobia") means to be in an apprehensive state that can range from mild uneasiness to stark terror as when one is frightened, terrified or alarmed. How ironic that this same verb phobeo is used to describe a reverential fear (awe) of God (see Lk 1:50+, cf ; Acts 10:35+; 1 Pt 2:17; Rev 14:7+ = this fear is associated with the last offer of the Gospel at midpoint of the 7 year Tribulation preceding the Great Tribulation - see Rev 14:6+; Rev 19:5+ = so even in Heaven saints will "fear" God!). Here was God in the flesh, the One they to Whom they should have shown referential fear and yet they demonstrated essentially the opposite reaction! Instead of being apprehensive of Jesus, they should have been adoring Him. "O come let us adore Him." It is also interesting that one of the more frequent commands of Jesus was "Do not fear" -  Mt 10:31; 14:27; 17:7; Mk 5:36; Lk 1:13, 30;  2:10; 5:10; 8:50; 12:7  

Phobeo uses by Luke - Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 1:50; Lk. 2:9; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 9:34; Lk. 9:45; Lk. 12:4; Lk. 12:5; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 18:2; Lk. 18:4; Lk. 19:21; Lk. 20:19; Lk. 22:2; Lk. 23:40;  Acts 5:26; Acts 9:26; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:35; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26; Acts 16:38; Acts 18:9; Acts 22:29; Acts 23:10; Acts 27:17; Acts 27:24; Acts 27:29;

Steven Cole - A. Christ’s power is necessary for transformation.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus didn’t use some clever method to convince Legion to make a decision to accept Him. Legion didn’t decide to turn over a new leaf and try harder this time. He didn’t sign up for a 12 Step group to overcome his addiction to demons. The gospel is nothing less than the mighty power of God imparting new life to a previously dead sinner. If God does not change the heart, there is no lasting change.

  • Man’s efforts at transformation fall short.

The human attempt to deal with this man had been to bind him with chains (Lu 8:29). But it didn’t work. Human solutions to problems that are spiritual in nature ultimately will fail.

Margaret Sangster, the social worker, told about seeing a small boy in an urban ghetto sitting on the stairs of a tenement. The youngster had been hit by a car several months before, but his parents, fresh from Appalachia, neglected to get him proper medical attention. Although not part of her case load, she took the boy to an orthopedist and learned that through an involved series of operations the child’s body could be made normal again. She cut through the bureaucratic red tape, raised the funds, and set the process of cure in motion.

Two years later the boy came to her office. To her astonishment, he walked in without crutches, and to show the completeness of his recovery, he turned a cartwheel for her. The two embraced and when the boy left, Margaret Sangster reported that a warm glow mantled the entire office. She said to herself, “If I never accomplish anything else in my life, at least here is one young man to whom I can point where I have made a real difference!”

At that point she paused in her presentation and asked, “This was all several years ago now. Where do you think that boy is today?” Caught in the emotion of that moment, several made suggestions—a school teacher, a physician, perhaps a social worker?

There was a longer pause, and with even deeper emotion Sangster said, “No, he is in the penitentiary for one of the foulest crimes a human being can commit.” Then she said, “I was instrumental in teaching him how to walk again, but there was no one to teach him where to walk.” Man’s efforts fall short because...

  • All who need transformation are in Satan’s domain.

This narrative reveals that there are two types of people in Satan’s domain, who need the transforming power of Christ. There are those who are conspicuously in Satan’s domain, such as Legion. These people make you shudder and draw back from them by their very appearance. They look evil.

But there is a second type of people in this story who are just as much in Satan’s domain and who need the same transforming power of Christ. But we might be inclined to overlook them. These are not conspicuous, but camouflaged. I am referring to the people of that area who flocked out to see what had happened to Legion. Outwardly, they were decent, respectable citizens. There are three clues that these people were in Satan’s domain just as much as Legion was.

First, the demons were at home in their region. They didn’t want to be sent out of the country (Mk 5:10). Second, these people were more concerned about the loss of their swine than they were about the healing of this man (or these two men). Sure, Legion had been a nuisance to them. He was so violent that no one could go near where he was (Mt 8:28). But if his healing meant the loss of their swine, forget it. Third, they begged Jesus to leave (Lu 8:37). What a horrible request! They had feared Legion. But they were more frightened about Jesus (Lu 8:37). He threatened them and they didn’t want Him to get too close.

These people are like the man Harry Ironside talked to one night after he had preached. He asked the man if he was saved and the man said no, but he would like to be. Ironside asked him, “Do you realize that you are a sinner?” “Yes,” the man quickly replied, “but you know, I’m not what you would call a bad sinner. In fact, I’d have to say I’m a rather good one.”

There are many people like that man. They are in Satan’s domain of darkness, but they’re decent folks. They’ve never committed a felony. They love their mates and their children. They may even go to church and believe in God. But they don’t want Him getting too close for comfort! If a preacher brings up sins like pride, greed, lust, envy, racial prejudice, and the like that step on their toes, they get real nervous and put up their defense. They’re just as much in Satan’s domain as the conspicuous sinner, but outwardly they look more respectable.

All people, apart from Christ, are in one category or the other. Paul says, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14). The “us” included the religious Paul as well as the formerly pagan Gentiles. Every person without Christ is in Satan’s domain and needs Christ’s mighty power to deliver him.

  • None are too difficult for Christ to transform, but camouflaged sinners are often more difficult than the conspicuous.

We look at a story like this and say, “Wow! If Legion can be transformed, then there is hope for anybody!” Yes, there’s even hope for the respectable sinners! It takes the same saving power of Christ to transform them as it does to transform the demoniac. But they’re often the more difficult cases because they don’t see their great need. But Christianity is not a matter of dressing up a pig in the tuxedo of good works. It is a matter of God changing the nature of the pig! But in addition to Christ’s saving power, transformation also requires His teaching.

B. Christ’s teaching is necessary for transformation.

This is an inference on my part. The text does not directly state that Christ taught this man. But I believe that He did. Verse Lu 8:35 reports that the man was sitting at Jesus’ feet when the local folks found him (see Lu 10:39). It took a fair amount of time, perhaps a whole day, for the herdsmen to run off into the surrounding area and report what had happened and for the people to arrive back at the spot. I believe that Jesus was giving this man a cram course in spiritual things. I think that He taught him who God is and who He was as God’s Messiah, and what it means to live a godly life. The point is, salvation must be followed by sound doctrine so that the new convert can be transformed through the renewing of his mind. Legion, quite naturally, wanted to accompany Jesus (Lu 8:38). Who wouldn’t want to? His life dramatically had been transformed by Jesus’ power and through Jesus’ teaching. But Jesus said “No” to the man’s request. That leads to our second main lesson.  (Luke 8:26-39 Christ's Transforming Power)

P G Matthew - They found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind.—Luke 8:35 
What is a sound mind? It is one that believes in God, thinks his thoughts after him, and does that which is pleasing to him. Adam and Eve, prior to their fall, had sound minds with which they communed with their Creator. Now, after the Fall, none of us comes into the world with a right mind. The only way back is through God’s monergistic work of regeneration.

The story of the demoniac illustrates what Jesus does for a man with a sinful, depraved mind when he saves him. His story is our story.

The Bible teaches us that the entire world is under the control of the evil one. Some are demon-possessed; all are subject to his will. The result is what we see in Luke 8—alienation from self, family, society, and, most importantly, from the Creator God himself. No one could or wanted to help such a man, yet Jesus loved him and traveled across a stormy lake to save him.

When Jesus shows up, things happen. The demons trembled and cowered before Deity. They were sent out of the man and into a herd of pigs at Jesus’ word. And the demoniac was gloriously delivered. What does this salvation look like?

The first thing we see is that this once-restless, self-destructive man was now sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet. He was at peace, completely taken up with the person of Christ. The second thing we notice is that this once-naked man was now clothed. We are reminded of the clothing provided by God to Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. And just as their animal skins pointed to the coming Messiah who would lay down his life for the elect, so the demoniac was dressed not only in a robe but also with the very righteousness of Christ.

Finally, we are told that this former schizophrenic was “in his right mind.” Hallelujah! He was free from the control of demons and free to worship God with all his heart and mind. What had been disintegrated was fully integrated under the lordship of Christ. The man’s one request was the one that everyone with a sound mind makes: “Lord, I want to follow you the rest of my life.

John Butler - Changed by Christ

“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.” (Luke 8:35)

CHRIST had cast some demons out of a man. The effect upon the man was dramatic. Our verse describes some of the major changes which occurred when Christ cast out the demons. They include resting, respect, robed, and rational.

Resting. “Sitting.” This was a new posture for the man. Before Christ cast out the demons, the man was constantly roaming about the tombs and mountains and wilderness day and night. This speaks of the soul rest promised in the Gospel. Christ said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). One of the characteristics of sin is lack of rest (Isaiah 57:20, 21). But when Christ changes your life, one result is great soul rest.

Respect. “Sitting at the feet of Jesus.” Before the man was delivered of the demons, he wanted nothing to do with Christ (Luke 8:28). But after Christ changed his life, the man now greatly respected Christ and sat humbly at Christ’s feet. Animosity towards Christ ends with redemption.

Robed. “Clothed.” Before Christ changed this man’s life, he “wore no clothes” (Luke 8:27). This robing of the man not only pictures the righteous robe of salvation (Isaiah 61:10), but it also pictures the improvement in morals (seen in more modest dress) of a person when he gets saved. Even in heathen countries, when people get saved, they start wearing more clothes instead of running around half naked. The immodest clothes at church reveal a spiritual problem.

Rational. “In his right mind.” Satan would have folk think that to follow Christ is crazy, unintelligent, and stupid. But the very opposite is true. It is those who follow Satan and are controlled by his demons that act crazy. When this man was possessed by demons, he acted insane. But when Christ changed the man, he acted rational, sane, and sober. Sin, not Christ and righteousness, causes people to act foolishly and irrationally.

Kent Hughes - Perhaps you have descended so deeply into sin and the scars are so profound that you have given up on ever being made whole. You may even be demonized. You may think I am incredibly naive, that I live in some cloistered ivory tower. If we were to meet face to face perhaps you would tell me, "You do not know the grip that sin has on me. You cannot imagine the things I have done. You can't feel my hopelessness."

Having been charged with the care of souls, after counseling needy persons in all kinds of situations and having studied what the Scriptures say about the human heart, I have no naivete about the human condition. But I have full confidence in the transforming power of Jesus Christ. I have seen the naked clothed and in their right mind.

Are you deeply scarred? Do you have filthy habits—perhaps a mouth that is totally out of control? Your speech is lethal and has left deep cuts and wounds upon your nearest and dearest. Or perhaps it is dirty and unbridled because it reveals exactly what is within you.

Or perhaps you are dishonest. You were a deceptive child, and now you lie implicitly to your spouse. You are a liar in the business world, in the community, maybe even at church. Dishonesty is a way of life.

Or maybe your scar is sexual, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and you feel that your life is disfigured beyond help. Not so! Jesus who calmed the stormy seas also calms the storm-tossed soul. And he can do it with a word.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

If you have received Christ as your Savior, all has changed! Jesus spoke the word, and your raging soul was healed! If you have not yet experienced this, today can be the day! (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

Luke 8:36  Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.

Parallel Passages:

Mark 5:15+ They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 


Those who had seen it reported (apaggello) to them how the man who was demon-possessed (daimonizomai) had been made well (sozo) - Mk 5:16 "described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine." Had been made well or "had been delivered"; "had been saved." The fact that Jesus sends this man out as an "evangelist" in Lk 8:39 strongly supports the premise that he was not  just healed of the demon possession, but also healed of his "sin infection!" First, notice that he is seated at Jesus' feet just like Mary in Lk 10:39+). Next notice he seeks to follow Jesus (that sounds like a desire to be Jesus' disciple). Finally notice that Jesus gives him a commission to proclaim the truth that the Deliverer has come to set the captives free! Jesus would hardly send out an unredeemed man to proclaim redemption in the Redeemer! And yet surprisingly there are few commentaries which say the demon possessed man was not "saved" (NET Note), but that interpretation fails to take the context into consideration, which overwhelmingly supports the interpretation that the man was truly saved (sozo). This is a good example of why we need to always remember that Context is always King if one desires to make the most accurate interpretation! 

Reported (announced, proclaimed) (518)(apaggello from apó = from + aggéllo = tell > aggelos = messenger) means to bring a message from any person or place. Carry back a message from a happening and thus give an account of something (to report, announce, tell, inform). To proclaim or announce. To make something known publicly. It was used of a messenger, to bring tidings, report, announce 

Demon-possessed (1139)(daimonizomai from daimonion = demon) means to be possessed by a demon, to be under the power of a demon, to act under the control of a demon. In this passage in Lk 8:36 note the striking contrast between Jesus a Man under the control of the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit (Lk 4:14+, Acts 10:37-38+), exerting authority over those souls who were under the control of evil spirits. The daimonizómenoi, those violently possessed by demons, are distinguished from other sick folk in Matt. 4:24; Mark 1:32. A man who is "mad," in the modern sense of being out of his mind, is said to have a demon, this being an accusation against John the Baptist (Matt. 11:18) and Christ (John 10:20). MacArthur points out that "Although its accounts of demonized people reflect many different conditions and degrees of control, Scripture does not clearly distinguish between being possessed, obsessed, or oppressed by demons. Demonization may be denned as a condition in which one or more demons inhabits and gains control over a human being. Demons can attack men spiritually, mentally, and physically. In the spiritual realm they promote false religions, demon worship, the occult, and innumerable kinds of immorality, including murder (Rev. 9:20–21; 18:23–24). In the intellectual and psychological realm they promote such things as false doctrines; insanity and masochism, as in this demon-possessed man, who gashed himself with stones (Mark 5:5); and inability to speak and suicidal mania (see Mark 9:17–22)....It is significant that Jesus never blamed a person for being either diseased or demon controlled. He recognized them as victims of powers beyond their own control and as in need of deliverance, not exhortation or condemnation." (MNTC-Mt)

Hendriksen - What the New Testament teaches with respect to this subject may be briefly summarized as follows:
1. It is not true that the New Testament writers, in common with all primitive people, ascribed all physical illnesses and abnormalities to the presence and operation of evil spirits. It is clear, for example, that Matt. 4:24 distinguishes between demoniacs and epileptics. Some afflicted persons are demon-possessed, blind and dumb (Matt. 12:22); others lack the power of sight or of speech but are not demon-possessed (15:30). Other passages showing that the Gospel writers carefully distinguish between diseases caused by demons and diseases not so caused are Matt. 8:16; 10:8; Mark 1:32–34; 6:13; 16:17, 18; Luke 4:40, 41; 9:1; 13:32; and Acts 19:12.
2. It is not true that demon-possession is simply another name for insanity. The fact is that in only two of the many reported cases of possession does the latter very definitely affect the mind (Matt. 8:28 ff. and parallels; and Acts 19:14–16).
3. Though there is resemblance, it is not true that demon-possession is simply another name for multiple personality or dissociation (for example, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; or the young lady who was divided between three distinct personalities: the Saint, the Realist, and Sally). Differences between multiple personality and demon-possession: a. demons are spiritual beings who are able to depart from a man and to enter the swine; b. they are always evil; and c. they are not driven out by psychological treatments applied over a longer or shorter period of time, but by the word and power of Christ, instantly. None of this (a., b. and c.) applies to multiple personality.
4. The term demon-possession describes a condition in which a distinct and evil personality, foreign to the person possessed, has taken control of an individual. This evil personality or demon is able to speak through the mouth of the possessed individual, and to answer when addressed (Mark 5:7–10; Luke 4:41; Acts 16:18; 19:13–15).
5. Demons are the agents of Satan. Jesus came on earth in order to crush the power of Satan. He came to bind “the strong man” (Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21, 22; cf. Rev. 20:1–3) by means of his victory over him in the desert of temptation, and also by means of demon-expulsions and especially the cross (Col. 2:15). This “binding of the devil” points forward to the latter’s ultimate and complete defeat in connection with Christ’s second coming (Rev. 20:10; cf. Rom. 16:20). (BNTC-Mt)

Gilbrant - In the New Testament daimonizomai occurs only in the Gospels (13 times). Those who were “demonized” (i.e., possessed by demons) were often overwhelmed by the evil spirit which took control of their entire personality. At times the demons within the individual controlled both the speech and the actions of the person (e.g., Mk 1:23-26; 5:1-10). Matthew used the term more than any other writer (seven times); sometimes he replaced Mark’s “unclean spirit” with “demon-possessed” (e.g., Mt 8:28; 12:22, NIV; cf. “possessed with devils” in KJV). Luke and John used daimonizomai only once each (Lk 8:36; Jn 10:21). Except for one text (Mt 15:22) daimonizomai always occurs in a participial form where it means “tormented by a demon.” Matthew was also especially fond of the image of the demon-possessed being brought to Jesus (prosēnenkan autō...daimonizomen [ous/on], Mt 4:24; 8:16; 9:32; 12:22). Matthew linked demon-possession with physical infirmities (Mt 9:32; 12:22) and the demon-possessed were ruled by spirits (pneumata, Mt 8:16) until Jesus cast out the demons (daimonia, Mt 9:34). A common accusation against Jesus was that He himself was demon-possessed (Jn 7:20; 8:48,52; 10:20f.; cf. Mt 9:34; 11:18). But His power over the demons demonstrated His authority from the Father (Mt 12:28), which He gave to His disciples (Lk 10:16,17). The delivering of those who are demon-possessed, i.e., exorcisms, signals that the authority of evil which had enslaved the world (Satan) is broken. Jesus did battle with the enemy and won. These struggles were more than “skirmishes”; they heralded the dawn of the age of salvation. The period of God’s rule has begun!

Daimonizomai - 13x in 13v - Not in the Septuagint. Matt. 4:24; Matt. 8:16; Matt. 8:28; Matt. 8:33; Matt. 9:32; Matt. 12:22; Matt. 15:22; Mk. 1:32; Mk. 5:15; Mk. 5:16; Mk. 5:18; Lk. 8:36; Jn. 10:21

Related Resources

Had been made well (He had been saved)  (4982) (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Luke's uses of sozo -  Lk. 6:9; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:36; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 13:23; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 18:26; Lk. 18:42; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 23:35; Lk. 23:37; Lk. 23:39;

Brian Bell - Some ask, “was it right for Jesus to destroy other men’s property?”

  • We ask back, “are we more concerned about the pigs, men’s property, or the poor man?”

Well, is it person or pigs? Which is more important?

  • The people were more interested in Pigs; Jesus in the Person.
  • The people were more interested in Money; Jesus in the Man, & Mercy.
  • They preferred Swine, over the Savior!

Regarding the people who asked Jesus to leave - how many lives were unchanged, how many sick not healed, how many captives went unreleased, because of a herd of swine was judged as more valuable than a human soul? We can hardly see the man, because we have lost our pigs!

Death of a Dog - One day as Dick Hillis preached in a Chinese village, his sermon was suddenly interrupted by a piercing cry. Everyone rushed toward the scream, and Dick’s coworker, Mr. Kong, whispered that an evil spirit had seized a man. “That is heathen superstition,” said Dick, who had not previously encountered demon possession.

A woman pushed through the crowd toward them. “I beg you help me!” she cried. “An evil spirit has again possessed the father of my children and is trying to kill him.”
Kong stepped over a filthy old dog lying in the doorway, and faced the madman. The room was charged with a sense of evil. “An evil spirit has possessed Farmer Ho,” Kong told the onlookers. “Our God, the ‘Nothing-He-Cannot-Do One’ is more powerful than any spirit, and He can deliver this man. First, you must promise you will burn your idols and trust in Jesus, son of the Supreme Emperor.”

The people nodded. Kong asked Dick to begin singing the hymn “There is Power in the Blood.” With great hesitation, Dick began to sing, “Would you be free from your burden of sin. …”

“Now,” continued Kong, “in the name of Jesus we will command the evil spirit to leave this man.” Kong began praying fervently. Suddenly, the old dog in the doorway vaulted into the air, screeching, yelping, whirling in circles snapping wildly at his tail. Kong continued praying, and the dog abruptly dropped over dead.

Instantly Dick remembered Luke 8, the demons of the Gadarenes who invisibly flew into the herd of swine. As Kong finished praying, Farmer Ho seemed quiet and relaxed, and soon he was strong enough to burn his idols. At his baptism shortly afterward, he testified, “I was possessed by an evil spirit who boasted he had already killed five people and was going to kill me. But God sent Mr. Kong at just the right moment, and in Jesus I am free. (From This Verse - Robert Morgan)

Luke 8:37  And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 8:34+ And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

Mark 5:17+ And they began to implore Him to leave their region.


I agree with Bob Utley who says "This is one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible. In the presence of the greatest man of history, these villagers were more concerned about the death of a few hogs than they were over the redemption and reclamation of two demonized persons and the spiritual potential of the gospel for their area."

And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district  - Matthew 8:34+  says it was the whole city. The entire lot had hard hearts in face of an amazing miracle! This makes the point that miracles per se do not save anyone. Rejection of Jesus' miracles did however increase the severity of future judgment (Mt 11:21-24+). 

THOUGHT - Of course every time someone is truly saved that in itself is a great miracle of deliverance from bondage to sin and kingdom of darkness! Don't reject this miracle by Jesus or you do so to your eternal regret and remorse! 

Spurgeon comments that "Here was a whole city at a prayer meeting, praying against their own blessing. Horrible was their prayer; but it was heard, and Jesus departed out of their coasts!". (Exposition on Luke 8)

Asked Him to leave them - They were like those in the parable of the soils who had stony hearts and did not at all receive Jesus' Word. Their eyes were on the temporal and not the eternal. The irony of this scene is that the very One they were sending away in time, would one day send them away into eternity! Mk 5:17+ "they began to implore Him to leave their region." "Heartlessness characterized demons, swineherds, and people in general. Over against this attitude stands the helpfulness of Jesus." (Hendriksen)

Rabbi, begone! Thy powers
Bring loss to us and ours.
Our ways are not as Thine.
Thou lovest men, we—swine.

Oh, get you hence, Omnipotence,
And take this fool of Thine!
His soul? What care we for his soul?
What good to us that Thou hast made him whole,
Since we have lost our swine?
John Oxenham

Wiersbe - What a transformation in these two men! You would have expected the people who saw the miracle to ask Jesus to stay and heal others who were sick and afflicted. Apparently money was more important to them than mercy, and they asked Jesus to leave.  (Borrow Be compassionate)

Kent Hughes - Tell Him to leave you alone, and He will. And if you tell Him enough, there will come a time when the opportunity for repentance will be gone. If you have not already done so, turn to Christ for salvation. Come to Christ for healing. If He is speaking to you, you must respond now, for this may be the last time! (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

Spurgeon - Surely, this legion of demons must have had the same effect on them as on the poor man when Christ first came to him. These foolish people took up the same cry as the poor demoniac: “The whole multitude besought him to depart from them? Christ sometimes hears this kind of prayer. There is many a man who has entreated that his conscience might not be troubled any more, and it never has been troubled again. But what an awful prayer for any people to pray! “The whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them.” (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

John MacArthur - In stark contrast to the delivered maniac, the response of the sane people tragically illustrates sin’s power over the lost. It blinds them to the truth and causes them to hate it and reject all evidence of it. They obstinately cling to their false illusion of well-being because love of iniquity dominates them. Jesus had performed an undeniable miracle that clearly manifested His absolute power over the supernatural realm and to deliver people from the forces of hell. (See The MacArthur Commentary)

Brian Bell comments on the repetition of the idea of begged (Lk 8:31, 32, 37, 38)

  1. The demons begged him, not the pit, but the pigs! (Lk 8:31, 32)
  2. The people begged him, leave our country! (Lk 8:37) (Contrast Jairus, the synagogue official, begging in Lk 8:41)!
  3. The former demoniac begged him, let me follow you! (Lk 8:38)

For they were gripped (sunecho/synecho) with great fear - Not just fear but great fear (megas phobos). This is not like the fear of the disciples described in Lk 8:25 which at least to some degree was reverential. This fear (whatever the cause) explains why they asked Jesus to leave. They had seen God work and rejected Him, which is not greatly different from hearing God's Word and rejecting Him. They were so self-focused that they showed no gratitude whatsoever that the demoniac had been made well. They were unable to rejoice with those who rejoice (Ro 12:15)!

Robert Stein - For the believer such fear turns to a holy awe, but to the unbelieving it is only a fearsome dread from which they seek to rid themselves. God can be rejected, as the people of Gerasa in fact did. Peace, however, came to the demoniac. He who was last became first. (See Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition)

Criswell - It is remarkable that instead of rejoicing over the miracle of seeing a man restored to "his right mind," the people of the area were insistent that Jesus depart. This unfortunate attitude was prompted by fear (Lk 8:35) and by selfishness (note the reference to the loss of the swine in Mk 5:16). (The Believer's Study Bible)

David Gooding has an interesting note on the people's reaction to Jesus Who had freed them of the fear of the demoniac - What a sad comment on man’s fallen and unregenerate state it is, that man should feel more at home with demons, than with the Christ who has power to cast out demons. Yet is often so. Men who would try to help a criminal or a drunkard, or, if they should prove incorrigible, would want the one imprisoned and the other put into hospital, find it embarrassing and somewhat frightening if the criminal is saved by Christ and turned into a sane, wholesome, regenerate disciple. (Borrow According to Luke : a new exposition of the Third Gospel

He got into a boat (ploion) and returned (hupostrepho)- Jesus complies! This is a sad phrase! They had rejected Jesus' miraculous healing of a demon possessed maniac and so He left. Jesus does not force the favor of His continued presence on anyone who says "I do not want Your presence!" What is interesting though is that in His great mercy, Jesus left a witness to give (probably lifelong) testimony of the great thing Jesus had done for the demon possessed man. Would some of the soils of their hearts shift to the good soil? Possibly. Eternity will tell. 

Gripped (4912)(sunecho/synecho from sun = with + echo = hold) literally means hold together (as a unit, metaphorically to sustain). To press together. Sunecho means to be held or gripped by difficult circumstances (various diseases - Mt 4:24, fever - Lk 4:38, fever & dysentery - Acts 28:8, fear - Lk 8:37). In Acts 18:5 the idea is "to occupy someone’s attention intensely" (BDAG). They were hemmed in, seized and hence, they were held in the grip of great fear which depicts them as terribly frightened.

Sunecho - 12v -  afflicted(1), controls(1), covered(1), crowding(1), devoting...completely(1), distressed(1), gripped(1), hard-pressed(1), hem(1), custody(1), suffering(2). Matt. 4:24; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 8:45; Lk. 12:50; Lk. 19:43; Lk. 22:63; Acts 7:57; Acts 18:5; Acts 28:8; 2 Co. 5:14; Phil. 1:23

Boat (4143)(ploion from pleo = to sail) can refer to a rather large seagoing craft (Acts 20:13, 38; Acts 21:2f, 6; 27 Jas 3:4; Rev 8:9;  Rev 18:19) or a small fishing craft boat as used on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:21f; Mt 9:1; Mk 1:19f; Mk 6:51, 54; Jn 6:19, 21f; Jn 21:3).  See Wikipedia description of the "Jesus Boat" discovered in 1986. 

Ploion in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 5:3; Lk. 5:7; Lk. 5:11; Lk. 8:22; Lk. 8:37; Acts 20:13; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:2; Acts 21:3; Acts 21:6; Acts 27:2; Acts 27:6; Acts 27:10; Acts 27:15; Acts 27:17; Acts 27:19; Acts 27:22; Acts 27:30; Acts 27:31; Acts 27:37; Acts 27:38; Acts 27:39; Acts 27:44; Acts 28:11

Luke 8:38  But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying,

KJV  Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,

  • begging Lk 28,37; Deuteronomy 10:20,21; Ps 27:4; 32:7; 116:12,16; Mark 5:18; Philippians 1:23
  • saying Exodus 12:25-27; 13:8,9,14-16; Ps 71:17,18; 78:3-6; 107:21,22,31,32; Ps 111:2-4; 145:3-12; Isaiah 63:7-13; Mark 5:19,20; Acts 9:13-16; Galatians 1:23,24; 1 Timothy 1:13-16
  • Luke 8:30-39 The Maniac Who Became a Missionary, Part 2 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 8:26-39 - Steven Cole
  • Luke 8 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Parallel Passage:

Mark 5:18+  As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 


But the man from whom the demons (daimonion) had gone out was begging (deomai) Him - Was begging is imperfect tense indicated again and againn. Mk 5:18+ "As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him"  that he might accompany Him.

But He sent him away (apoluo), saying - Mk 5:19+ "And He did not let him, but He said to him." 

Sent away (630)(apoluo from apó = marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation + luo = loose) is used often of sending a person or a group away from someone (Mt 14:15, 22, 23, 32, etc). 

Steven Cole - It’s a story with some strange twists in it. You would think that Jesus would deny the requests of demons and unbelievers, and grant the request of an eager follower, but He didn’t. Jesus granted the request of the demons, He agreed to the appeals of a group of unbelievers, and then He denied the entreaties of a man whose life He had transformed who wanted to follow Him! That seems backwards, doesn’t it? Why did Jesus act this way?

I believe that Jesus granted the request of the demons that He not send them out of the region and into the abyss because the final judgment of Satan and his forces is yet future. The time is coming when they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, but for now we are engaged in spiritual conflict against these forces of evil (Eph 6:12). We don’t know for certain what happened to the demons after the pigs drowned, but I think they were free then to go trouble someone else. The water did not harm the demons.

I believe that Jesus granted the request of the local people to leave their region because His main mission at that time was to the Jews (these people were mostly Gentile) and because He will not force Himself upon those who harden their hearts against Him, especially after they have seen evidence of His mighty power.

And I believe that Jesus denied the request of the former demoniac to accompany Him because even though His primary mission at that time was to the Jews and even though these Gentiles’ hearts were opposed to Him, He knew that some of His elect among them would hear and respond. And so He told the man, “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you” (Lu 8:39). Thus the maniac became the missionary!

Thus the lesson for us from this miracle is that all of us who have experienced Christ’s transforming power should proclaim it. But that raises two difficult questions that we must ask ourselves:

To what extent am I experiencing the transforming power of Christ? What is there in my life that is explainable only by the spiritual power of Jesus Christ? It may not be as instantaneous and dramatic as the changes in Legion. But even so, there ought to be some obvious changes due to my experience with Jesus Christ.

To what extent am I proclaiming the transforming power of Christ? Do I have “holy huddle disease”? That’s a disease that especially affects us pastors, where you surround yourself with the saints, holding hands and sharing precious verses, but you never venture out among the pagans. I believe that Jesus went out of His way to cross the Sea of Galilee in the storm for the purpose of saving Legion and of teaching the disciples about His transforming power. No sinner is beyond the saving grace of God in Christ!  (Luke 8:26-39 Christ's Transforming Power)

Vance Havner - The Gadarene Matthew 8:28-34

AFTER mastering a wild sea the Lord Jesus masters a wild man. Three Gospels give us the story of the Gadarene demoniac (Matt. 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39), and it is unusual that Mark's account, usually the briefest, is here the longest.

There are those who would make this man to be only an insane case, but our Lord clearly recognized demon-possession by His saying, "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." That He was merely accepting the common view of His time is an argument too foolish to reserve room for refutation.

Much has been said about the destruction of the swine who refused to endure what men put up with. Huxley made much of this "destruction of property" as an argument against the Lord. Our Lord never went at anything tamely. He made bold strokes and brushed everything else aside to get at a needy life. What are a few hogs compared to a human soul? The destruction of the swine was a bold evidence of the miracle and a daring declaration that lives are ever more important than property. If the owner of the hogs had accepted the Lord Jesus he would have had a treasure inestimable. Instead, he saw only temporal loss and gain, and because Jesus was hurting his business, he besought Him to leave. Men have followed that procedure through the ages. When Christ interferes with our personal gain we usually beseech Him to leave.

There is a beautiful truth in the healed man's desire to go with the Lord and His disciples in the ship to other parts. Doubtless he wanted to get away from the scenes of his past, and it looked very inviting—this prospect of sojourning with the Lord in new fields, ever hearing His words and witnessing His miracles. But it was not so to be; he must stay in the old, unromantic spot and tell what the Lord had done for his soul (and what a witness he must have been!).

Many of us have known this experience. We have longed to follow the Lord across the sea or into some more interesting field, but He has commissioned us to stay at home—live down an evil past, perhaps—and be an obscure and unknown witness. It is not given to everyone to go far afield; there must be the disciple who stays at home. Time and time again we meet with those who went to foreign fields or undertook vast enterprises under mistaken leadings. It is so easy to confuse our wants with God's leadings. The work of the gospel is too often made the springboard from which to dive off into water too deep for us. This man obeyed the Lord's command, and as he proclaimed his story men marveled, according to Mark's account. Together with a marvelous experience of deliverance he had an obedient spirit, and that makes a great combination.

Are you willing that Christ should do His wonders in your life at any cost to property and circumstances? Then you need to be willing to let Him station you where He will, to be His witness

Luke 8:39  "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

KJV Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Parallel Passage:

Mark 5:19+ And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go (present imperative) home to your people and report (aorist imperative) to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.


Return (hupostrephoto your house and describe (diegeomai) what great things God has done for you - Jesus' reply of "No you cannot follow Me," was filled with purpose for this man. He could go to the very people that had rejected Jesus and asked Him to leave! Mk 5:19+Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

THOUGHT- Do we not see the mercy and grace of Christ in His leaving them man to give testimony of His power to safe? Even in face of them asking Jesus to leave, He nevertheless left a credible witness of His great power over the supernatural world. Robertson adds that "Thousands of like cases of conversion under Christ’s power have happened in rescue missions in our cities."

Spurgeon - Sometimes, it is better to be spreading the good news of the gospel than to be sitting at Jesus’ feet. It is best when we can do both; but, sometimes, the practical duty of serving our fellowmen must take the first place. Happy are they who give themselves to this work, telling to others what God has done for them! (Exposition on Luke 8)


So he went away - So - term of conclusion. Notice his unhesitating obedience, further evidence that he was a new creature in Christ! 

Proclaiming (kerusso) throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him - Mk 5:20+ adds that this cured man "began to proclaim in Decapolis (Dekapolis "Ten Cities") what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed." The proclamation of his personal transformation produced amazement. If any man could be a "poster child" for 2 Cor 5:17+, this demon possessed man could -- "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (kainos = brand new) creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." The people knew this man as wild, ferocious demoniac who was now a new creation in Christ! Hallelujah!  Was amazed is in the imperfect tense, indicating repeated amazement by all who saw the transformed man and heard his story of Jesus the Deliverer (Play My Deliverer by Rich Mullins). One wishes Mark had recorded "and everyone believed" like John did when the Samaritan woman told her village about Jesus and John wrote "From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (Jn 4:39, cf Jn 4:40-42). 

So clearly his testimony elicited a reaction and notice he did not go as a missionary only to his home town but throughout the Gentile province of Decapolis!  It was as if Jesus was saying "Tell them of My power over the supernatural world!" He would also be conveying the message of the Master's great compassion for him (Mk 5:19 = "and how He had mercy on you.”), esteeming his soul more valuable than 2000 swine! And so this former demoniac becomes the first witness sent into Gentile territory (Decapolis was Gentile land). For this man to go back home was of more value than if he had gone with Jesus, for those in his home town were fully acquainted with the "BEFORE" and so could easily recognize the "AFTER" effect of having been made will by Jesus! 

Marshall adds that this "story is a paradigm of what conversion involves: the responsibility to evangelize.”

For other instances in which Jesus returned good for evil (cf His disciples are to do likewise! = Ro 12:17+, Ro 12:21+) see Luke 7:19, 27-29+; Lk 23:5, 18, 21, 23, 33+, cf. Lk 23:34+; John 18:15-18, 25-27, cf Jn 21:15-17 see also Luke 6:27-29+.

THOUGHT - Did you notice the man is instructed to tell what God has done for him? And then the man goes and proclaims what great things Jesus had done for him. God did great things. Jesus did great things! So what is the obvious conclusion? Clearly Jesus is God! Don't ever say Jesus did not say He was God! 

One city rejected Jesus and His miracle but as many as 10 Gentile cities would hear of Jesus and His miracle from the lips of the very one who had experienced the miracle! I would think this man would have been a very zealous evangelist! Did it result in any conversions? We will have to wait until eternity to find out!

The Gospel is not a secret to be hoarded but a story to be heralded.
-- Vance Havner

John MacArthur - This remarkable story teaches several important truths. First and foremost, it reveals Christ’s absolute authority over the demonic realm. It is also illustrates the truth that the good news of the gospel is for Gentiles, as well as Jews (cf. Matt. 12:18, 21). The passage also demonstrates that God graciously reaches out to those who reject Him. Finally, the story of the maniac who became a missionary illustrates that it is the responsibility of all Christians to tell others of how Jesus delivered them from the power of sin (Matt. 28:19-20). (See The MacArthur Commentary)

Spurgeon - If you want to win souls follow up this line of things. Soul-winning is generally accomplished not by argument, but by testimony. The best minister is a witness-bearer. Butler’s Analogy is one of the most notable works in defence of revelation, and it is eminently calculated to impress the student with the truthfulness of our holy religion; but I should like to know whether there ever was a man, woman, or child truly converted to the Lord Jesus by Butler’s Analogy. I do not think it. Nor do I depreciate the work on that account, for it has other uses which it admirably serves. This, however, I am certain of, that a little book like The Dairyman’s Daughter, by Legh Richmond, which is not worthy for a moment to be compared with Butler’s Analogy as a display of intellectual power, has led thousands to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. That little biography of a peasant girl, a mere nothing as to thought compared with the wonderful Analogy, has brought tens of thousands to the Saviour’s feet, where the other has brought few, if any. What is the reason? The Analogy is a very clear and admirable argument, but The Dairyman’s Daughter is a witness of what has been seen, and tasted and handled by one like ourselves. Heads are won by reasoning, but hearts are won by witness-bearing. Our lines of things should be that of David—‘I will declare what he hath done for my soul.’  (Ps 66:16) Paul frequently repeated the story of his own conversion, for he knew of nothing more likely to convince and convert.

Return (present imperative = command to keep on returning)(5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location).

Describe (present imperative = command to keep on describing what great things Jesus had done)(1334)(diegeomai from diá = through + hēgéomai = to lead) means to conduct a narration through to the end. Too carry (a narrative) through from beginning to end. To recount or relate in full. To set out something in detail, to give a detailed account of something in words. This same verb diegeomai is used of the townspeople in Mk 5:16+ who described in detail Jesus' encounter with the demoniac (and the swine drowning) which prompted the whole town to beg Him to leave! Amazing! Can you imagine their thoughts throughout eternity (assuming they never believed in Him)! 

Diegeomai - 8x in 6v - Usage: describe(1), described(3), gave an account(1), relate(2), tell(1). Mk. 5:16+; Mk. 9:9+; Lk. 8:39+; Lk. 9:10+; Acts 8:33+ [quoted from Isa. 53:8+]; Acts 9:27+; Acts 12:17+; Heb. 11:32+ 

Diegeomai -- 50x in 51v - Ge 24:66; Gen. 29:13; Gen. 37:9; Gen. 40:8; Gen. 40:9; Gen. 41:8; Gen. 41:12; Exod. 10:2; Exod. 18:8; Exod. 24:3; Num. 13:27; Jos. 2:23; Jdg. 5:10; Jdg. 6:13; 1 Sam. 11:5; 1 Ki. 13:11; 2 Ki. 8:4; 2 Ki. 8:6; 1 Chr. 16:9; Est. 1:17; Est. 6:13; Est. 10:3; Ps. 9:1; Ps. 19:1; Ps. 22:22; Ps. 26:7; Ps. 48:12; Ps. 48:13; Ps. 50:16; Ps. 55:17; Ps. 64:5; Ps. 66:16; Ps. 73:15; Ps. 75:1; Ps. 78:3; Ps. 87:6; Ps. 88:11; Ps. 105:2; Ps. 119:85; Ps. 145:5; Ps. 145:6; Isa. 43:21; Isa. 53:8; Jer. 23:27; Jer. 23:28; Jer. 23:32; Ezek. 17:2; Dan. 4:8; Joel 1:3

Gilbrant - In classical Greek this term primarily means “set out in detail” or “describe.” It appears over 50 times in the Septuagint, usually to translate s̱āphar which means “recount, relate” in the variations used (see Genesis 24:66; Exodus 10:2; 2 Kings 8:4; Psalm 22:22).

Proclaiming (2784)(kerusso from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of the one whose proclamation he makes) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as  the gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16-note)! The verb kerusso means to proclaim or publish always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed. The idea is to proclaim with the goal to persuade, urge or warn to comply.

ILLUSTRATION OF DEMON EXPULSION AND MISSIONARY ACTIVITY - Breakthroughs Among the So People - the So people live along the Mekong River in Laos. There are many barriers to reaching them. They are very remote, and their language is mainly an oral one; but that does not stop our Heavenly Father! He can touch lives that others cannot reach. Remember the story of Jesus healing the demoniac in the Bible? When he was found and bound by chains, he broke them. When Jesus asked him his name, the demon-possessed man replied, “Legion,” because many unclean spirits lived in him. Jesus commanded those demonic spirits to come out of him. Jesus is still doing the same thing. In 2009 a man roamed the jungles by the Mekong River. He too was possessed by demons. Finally, his neighbors captured and caged him. Like the demoniac in the Bible, this So man was touched, healed, and delivered from demon possession. He was a transformed man. When he told others that Jesus saved him, he was urged to recant, but he replied, “I can’t recant, not even a little bit.” Since that time 17 other families have come to know Jesus, and there are now three churches. It takes a transformed life to witness to others and draw them to Jesus. (Global Prayer Digest - 6/4/2017).

ILLUSTRATION - Years ago a farmer from the interior of China had come to a mission compound where a doctor had removed the cataracts from his eyes. A few days after the farmer left, the doctor looked out his window and noticed the same man holding the end of a long rope. In single file behind him, holding to the rope, were several dozen blind Chinese whom the farmer had rounded up and led for miles to the doctor who had worked “miracles” on his eyes. Because his sight had been restored, he wanted others to experience the same thing! That story illustrates the message of the dramatic encounter between Jesus and Legion, the demoniac. (Steven Cole)

ILLUSTRATION - Some years ago an ophthalmologist, just fresh from college, opened his own business. Without friends, without money, and without patrons, he became discouraged, until one day he encountered a blind man. Looking into his eyes, he said, "Why don't you have your eyesight restored? Come to my office in the morning." The blind man went. When an operation was performed and proved successful, the patient said, "I haven't got a penny in the world. I can't pay you." "Oh, yes," said the doctor, "you can pay me, and I expect you to do so! There is just one thing I want you to do, and it is very easy. Tell everybody you see that you were blind, and tell them who it was that healed you." That is what the ex-demoniac did. He heralded the news in Decapolis (The Ten Cities), "and all the people were amazed" (cf. Mark 5:20). (Kent Hughes)

Brian Bell - Believers, we too have been cleansed(from our sin); clothed(in His righteousness); & commissioned(to tell the world our story, & His story)!

  • Q: Have you been cleansed & clothed?
  • Q: How are you doing in your charge?
  • Q: What great things has He done for you lately that you can tell others about?

Ps.9:1 “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.”

Prayer: Thank you for the adoption into Your wonderful eternal family! Allow the storms in our lives to strengthen us not shipwreck us! Help us now cleansed & clothed, to fulfill our great commission!

Steven Cole - Christ commands those whose lives He has transformed to proclaim it.

If you’ve experienced His transforming power, then you’ve got to express it. It’s at this point that many of us fail. How do we communicate the changes Christ has made (and is making) in our lives? Most of us lack the personality or gift to go out knocking on the doors of strangers to tell them about Christ. I would never take a job selling stuff door-to-door. And, apart from the erroneous theology, I would never want to be a Jehovah’s Witness! Yet, clearly, the Lord has called us all to be His witnesses. So how can we do it? There are two very normal parts to proclaiming the message that every one of us can do:

A. Exhibit a transformed life.

People knew this guy as a naked, wild, violent maniac. But when they went out to see him, he was sitting down, clothed, and in his right mind (Lu 8:35). There was obvious change.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I wasn’t a naked, wild, violent maniac before I came to Christ. I was raised in the church. I trusted Him as a child. How can I show people that Christ has made a difference in my life?”

There are many ways.

  • Our attitudes should show people that we are Christians. Do you have a cheerful, thankful heart, even in difficult times? Or, do you grumble and complain? Paul says that if we do all things without grumbling or disputing we show ourselves as lights in this crooked and perverse world (Php 2:15).
  • What about your words? Do you encourage and build others up, or do you tear them down? Do you use foul language or is your speech pure?
  • And, what about your behavior? Are you self-centered or are you always thinking about others and how you can serve them? Do you live for the same values and goals the world lives for? Do you blend in with the world or do you stand out as distinct?

If you walk in reality with Jesus as your Lord every day, your life will be a witness.

B. Return home and describe what great things God has done for you.

There are three things to note here:

(1) How do you go? You go with obedience and zeal.

It takes obedience. This man didn’t want to go home. He wanted to go with Jesus. Maybe he was a bit disappointed at first. But he obeyed. He had exchanged masters. Before, he served a destructive tyrant. Now he served a loving Lord. But sometimes our new Master asks us to do things we may not feel like doing. We must obey, if we want to be His disciple.

It takes zeal. Jesus said return to your house, and Legion went throughout the whole city! Mark says that he went to Decapolis, which was a region consisting of 10 towns! He was zealous to tell others about what Jesus had done for him! Sometimes those of us who have been Christians for a long while need to stop and think about how much the Lord did in saving us and to remember how desperately those who are without Christ need Him. Legion was going to witness to normal people. They had never lived naked among the tombs. But they were just as alienated from God as he had been. So he eagerly told them of their need for the Savior. We need the same obedient zeal that Legion had.

(2) To whom do you go? Go to your house.

In other words, go back to the people who knew you before, to your family and friends, to the relationships that you already have. The New Testament pattern for evangelism is that you go back into your own circle of influence—family, friends, neighbors, job, school, common interest groups, and community contacts, and tell them what great things God has done for you.

“Yeah, but they all know me!” That’s the point! That’s why they have to see your transformed life. You go back “clothed and in your right mind”! Live Christ before them and when they ask why you’re so different, tell them!

(3) What do you say? Tell them your story and the gospel of God’s grace.

Tell your personal testimony: “What great things God has done for you” (Lu 8:39). Tell how you met Christ, and what He has done in your life. All witnessing should have this personal element.

Explain the gospel: Who God is, who Jesus is, how we have sinned against God, what Jesus came to do as the sin-bearer. A person needs to know the basic facts of the gospel before he can intelligently respond. Part of the gospel involves telling them who Jesus is. I don’t know whether Legion fully understood the deity of Jesus yet, but Luke wants his readers to make the connection. In verse Lu 8:39, Luke places the words God and Jesus emphatically at the end of the sentence to link them. The great things God had done were one and the same with the great things Jesus had done!

Emphasize grace: Every false religion in the world and every fallen sinner by instinct tries to approach God through good works. If you try hard enough and do enough, maybe God will accept you. But Christianity is not a religion of works, it is a relationship of grace. Grace means that God freely gives His salvation to those who deserve His judgment, apart from any human merit.

“But, Legion, didn’t you put on some clothes before you went to Jesus?” “No! I ran to Him just as I was, stark naked.”

“But Legion, didn’t you clean up and hide your bloody wounds before you went to Jesus?” “No! I looked hideous.”

“But Legion, didn’t you try to get rid of your demons before you went to Jesus?” “No! The demons were shrieking through my voice when I ran up to Him. He saved me just as I was, totally by His grace, not at all through anything I did.” That’s grace!

Conclusion - John Wesley was once riding his horse, singing a favorite hymn, when a robber accosted him with the words, “Your money or your life.” Wesley obediently emptied his pockets of the few coins he had and then invited the robber to go through his saddlebags, which were filled with books. The disappointed robber was turning away when Wesley (who had much more presence of mind than I had when I was mugged!) called out, “Stop! I have something more to give you.” The robber turned back and Wesley said, “My friend, you may live to regret this sort of life you’re living. If you ever do, remember this, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses from all sin.’” The robber hurried silently away and the man of God rode along, praying that the word spoken might be fixed in the robber’s conscience. Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service, a man stepped forward and asked to speak with Mr. Wesley. Wesley was surprised to learn that this was the man who had robbed him years before. He was now a well-to-do businessman, but, better still, he was now a child of God. God had used the words spoken that night in his conversion. Taking Wesley’s hand, he affectionately kissed it and said with deep emotion, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.” “Nay, nay, my friend,” Wesley replied softly, “not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin.”

Let me close by asking you the two questions again:

To what extent are you experiencing the transforming power of Christ? Has He changed your life through His gracious gift of salvation? Is He continuing to change it as you walk with Him?

To what extent are you proclaiming the transforming power of Christ? Are you looking for opportunities with those you know to tell them of the great things God has done for you and of the great things He will do for them if they will come to Jesus just as they are?

Discussion Questions

  1. To whom is it easier to witness: a total stranger or a family member? Why?
  2. How can a person from a Christian home prepare a testimony when the changes since salvation haven’t been very dramatic?
  3. How can we help a “good” sinner to see his need for Christ?
  4. Is there a difference between making a decision to trust Christ and truly getting saved? If so, what’s the difference and how does this affect our witnessing?  (Luke 8:26-39 Christ's Transforming Power)

Tell Your Story

Read: Mark 5:1-20

Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you. —Mark 5:19

An organizational consultant in New York says that his graduate students typically recall only 5 percent of the main ideas in a presentation of graphs and charts, while they generally remember half of the stories told in the same presentation. There is a growing consensus among communication experts about the power of the personal touch in relating an experience. While facts and figures often put listeners to sleep, an illustration from real life can motivate them to action. Author Annette Simmons says, “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.”

Mark 5:1-20 gives the dramatic account of Jesus setting a violent, self-destructive man free from the powerful demons that possessed him. When the restored man begged to stay with Jesus as He traveled, the Lord told him, “?‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled” (Mk 5:19-20).

Knowledge and eloquence are often overrated in the process of communicating the good news of Jesus Christ. Never underestimate the power of what God has done for you, and don’t be afraid to tell your story to others.

Take control of my words today, May they tell of Your great love; And may the story of Your grace Turn some heart to You above. —Sees

Sharing the gospel is one person telling another good news.

By David C. McCasland 

Tell It!

Read: Mark 5:1–20

The man went away and began to tell . . . how much Jesus had done for him. Mark 5:20

The year was 1975 and something significant had just happened to me. I needed to find my friend Francis, with whom I shared a lot of personal matters, and tell him about it. I found him in his apartment hurriedly preparing to go out, but I slowed him down. The way he stared at me, he must have sensed that I had something important to tell him. “What is it?” he asked. So I told him simply, “Yesterday I surrendered my life to Jesus!”

Francis looked at me, sighed heavily, and said, “I’ve felt like doing the same for a long time now.” He asked me to share what happened, and I told him how the previous day someone had explained the gospel to me and how I asked Jesus to come into my life. I still remember the tears in his eyes as he too prayed to receive Jesus’s forgiveness. No longer in a hurry, he and I talked and talked about our new relationship with Christ.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story. Psalm 107:2

After Jesus healed the man with an evil spirit, He told him, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). The man didn’t need to preach a powerful sermon; he simply needed to share his story.

No matter what our conversion experience is, we can do what that man did: “[He] went away and began to tell . . . how much Jesus had done for him.”

What has Jesus done for you? Tell it!

Share your story on

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story. Psalm 107:2

By Lawrence Darmani

The Best Argument

Read: Mark 5:1-20 

Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you. —Mark 5:19

As I talked with a skeptic about the moral standards of the Bible, I could tell that he remained unconvinced. Then I asked him if he knew any cruel, greedy people who had become kind and unselfish when they became believers in Christ. His demeanor changed abruptly when he admitted that he did know such people. I could tell that they were having a greater impact on him than he wanted to acknowledge.

Many years ago the head of a rescue mission in London accepted the challenge to debate a well-known skeptic, but with this condition: He would bring with him 100 people who would tell how believing in Jesus had changed their lives. He invited his opponent to counter with witnesses to the benefits of unbelief. On the appointed day the believer came with his 100, but the skeptic never showed up.

Even though we should be prepared to give a reasonable answer to a person who asks about the hope we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15), our Christlike character and conduct remain the strongest argument for our faith. In Mark 5, Jesus told the formerly demon-possessed man to go home to his friends so they could see what He had done for him (v.19). 

Are you telling others what Christ has done for you? By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

You may be tempted to debate
To change another's view,
But nothing speaks more powerfully
Than what Christ did in you.

When you know Christ, you'll want others to know Him too.

When Jesus Comes In

Read: Mark 5:1-20 

Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction. —Mark 5:34

In 1932, as the US was undergoing a financial breakdown, missionary Robert Cummings was suffering an emotional breakdown. As he carried on his evangelistic ministry with his wife in India, he became obsessed by blasphemous and sinful thoughts so overwhelming that he felt cast aside by God and eternally lost. Hospital care and therapy were of no help. His wife brought him back to the US where he was placed in a private mental facility.

For 2 more years Robert underwent indescribable emotional agony. Then one morning he knelt beside his bed begging for relief. God answered dramatically with the words of a poem by James Procter: My soul is night, my heart is steel—I cannot see, I cannot feel; for light, for life I must appeal in simple faith to Jesus. ((c) Renewal 1937 Hope Publishing Company).

As Robert repeated those lines, peace surged through his soul. Dread vanished from his heart and he was filled with joy and gratitude. Then a hymn by William Sleeper welled up from the depths of his memory, which he sang with one significant change. For him it wasn’t, “Jesus, I come to Thee,” but “Jesus has come to me.”By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Play Jesus I Come
Into my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus has come, Jesus has come;
Bringing His freedom, gladness, and light—
Jesus has come to me.

By God’s grace we may have been spared from extreme emotional distress. But all of us can join in singing praise to the One who has come to bring peace to our souls.  

God's dawn of deliverance often comes when the hour of trial is darkest.

Warren Wiersbe - “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. LUKE 8:39

There are five prayers in this remarkable event in the cemetery, three from the demons (Luke 8:28, 31, 32), one from the local residents (v. 37), and one from the healed demoniac (v. 38). The demons got what they asked for and so did the residents, but not the healed demoniac, and his request was a good one. All he wanted to do was go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and tell everybody what the Lord had done for him. It’s clear that he was a new man, for he was clothed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, and in his right mind. Why, then, didn’t Jesus grant his request and allow him to be one of his personal followers?

To begin with, Jesus didn’t “exhibit” new believers like entertainers at a sideshow. A few years ago, there was an epidemic of so-called celebrity conversions in the United States, the thrust of which was “you should trust Christ because these famous people have trusted Christ.” A. W. Tozer called this “the Wheaties approach to evangelism” because celebrities, especially winning athletes, were often pictured on cereal boxes. But sinners should turn to Christ no matter what the famous people might do, and the fact that they are rich and famous is a guarantee of nothing. Paul reminded us that “not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Cor. 1:26). I have personally met some of these people and they gave every evidence that their salvation was genuine, but, sad to say, many others have fallen by the wayside and been forgotten. Note that Paul wrote “many,” not “any.” The rich and famous are saved by that letter m!

Jesus sent the man home because the people there knew him best and his testimony would have a greater impact. They knew the sad history of his becoming demonized, the reality of it and the agony of it, and they would have to admit that he was a different man. It’s interesting that Jesus told the healed leper not to say anything to anybody (Mark 1:43) but commanded the healed demoniac to tell everybody. The word translated “proclaimed” in our text refers to the pronouncements of the herald of a king. Jesus had commissioned him to carry the good news and he obeyed. Would that more of us followed his example!

This leads to a third reason he was sent home: he may have had some damage to repair. Was he married? Did he have a family? Or was he living with his parents? The way he behaved at home and the way he left home (or was asked to leave) may have hurt family relationships, and the Lord would help him make things right. One of our first responsibilities after trusting Christ is to “mend fences,” or perhaps “take down fences.”

I’m sure the Lord arranged for believers in his neighborhood to help him feed on God’s truth and grow in grace. Every new Christian needs to fellowship with other believers who can explain the basics of the Christian life. I recall a well-known Midwest singer who phoned to tell me he had trusted Christ. “What do I do next?” he asked. We met for lunch and I urged him to get into a good church and have the pastor involve him in a discipleship program. Instead, he started a new organization, made recordings of his new songs, and went from performance to performance—but never developed spiritually. Then he passed from the scene and we never saw him again, though I tried to locate him. I wish he had heeded my advice. (New Testament Words for Today: 100 Devotional Reflections)

John Butler - Commission for Service

“Return to thine own house, and show how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” (Luke 8:39)

AFTER a man had been freed of demon possession by Christ, he “besought” (Luke 8:38) Christ to travel with Him. But Christ refused the request and told him to return home and serve there. Our verse contains the commission Christ gave this man. It speaks of the place of service, the proclamation in service, and the performance in service.

Place of service. “Return to thine own house.” The home is where all service and witnessing should begin. If you cannot live your faith in your own home and community, you are not ready to testify for Christ elsewhere. Our faith ought to show up at home; and if it is real, it will show up at home. God puts us in a place of service where it will be the most effective. This man would have a bigger testimony at home than anywhere else because the people in his own home and town knew what this man was before Christ changed him. This would make his testimony more effective here than anywhere else. They would know that his testimony was true. In other cities, the people would not know if the man was really telling the truth or not; for they would not know about his past and so could not verify the change.

Proclamation in service. “Show how great things God hath done unto thee.” The man was to speak about the great things God had done, not about the great things the man had done. A number of ministers would do well to ponder this part of the commission, for they seem prone to want to talk about themselves more than about the Lord.

Performance in service. “And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” The man obeyed Christ’s commission and had a great ministry for the Lord. And note the man was earnest in his performance, for he “published throughout the whole city.” He may have been disappointed in the place of service, but he did not let that diminish his dedication.

Luke 8:40  And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.

KJV And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 9 - no clear parallel

Mk 5:21+ When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. 


Luke 8:40-56 combines two miracles - The Woman Healed and the Daughter Resurrected.


A Man

A Woman





Synagogue Ruler

Anonymous "Nobody"



Leader of synagogue

Shut out of the synagogue



Came to Jesus submissively

Came to Jesus secretly

One with 12yo child

One with 12 yr hemorrhage

12 years of Delight

12 years of Despair

All His Needs Met
At the Feet of Jesus

All Her Needs Met
At the Feet of Jesus


Hendicksen's Outline of Luke 8:40-56

The first miracle introduced Luke 8:40-42

The first miracle interrupted by the second miracle      

  • faith concealed Luke 8:43-44a    
  • faith rewarded Luke 8:44b     
  • faith revealed Luke 8:45-48

The first miracle performed     

  • a word of encouragement Luke 8:49, 50     
  • a word of revelation Luke 8:51-53     
  • a word of love and power Luke 8:54-55a     
  • a word of tender concern Luke 8:55b-56

These stories are also recorded in Matt. 9:18-26 and Mark 5:21-43. Hendriksen gives us a collage of these three versions...

The reports of the present double miracle vary: Matthew's is very brief, nine verses; Luke's covers seventeen verses; Mark's twenty-three. Matthew omits the ruler's request (see Mark and Luke) that Jesus heal the very sick child. In fact, Matthew in his very brief summary leaves out several items mentioned by one or both of the other synoptists. However, it is he alone who relates that the ruler asks Jesus to lay his hand upon the dead girl, adding "and she will live" (Mt 9:18+). Also, he alone mentions the flute-players in the house of mourning (Mt 9:23+). Several items are common to Mark and Luke, though not found in Matthew. Thus we are told that the name of the ruler was Jairus (Mark 5:22+; Luke 8:41), that Jairus made his first request before the child had died (Mark 5:23+; Luke 8:42), that she was about twelve years of age (Mark 5:42+; Luke 8:42), that Peter, James, and John, and also the child's parents were with Jesus when he performed the miracle (Mark 5:37, 40+; Luke 8:51), and that Jesus did not want the news of this miracle to spread (Mark 5:43+; Luke 8:56). It is Luke alone who reports that the daughter was an only child (Lk 8:42), and that Jesus did indeed hear the remark to which he paid no attention (Lk 8:50). In all the three accounts the story of the bringing back to life of the daughter of Jairus is interrupted by that of the healing of the woman who touched Christ's garment. (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke - can be borrowed)

Brian Bell entitles Luke 8:40-56 "A Finger of Faith" (obviously referring to the woman touching Jesus' hem).

Hendriksen observes that "from the story of the miraculous blessing bestowed on a man who had his dwelling in a locality associated with death (Lk 8:27) we advance to that of triumph over death itself (Lk 8:54, 55).

And as Jesus returned (hupostrepho) - Presumably Jesus returned to Capernaum. Mark explains that "When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore." (Mk 5:21+)

The people welcomed (apodechomai) Him - From rejection to reception! What a striking contrast from the previous story where "all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them!"(Luke 8:37+) From "Please go!" to "Please come!"

John MacArthur points out that "Unlike most religious leaders in Israel, who avoided the common people so as not to be defiled by them, Jesus secluded Himself only occasionally to rest, to give further insight and instruction to His disciples, or to spend time alone in communion with the Father. Apart from such occasions, His entire ministry was spent in public, mingling daily with the people in town and village streets, the fields, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and wherever else they gathered. (See The MacArthur Commentary)

Spurgeon - Here are we tonight, dear friends, a great crowd; and what multitudes of professed worshippers of God there are in many places! They seem to throng the Saviour; but of all, how few do really touch him so as to derive healing virtue from him! This humble, simple touch of faith is something above and beyond all the pressure of professed zeal and ardor. This touch Christ recognizes at once, but all the pressing and the squeezing of the crowd goes for nothing. (Exposition on Luke 8)

For they had all been waiting (prosdokaofor Him - What a contrast with the people of the Gadarenes who had banished Him. Robertson on had been waiting - an old verb for eager expectancy, a vivid picture of the attitude of the people towards Jesus. Driven from Decapolis, he is welcomed in Capernaum.

For (gar) is a term of explanation. Luke explains why they were so welcoming to Jesus. The reason is they had been expectantly waiting for Him.

THOUGHT - O, if all saints today would wake up looking to the Eastern Sun rise thinking that this could be the day my Lord returns! What a difference such expectant looking would have on the subsequent living throughout the rest of the day! (cf 1 Jn 3:2-3+) Lord let it be so with all who read these words. Amen

Returned (5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location).

Had been waiting (expectantly) (4328)(prosdokao from prós = towards - adds the idea of “mental direction” to the already existing meaning of the verb + dokáo = look for denoting direction of one's mind toward something) means literally to look forward toward, to wait for, to look for, to anticipate. It means to give thought to something that is in the future and the context indicates whether one does this looking/waiting in a hopeful sense, with a longing, with fear (wait with anxiety, live in suspense), or in a neutral state of mind. It describes the attitude saints should have as anticipating, waiting with watchfulness, being in expectation. 

Prosdokao is in the present tense indicating that this is one's habit or lifestyle. These people were continually in a state of anticipation and expectation. O, to have such a mindset! 

THOUGHT Are you continually looking for the return of your Lord? It will radically impact what (Who) you are living for! (See uses in 2 Peter 3:12-14+).

Welcomed (588)(apodechomai from apo = from or intensifier +  dechomai = to take from another for oneself, to receive, to welcome) means to receive kindly or hospitably (Luke 8:40; Acts 15:4; 18:27); of God's Word, to receive or embrace heartily, put out the "welcome mat" for it (Acts 2:41); of benefits, to receive or accept gratefully (Acts 24:3). Robertson says "Peculiar to Luke. To receive with pleasure."

Gilbrant - Greek writers of the classical period understood this deponent verb to mean “to accept,” (of teaching) “to follow,” or “to be satisfied.” Secondarily it meant “to receive back, recover” (Liddell-Scott). In Hellenistic Greek the term came to mean “to welcome” or “to receive” someone or something (e.g., Philo, Josephus); it also can mean “to acknowledge favorably” or “to praise” someone (Bauer).

Apodechomai - 7x in 7v - Usage: acknowledge(1), received(2), welcome(1), welcomed(1), welcoming(2). Not found in the non-apocryphal Septuagint.

Luke 8:40+  And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.

Luke 9:11+  But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.

Acts 2:41+  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Acts 18:27+  And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace,

Acts 21:17+  After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

Acts 24:3+  we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.

Acts 28:30+  And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,

Brian Bell - A HOUSE CALL REQUESTED! (Lk 8:40-42)

HOPE WAITS! (Lk 8:40)

He waits with many on the shore line of Galilee.


Here this rich synagogue ruler lays it all down.


Thronged – verb means to strangle. They so pressed Him that it was hard for Him to move forward.




How she suffered. So long. This “flow of blood” was a constant “menstrual cycle”. Which made her unclean. Which ostracized her from the Temple, the synagogue. Orphaned by society, as she couldn’t touch or be touched.

Mosaic Law segregated for the sake of hygiene, but people had a false conception of the nature of the disease. They thought it was a result of personal immorality.

She tried everything, exhausted all her resources. Tried “the Mayo Clinic, UCLA med center, & Loma Linda” of the day.

She went from doctor to doctor who filled her mind with hopes, & her body with folk remedies.

But all they really relieved her of was money.

But she hears of a physician who charges no fee, asks for nothing in return, who has no hidden agenda beyond making a sick world well again![1]

Who comes not to those with well-ordered lives, but to those whose lives are filled with physical & moral chaos.


Just being in the crowd is no assurance of receiving the blessing.

Touching the Tassel! (border - fringe, or tassel)

Read Numb.15:37-41

Before Palm Pilots & voice messages we remembered things with strings. Like the string tied around a finger!

Moses instructed, "And you will look at the strings, & you will remember all the instructions of God…& you will be holy."

Put on the Tallit (Taleet) or prayer shawl. [Heb. tseat tseat]

[1] Open with atarah facing you [2] recite the berachah [3] Kiss last word [4] place over head for moment of meditation [5] place on shoulders.

Her faith assured her that Christ could bless her even when his back was turned![1] Q: Can you also reach this point?

Last week we learned about having faith when Jesus is asleep! Can you trust Him when His back is to you? Such little faith, but faith it was! [just a mustard seed]

He’s not waiting for you to do some great feat of faith for him. If you did, your pride would try to own its own salvation!

She only had a thin thread of faith! She took a Risk! – “If you take no risk…you’re not alive!”

Playwright Neil Simon said, “If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.”[2]

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take” Wayne Gretzke

Half of life is “if.”

Why this method?

Not really written “if you can get to it, touch it”!

Was it faith + a little superstition?

We know later in Mt.14:34-36 “When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.”

There was nothing magical about the Tallit; but there is something supernatural & miraculous about Yeshua & His word!
She grasps it & it pulls Him back, not her hands but her faith![3]

She releases & is swept away by the crowd.

But it stopped Jesus right in His tracks!

Has your faith ever stopped the Lord like that?


Healed & sent on her way!

Fear Not—Only Believe Text: Luke 8:40-56 Mark 5:36 - David Cooper - Preaching Through the Year

During his 1933 Inaugural Address, President Franklin Roosevelt sought to calm a troubled America in the throes of depression by saying, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Fear is a feeling of dread, alarm, panic and anxiety. Fear ranges from mild anxiety to panic attacks. The Psychiatric Association has categorized a variety of phobias, such as acrophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia.

Research indicates that we are born with only two fears—the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned responses.

Fear takes on many forms—the fear of success, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of disease, the fear of the future, the fear of life after death. Jesus described the last days as times of intense, worldwide fear (Luke 21:26).

Fear produces negative effects. Fear paralyzes decision making, immobilizes action, hinders prayer, limits faith, restricts relationships, lowers productivity, jeopardizes health, stifles joy.

Because of fear...

    • Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden (Genesis 3:8-10). 
    • Israel forfeited Canaan (Numbers 14:20-25). 
    • Ephraim turned back in the day of battle (Psalm 78:9). 
    • Saul's army fled from Goliath (1 Samuel 17:8-10). 
    • Gideon lost 22,000 of 32,000 fighting men (Judges 7:3). 
    • Elijah suffered depression (1 Kings 19:3-5). 
    • Jonah ran from the call of God (Jonah 1:3). 
    • The man with one talent buried it in the ground (Matthew 25:24). 
    • Christ's disciples cried out, "Master, do You not care that we perish?" (see Mark 4:38). 
    • Christ's disciples deserted Him at the cross (see Matthew 26:56). 

In a world of fear, God speaks: 'Tear not; only believe!" (see Luke 8:50). This was Christ's message to Jairus—"Fear not; only believe!" It's been said that fear is the distance between a man and God. Jairus was...

    • A devout man—upstanding in the community; ruler of the synagogue. Synagogues developed after the Babylonian Exile were ruled largely by Pharisees, while Sadducees were in the Temple. Perhaps he had heard Jesus speak in his synagogue. 
    • A desperate man. When people get desperate, they get serious about God. He was willing to transcend his religious prejudice even to the point of going to Jesus. 
    • A disillusioned man. He receives the worst news: "Your daughter is dead" He is down, his faith disappointed, his hope gone. 
Jesus spoke four profound, life-changing words: "Fear not; only believe!"

Fear Not... Jesus Is With You. A little girl was awakened by the loud burst of thunder and the flash of lightning. She jumped out of bed and ran across the house to her parents' bedroom. "I want to get in bed with you and Dad," she told her mother. "Now sweetheart," her mother responded, "there's nothing to be afraid of. It's just a storm. Now go back to bed Nothing will harm you. Besides, Jesus is in your room with you. He'll take care of you." The little girl wouldn't move. She said, "Mother, you go in there and sleep with Jesus. I'm sleeping in here with Dad!"


I. Accept the Validity of God's Promises

    A. At times, we focus more on the circumstances than God's promises. Looking at circumstances can cause fear, like Peter looking at the water when he tried to walk on it. He sank when he took his eyes off Jesus. When we keep our minds focused on God and His promises, we have faith, and that faith gives us perfect peace (see Isaiah 26:3). 
    An astronaut was about to enter the spacecraft A news reporter asked him, "How do you feel about the mission you're about to take?" The astronaut replied, "How would you feel knowing that this spacecraft consisted of 140,000 parts, each supplied by the lowest bidder?" Now that's the kind of anxiety we feel when we look only at the circumstances.

    B. The promises of God are described in Scripture as... 
         1. Unfailing (1 Kings 8:56) 
         2. Assured (Romans 4:21) 
         3. Grounded in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20) 
         4. Great and precious (2 Peter 1:4) 
         5. Everlasting (1 John 2:25). 
Faith Through the Word. D.L. Moody said that he used to pray for faith. Then he read Romans 10:17: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (NKJV). Meditating on Scripture will fill our hearts with the promises of God, which become the source and power of faith.

II. Commit the Outcome to God
Fear anticipates the worst possible outcome. Fear haunts us with the question "What if?" What if you fail? What if your health fails? What if you lose your job? What if the economy goes sour? Fear can be defined as "False Expectations Appearing Real." But faith knows our lives are in the hands of God. You've got to answer the question "What if?" with "I know!" Paul said, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able..." (2 Timothy 1:12, NKJV). Remember the promise of God in Deuteronomy 33:27: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

    A. Examples of those who trusted the outcome of their crisis to God: 
         1. Job in his suffering (Job 13:15) 
         2. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego facing death (Daniel 3:16-18) 
         3. Paul in prison (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 18) 

    B. The prayer of Jewish children at night: "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit" (see Luke 23:46). This was how Christ faced the cross. What or whom do you need to commit into the hands of God? Pray, "Father, into Your hands I commit____________________." You fill in the blank. 

III. Don't Doubt in the Dark What God Has Shown You in the Light

This is Corrie ten Boom's definition of faith. Jairus had to deal with the divine delay (see Psalm 130:5, 6; Habakkuk 2:3). We, too, have to learn to wait on the fulfillment of God's Word. Fear sets in during the delay period between the promise given and the promise fulfilled. Jesus told Jairus that He would heal his daughter, and nothing was going to change that fact.

Note other Biblical examples of those who waited on God in faith during periods of delay:
    A. Abraham waited 10 years for Isaac to be born, then was tested by God at Mount Moriah. 
    B. Joseph waited 12 years in prison before his dream was fulfilled. 
    C. Joshua and Caleb waited 40 years in the desert because of the unbelief of their generation, but they lived to possess the Promised Land. 
    D. David waited for 10 years, being hounded by King Saul in the desert, before he was crowned king. As a fugitive on the run, he wrote: "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1). 
    E. The disciples waited 10 days in the Temple courts for the Spirit, who came with power on the Day of Pentecost. Remember the adage: "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered, and there was no one ther

Luke 8:41  And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house;

KJV And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 9:18+  While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” 

Mk 5:22+ One of the synagogue officials named Jairus *came up, and on seeing Him, *fell at His feet 23 and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” 


Behold (strange and sad that the NAS and most modern versions do not translate it!)(2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!"

Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

Spurgeon comments on behold in KJV - Notice the word “behold,” for this was a wonder that a man so high in position to come to Christ at all, especially one who was in an ecclesiastical position, for he “was a ruler of the synagogue.” Usually those who had to do with the synagogue were great despisers of our Lord Jesus; God works great wonders, however, and sometimes the camel does go through the eye of the needle. This man’s name was Jairus, a common Jewish name, and you will find it was the name of one of the judges recorded in the book of Judges. Note this man’s humility, “He fell down at Jesus’ feet.” The greatest of men must humble themselves before they can obtain mercy. Jesus Christ is always ready to receive, to accept, and bless all those who fall down at his feet, but those who lift up themselves shall find him to be their sure and swift, enemy, and the day shall come when he shall abase them to the dust. “He besought him that he would come into his house, for he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a-dying.” She seems to have been not only the darling of the house, but of all the neighbors too for we find that all the neighbors came together to weep and to lament her. You find Matthew says that this daughter was already dead. It seems that some delay arose, so that the child died, but the father, with triumphant faith, still besought him to come and raise her, even from the very jaws of death.

John MacArthur also comments on the behold writing "The Greek text includes the word idou (“see,” “behold, ““look”), which notes that his appearance was something unexpected or startling. As an official of the synagogue he was a respected leader, steeped in the Old Testament, and devoted to the religion of Judaism. He was one of those responsible for overseeing all activities in the synagogue, the focal point of Jewish religious life in his city. Jairus was a leading figure in Capernaum’s religious establishment, which in turn was connected with national Judaism, which was mainly in the hands of Pharisees and scribes, who were hostile to Jesus and sought to destroy Him. For a local representative of the very leaders who hated Him to fall at Jesus’ feet, and… implore Him to come to his house was a stunning development."

And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official (archonof the synagogue (sunagoge) - The resurrection of a young man in Luke 7 was for a widow, at the low end of the social pole, Jairus being at the high end. Mark 5:22+  says Jairus was "One of the synagogue officials (archisunagogos)," implying there were others (there were often from 3-7).  While we do not know for certain it is very possible that Jairus was at the synagogue when Jesus cast out a demon (Mk 1:21-28+) and thus would have had first hand knowledge of Jesus supernatural power! In any event, Jairus knew Jesus was the Man he needed to contact regarding his gravely ill daughter! 

JAIRUS' NAME - Jairus  (pronounced Ja-i-rus with emphasis on “i) was an official in charge of the synagogue in Capernaum and his name means something like "Jehovah Enlightens."Evans has an interesting comment that Jairus "in Hebrew means “he will awaken” [cf. 1 Chr 20:5], and so may have been understood as a portent of things to come." Hiebert says Jairus is the Greek form "of the Hebrew name Jair, meaning “He will give light.”" Stein comments that "Jairus is the Greek form of the name “Jair” (Nu 32:41; Dt 3:14; Josh 13:30; 1 Chr 20:5). Some scholars have sought to find symbolism in this name because Jair means he [God] will awaken , which fits Luke 8:52 nicely, but none of the Evangelists made any allusion to this. If Luke wanted Theophilus to see such a symbolism based on this Hebrew meaning, he would have needed to do something similar to what we find Matt 1:21." (NAC-Lk)

He fell (pipto) at Jesus' feet - Here was an official or ruler of the Jewish synagogue