Luke 8 Commentary


NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future. The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13-note) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b-note, Mt 5:16-note)

From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission

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,


Luke 8:1    Women minister unto Christ of their substance.
Luke 8:4    Christ, after he had preached from place to place, attended by his apostles, propounds the parable of the sower,
Luke 8:16    and the candle;
Luke 8:19    declares who are his mother, and brethren;
Luke 8:22    rebukes the winds;
Luke 8:26    casts the legion of devils out of the man into the herd of swine;
Luke 8:37    is rejected of the Gadarenes
Luke 8:43    heals the woman of her bloody issue;
Luke 8:49    and raises from death Jairus's daughter.

Hannah's Outline

  • 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)

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,

MacArthur sets the context for Jesus' ministr observing that the statement in Luke 8:1 that He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God is in a sense "a general summation of the nature of Jesus' ministry.  And in this particular summation, I find some very interesting and helpful insight into the scope of His ministry, or how He functioned in a narrow, precise way.  And this is very helpful for us today because ministries today tend to be designed for the widest possible impact, designed to be diverse and eclectic and synergistic and culturally connected....When you look at a model of biblical ministry, you can't find a better one than Jesus Himself.  You can learn a lot from Paul, as we do, in studying Paul's letters.  But here in the text (Lk 8:1-3) there is a remarkable insight into the scope of Jesus' ministry --- how He limited His ministry according to the divine purpose.  He ministered in a fashion that goes against normal thinking.  By the way Lk 8:1-3 bridges us into the final phase of His Galilean ministry. Lk 4:14-15 (see notebridged us into the first phase of His Galilean ministry, featuring the city of Capernaum which seemed to be His home base.  This little summary (Lk 8:1-3) here bridges us into the last phase of His Galilean ministry with no mention of Capernaum.  So this looks to be a more itinerant ministry, maybe moving Him further from Capernaum.  And this particular phase of the Galilean ministry runs through Lk 9:50 (note), and then in Lk 9:51 He heads toward Jerusalem...ultimately to die there." (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry)

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

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

A T Robertson on soon afterwards - This word means one after the other, successively, but that gives no definite data as to the time, only that this incident in 8:1–3 follows that in 7:36–50. Both in Luke alone.

MacArthur notes that soon afterwards emphasizes that "the scope of His ministry was determined sovereignly. He never designed His ministry to give people what they wanted.  He never designed His ministry to fulfill an ambition that He wanted.  He never designed His ministry to appeal to a collective group of people who had come to the conclusion that that's what they wanted.  His ministry was always under complete sovereign control by God, 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?  And though it is not stated here, it is stated elsewhere in the gospel record and it's very clearly this: He was responding to the will of His Father.  In fact, He writes...He says, I should say, as John records it, John 5:30, "I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me."  And He said, "This is defining for My ministry and for My life.  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."  Always He was under this sovereign control, always He was doing what the Father 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, for example, in John 7:30, John 8:20, there are other indications as well where Jesus said this, He would say something like this, "My hour has 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 He said, writing...Matthew writing this in Matthew 10:5, 6, Jesus says to the disciples, "Do not go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."  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.  We know that John tells us Jesus said, "Salvation is of the Jews."  Paul says, "The Jew first and then later to the Gentile."  And so Jesus had this amazing economy of effort, only the Father's will, only in the Father's time, and only to those to whom the Father sent Him....And furthermore, not just to the Jews but we remember in Luke 5:32 He said, "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."  Among the Jews, not the self-righteous, not the Pharisees, not the scribes, not the Sadducees, for the most part, but the sinners, those who recognized their sin.  So He had very narrow restraint, very narrow limitation placed upon His ministry....And He knew, as God knew, that concentration is the key to multiplication.  That's a principle you can learn in ministry.  Concentration is the key to multiplication.  The way you multiply your ministry, the real ministry, the way you multiply 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

He [began] going around (1353)(diodeuo from dia = through + hodeuo = to travel) means to journey about. The imperfect tense describes Him doing this over and over. He was clearly on a mission to get out His message. Here in Lk 8:1 Marshall says "the idea of a continuing wandering ministry (imperfect tense), rather than a journey from one point to another” 

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.”

MacArthur on from one city and village to another - there were limits on Jesus, not only sovereignly, but geographically....In the first place, He's up in Galilee which is obscure. It's not the intellectual center of Judah, Jerusalem is. People said later on, "Can anything good come out of Galilee?"  And they disdained and mocked the disciples because they were uneducated Galileans, etc. It was against the grain. It wasn't the place you would think He would want to go and carry on this several-year ministry.  But that's exactly what He did...."Going about,diodeuo, is imperfect tense. He was moving around village to village, town to town.  Every place became His pulpit....Jesus never left Israel.  He never got on a ship and went anywhere in the Mediterranean and yet His life has influenced the whole world. It's just a good reminder to work where God has put you, to stay where God has placed you, to not feel that because you have the opportunity to go everywhere and say whatever you can say, whatever you can bring to bear upon that situation that somehow that is a mandate. 

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.  That was the narrowness of His ministry.  He didn't talk about anything else.  The kingdom He spoke about was not of this world, He said in John 18:36.  He always preached the kingdom. Jesus began to preach. Matthew 4:17 records, "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" And He always preached the kingdom.   (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry

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. 1Sam. 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 (with 2 exceptions discussed below) refers especially to the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of salvation obtained through Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Thus it means to "evangelize" especially to preach the gospel. 

Marshall The use of the two verbs “alongside each other gives a hendiadys: ‘preaching the good news of.’” NET Note adds "The combination of preaching and proclaiming the good news is a bit emphatic, stressing Jesus’ teaching ministry on the rule of God."

The Kingdom of God - One must understand that there are 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” (Lk 17:21-note), 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," (Lk 17:30-note) 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).

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 (See below). 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. 

MacArthur explains the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven noting  that 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."  Therefore Jesus is using kingdom of heaven, and kingdom of God interchangeably....they both refer to the same thing. And to what do they refer?  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 want o 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 wasn't a political message, it wasn't a social message. It was a salvation message, always talking about the riches of the kingdom of God, seeking the kingdom of God and everything else being added to you, always the kingdom of God.  In fact, when Jesus died and then three days later rose again, after His resurrection, it says in Acts 1:3 that He spent forty days appearing to His disciples and speaking to them of things pertaining to 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, isn't it?  All the way through human history from Adam to the very end and all the way through redemptive history from election to glorification, the whole Bible is the saga, the story of salvation. Preaching the kingdom is preaching the good news then, that sinners can be saved. They can be delivered out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son.  They can be delivered out of the domain of Satan into the domain of Christ.  This is the message....He was inviting people to come into the kingdom of God.  In order to come in they had to repent of their sin and believe the gospel. (Luke 8:1-3 The Scope of Jesus' Ministry

See Vine on Kingdom of God

NET Note on Kingdom of God - 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; 11:20; 17:20–21. It is not strictly future, though its full manifestation is yet to come. 

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 Resource: 

The twelve were with Him - This is the second tour of Galilee, this time the Twelve with him. This is discipleship 101 for these 12 men. In Lk 8:2-3 we see the group also included a number of women, which certainly was unusual, for the Jewish rabbis generally did not teach women or include them in their circle of disciples.

MacArthur on the twelve - .He took ordinary men but He invested three years of His life in them and they were a tough group.  They disappointed Him.  They doubted Him.  They deserted Him and they even denied Him.  Yet they were transformed into world changers.  This is the strategy.  I don't think the strategy is any different today.  If you want to have a long-term impact on a wide level, then pour your life into a small group of people, who will continue the process of doing the same (cf 2 Ti 2:2)....It's critical in any ministry that's going to have any kind of impact.  Multiplication comes from discipleship.  You invest in a few, you change the world.   (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,

  • certain Lk 23:27; Matthew 27:55,56; Mark 15:40,41; 16:1; John 19:25; Acts 1:14
  • out Lk 8:30; Mark 16:9

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary 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.” Similarly, see M. J. Evans 1983:46; Craddock 1990:106-107; and more generally, Stagg and Stagg 1978; Grenz 1995; DJG 880-887; Witherington 1984. (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

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. 

Had been healed is in the perfect tense signifying they had been in essence healed at some point of time in the past and continued in this healed state thus speaking of permanent healing. As Robertson says "These women all had personal grounds of gratitude to Jesus."

Evil spirits...demons - synonymous terms.

Evil (wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain) speaks of evil in active opposition to good and so not surprisingly Satan is call the "Evil (poneros) one." (Jn 17:15), the head of the "evil spirits." 

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.

Richards writes "This group of words expresses powerlessness. The weak are without strength, incapacitated in some serious way." (Expository Dictionary)

Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out - She had a "complete" number of demons so to speak (7). One can only imagine what her presentation looked like prior to Jesus (presumably Him) removing the demons. As noted this is not the woman mentioned in Luke 7:37-50-note nor is it Mary of Bethany in John 12. Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower of Christ, and John’s Gospel records a special resurrection appearance Jesus made to her (John 20:11-18).

Robertson - 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.

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;

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.

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.

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

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

Joanna mentioned again with Mary Magdalene in Lk 24:10 but who is otherwise unknown. In addition the women in Lk 8:2 healed of evil spirits. 

Herod - Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee.

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 intrust 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).

Matthew 20:8  "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'

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.

Galatians 4:2  but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.

Susanna is unknown (on earth but not in heaven!!!)

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 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; 24:l; cf. Acts 1:14).

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary 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; 9:2; 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; 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. 2:17; 1 Cor 11:5). (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

Spurgeon - 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?

Were contributing to their support out of their private means - 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 on out of their private 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. (1247)(diakoneo - derivation uncertain - cp diakonis = in the dust laboring or running through the dust or possibly diako = to run on errands; see also study of related noun - 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. They were serving Jesus - no higher privilege then 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; 

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.

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:

Matthew and Mark give us a more complete description of the location of the speaking of this parable...

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,

When a large crowd was coming together - "Luke does not locate the place, but he mentions the great crowds on hand, while both Mark and Matthew name 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)

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.

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)

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

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." 

Steven Cole on parables Parables serve two functions: They reveal truth to those who are spiritually responsive; and they conceal truth from those who are spiritually superficial or scoffing.

W H Griffith-Thomas on parable - 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. 

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). 

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; 

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 13:3)

NET 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.

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 parable answers an important practical question for all believers - What kind of response should we expect when we give people the gospel? t'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)

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.

  • Lk 8:11; Mt 13:3,4,18,19,24-26,37; Mk 4:2-4,15,26-29
  • fell Lk 8:12; Hebrews 2:1; James 1:23,24
  • it Ps 119:118; Matthew 5:13
  • and the Genesis 15:11
  • See Table of All the Parables of Jesus from ESV Study Bible

Parallel Parables in Matthew and Mark...

Mt 13:1-9 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.  3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 “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. 6 “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 “And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Mk 4:1-9 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, 3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 “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. 6 “And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 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.” 9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 


See Jesus' explanation in Luke 8:12-note. (Parallel passages in Mt 13:3,4,18,19; Mk 4:2-4,15)

ESV Study Bible comments on the common name (Parable of the Sower) - Although referred to as the parable of the sower, 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). The focus, rather, is on the various kinds of soil on which the sower sows his seed.

The sower went out - As Jesus unfolds this parable clearly 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 follower of Jesus! 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, 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. 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.

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.

John MacArthur - A sower went out to sow, and they used what was called a broadcasting method.  Broadcasting didn't originate with technology or radio.  Broadcasting meant to throw things in a broad swath and media radio picked that up and broadcasted electronically.  But what would happen is the field would be plowed with deep furrows and up and down the rows the farmer would go and he would have a bag over his shoulder full of seed and he would broadcast the seed, throwing it everywhere.  And as the seed was being thrown, very typically, it would fall to the ground and find different soils. (Receptivity to the Gospel)

The sower went out - Matthew introduces this parable with Behold (2400)(see idou). 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!" In Mk 4:2 Jesus introduced the parable "“Listen (present imperativeto this! Behold, the sower went out to sow." Robertson quips that "It is significant that even Jesus had to ask people to listen when he spoke." (Ed: Modern preachers shouldn't feel so bad when they too have difficulty holding the attention of all in the congregation!).

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.

Robertson on the sower - It is “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. Christ drew his parables from familiar objects. (Vincent adds " the sower. Generic, as representing a class.")

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).

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. 

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). 

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

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).

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. Seed was often sown before the ground was plowed. Robertson adds "People will make paths along the edge of a ploughed field or even across it where the seed lies upon the beaten track."

Vincent on beside the road - Dean Stanley, approaching the plain of Gennesareth, says: “A slight recess in the hillside, close upon the plain, disclosed at once, in detail and with a conjunction which I remember nowhere else in Palestine, every feature of the great parable. There was the undulating 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” (“Sinai and Palestine”).

Was trampled (2662)(katapateo from kata = down + pateo = to step) means to 

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?

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). In

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)..

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)

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.

  • Lk 8:13; Jeremiah 5:3; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Amos 6:12; Matthew 13:5,6,20,21; Mark 4:5,6,16; Mark 4:17; Romans 2:4,5; Hebrews 3:7,8,15


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

IVP Background Commentary on fell on rocky soil - Much of the land in Palestine has only a thin layer of soil over rock; if the sower had not plowed first, he would not be aware that he wasted seed on this soil until after the fact.

NET Note on rocky soil - The rocky ground in Palestine would be a limestone base lying right under the soil.

Robertson on rocky soil - In that limestone country ledges of rock often jut out with thin layers of soil upon the layers of rock.

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

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."

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).

Matthew 13:6  “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 21:19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered
Matthew 21:20  Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?”
Mark 3:1  He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered.
Mark 4:6  “And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mark 5:29  Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Mark 9:18  and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”
Mark 11:20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.
Mark 11:21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”
Luke 8:6  “Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
James 1:11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. 
Revelation 14:15  And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.”
Revelation 16:12  The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

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

Because it had no moisture - Mt 13:6 says "because they had no root" which makes sense since the plant derives it's water supply from the root taking moisture from the soil. 

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." (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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.

  • thorns Lk 8:14; 21:34; Genesis 3:18; Jeremiah 4:3; Matthew 13:7,22; Mark 4:7,18,19; Hebrews 6:7,8


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

NET Note on thorns - Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system. (Ed: The point is that they would use all of the water and the nutrients in the soil! And this 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)

Spurgeon - 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.”

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. Jesus wore a "crown of thorns" for believers who will one day cast their own crowns to the King of kings!

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

Liddell-Scott - a thorn, prickle, Theocr., etc. 2. a prickly plant, thistle; in pl. thistledown, Od.:-also a kind of acacia, Hdt. 3. the backbone or spine of animals, Id., etc. 4. metaph. thorny questions, Luc. 

Akantha - 14x in 13v - Usage: thorn(1), thorns(13).

Matthew 7:16  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
Matthew 13:7   “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
Matthew 13:22  ( “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Matthew 27:29   And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Mark 4:7   “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
Mark 4:18  “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
Luke 6:44  “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.
Luke 8:7   “Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.
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.
John 19:2  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;
Hebrews 6:8  (but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

Akantha 25x in 23v in the Septuagint - 

Gen. 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 - Only Mark 4:7 adds "and it yielded no crop (fruit)." It was "barren in results" (Robertson).

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. 

Robertson on choked it out - the thorns got a quick start as weeds somehow do and “choked them” ( [apepnixan auta], 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?

Apopnigo is used once in the Septuagint (Nah 2:12) "The lion...killed (Hebrew = chanaq - to strangle; Lxx = apopnigo) for his lionessess."  

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.

  • 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

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!" 


See Jesus' explanation in Luke 8:15-note. (parallel - Matthew 13:8,23; Mark 4:8,20)

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.

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.”


Robertson on would call out -imperfect tense, active voice (over and over Jesus was calling out), and in a loud voice, the verb means. The warning about hearing with the ears occurs also in Mark 4:9 and Matt. 13:9.

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)

He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." - Lk 8:8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 50. Clearly this is a key word in Luke 8. 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. 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).  

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

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, xiv)." Many times Dr. Koller encouraged me as a young preacher, when I preached in the church where he worshiped.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear - This is a command in the present imperative - keep on hearing. 

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; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 14:35).

MacArthur on he who as 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.

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).

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

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).

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?

  • What Hosea 6:3; Matthew 13:10,18,36; 15:15; Mark 4:10,34; 7:17,18; John 15:15

 His disciples began questioning Him - From the parallel passages this questioning is after the crowds have dispersed. 

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

Mark 4:10; 34 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.

Robertson on began questioning - both the tense (imperfect tense = over and over) and the use of epi (in the verb questioning = eperotao - from epi + erotao)  indicate eager and repeated questions on the part of the disciples, perhaps dimly perceiving a possible reflection on their own growth. 

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." (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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.

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.

  • Unto 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


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. 

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. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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.

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)

Bock on Jesus' warning quoted from Isaiah 6 - 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. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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 CoursonWhy 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 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) - 

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.

  • The seed Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:14-20; 1 Corinthians 3:6,7,9-12; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23-25

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. 

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.

Darrell BockThe 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.  (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

The seed is the word of God - The word of God 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-note)

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-note)

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 John 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 ColeJesus’ 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 CoursonWe 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)

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.

  • by Lk 8:5; Proverbs 1:24-26,29; Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15; James 1:23,24
  • then Proverbs 4:5; Isaiah 65:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-14; Revelation 12:9


See Jesus' parable in Luke 8:5-note.

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.  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)

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. 

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)

Cole adds - 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! 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.

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. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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.

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!

Devil (Mk 4:15 has "Satan")(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 the word from their heart - Mt 13:19 has "snatches away (harpazo = same word used to rapture saints!)  what has been sown in his heart."

Robertson quips "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."

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.

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 the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart - How does he snatch it?  Through false teachers that come and attack the gospel.  He snatches it through the fear of man, an embarrassment about being identified with Jesus Christ or fear of being unsynagogued or cut off from your friends.  He snatches it through pride.  You think you know everything and you're 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 his 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 . 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 eventually result in eternal damnation. Sadly it is that simple!

Darrel Bock explains (Luke [IVP], pp. 148-149) 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." 

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 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".

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.

  • 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

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.


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 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.

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. (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. 

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.

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-note). 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-note)

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

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)

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!)

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!

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).

Jesus said in John 8:31 “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." John had given an example in John 6:66 "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." In other words they did not continue in Jesus' word and thus they were not truly His disciples, even though they looked like they were prior to that crisis of their faith. In striking contrast, John 6:67-69 describes the true disciples, the 12 who stayed because "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” In Mt 24:13 Jesus clearly stated that "the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." In Hebrews 3:14 the writer declared "we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end."  In Col 1:22-23 Paul said "He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue (present tense = as your lifestyle, habitually) in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard." MacArthur writes "Contrast (those who endure) with those who believe for a while.  They believe for a while.  Now initially they hear the gospel, they respond to whatever presentation of the gospel they have received.  There is amount of joy.  There is some exhilaration, excitement, emotion.  There is a... There's almost a euphoria of feeling good about the experience.  And this, frankly, usually convinces Christians that this is a real conversion.  Oh, there were tears of joy, and there were hugs and there were embraces, and there was a exuberance and this person, you know, was so thrilled and so happy and you say to yourself, "Boy, that's the real deal right there."  As compared to someone who hears the gospel and responds in a very stoic fashion and affirms faith in Christ and repentance and doesn't explode in emotion.  And maybe, I've even had people say, you know, is something supposed to happen to me?  Am I supposed to feel something?" 

ESV Study Bible on they believe for a whileA 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 Saga of Demas 
  • Men who discovered that following Christ cost too much (Luke 9:57-62)

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)

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 CoursonThe 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)

A T 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.

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. 

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.

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

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)

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. 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! 

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.

  • and are Lk 8:7; 16:13; 17:26-30; 18:24,25; 21:34; Matthew 6:24,25; 13:22; Mark 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:9,10,17; 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17
  • and bring Lk 13:6-9; John 15:6


See Jesus' parable in Luke 8:7-note.

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. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

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.

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. 

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.

Courson Cares 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)

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

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

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.

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)

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.

Sumpnigo - 5x in 5v - Matt. 13:22; Mk. 4:7; Mk. 4:19; Lk. 8:14; Lk. 8:42. Not found in the Septuagint. 

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 (LU 8.42) 

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.

Warren WiersbeThis 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)." (Bible Exposition Commentary)

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 ColeThis 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)

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.

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

  • in an: Lu 6:45 De 30:6 Ps 51:10 Jer 31:33 32:29 Eze 36:26,27 Ro 7:18 Eph 2:8 Jas 1:16-19 1Pe 2:1,2 
  • keep: Lu 11:28 Job 23:11,12 Ps 1:1-3 119:11,127-129 Pr 3:1 Jer 15:16 Joh 14:15,21-24 15:10 1Co 7:19 Heb 2:1 Jas 1:22-25 1Jn 2:3 
  • bring: Mt 24:13 Ro 2:7 6:22 7:4 Ga 5:22-26 Php 1:11 3:13-15 Col 1:6,10 Heb 6:11,12 10:36 Jas 1:4 5:7,8 


See Jesus' parable in Luke 8:8-note.

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" so to speak, but even if the message is seeming to fall on rocky soil at one time of that person's life, my call is to keep showing them the love of Christ unconditionally, and the Spirit might use that to "plow" that person's heart in time. What we need to remember is that all three of the "failures" may be changed over time. That's God's business.

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?

These are the ones who have heard the word - Matthew adds this phrase "this is the man who hears the word and understands it." (Mt 13:23) The word understands (4920) is suniemi (from sun/syn = with + hiemi = send) which 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.

Mark 4:20 adds "they hear the word and accept it" where the word accept (present tense = continually accepts or receives it)(3858) is paradechomai (para = from, beside, near + dechomai = accept deliberately and readily, receive kindly and so to take to oneself what is presented or brought by another) means literally to receive or accept near or beside and then to accept deliberately, willingly, favorably and readily.

So this soil hears the word of the Gospel, gladly receives it and understands what it means.

Good (soild)...honest...(heart) (2570)(kalos) describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit.

Good (heart) (18)(agathos - click discussion of good deeds) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is one whose goodness and works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence. 

 Hold it fast (2722)(katecho from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain in one's possession. It was used literally of holding one to keep them from going (Luke 4:42) Katecho Is used here in Luke 8:15 in the same way it is used in 1 Cor 15:2-note ("if you hold fast the word [Gospel, cf "seed"] which I preached to you". See also Hebrews 3:6, 14), where it means to adhere firmly to traditions, convictions, or beliefs. One's holding fast to the Word of God is evidence that His Spirit is holding onto us! Katecho is in the present tense signifying our holding fast is continual. As an aside, when we are holding fast God's Gospel, we will find in times of trial and affliction, God's Word will hold us fast. One of the best ways to hold God's Word is by memorizing it. Are you memorizing God's Word? (See Memorizing His Word or Memory Verses by Topic).

Bear fruit with perseverance - Implicit in this statement is the truth that bearing genuine spiritual fruit often takes considerable perseverance.

MacArthur - Sometimes you hear an evangelist say at one of these big evangelistic events, "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. They don't know that.  You can't tell that because they prayed a prayer.  You can't tell it because they had a lot of joy.  You can't tell that.  How do you tell?  Fruit with perseverance.  Come back in a year, come back in five years, ten.  The good soil, the clean soil, the honest and good heart holds permanently to the truth and manifests fruit with hupomonē, with endurance.  What does that mean? Hupomonē means “to remain under.” Menō is “to remain.” Hupo is “under.”  So this is the person who can remain under any trial, remain under any temptation, any pressure, any difficulty and continue to persevere in bearing spiritual fruit.  That's the test.  You can't tell somebody because they pray a prayer that they are now a Christian. You don't know that.  You can say if you were sincere then believe me, God heard and answered the prayer and we will know whether you are or not.  (Luke 8:14-15 Receptivity to the Gospel, Part 3)

When people abandon a profession of faith in Christ, it means that their profession never was real. The proof of authenticity of one's salvation is their perseverance. Their perseverance does NOT save them, but only serves to show they are truly saved. (See Perseverance of the Saints - is it biblical?)

William MacDonaldThey 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) (Ed: MacDonald's comment begs a simple question - Are you allowing the Word to mold you or is the world molding you? Ro 12:2-note You can't have it both ways. 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-note lest they end up shocked when they hear Jesus tell them to "Depart from Me. I never knew you!" - Mt 7:21-23-note).

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)

Jesus teaches that true believers will bring forth fruit ("good works") continually (present tense) in all manner of activity undertaken for the name of Christ and in the operating power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, upon Whom the believer is entirely dependent. Indeed, Good works could be aptly termed "God works!"

Darrell Bock on perseverance - In the one positively assessed case in the parable, the good soil pictures those who hear the word and hold fast to it. They possess an honest and good heart and so bear fruit with patience. The mention of patience (persevering) 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. 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 notice they bring forth fruit with patience. 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)

Spurgeon on perseverance -  He is not converted at all who is not converted eternally. The work of man is temporary; the work of God is everlasting.

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 somet hing 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-note).

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 attitudessuch 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)

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.

WiersbeThis 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 Thes. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:22-25). Not everybody produces the same amount of fruit (Matt. 13:8), but all true believers will produce some fruit as evidence of spiritual life. That fruit may include winning others to Christ (Rom. 1:13), money given to God's work (Rom. 15:25-28), good works (Col. 1:10), Christian character (Gal. 5:22-23), and praise to the Lord (Heb. 13:15). (Bible Exposition Commentary)

These hearer of the word (seed) not only received the word but allowed it to mold their lives. They were teachable and obedient, and developed true Christ-like character and produced fruit that glorified their Father in heaven. They bore genuine spiritual fruit which evidenced that they possessed genuine spiritual life. As J Vernon McGee says these fruit bearers "are the hearers who are genuinely converted by the Word of God."- Thru the Bible Commentary)

Steven ColeThe 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).  (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)

ILLUSTRATION OF DIFFERENT SOILSThe 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. (Luke 8:4-15 Superficial and Genuine Believers)


  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)

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.

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.

Luke 8:16-18

Parallel passage

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.

Related passage in Matthew - 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-note - “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. 

Related passage in Mark - 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.”

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-note) would support the premise that He is still addressing the disciples. 

Lamp -  (lychnos) Uses by Luke - Lk 8:16, 11:33, 34, 36; 12:25; 15:8.

The psalmist says

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

Hendriksen Though the connection between the parable of The Sower (Lk 8:4-8, 11-15) and the present little paragraph, containing other sayings of Jesus, is not clear, it may have been as follows: Soil must be productive; that is, hearts must be fertile. Now fertile hearts resemble shining lamps, witness-bearing, hence fruit-bearing. Cf. Matt. 5:16. The "word" or "message" of God is symbolized by a seed that is sown (Luke 8:11). It is also called a lamp (Ps. 119:105). It was that "seed" and that "lamp" which the rabbis were hiding under an elaborate load of human traditions and hypocritical actions. That seed must reveal its power once more. The lamp must shine forth again in all the pristine purity of its light, in order to be a blessing to men. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

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. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

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.

Steven Cole explains that "The flow of thought seems to go back to verse Lu 8:10-note, 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!)

After lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but He puts it on a lampstand - 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 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. The word also brings to light the secret things in people’s hearts (cf "reproof" in 2 Ti 3:16-note). When a disciple hears the truth of the Word of God, the Gospel, he should not seek to hide it from others, nor to 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. 

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.

Life Application Study Bible says it this way - 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.

Covers it over with a container - Mt 5:14 "put it under a basket," (cf Mk 4:21).

NET NoteThis is probably an ancient oil burning lamp or perhaps a candlestick. Jesus is comparing revelation to light, particularly the revelation of his ministry; see Lk 1:78-79.

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 discusses three approaches to the interpretation of the parable of the lamp - The image is variously interpreted. (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 Matt. 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 - THESE verses form a practical application of the famous parable of the sower. They are intended to nail and clench in our minds the mighty lesson which that parable contains. They deserve the especial attention of all true-hearted hearers of the Gospel of Christ. 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.

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

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

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.”

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).

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.

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. 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. 

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. (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

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).

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

William Barclay - There are three people from whom we try to hide things.
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) 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 8:18  "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."

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.

  • heed Lk 9:44; Deuteronomy 32:46,47; Proverbs 2:2-5; Mark 4:23,24; 13:14; Acts 10:33; 17:11; Hebrews 2:1; James 1:19-25; 1 Peter 2:1,2
  • for Lk 19:26; Matthew 13:12; 25:29; Mark 4:25; John 15:2
  • from Lk 12:20,21; 16:2-4,19-25; Matthew 7:22,23; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
  • seemeth to have or, thinketh that he hath. Proverbs 14:12; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 8:2; 14:37; Philippians 3:4; James 1:26
  • Luke 8:18 Hearing the Gospel - James Smith
  • Luke 8:18 Directions how to hear Sermons - George Whitefield


Compare these passages with Luke 8:18a

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.”

Hendriksen As happens so often, Luke here again abbreviates. Comparing his account with Mark's we notice that Luke omits any reference (a) to the person who was sent to Jesus to call him, (b) to the question Jesus asked ("Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"), and (c) to the fact that Jesus looked around at those who were sitting in a circle about him. Also, Matthew's item about Jesus stretching out his hand over his disciples (Mt 12:49) is not found in the Third Gospel. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

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 (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").

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.

Now add to Ryle's comment the fact that "Incredibly 80% of the world, cannot or does not prefer to learn from reading." For more information on a powerful ministry for setting your lamp on the lampstand see 

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

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.

For  - term of explanation - explains why it is so critical to take care how we listen. 

For whoever has - 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, you will understand. But if you disobey, you will not understand what He is saying. 

John MacArthur writes "A true hearer listens fruitfully."  (cf John 15:8, 16). 

Whoever has - And makes good use of what he has.

Whoever does not have - And does not make use of what he has received.

Beware of listening to the Word of God superficially! God's Word is not like a human writing. It deserves our utmost attention and our appropriate Spirit enabled response!

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.”) For sake of time I mention only a 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! 

Guzik on more shall be given - Jesus reminds us 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 from him - 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 from him - 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, but some 40 years after the Messiah's crucifixion what they thought they had was abruptly taken away from them! This principle applies to all mankind who hold their possession which end up possessing them, but in the end they too 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-note) 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-note). 

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! 

One is also reminded of Judas, who listened "superficially" to Jesus, but did tragically did not let it sink into his own 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 were badly deceived. He thought he knew God, but he did not know Him at all because he failed to apply His Word to their hearts and in the end lost everything eternally!

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. 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-note)

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.


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.

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 voicePs. 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.

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).

ILLUSTRATION OF LISTENINGChallenging 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.

  • Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:21,31-35

Luke 8:19-21

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.

In Luke 8:19-21 Jesus drives home His point that hearing is linked with obedience. 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.

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 speculates - 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.

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.

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).

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. (Ed: 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!)

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.

  • thy brethren Matthew 13:55,56; Mark 6:3; John 7:3-6; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:19

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.

Your brothers - When interpreted using the rule of common sense to let the plain sense say what it says, clearly this refers to the brothers of Jesus, sons born to Joseph and Mary after Jesus’ birth. Any other interpretation is simply speculation.

Mark adds detail 

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.”

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 (John 7:5, Mark 3:21).

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.

Related Resource -  Is the perpetual virginity of Mary biblical?

Standing outside - Mk 3:31 adds "and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him."

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.

  • My mother 11:27,28; Matthew 25:40,45; 28:10; John 15:14,15; 20:17; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 6:18; Hebrews 2:11-13
  • which Lk 8:15; Matthew 7:21-26; 17:5; John 6:28,29; 13:17; James 1:22; 1 John 2:29; 3:22; 1 John 3:23; 3 John 1:11


One could title this passage "Spiritual ties supersede physical ties!"

One could also subtitle it "How to draw near to God!"

NET Note on - Hearing and doing the word of God is another important NT theme: Luke 6:47–49; Jas 1:22–25.

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!

J Vernon McGeeChrist 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. (Thru The Bible)

John MacArthur writes "A true hearer listens obediently." 

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 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.

My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it - Stated simply, Jesus makes it very clear that spiritual relationship is far more important to Him then is physical relationship. This begs the simple question of every reader - are you related to Jesus? Are you in the family of God? 

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)

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 8:15-17)

Do it - This is equivalent to obey. James exhorts "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."

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 (as habit of their life) righteousness is born of Him.

3 John 1:11  Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

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. (Luke 8:4-9:17 Call to Faith and Christology)

Jon CoursonThinking 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... (Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament)

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. (Preaching the Word - Luke)

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 sectionSometimes 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.


Related 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. 40And 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?”

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."

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. 

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).  (New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke)

His disciples - 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" but does not state who was in those boats.

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. 

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. (Word Meanings in the New Testament)

Got into a boat - 12 disciples of Jesus plus Jesus means this was a big boat! Mark 4:36 adds that "and other boats were with Him." He couldn't get away from the crowd even on the Sea of Galilee! 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 Sea of Galilee Boat).

Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out - (Sailing toward the Eastern shore of the Sea) "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. 

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).

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)

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.

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;

But as they were sailing along - A detail not in the account by Matthew or Mark.

He fell asleep - 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. 

Darrell Bock on fierce galeSuch 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.

A fierce gale of wind - 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). 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 them but to increase their faith and purify their heart. Are you in a furnace of affliction? Paul writes that

"No temptation (TEST) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted (TESTED) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (TEST) will provide the way (NOT "A" WAY BUT "THE" WAY - KEEP YOUR EYES PEALED 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-note)

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."

Fierce gale (2978)(lailaps) means a furious gust of wind like a whirlwind or hurricane. This is a storm that breaks forth in furious gusts, a fearful squall or series of squalls. 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! 

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.

They began to be swamped and to be in danger - 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 discples - a most dramatic scene!

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.

ILLUSTRATIONOne 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 eaches 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.

  • Master Ps 69:1,2; 116:3,4; 142:4,5; Lamentations 3:54-56; John 2:2-6; Matthew 14:30; 2 Corinthians 1:9,10
  • he arose Ps 65:7; 104:6-9; 107:25-29; Isaiah 50:2; Jeremiah 5:22; Nahum 1:4
  • and rebuked As the agitation of the sea was merely the effect of the wind, it was necessary to remove the cause of the commotion before the effect would cease. But who, by simply saying Peace, be still, (Mk 4:39,) could do this but God? 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. 
  • Play a beautiful version of Be Still My Soul 

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 4:38b 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).

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).

Master, Master -  Repetition 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," "Teacher" and "Master," respectively. 

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.

Master, Master, we are perishing! - Mk 4:38 has the disciples' crying 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. Jesus was fully Human and that surely must have stung a bit. 

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.

We are perishing (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to caused to cease to exist. Notice the "we" in this statement implying that Jesus too will perish! 

Play song

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). 

It is notable that our Lord did not rebuke the disciples for their rebuke!

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-note All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Col 1:16-note 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-note 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-note 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.

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. 

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.

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

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"). 

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).

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. (Ibid) 

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."

I would add that in the next miracle (Lk 8:26ff) Jesus clearly shows His power over the 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.

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. —Baker

Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.

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.

  • Where Lk 12:28; Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 17:20; Mark 4:40,41; John 11:40
  • being Genesis 1:9,10; Joshua 10:12-14; Job 38:8-10; Proverbs 8:29; 30:4

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? - (cf Lk 12:28, Mt 6:30, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20) "O men of little faith" (Matthew 8:26). "Have you still no faith?” (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. Cambell Morgan

Summing up the lesson Jesus wants all believers to take from this incident, 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). (According to Luke [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 143) (Quoted by John MacArthur)

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).

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!

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!

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.”

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.

They were fearful and amazed - 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.

They were fearful - 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!”"

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.

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). 


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

Who is this? - 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.

Saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him - 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

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!

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)

Related Devotionals:


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 Fearless Champion

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 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

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 

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

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. —Baker

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 

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.

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. —Anon.

God is a safe dwelling place in life’s storms.

By David C. McCasland

INSIGHT: Mark 4:35–5:43 records four miracles that answer the question, “Who can this be?” (4:41). These miracles demonstrated 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. 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 (v.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

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?

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

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.

Matthew 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. 29And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32And 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. 33The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

Mark 5:1-20  They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 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; 4because 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. 5Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7and shouting 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!” 8For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13Jesus 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.  14Their 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. 15They *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. 16Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17And they began to implore Him to leave their region. 18As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. 19And He did not let him, but He *said to him, “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.” 20And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.


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.

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.

The country of the Gerasenes -  Luke has "Gerasenes," whereas Matthew has "Gadarenes." 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 - Mt 8:28 "the country of the Gadarenes." They landed on 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.

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.

  • met Mark 5:2-5
  • and ware 1 Samuel 19:24
  • but Numbers 19:16; Isaiah 65:4

And when He came out onto the land - Notice that here we are near 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)

Ken Gire quips “Like a warm front hitting a cold front head on, the forces of good and evil collide.”

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 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." Notice "demoniacs" plural, not singular.

Possessed with demons - Literally having demons (which in turn had him!)

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.

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  element of hostility or opposition and here clearly reflects a hostile meeting mentioned in all three synoptic Gospels - Mt 8:28, Mk 5:2, Lk 8:27+. Compare the "hostile meeting" in Acts 16:16+.

And who had not put on any clothing for a long time - Not in Mark 5:2-5. What a scene this naked demon possessed man must have created!

Kent Hughes remarks "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." (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume I: That You May Know the Truth)

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.

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

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 chil dren 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.

  • he cried Lk 4:33-36; Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24-27; 5:6-8; Acts 16:16-18
  • What Lk 8:37,38
  • I beseech Isaiah 27:1; 2 Peter 2:4; 1 John 3:8; James 2:19; Revelation 20:1-3,10

Mark 5:6 (BOLD TEXT NOT IN LUKE) 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!” 


He...fell before Him (prospipto = fall at the feet of - cf Mk 3:11) - This is a posture of submission to the authority of Jesus (cf "every knee will bow" - Php 2:10). It is not an act of humble reverence but of fear (cf "do not torment me.") Mark 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. When Jesus Christ was born into this world, He was attended and worshipped by angels. (Lu 2:13f). Again, it is highly unlikely the demon is bowing as an act of worship but of fear because he recognizes the supreme authority of Jesus. 

Spurgeon - See the devil can make men pray against themselves; 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!

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 Sam. 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; 

What business - 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 devil 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.

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...

James 2:19; 20-note 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 - 

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…."

I beg You - In Mark 5:7 the demon adds "by God." 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." 

I beg You, do not torment me - Mt 8:29  "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!

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 demonic spirits (Mt 8:29, Mk 5:7, Lk 8:28), by prophetic warnings (Re 11:10), of the torment associated with God's righteous judgment (Re 14:10, 20:10)

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.

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.)

  • commanded Mark 5:8; Acts 19:12-16
  • caught Lk 9:39,42; Mark 5:3-5; 9:20-26; 2 Timothy 2:25,26


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). 

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. 

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.

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 detail is not present in Mark's account.

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.

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 - Jos 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)

Remember that the 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-note), 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-note, Lk 4:4-note), 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-note, 2 Cor 3:18-note, Jn 17:17). 

J C Ryle - Let us mark, secondly, in these verses, 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.

  • Legion Matthew 26:53; Mark 5:9
  • many Lk 8:2; Matthew 8:29; Mark 16:9

6000 TO 1 ODDS

NET Note on Legion - 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.

MacArthurThis 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. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

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. (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

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

They were imploring Him - Parakaleo in the imperfect tense pictures them begging him again and again. Mk 5:10 has "And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country." 

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!

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.

Command (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 regarded 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).

MacArthurThe 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. (Ibid)

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)

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.

  • there an Leviticus 11:7; Isaiah 65:4; 66:3; Matthew 8:30-33; Mark 5:11-13
  • besought Job 1:10; Ps 62:11; John 19:11; 1 John 4:4
  • he suffered 1 Kings 22:22; Job 1:12; 2:6; Revelation 20:7

Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain - Matthew 8:30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them." Mark 5:11 "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."

A herd of many swine - Mk 5:13 says there were 2000. 

Criswell on swine - 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. Mark 5:14-17).

Feeding (1006)(bosko) in passive voice (as here) means grazing or feeding. 

The demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine - 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.”

And He gave them permission - Mt 8:32 "And He said to them, “Go (present imperative)!” Mt 8:32  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. 33The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

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!

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.

  • the herd John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 9:11

And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine -  This underscores Jesus' absolute authority over the unseen forces of darkness! Mk 5:13 "And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine. 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.

Brian Bell on why did the demons implore Jesus to be sent to the swine - 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 & went somewhere else."

Stein The demons were conquered, not converted! 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.

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)." 

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 seems to be the case! Woe! 

J C Ryle on the herd rushed down...and was drowned - 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.

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."

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. 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.

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.

  • they fled Matthew 8:33; 28:11; Mark 5:14; Acts 19:16,17

Fled (escaped) (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. 

Reported (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. 

Spurgeon - 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.”

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.

  • and found Isaiah 49:24,25; 53:12; Hebrews 2:14,15; 1 John 3:8
  • sitting Lk 2:46; 10:39; Mark 5:15; Acts 22:3
  • clothed Lk 8:27; 15:17
  • in his Ps 51:10


The people went out to see what had happened - Matthew says "And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus." (Mt 8:34).

Clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened - Mark 5:14b "the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened." 

In his right mind is in stark contrast with his previous behavior (Lk 8:27,29). Any person who is their right mind will 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-note Paul writes "For if we are beside ourselves ("out of our minds"), it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you."

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 be 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.

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!)

Found (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover. 

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! 

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. (Ibid)

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 HughesPerhaps 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! (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume I: 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.

Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well - Mk 5:16 "described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine." 

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.

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 on Demons:

NET Note on Had been made well  - Or "had been delivered"; Greek "had been saved." This should not be understood as an expression for full salvation. They were only discussing the healing. (Ed: On the other hand the fact that Jesus sends this man out as an "evangelist" in Lk 8:39 strongly supports the premise that he was not  just cured of the demon but also of his "sin infection!" Notice also that he is seated at Jesus' feet just like Mary in Lk 10:39.)

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.

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.

  • besought Lk 8:28; 5:8; Deuteronomy 5:25; 1 Samuel 6:20; 2 Samuel 6:8,9; 1 Kings 17:18; Job 21:14,15; Matthew 8:34; Mark 5:17; Acts 16:39
  • and he Lk 9:5,56; 10:10,11,16

All the people - The entire lot had hard hearts in face of an amazing miracle! Again this makes the point that miracles per se do not save anyone. Of course every time someone is truly saved that in itself is a great miracle!

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

WiersbeWhat 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.

Kent HughesTell 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!

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.”

John MacArthurIn 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. (Ibid)

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 with great fear - This is not like the fear of the disciples described in Lk 8:25 which 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)!

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.

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.

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).

David Gooding has an interesting note on the peoples' 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. (According to Luke

He got into a boat and returned - This is a sad phrase! They had rejected Jesus' miraculous work 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. 

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,

  • besought 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

But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him - 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, saying - Mk 5:19 "And He did not let him, but He said to him." 

Steven ColeIt’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.

  • Return 1 Timothy 5:8
  • and published Lk 17:15-18; Deuteronomy 10:21; Ps 66:16; 126:2,3; Daniel 4:1-3,34-37; Mark 1:45; John 4:29


Return to your house and describe 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.”

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!

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 (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. 

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).

What great things Jesus had done for him - 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 more purpose driven 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!

For other instances in which Jesus returned good for evil (cf His disciples are to do likewise! = Ro 12:17-note, Ro 12:21-note) see Luke 7:19, 27-29; 23:5, 18, 21, 23, 33, cf. 23:34; John 18:15-18, 25-27, cf Jn 21:15-17 see also Luke 6:27-29.

So he went away, proclaiming 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 what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed." 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 (literally "Ten Cities") (see map)! 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!

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.

Vance Havner rightly said that “The Gospel is not a secret to be hoarded but a story to be heralded.”

Marshall notes, “The story is a paradigm of what conversion involves: the responsibility to evangelize.”

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). (Ibid)

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.’ Paul frequently repeated the story of his own conversion, for he knew of nothing more likely to convince and convert.

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?

You may be tempted to debate
To change another's view,
But nothing speaks more powerfully
Than what Christ did in you. —Sper

When you know Christ, you'll want others to know Him too.

By Herbert Vander Lugt

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.”

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.

By Vernon Grounds 

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.

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.


Luke 8:40-56 combines two miracles - The Woman Healed and the Daughter Resurrected.

Hendiksen'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 (Lk 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). For items peculiar to Mark see N.T.C. on Mark, p. 201.

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.

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, the people welcomed Him - 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."

Returned (5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location).

The people welcomed Him - 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 themFrom "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. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

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,

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.

For they had all been waiting for Him - What a contrast with the people of the Gadarenes who had banished Him.

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. 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! Lord let it be so with all who read these words. Amen

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. Are you continually looking for the return of your Lord? It will radically impact what you are living for! (See uses in 2 Peter 3:12-14-note).

Robertson on had been waitingan old verb for eager expectancy, a vivid picture of the attitude of the people towards Jesus. Driven from Decapolis, he is welcomed in Capernaum.

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 Mat.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!

Q: Has your faith ever stopped the Lord like that?


Healed & sent on her way!

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:

  • there Matthew 9:18-25; Mark 5:22-43
  • a ruler Lk 13:14; Acts 13:15; 18:8,17
  • and he fell Lk 5:8; 17:16; Revelation 5:8
  • and besought Matthew 8:7,8; Mark 5:23; John 4:46-49; 11:21; Acts 9:38

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."

Stein on JairusJairus” is the Greek form of the name “Jair” (Num 32:41; Deut 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. (New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke)

NET Note on he was an official of the synagogue - Jairus is described as ἄρχων τῆς συναγωγῆς (arcōn tēs sunagōgēs), the main elder at the synagogue who was in charge of organizing the services.

Synagogue (4864sunagoge  from sunágo = lead together, assemble or bring together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together or congregating in one place. Eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where they congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. Sunagoge was the name of a group "Synagogue of the Freedmen" (Acts 6:9).

Related Resources: Synagogue

Related Resources: Jairus, Resurrection of the Dead

He fell at Jesus' feet - Compare the demoniac in Lk 8:28. 

MacArthurJesus had performed many miracles in Capernaum (cf. Lk 4:38-40) one of which, His casting a demon out of a man in the synagogue (Lk 4:33-35), Jairus, as a synagogue official, may have witnessed. Word of the Lord’s raising a young man from the dead at Nain (Lk 7:11-15), only about twenty miles away, had certainly reached Capernaum, making Jairus aware of His power. Such information led him to believe that Jesus could heal his daughter.

Began to implore Him to come to his house - Mk 5:23 adds that the official "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," about which Hendricksen observes was the father's "expression of tender affection, ("My little daughter), intense anxiety, (Please come!) and a considerable measure of faith." Note the man's faith in the phrase "lay Your hands on her." He still had hope, for faith is closely allied with hope. Indeed, as we shall see in the next miracle just a touch from Jesus is all one needs. Have you gone to Jesus and experienced His loving touch?

Began to implore (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action.  Parakaleo in Lk 8:41 is in the imperfect tense a vivid picture of Jairus imploring Jesus again and again. 

Hendriksen - The best refuge for any troubled heart is Jesus:

From every stormy wind that blows,
From every rising tide of woes
There is a calm, a sweet retreat,
'Tis found beneath the mercy seat.
Thomas Hastings

Luke 8:42  for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

KJV For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

  • one Lk 7:12; Genesis 44:20-22; Job 1:18,19; Zechariah 12:10
  • and she Job 4:20; Ps 90:5-8; 103:15,16; Ecclesiastes 6:12; Ezekiel 24:16,25; Romans 5:12
  • But Lk 8:45; Mark 5:24
  • Luke 8:42-48 The Sensitivity of Jesus - Ray Pritchard

An only daughter - This fact found only in Luke's account.

Only (3439)(monogenes from monos = alone + genos = birth, race, kind <> from ginomai = to come into being, to become) means that which is the only one of its kind of class or specific relationship and thus is unique or "one and only." The same adjective used of the widow's son (Luke 7:12) and the epileptic boy (Luke 9:38) and of Jesus (John 1:18; John 3:16).

And she was dying - Mark 5:23 says she was "at the point of death" which literally means she "has reached the final stage."

She was dying (imperfect tense)(599)(apothnesko from apo = marker of dissociation implying a rupture from a former association, separation, departure, cessation + thnesko = die) literally means to die off and can speak of literal physical death

NET Note on apothnesko in the imperfect tenseThis imperfect verb could be understood ingressively: “she was beginning to die” or “was approaching death.”

But as He went - The point of this phrase is that Jesus was going with Jairus in response to his plea. 

Were pressing (stifling)(4846)(sumpnigo) were repeatedly pushing and shoving together (imperfect tense). This is the very verb used by Jesus in Lk 8:14, Mk 4:19, Mt 13:22 of the weeds crowding the seed and choking it to death.

NET Note adds were pressing is "a very emphatic term - the crowds were pressing in so hard that one could hardly breathe".

Robertson quips "It was a jam!"

The large pressing crowd had two effects - it slowed Jesus' journey to Jairus' house and it suggested to the woman with a hemorrhage she could touch Jesus' garment without being detected. 

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening -  “But as he went.” —Luke 8:42

Jesus is passing through the throng to the house of Jairus, to raise the ruler’s dead daughter; but he is so profuse in goodness that he works another miracle while upon the road. While yet this rod of Aaron bears the blossom of an unaccomplished wonder, it yields the ripe almonds of a perfect work of mercy. It is enough for us, if we have some one purpose, straightway to go and accomplish it; it were imprudent to expend our energies by the way. Hastening to the rescue of a drowning friend, we cannot afford to exhaust our strength upon another in like danger. It is enough for a tree to yield one sort of fruit, and for a man to fulfil his own peculiar calling. But our Master knows no limit of power or boundary of mission. He is so prolific of grace, that like the sun which shines as it rolls onward in its orbit, his path is radiant with lovingkindness. He is a swift arrow of love, which not only reaches its ordained target, but perfumes the air through which it flies. Virtue is evermore going out of Jesus, as sweet odours exhale from flowers; and it always will be emanating from him, as water from a sparkling fountain. What delightful encouragement this truth affords us! If our Lord is so ready to heal the sick and bless the needy, then, my soul, be not thou slow to put thyself in his way, that he may smile on thee. Be not slack in asking, if he be so abundant in bestowing. Give earnest heed to his word now, and at all times, that Jesus may speak through it to thy heart. Where he is to be found there make thy resort, that thou mayst obtain his blessing. When he is present to heal, may he not heal thee? But surely he is present even now, for he always comes to hearts which need him. And dost not thou need him? Ah, he knows how much! Thou Son of David, turn thine eye and look upon the distress which is now before thee, and make thy suppliant whole.

Lawrence Richards - Hopeless Cases - Your daughter is dead” Luke 8:26–56. These verses report how Jesus dealt with what must be considered “hopeless cases.” The demon-possessed man had been chained “many times” but had always broken loose (v. 29). The woman who touched Jesus had been “subject to bleeding” for a dozen years, and “no one could heal her” (v. 43). And the daughter of Jairus was dead: all hope was gone, and friends advised, “Don’t bother the Teacher any more” (v. 49). Yet Jesus cast out the demon, restored the health of the woman, and raised the little girl from the dead!
Strung together, as these stories are by Luke, they remind us of a wonderful truth. There are no “hopeless cases” with the Lord. And there are no “hopeless people” either. The power of Jesus Christ is great enough to meet every need, and to transform any sinner as well.

Help Them One By One

Read: Luke 8:40-56 | 

Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. —Matthew 25:40

A young man strolling along a beach at dawn stopped to watch an older man pick up starfish and toss them back into the sea. The older man said he was rescuing the starfish before the hot summer sun could bake them. Sarcastically, the young man said, “There must be hundreds of starfish here. How can you make any difference?” The old gentleman looked at the starfish in his hand before throwing it into the waves. “It makes a big difference to this one,” he replied.

Jesus never let the vast crowds discourage Him from helping individuals. In Luke 8 we read that a multitude pressed about Him (v.40), yet He took time to minister to one man and one woman in need (vv.41-56). Jesus calls us to do the same. But looking on today’s multitudes we may say, “How can I make a difference among so many?”

Henri Nouwen wrote, “Those who want to be for ‘everyone’ find themselves often unable to be close to anyone.” Many of us have this problem. Yet we must recognize the importance of ministering to the individual, for Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Mt. 25:40). It’s better to help one than none!

Putting It Into Practice
Are you overwhelmed by all the pain and suffering in
the world? In your city? In your neighborhood?
What can you do to help one person today?

Do what you can to help one at a time, and prayerfully leave the rest to God.

By Joanie Yoder 

My Personal Space

Read: Luke 8:40-48 |

We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15

An industrial design graduate from a Singapore university was challenged in a workshop to come up with a novel solution to a common problem using only ordinary objects. She created a vest to protect one’s personal space from being invaded while traveling in the crush of crowded public trains and buses. The vest was covered with long, flexible plastic spikes normally used to keep birds and cats away from plants.

Jesus knew what it was like to lose His personal space in the commotion of crowds desperate to see and touch Him. A woman who had suffered from constant bleeding for 12 years and could find no cure touched the fringe of His robe. Immediately, her bleeding stopped (Luke 8:43-44).

Jesus’ question, “Who touched me?” (v. 45) isn’t as strange as it sounds. He felt power come out of Him (v. 46). That touch was different from those who merely happened to accidentally touch Him.

While we must admit that we do sometimes wish to keep our personal space and privacy, the only way we help a world of hurting people is to let them get close enough to be touched by the encouragement, comfort, and grace of Christ in us.

Lord Jesus, I want to be near You and know You so that when I’m in contact with others they can see You through me.

A Christian’s life is the window through which others can see Jesus.

By C. P. Hia

Two Daughters

Read: Luke 8:40-42,49-56 

Someone came from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, "Your daughter is dead." —Luke 8:49

I had never thought much about Jairus before. Oh, I had heard the story about this synagogue ruler, and I knew he had begged Jesus to come to his house and heal his dying daughter. But I never understood the depth of his sorrow. I never understood how his heart must have shattered in pain when a messenger came to him and announced, “Your daughter is dead.”

No, I never comprehended his grief and anguish—until I heard those same words from a police officer who came to our house on June 6, 2002.

Jairus’ daughter was 12, and she died from an illness. Our daughter was 17, and it was an auto accident that broke our family’s heart.

Jairus’ daughter was restored to life by Jesus’ touch. My daughter Melissa—though we ache to know she wasn’t healed physically—was healed spiritually by Jesus’ sacrifice of love when she trusted Him as Savior early in her life. Now our comfort comes from knowing that her eternal existence with the Lord has already begun.

Two daughters. The same Jesus. Two different results. His loving and compassionate touch is a miracle that can bring peace to grieving hearts—like Jairus’, like mine, like yours.

God took that one. And in my lonely heart
He poured His special peace, His tender love;
I cannot doubt that God has drawn me near
To trust Him more until I'm drawn above. —Morris

In every desert of trial, God has an oasis of comfort.

By Dave Branon

Luke 8:43  And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone,

KJV  And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

  • having Leviticus 15:25-33; Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25
  • twelve Lk 8:27; 13:11,16; Mark 9:21; John 5:5,6; 9:1,21; Acts 3:2; 4:22; 14:8-10
  • had 2 Chronicles 16:12; Ps 108:12; Isaiah 2:22; 55:1-3; Mark 5:26; 9:18,22
  • neither Job 13:4


And a woman who had a hemorrhage - The woman's interruption resulted in a delay that would prove fatal to Jairus’ daughter. That is the way we see the story unfold, but we do not see the end of the story yet and Jesus is the Master of bringing suffering and death to a wonderful conclusion!

Mark's version is  longer and more detailed than Luke's version - Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48. Matthew's version is much shorter - Mt 9:20-22 but does have some details not in the other two (see discussion below).

Hendriksen on the "interruption" by a woman - Again and again during his earthly ministry Jesus was interrupted; namely, in his speaking to a crowd (Luke 5:17-19), conversing with his disciples (Lk 12:12 ff.), sleeping (Lk 8:22-24), praying (Mark 1:35 ff.), and traveling (Mark 10:46 ff.). The fact that none of these intrusions floor him (not for a moment is he at a loss as to what to do or what to say), shows that we are dealing here with the Son of man who is also the Son of God! What we would call an "interruption" is for him a springboard or take-off point for the utterance of a great saying or, as here, for the performance of a marvelous deed, revealing his power, wisdom, and love. What for us would have been a painful exigency is to him a golden opportunity.

Steven Cole on the gravity of this woman's hemorrhage - According to the Law of Moses (Lev 15:19-31), she was perpetually ceremonially unclean. Whoever touched her was unclean, so that even her own family had to keep their distance unless they wanted to be defiled. Whatever she lied or sat on became unclean, so that whoever touched those objects also became unclean. If her husband had relations with her, he became unclean for a week. For a woman especially, relationships with her family and friends are the very stuff of life. In that culture, all of life revolved around the various religious feasts and celebrations at the temple, not to mention the weekly synagogue meetings. This poor woman was an outcast, cut off from her family, friends, and culture....When Mark 5:26 reports that she had endured much at the hands of many physicians, he wasn’t kidding. The Talmud proposes eleven different remedies, including drinking a goblet of wine containing a powder made from rubber, alum, and garden crocuses. Another potion was made from Persian onions cooked in wine (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah [Eerdmans], 1:620). She had tried them all, but none of them had worked. And, as with doctors in our day, there was no refund if the cure didn’t work. The woman was broke.  This woman’s ceremonial defilement is a graphic picture of how sin defiles us all. It creates distance between us and God, as well as distance from our family and friends. Often, like her problem, our sin is an embarrassing sort of thing. We’d rather not discuss it or have anyone know about it. We clear our throats and try to change the subject if anyone dares ask about anything that might bring it out into the open. Like this woman’s problem, sin is often costly. Sins such as drunkenness, drug abuse, and gambling can reduce a family to poverty and can cost a person his employment, his health, and his life. Emergency rooms are filled with victims of sin—beaten, abused, raped, stabbed, or shot because of anger, greed, and disregard for human life. Like this woman’s disease, sin is also degenerative. Her disease was slowly killing her, draining her strength and her very lifeblood from her body. That is how sin works in the human heart, starting at first perhaps almost imperceptibly, but sapping our strength as it continues, leading us toward a slow but certain death. And, like this woman’s illness, sin is a hopeless problem apart from the Lord. Try as we will, we cannot extricate ourselves from its tentacles. Like climbing up an icy slope, we seem to make progress for a while, but then we slip and fall back to the bottom. We may compare ourselves with others and think that we’re not so bad. But when we recognize that we must compare ourselves with God in His absolute holiness if we want to be accepted into His heaven, we despair. There is no human remedy. We are defiled by our sin; we need to be cleansed; we cannot cleanse ourselves; nothing we try can rid us of our guilt. What can we do? (Luke 8:40-48 Jesus’ Cleansing Power)

A hemorrhage - literally a flowing of blood. As a pathologist I would strongly suspect she had significant iron deficiency and likely had iron deficiency anemia which is common in women in their child bearing years whose menstrual periods are characterized by heavy blood loss. She probably felt tired and was easily fatigued and this had been going on for 12 years and had yet to be cured! Luke a physician avoids Mark's caustic comment "She had suffered much at the hands of many physicians."

For twelve years - And Jairus' daughter was 12.

And could not be healed by anyone - Mark's version is more blunt - "and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse." (Mk 5:26) Hendriksen comments "She had lost her health, her wealth, and because of the nature of her illness, also her standing in society, particularly in the religious community. Her condition was such that it would make her ceremonially "unclean" (Lev 15:19ff)."

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. Providing care to improve a situation. 

Therapeuo uses 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

Spurgeon - This disease laughs at the physicians, and whenever a cure has been effected it has always been a slow one. Hence the supernatural character of this cure, “Immediately her issue of blood stanched.” This is the glory of our blessed religion, that it heals sin-sick souls at once and upon the spot. The moment a man believes in Jesus, his nature is changed; he becomes a new creature: in that moment all his sins are gone: in that same hour he becomes heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ. “Immediately.”

Wiersbe describes the contrasting scenes in this section - When Jesus returned to Capernaum, the people welcomed Him, particularly a man and a woman who each had heavy burdens to share with Jesus. The contrast here is interesting, for it shows the variety of people who came to Jesus for help. The man's name is given (Jairus) but the woman is anonymous. Jairus was a wealthy leading citizen, but the woman was a lowly person who had spent all her money trying to get well. Here was a man interceding for his child and a woman hoping to get help for herself, and both came to the feet of Jesus. Jairus had been blessed with twelve years of joy with his daughter, and now might lose her, while the woman had experienced twelve years of misery because of her affliction, and now she was hoping to get well. This woman had a hidden need, a burden she had lived with for twelve long years. It affected her physically and made life difficult. But it also affected her spiritually, because the hemorrhage made her ceremonially defiled and unable to participate in the religious life of the nation (Lev. 15:19-22). She was defiled, destitute, discouraged, and desperate; but she came to Jesus and her need was met. (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

Hendriksen compares the three accounts (Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 5:35-43) of these 2 miracles - Mark alone, in his very lengthy account, represents Jairus as using the term of endearment "my little daughter" (Mk 5:23), pictures a vast crowd "thronging" or "pressing upon" Jesus (Mk 5:24), relates that Jesus paid no attention to the message delivered to Jairus, "Your daughter is dead..." (Mk 5:35, 36), emphasizes the weeping and wailing that was going on among the mourners (Mk 5:38, 39), reports the Aramaic words spoken by Jesus to the child (Mk 5:41), and adds that the girl, brought back from the dead, walked (Mk 5:42). 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. (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark)

Luke 8:44  came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

KJV  Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

  • behind Lk 7:38
  • touched Deuteronomy 22:12; Mark 5:27,28; 6:56; Acts 5:15; 19:12
  • immediately Lk 13:13; Exodus 15:26; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 8:3; 20:34; John 5:13


Came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak - Perhaps she knew some who had been healed just by touching Him (Lu 6:19). Matthew indicates she had pre-meditated this act recording "she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well (Verb = sozo = get well , save).” (Mt 9:21). Clearly this was a statement of her faith in Jesus' power to heal. Mark 5:27 adds a small detail "after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak." Mark then explains the woman's reasoning = "For she thought (imperfect tense - saying to herself again and again), “If I just touch His garments, I will get well (sozo).” (Mk 5:28) Her faith was such (so great) that she believed just a touch of His garment would heal her! Amazing faith! 

MacArthur writes "After twelve years of suffering, Jesus was her only hope, so she literally and figuratively clung desperately to Him."

Touched (681)(hapto) means to grasp, to lay hold of with the basic meaning of touching for the purpose of manipulating. Hapto conveys the sense handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself. The majority of the 39 uses are in the Gospels and are associated with Jesus touching someone (or someone touching Him) usually with a beneficial effect. In Jn 20:17 hapto is used in the phrase "Stop clinging to Me" implying not just touching but grasping. So from this definition it seems clear that the woman  did not merely tap the Lord’s tassels, but actually grabbed one and clutched it. 

Hapto uses by Luke - 

Lk. 5:13; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 7:14; Lk. 7:39; Lk. 8:16; Lk. 8:44; Lk. 8:45; Lk. 8:46; Lk. 8:47; Lk. 11:33; Lk. 15:8; Lk. 18:15; Lk. 22:51; Acts 28:2; 

HendriksenThere are different ways of "touching" Jesus: (a) outwardly, or (b) inwardly (by faith). That makes all the difference in the world.

Touched the fringe of His cloak - This could refer to one of the four wool tassels which Israelites were required to wear on the corners of their square, outer robe (cf Num. 15:38; Dt. 22:12) which would serve to remind him of the law of God, the old covenant. MacArthur adds that the "tassels, on the fringe of their robes, served as a reminder of their obligation to obey God’s commandments (Nu 15:37-41)."

NET NoteThe edge of his cloak refers to the kraspedon, the blue tassel on the garment that symbolized a Jewish man's obedience to the law (cf. Num 15:37-41). The woman thus touched the very part of Jesus' clothing that indicated his ritual purity.

Fringe (the tassel)(2899)(kraspedon) is  the outer limit of something and thus means the edge, border, hem of a garment (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44, cf Lxx of Zech 8:23). Kraspedon also means tassel (Hebrew tsitsit) or fringe on the four corners of the outer garment (see picture, another picture), worn as a reminder to observe the commandments (Mt 23:5, cf. Nu 15.38, 39; Dt 22.12). 

GilbrantBy the time of Jesus the original purpose of the kraspedon had been lost. Jesus wore the kraspedon on His garment, so one hung in the middle of His back (Matthew 9:20; 14:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44), but He condemned the Pharisees for their departure from the original meaning (Matthew 23:5). Instead of allowing the tassels to remind them of God and His Word, they made them larger than necessary to remind God of their goodness! The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem or tassel of Jesus’ garment (Mt 9:20; Lk 8:44). Why she touched the kraspedon rather than His shoulder, feet, or hair cannot be determined. But she was not concerned about the superstition of the Pharisees concerning the tassel. She was putting her faith in Jesus.

The tsitsit refers to the fringes on the borders of the robes. They were meant to hang from the corners of the upper garment ( Dt 22:12), which was worn on top of the clothing. The tassel was probably made by twisting the overhanging threads of the garment into a knot that would hang down. This was a reminder of the covenant. The tassels were retained down through history, and today more elaborate prayer shawls with tassels are worn during prayer.

Liddell-Scott - metaphorically, also in plural, the skirts of a mountain, Xen.; on the skirts of the army.

Kraspedon - 5x in 5v - Usage: fringe(4), tassels(1). = Matt. 9:20; Matt. 14:36; Matt. 23:5; Mk. 6:56; Lk. 8:44

Holman Bible Dictionary on tassel - Tassels of twisted cords fastened to the four corners of the outer garment, worn by observant Jews as a reminder of covenant obligations (Nu 15:38-39 ; Dt 22:12 ; compare Zechariah 8:23 ). The woman suffering from chronic hemorrhage touched the tassel of Jesus' cloak (Matthew 9:20 , Luke 8:44 ). The English translations (with the exception of the NRSV) obscure this point by using different terms to translate the Greek kraspedon when it refers to Jesus' outer cloak (hem, KJV; fringe, NAS; edge; NIV, TEV; simply garment, RSV) and to the outer garment of the Pharisees (borders, KJV; tassels, NAS, NIV, TEV; fringe, RSV). Such translation contributes to a picture of a Jesus who was not really a Jew. Though Jesus observed the Old Testament requirement, He criticized those who wore excessively long tassels to call attention to their piety ( Matthew 23:5 ).\

Related Resources on tassel, fringe:

  • Wikipedia - Tassel
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Fringes
  • McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Fringe
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia Fringes
  • Fausset Bible Dictionary Fringes
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Fringes
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Fringes

Immediately her hemorrhage stopped - The touch and the cure were essentially simultaneous.

Luke 8:45  And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."

KJV  And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

  • Who - "Not that he was ignorant who had touched him," says Epiphanius, "but that he might not be himself the divulger of the miracle, and that the woman, hearing the question, and drawing near, might testify the singular benefit she had received, and that, in consequence of her declaration, she might presently hear from his lips, that her faith had saved her; and by this means, others might be excited to come and be healed of their disorders."
  • the multitude Lk 9:13; Mark 5:30-32
  • Luke 8:45 The Touch of Faith - G Campbell Morgan

Who is the one who touched Me? - The idea is "meaningfully touched Me."  Steven Cole explains "He didn’t ask the question to gain information, since He knew who had touched Him. He asked it to elicit her confession and to clarify for her what had taken place. It was not her touch that had cured her, but her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not magic, but God’s power in Christ which had accomplished the cure. Just as Jesus Christ was this woman’s only hope, because only He could cure her defiling illness, so only Jesus Christ can cleanse us of the defilement of our sin. He alone is the bridge between the holy God and our sin. When He died on the cross, God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Co 5:21). Just as this woman was instantly cured, so all who come to Christ in faith are instantly cleansed of their sin."

And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" - Mark 5:30 explains that immediately after the woman touched His fringe and was healed (Mk 5:29), then "Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” Here Jesus perceived the passage of power, and in Lk 8:46 He vocalizes this fact to the crowd. 

Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." - Luke is the only synoptic Gospel that brings Peter into this story. It shows once again the lack of insight of the disciples. They thought in terms of a literal touch, not a touch of faith. (cf Acts 19:11,12).

Crowding (4912)(sunecho/synecho from sun = with + echo = hold) literally means hold together, to press together. It has a wide range of uses, such as holding two things together (coupling), holding someone prisoner (restraining), and being gripped with an inner pressure (constraint). The idea of “pressing” is seen literally in Acts 7:57: when the angry listeners wanted to cut off Stephen’s words, they pressed their ears between their hands to cut off hearing. Elsewhere, the Lord Jesus warned Jerusalem of a day when it would be pressed (besieged) by armies on every side (Luke 19:43). He himself lived under the press (pressure) of the throngs that surrounded Him (Luke 8:45).

NET NotePressing is a graphic term used in everyday Greek of pressing grapes. Peter says in effect, “How could you ask this? Everyone is touching you

Pressing in (598)(apothlibo from apo = intensive + thlibo = to press, rub, squash) means to really crush or really press upon. This is the only NT use but gives us a vivid picture of how Jesus must have felt. Fortunately Jesus did not suffer from claustrophobia! Apothlibo is used once in the Septuagint in Nu 22:25 "When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed (Lxx = prosthlibo = to press against) herself to the wall and pressed (Lxx = apothlibo) Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again."

Vincent on pressing in - The word pressing in which occurs here only, more literally, crush. It means to squeeze out, as wine from grapes. (Do you get a good picture of this scene?)

Spurgeon - What impudence on their part! Doubtless there are many things we say of our Lord, and even to him in prayer, that are very far from such words as he should have from his disciples. There were many who touched him out of curiosity, and doubtless some out of want of respect to his person came too close to him, but there was only one who touched him with the finger of faith, which was the only true touch.

Luke 8:46  But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."

KJV  And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.


Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me - Mk 5:30 explains Jesus' initial perception of power passing out of Himself - "Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth."

For (gar) is a term of explanation - What is Jesus explaining? He is telling us how He was aware that someone had touched Him (grasped the tassel). It was not because He was tugged backwards by the woman's grasp, but because He sense the power flow out from Himself! 

Was aware  (1097) (ginosko) know by experience. Jesus experienced a draw on His supernatural power!

John MacArthur comments on Jesus' declaration I was aware that power had gone out of Me  - The power of God is not an impersonal force flowing from Him to people. He was fully aware of its action. No one ever receives the power of God into his or her life without acute awareness on His part.

The power from Jesus resulted in supernatural instantaneous, complete cure of the woman's condition. Jesus knew somebody with faith had touched Him and had been healed by His power. 

Power (1411)(dunamis) describes inherent power residing in one by virtue of His nature.  It is power in the sense of that which overcomes resistance. Our word “dynamite” is the transliteration of this Greek word but not its translation. Dunamis does not refer to an explosive powder. The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder.  The sense is that a stick of dynamite contains the inherent power to effect results, in this case bring about miraculous healing of this woman's malady.

Luke's uses of dunamis (not used in John's Gospel) - 

Lk. 1:17; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 4:14; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 8:46; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 21:26; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:22; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:7; Acts 4:33; Acts 6:8; Acts 8:10; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:38; Acts 19:11;

There is an interesting use in Luke 5:17 (see comments)

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.

NET Note on had gone outThis is a consummative perfect. Jesus sensed that someone had approached him to be healed, as his reference to power makes clear. The perception underlies Jesus' prophetic sense as well.

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Luke 8:46   But Jesus said, Some one did touch Me. (R.V.)
Amid the pressure of the crowd that crushed on Him from all sides, Jesus detected the light touch of one thin hand, which drew from Him healing virtue. We may be very near Christ, and throng Him, without touching; but no one can touch Him, however lightly, without deriving the very grace needed.
We think of Jesus today amid the thronging crowds of angels and spirits of the just made perfeet. Amid their voices will ours be heard? Amid the pressure of their attendance on his sacred person will He stay to recognize our poor trembling touch? Amid the vast interests that depend on Him, the government of the universe, the holding together and consistence of all things, is there any likelihood of our need asserting itself successfully? See, He is hastening on to raise the dead; there is the daughter of many a Jairus waiting for his summons, in the cemeteries and sleeping places of the dead. Will He stay for me? Yes, always.
There is the touch of prayer and faith. Thou canst never exercise it, however simply, without eliciting an immediate response. The conductor can detect the tiny note of a piccolo in an orchestra; and Christ is moved by a whisper, a sigh, a tear, a touch. There may be a good deal of mistake and superstition, as there was in this woman, who seemed to have thought that virtue clung to his robes; but He will distinguish the soul of holy trust amid many false ingredients. There is also the touch of affection. He knew when the woman crept to kiss his feet. He did not instantly speak of it, but said afterwards, “From the time I came in she hath not ceased to kiss my feet.” Not one loving expression from thy heart to his is lost on Him! 

Luke 8:47  When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

KJV   And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

  • when (KJV): Ps 38:9 Ho 5:3 
  • she came (KJV): 1Sa 16:4 Ps 2:11 Isa 66:2 Ho 13:1 Hab 3:16 Mt 28:8 Mk 5:33 Ac 16:29 1Co 2:3 2Co 7:15 Php 2:12 Heb 12:28 
  • she declared (KJV): Lu 17:15,16 Ps 66:16 

When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice - Mark tells us an additional detail that probably explains why she realized she felt "trapped." Mark  records that Jesus "looked around (periblepo in the imperfect tense - Jesus was glancing around and presumably His eyes met hers!) to see (horao - to catch sight of) the woman who had done this." (Mk 5:32).

Declared in the presence of all the people - She gave witness to the power of Jesus to all the people. The public declaration was both for the woman’s benefit and for the crowd, who heard her testimony to the power of the one who had healed her.

She came trembling and fell down before Him - This is the third person to fall at Jesus' feet in this chapter - Demoniac (Lk 8:28), Jairus (Lk 8:41), this nameless woman. Mark fills in some detail writing "the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth." (Mk 5:33) 

Robertson on she came tremblingVivid touch of the feeling of this sensitive woman who now had to tell everybody of her cure, in the presence of all the people (enōpion pantos tou laou). She faced the widest publicity for her secret cure.

Trembling (5141)(tremo) means to shake (involuntarily) or quiver especially with fear, something the false teachers did not do in 2 Pe 2:10 because they did not feel intensely the impact of something transcendent! To shiver with the chills” (associated with malaria) (Liddell-Scott). In the Septuagint tremo describes God looking at the earth and causing it to tremble! (Ps 104:32, cf Jer 4:24 - Our God is an AWESOME GOD!), of the man or woman who "trembles at His Word." (Isa 66:5, 66:2); of godly Daniel in the presence of the angelic messenger (Da 10:11 = "I stood up trembling").

Mark 5:33  But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

Luke 8:47  When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

2 Peter 2:10  and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,

Tremo - 8x in the Septuagint - Ge 4:12; Ge 4:14; 1 Sa 15:32; Ps 104:32 (="He looks at the earth, and it trembles"); Isa 66:2; Isa 66:5; Jer 4:24; Da 10:11

Fell down (4363)(prospipto from pros = to, against + pipto = to fall) means to fall towards or upon something, to strike against. (1) with the dative of person prostrate oneself, fall down before or at the feet of someone as a suppliant or to reverence (Mk 3:11; 5:33; Luke 8:28, 47; Acts 16:29); to fall down at someone's knees (Lk 5:8; Ps. 95:6) (2) with the dative of the thing fall on, strike against, rush upon or against, dash against (as the wind), with the implication of to assault; (Mt 7.25). Prospipto describes Esther before the king (Eshter 8:3), the woman healed of hemorrhage (Mk 5:33, Lk 8:47), the Philippians jailer (Acts 16:29). 

GilbrantProspiptō is a very common verb in classical usage and has a wide semantic range. It can mean “to fall upon” or “strike against,” and hence, “to attack” or “assault” (Liddell-Scott). Another meaning is “to fall before,” perhaps at someone’s feet. It could also mean “to befall” or “to occur.” Several other senses appear, depending on the context and the exact force of the verb. In the Septuagint these several meanings also appear. Prospiptō means to “fall before” in several places. Esther fell before the feet of the Persian king (Esther 8:3; cf. Ex 4:25). Prospiptō can also mean “to fall upon.” Esau “fell upon the neck” or “embraced” Jacob (Ge 33:4).

Prospipto - 8x in 8v - Usage: fall down before(1), fell(1), fell before(1), fell down(1), fell down before(3), slammed against(1).

Matthew 7:25  "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

Mark 3:11  Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, "You are the Son of God!"

Mark 5:33  But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

Mark 7:25  But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet.

Luke 5:8  But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

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."

Luke 8:47  When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

Acts 16:29  And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,

Prospipto - 8x in 8v - Ge 33:4; Ex 4:25; Est. 8:3; Est. 9:4; Ps 95:6; Pr 25:8; Pr 25:20; 

Ps 95:6  Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. 

The reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed - Mark had stated that her touch coincided with her healing writing "Immediately (after she touched the fringe of Jesus' garment) the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction." (Mk 5:29)

Spurgeon - Here is a second confessor. First, there was a man healed; now, here is a woman healed. Both sexes may now hear from them what Christ can do. If they will not believe, oh, then, their unbelief is sad indeed! Faith crowns Christ, and, therefore, Christ takes the crown off his own head and puts it upon the head of faith. “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Christ’s virtue would not have saved her without her faith, and certainly her faith could not have saved her without Christ’s virtue. We ought to note how vital faith is to true salvation, and what a high degree of importance is attached to it. Let us, therefore, if we have some degree of faith, pray for more, “Lord, increase our faith, for if a little of it may heal, what may not a great faith do?”

Spurgeon - “She was healed immediately.”  —Luke 8:47

One of the most touching and teaching of the Saviour’s miracles is before us to-night. The woman was very ignorant. She imagined that virtue came out of Christ by a law of necessity, without his knowledge or direct will. Moreover, she was a stranger to the generosity of Jesus’ character, or she would not have gone behind to steal the cure which he was so ready to bestow. Misery should always place itself right in the face of mercy. Had she known the love of Jesus’ heart, she would have said, “I have but to put myself where he can see me—his omniscience will teach him my case, and his love at once will work my cure.” We admire her faith, but we marvel at her ignorance. After she had obtained the cure, she rejoiced with trembling: glad was she that the divine virtue had wrought a marvel in her; but she feared lest Christ should retract the blessing, and put a negative upon the grant of his grace: little did she comprehend the fulness of his love! We have not so clear a view of him as we could wish; we know not the heights and depths of his love; but we know of a surety that he is too good to withdraw from a trembling soul the gift which it has been able to obtain. But here is the marvel of it: little as was her knowledge, her faith, because it was real faith, saved her, and saved her at once. There was no tedious delay—faith’s miracle was instantaneous. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, salvation is our present and eternal possession. If in the list of the Lord’s children we are written as the feeblest of the family, yet, being heirs through faith, no power, human or devilish, can eject us from salvation. If we dare not lean our heads upon his bosom with John, yet if we can venture in the press behind him, and touch the hem of his garment, we are made whole. Courage, timid one! thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”

Luke 8:48  And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

KJV And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

  • Daughter Matthew 9:2,22; 12:20; 2 Corinthians 6:18
  • thy Lk 7:50; 17:19; 18:42; Matthew 8:13; Mark 5:34; Acts 14:9; Hebrews 4:2
  • go Exodus 4:18; 1 Samuel 1:17; 2 Kings 5:19

Daughter, your faith has made you well; - Matthew adds Jesus' encouraging words "Daughter, take courage ("Take heart," "Be of good cheer" - present imperative of tharseo = to be firm or resolute in the face of danger or adverse circumstances); your faith has made you well.” (Mt 9:22). Matthew also emphasizes the immediacy of her healing "At once the woman was made well (sozo)." 

Daughter - It is notable that this is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus used that word to address a woman. This affectionate term would immediately reassure the woman and assuage her fears. Jesus is gentle!

HendriksenFaith concealed must become faith revealed. The woman is impelled to bring her testimony: (a) for her own strengthening in the faith, (b) for the benefit of others, and (c) for the glory of God.

Warren Wiersbe notes that the woman's "witness (of her complete healing) was a rebuke to the multitude. You can be a part of the crowd and never get any blessing from being near Jesus! It is one thing to "press Him" and another thing to "touch Him" by faith. We may not have strong faith, but we do have a strong Saviour, and He responds even to a touch at the hem of His garment. When the inventor of chloroform, Sir James Simpson, was dying, a friend said to him, "You will soon be resting on His bosom." Simpson humbly replied, "I don't know as I can do that, but I think I have hold of the hem of His garment."

Steven Cole - Jesus was in a hurry to get to Jairus’ dying daughter, yet He had time to stop and deal with this one needy woman. He did not scold her for the interruption. He didn’t upbraid her for her years of seeking human solutions to her problem. Nor was His purpose in calling attention to her to embarrass her publicly, although no doubt she was at first a bit uncomfortable. He spoke to her with tenderness, addressing her as “Daughter.” He spoke words of assurance and comfort, to confirm her faith and her healing, lest she go away unclear about what had happened. Archbishop Trench explains, “This woman would have borne away a maimed blessing, hardly a blessing at all, had she been suffered to bear it away in secret and unacknowledged, and without being brought into any personal communion with her Healer” (Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord [Baker], p. 118). Whatever your problem, however great your sin, you can come to Jesus and know that He will treat you with compassion and kindness. As Is 42:3 prophesied of Jesus, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (see Mt 12:20). Like a skillful doctor, He may have to wound in order to heal. But He always does it tenderly. He welcomes every sinner who comes to Him to cleanse his dirty wounds. Because Jesus is the sufficient Savior, you can know that He has adequate power to cleanse your sin. Because He is the sympathetic Savior, He will treat you with gentleness and understanding. You can know for sure that if you come to Him in faith, He will instantly forgive all of your sins, because He has promised it. You will be cleansed of all defilement if you lay hold of Jesus by faith. (Luke 8:40-48 Jesus’ Cleansing Power)

Hendriksen writes Jesus "gave her an opportunity to change "faith concealed" (Matt. 9:21) to "faith revealed" (Mark 5:33), which resulted in further encouragement (Mk 5:34)....Her faith, though not the basic cause of her cure, had been the channel through which the cure had been accomplished. It had been the instrument used by Christ's power and love, to effect her recovery....Moreover, by saying, "Your faith has made you well," was he not also stressing the fact that it was his personal response to her personal faith in him that cured her, thereby removing from her mind any remnant, however small, of superstition, as if his clothes had contributed in any way to the cure? (Baker New Testament Commentary – Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark)

SteinLuke reported that Jesus sought out the woman because something greater than physical healing was taking place. Through faith the woman also received spiritual healing.

Compare Jesus' words in Luke 5:20 (see comment)

Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”

Faith (4102)(pistis)  is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything. As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.

Luke's uses of pistis

Lk. 5:20; Lk. 7:9; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 17:5; Lk. 17:6; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 18:8; Lk. 18:42; Lk. 22:32; Acts 3:16; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:7; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:8; Acts 14:9; Acts 14:22; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:9; Acts 16:5; Acts 17:31; Acts 20:21; Acts 24:24; Acts 26:18;

Has made you well (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.

While some suggest the woman was only physically healed, John MacArthur points out that the verb sozo is "the common New Testament word for salvation. This same phrase in the Greek text appears in Luke 7:50, where it clearly refers to salvation from sin. It is also used in Luke 17:19 to describe one of the ten lepers who returned to worship Jesus. While all ten were healed, he alone was saved. Further, the Lord’s calling her daughter indicates that He received her as a child of His kingdom (John 1:12). She was restored, physically, socially, and spiritually through the grace and personal power of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

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; Acts 2:21; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:9; Acts 4:12; Acts 11:14; Acts 14:9; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:30; Acts 16:31; Acts 27:20; Acts 27:31

Go in peace - Go is in the present imperative = keep going in peace. Mark 5:34 adds Jesus' words "and be healed (hugies - health, strength, vigor) of your affliction (mastix ~ "scourge" or "whip" pictures her torturing illness!)." It is noteworthy that Jesus used two words "made well" (sozo) and then "be (present imperativehealed" (hugies).

Stein notes that Go in peace "was a common formula for dismissal, as Lk 7:50 and Acts 16:36 reveal (cf. Jdg 18:6; 1 Sa1:17; 20:42; 29:7). But these words from Jesus contain a blessing as well.

Hendriksen on go in peacethat is, with the smile of God upon her and the joyful inner knowledge of this smile. Cf. Isa. 26:3; 43:1, 2; Rom. 5:1.

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you".

Spurgeon - As if such a suppliant really did trouble him! Still, if you have been praying long, and your case appears to be hopeless, despair will whisper, “Trouble not the Master.” But Christ is never troubled by our prayer; it is our want of prayer that troubles him. Even after the worst has come to the worst, we shall never trouble him if we continue our prayers. But if, on any account, we cease from them, then indeed is his heart grieved.

HendriksenA few days after a certain minister preached on this section of Scripture (Mark 5:25-34 and parallels), he received the following poem from a lady who had composed it after hearing the sermon:

"Who touched me?"
'Twas the voice of the Master,
And the woman's heart beat faster and faster.
Trembling she came and bowed her head.
"I touched thee, Lord," was what she said.
But the Master answered, "Go thy way,
Thy faith has made thee whole this day."

"Have you touched me?"
I heard it. 'Twas the voice of the Master,
And O my heart beat faster and faster.
"You came with the throng to God's house today,
But I felt not your touch as you went your way."
I was ashamed and bowed my head.
"Reach out a bit farther next time," he said.

Steven Cole has an excursus on faith based on the faith of this woman (Luke 8:40-48 Jesus’ Cleansing Power) - We must lay hold of Jesus by faith.

By looking at this woman’s experience we learn five things about what it means to lay hold of Jesus by faith:

A. Faith is active, not passive. - For 12 years, this woman had aggressively sought a cure for her illness. She had been to every quack she had heard about. She had tried every cure her friends suggested, no matter how troublesome or distasteful. She had spent every dime. She was actively doing all she could to find a remedy and she would not quit until she obtained the cure she was after. She was not put off by the large crowd that kept her from getting near to Jesus. She was not bothered by the fact that she would make everyone she touched unclean. She elbowed her way through. She didn’t worry about the fact that Jairus’ daughter was dying and that Jesus was hurrying to a life or death mission. She persisted with her goal.

A few years ago a pastor friend of mine wasn’t feeling well. He thought it was just the flu, so he didn’t do anything about it. But when he started feeling much worse, he went to the doctor and found out he had cancer. Once he knew how serious his condition was, he started fighting it with everything available. Like my friend, many are oblivious to the cancer of sin and death spreading through their bodies. In some cases, they are unaware of the enormity of their guilt before God. Others ignore it and hope for the best. But you won’t be cleansed of your sin if you do not actively seek the cure. The faith that saves actively seeks the Lord: “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is 55:6-7).

B. Faith works best when human solutions fail. - The best thing that happened to this woman was when she ran out of money without being cured. Then her only hope was to come to the One who heals without money or cost. As long as there are human remedies, we will try them. If we think that our good works can cleanse us, we’ll keep on working. But when we realize that Jesus is the only way we can be cleansed, we will be driven to rely on Him alone. Like Peter when he began to sink beneath the waves, we will cry, “Save me, Lord, or I perish!” The Lord delights to respond to such a cry of faith.

C. Faith accepts the simplicity of the gospel. This woman had tried some difficult, bitter and expensive remedies. But this was easy and free! There were no bitter potions to drink. She didn’t have to apply the medicine three times a day for the next month. The disciples weren’t there collecting the fee. She touched Jesus by faith and she was instantly healed. Many think that the more bitter the pill, the better the remedy. They stumble over the gospel because it is too simple, too free. Tell people that to be right with God they must crawl on their knees over broken glass, or repeat prayers every day until they die, or add their merits and good deeds to what Christ has done, and they will do it. But tell them, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” and they say, “No, that’s too simple.” The problem is, faith in Jesus Christ is an affront to their pride. There’s no human glory in such a simple remedy. We want to do something difficult to earn salvation. But God’s way is simple and free: Put your faith in the Lord Jesus. Perhaps you’re thinking, “I know that I am a sinner and I would like to know that all my sins were forgiven. You’re saying that all I have to do is trust Jesus. But I don’t have enough faith.” There’s good news even for you:

D. Faith need not be perfect to be effective. - This woman’s faith was probably tinged with a bit of superstition. She thought that there was some magic power conveyed by touching Jesus’ garments. Her faith was self-centered. She came to Him only for the cure she wanted, and she would have been content to go away with nothing more. Her faith was quite ignorant. She didn’t know much theology. But the Lord took her weak, misguided faith, healed her on that basis, and sought to develop and strengthen it from there. How much faith does it take to be cleansed from your sins? Thankfully, not much! Salvation depends on the strength of the Savior more than on the strength of our faith. When Jesus told her that her faith had saved her, He meant to clarify that it was not magic or superstition, but rather faith that was the means of God’s blessings coming to her through Christ. Faith is merely the channel, weak though it is, through which God works. But it is Christ, the object of our faith, not our faith itself, which cleanses us. Say we were hiking in the woods when a forest fire began behind us. Strong winds were blowing it toward us faster than we could run. In a matter of minutes we would perish unless we could somehow get to a place of safety. Suddenly we come to a wide, deep gorge, spanned by a footbridge. If we cross the bridge, we will be safe. If we stay where we are, we will die in the flames. How much faith does it take to get you to go across that bridge? You probably wouldn’t do engineering studies to make sure that the bridge was sound. You might hesitate if the bridge was rickety. But what if the bridge looked like the Golden Gate? Trucks and cars were rumbling over it. What kind of faith do you need to walk across a structure that is so obviously solid, especially when you are fleeing the rapidly approaching flames behind you? Did your great faith save you? Not at all! It only took enough faith for you to go across the bridge, knowing that you would perish if you didn’t. If that bridge had been faulty, you would have plunged to your death no matter how great your faith. But if the bridge is solid, then weak faith is all it takes to get you across. The strength of your faith is not the real issue, but rather the strength of the bridge. Jesus Christ is mighty to save all who flee to Him.

E. Faith must be confessed. It’s interesting that with Jairus and his wife, Jesus told them not to tell anyone about His raising their daughter from the dead, although it could scarcely be concealed. But with this woman who would rather hide her embarrassing condition, Jesus singles her out in front of the crowd and makes her confess what had happened. I believe Jesus asked Jairus and his wife to conceal what had happened because He didn’t want to pander to the shallow miracle-seekers. But He made this woman confess her faith and healing for several reasons. As I mentioned, He did it for her sake. He wanted her to realize that it was faith in Him, not magic, that had cured her. He wanted her to be brought into personal communion with Him. He wanted her friends to know that she had been healed, so that she would be accepted back into the social and religious circles. And, He wanted her confession to bolster the sagging faith of Jairus, whose 12-year-old daughter was near death. If Jesus had the power to cure this woman’s 12-year-old disease, He could raise Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter. If you have experienced Jesus’ cleansing of your sins, He wants you to confess it in public baptism. The waters of baptism symbolize the complete cleansing that Jesus works in your soul. For His name’s sake, for your sake, and for the sake of others who need their faith strengthened, every believer should be baptized to confess that you have been cleansed through faith in Christ.

Conclusion - Like this woman with the hemorrhage, we all have been defiled by sin. We must be cleansed or we can never spend eternity in the presence of a holy God. Only Jesus can cleanse us through His death on the cross. We must lay hold of Him by faith as she did that day. Don’t be put off by those around you. Many in the crowd touched Jesus that day and weren’t healed, but this woman didn’t let that stop her. Don’t fear that your weak faith is not enough. Jesus will accept it and work to strengthen it. Don’t think about anything except that your sin has defiled you and that you desperately need what only Jesus offers, complete cleansing from your sin. Fear only that He will pass by this morning on His way to healing others and you will not touch Him and be saved. Weak faith is enough to lay hold of His mercy, but indifference or hesitation can result in the ruin of your soul. If you lay hold of Jesus by faith, you will hear His assuring words, “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Do Christians need ongoing cleansing or is the cleansing at salvation sufficient?
  2. Why is it essential to affirm that salvation is by faith alone apart from any human works?
  3. Is salvation always instantaneous or is it sometimes gradual?
  4. Is it wrong to encourage a person to come to Jesus for the benefits he/she will receive?



  • All this time Jairus was waiting! He had to be experiencing impatience!
  • But Jesus was delaying, while the child was dying.
  • Who touched me? – “who cares”, “my daughter is dying, remember?”
  • Is this a multi-tasking issue? – A priority issue? – I was here 1st!

Illus: Some years back I was sitting w/Mical in emergency room at Rancho Springs. We had already waited a few hours, when they brought a drunk in who didn’t want care, was cussing, screaming; & we were told his injuries were serious & they’d have to attend to him 1st. To say this most mildly, “I was bitter at this man.” (I was here 1st!)

But the Lord has such a wonderful way of running the whole world at one time.

  • Jesus is like the sun shining as it rolls onward in its orbit.
  • (Rose illus.) You can never exhaust the fragrance of His love & healing, as you could never smell the fragrance completely off a flower!
  • Jesus wasn’t a cool cup of water that once drunk it is finished; but an endless fresh stream, that will never run dry!
  • Rev.22:17 “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”


Jesus would not permit her to steal away & remain anonymous.

  • Jesus doesn’t like undercover Believers. He likes blowing their cover. J
  • She would never had the opportunity to Worship Him(fell down at His feet)
  • Nor, glorify God by her testimony “he healed me!”
  • And, she would never have heard His special words of blessing(48)
  • Daughter – (a tender word) meaning she’s now in the family!
  • Go in Shalom – Oh, blessed peace.

Q: For what area of your life do you need to reach out & touch His hem for today?

  • Do you need a physical healing? A spiritual healing (Salvation)?
  • An emotional healing that only Jesus could ever fix?
  • A mental healing (you feel like you’re losing it)?

Q: Would your life be more like those in the crowd that might occasionally brush by Jesus in the rush hour of religious activity? (Ken Gire)

  • Close to His presence but far from His power?

Luke 8:49  While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore."

KJV  While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.

  • he Lk 8:41-43; Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 5:35-43
  • trouble Lk 7:6; 11:7; Isaiah 7:12; Mark 5:35


If you have children, put yourself in the sandals of Jairus as he heard these words! While she was still alive, he held hope Jesus could heal her. But now she was dead! Imagine the grief coursing through his entire being! Most of us as parents would rather die, then have one of our children die. Our hopes for the future are bound up with our children and their children. If they die, hope dies. The future looks bleak without them.

Someone came from the house - Mk 5:35 more than one person came ("they came"). 

Your daughter has died do not trouble the Teacher anymore - This is tantamount to saying Jesus cannot do anything with a person who has died. Jairus' hope was demolished. But that was not the end of the story!

This quote sums up the common thought on death - "For the living there is hope, for the dead there is none" (Theocritus—Idyl IV. 42).

Spurgeon - Be resigned, and say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away,” and expect not the blessing back again. Do as David did, who, while the child was yet alive, fasted and played, saying, “Peradventure, God will spare him, but when he was dead, fasted no more. Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.” Ah! but this man knew that he who can stay the soul at the gates of death can also Bring it back from the gates of death if he wills. He that can get it from the paw of the lion can get it from the jaw of the bear. He can deliver his people at all times and at all seasons, and even Death is a conquered foe.

Teacher (1320)(didaskalos) was a title of dignity and respect, a term of honor ( Mt 8:19; 12:38; 19:16; 22:16, 24, 36; Mk 4:38; 9:17, 38; 10:17,  20, 35; 12:14, 19, 32; 13:1; Lk 3:12; 7:40; 9:38; 10:25; 11:45;  12:13; 18:18; 19:39; 20:21, 28, 39; 21:7; Jn 8:4). It was appropriate for Jesus since teaching, not performing miracles, was the primary focus of His ministry (cf. Mark 1:38). Teacher corresponds to the title Rabbi

Matthew records "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.”(Mt. 9:18)  Jairus unlike the doubting messenger believed that Jesus had the power to raise his daughter from the dead as He had the young man at Nain (Lk 7:11-15-note) a miracle with which Jairus was surely familiar for Nain is only about 25 miles southwest of Capernaum (where Jesus is in Luke 8:49). 

Brian Bell - TOO LATE? (Lk 8:49-56)



Then the crash of doom ….she was dead! Forget it!

  • Faith shaken, love wounded, hope destroyed.
  • But before Jairus could even react –Good News speaks.
  • Jairus heard the Word & trusted that Word.

Made well! – “I just heard that!” (in Lk 8:48)

  • Ahhh, blessed re-assurance!

Facing the Future with Jesus! (Lk 8:51)

  • How long was the gap in these 2 verses?
  • Can you travel that far w/Jairus? He went in faith!
  • Here he faced the future with Jesus! What a great place to be!

Faith’s Test Again! (Lk 8:52,53)

  • What Jairus found returning home must have rocked his world one more time.
  • Weeping, wailing, howling, lamenting…she’s was dead! - & there she lie.
  • Sleeping – when believers die, the body sleeps, but the spirit goes to be w/the Lord
  • Eccl. 12:7 “ and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”


[1] 2 effects of man’s fall in the garden were? Disease & death! Note: both are subject to Jesus!

[2] Salvation comes through faith, & the woman & Jairus reveal the kind of faith that Jesus seeks.

[3] Jesus can be trusted!  Whether you are facing, or will face the pain & helplessness of a lingering illness like this woman; or the fearful reality of bereavement & death…JESUS CAN BE TRUSTED!!!


  • Jesus is passing by again this morning. Don’t miss Him. Reach out & touch w/faiths little finger!
  • Crowds press, while Faith reaches out & touches.
  • Will you remain part of the crowd or will you reach out & grab onto Christ’s hem today?

Luke 8:50  But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well."

KJV  But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

  • believe Lk 8:48; Isaiah 50:10; Mark 5:36; 9:23; 11:22-24; John 11:25,40; Romans 4:17,20 Mk 5:36


 But when Jesus heard this - Mark describes Jesus reaction to the bad news. Thus Mark 5:36NET has "Jesus, paying no attention to what was said (i.e., "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.)

Hendriksen comments "With majestic calmness he refuses completely to lend an ear to the heralds of doom, the messengers of despair. He wants Jairus to do the same. Jairus is afraid. Now it is not easy to drive out fear. There is only one way to do it, namely, by firmly believing in the presence, promises, pity, and power of God in Christ. It takes the positive to drive out the negative (Rom. 12:21). Throughout the history of redemption it has ever been thus. When it seemed that all was lost, believers placed their trust in God and were delivered (Ps. 22:4; Isa. 26:3, 4; 43:2). This was true with respect to Abraham (Gen. 22:2; James 2:22), Moses (Exod. 14:10 f.; 32:10, 30-32), David (1 Sam. 17:44-47; Ps. 27), and Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:1, 2, 12), to mention but a few. When the need was highest help was nighest. This was true also in the case of Jairus. The word of encouragement was not in vain. He took it to heart (Matt. 9:18) and was heard."

Do not be afraid (present imperative with a negative = stop fearing)(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.

Believe (aorist imperative - command - Start believing! Do this now!)(4100)(pisteuo) "means to persuade, to cause belief, to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion." (Vincent)

John MacArthurJesus was not making Jairus’s faith a condition for resurrecting his daughter, but was encouraging and reassuring him. Although Jairus had faith that Jesus could resurrect her, his faith was mingled with fear (cf. Mark 9:24). The Lord exhorted him to stop being afraid and to keep believing in His promise that his daughter would be made well (cf. Matt. 17:19-20). (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

Kent HughesWe must not miss the providential arrangement here. Jairus came to Jesus with an uninformed, wishful, quasi-belief that Jesus could heal his daughter. That belief had been enlightened and elevated through Jesus' exchange with the woman. But now Christ challenged Jairus not merely to believe in him for a healing but for his daughter's resurrection from the dead! Did he believe? Certainly! Otherwise he and Jesus and the three disciples would never have returned to his home and entered the room of his daughter, where she lay mouth open, eyes half-open, pupils still and dilated, her color gone. (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume I: That You May Know the Truth)

She will be made well (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.

Spurgeon - “If she is actually dead, she shall be raised to life again.” “Believe only.” What a depth lies in those two words! Believe only! Ah! Lord, it ought to be the easiest thing in the world to believe thee, for thou art so truthful; thou keepest every promise to us, and yet sometimes when we are in the dark, and when circumstances go contrary to us, it is hard to believe; but is not the hardness in our own hearts? Believe only! Christian, what is your trouble this morning, what is your trial? Believe only, and let your humble faith cast your burdens upon your God. “Believe only, and she shall be made whole.”

Luke 8:51  When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother.

KJV And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.

  • he suffered 1 Kings 17:19-23; 2 Kings 4:4-6,34-36; Isaiah 42:2; Matthew 6:5,6; Acts 9:40
  • save Lk 6:14; 9:28; Mark 5:37-40; 14:33

When He came to the house - Matthew adds a detail regarding the noisy state of affairs at the house - "When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder (thorubeo = in an uproar, troubled, distressed, making a commotion, all disturbed)." (Mt 9:23) Mark says "they came to the house of the synagogue official" (Mk 5:38)

He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James - This is the first time Jesus picks out these three, as He would do later at His transfiguration and in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 5:37 "And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James."

And the girl's father and mother - Luke alone has this detail that the parents entered with Jesus and the three disciples. 

Spurgeon - For Christ does not make a parade of his miracles. He loves to do his work quietly; and they that make a great noise must mind that they do not get put out when Christ is about to work a cure.

Luke 8:52  Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep."

KJV And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

  • all Genesis 23:2; 27:34,35; 2 Samuel 18:33; Jeremiah 9:17-21; Exodus 24:17; Zechariah 12:10
  • she Mark 5:38,39; John 11:4,11-13


Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her - Jewish funerals had to be held posthaste as they did not embalm the corpse and the temperatures were often hot and conducive to decay of the body. And so they had already begun the funeral when Jesus arrived at Jairus' home, which was a scene of "controlled chaos" completely unlike our modern funeral services. Mark says "people loudly weeping (klaio) and wailing (alalazo = wail loudly of the monotonous wail of the hired mourners, used of the loud sound of a cymbal clashing. The soldiers on entering battle cried Alāla.)." (Mk 5:38)

John MacArthur adds that in addition to the lamentations "Others would be playing dissonant music on high-pitched flutes (Mt 9:23 - Ed: "noisy disorder" = thorubeo = in an uproar, troubled, distressed, making a commotion, all disturbed). The end result was a cacophony of confusion. Since Jairus was a well-respected leader in the community, the funeral for his daughter would have been even larger and louder than most."

NET Note This group probably includes outside or even professional mourners, not just family, because a large group seems to be present.

Weeping (2799)(klaio) see below

Lamenting (Mourning) (imperfect tense - over and over)(2875)(kopto) means in the middle voice to beat one's body with the hands (especially one's breast) as an act of mourning or lamentation (Mt 24:30, Mt 11:17, Lk 23:27; Lxx - 1Ki 13:28, 2Ki 1:12, 11:26, Zech 7:5, Ge 23:2, 1Ki 25:1).

Stop weeping (present imperative with a negative)(2799)(klaio) means to mourn, to weep, to lament or to wail with emphasis upon noise accompanying weeping. It expresses one’s immediate and outward reaction to suffering. The picture is of one lamenting with sobs or wailing aloud and was used to describe the wailing that took place when someone died. 

For (gar) is a term of explanation. Jesus is explaining why they should cease weeping. 

Matthew tells of Jesus command to the mourners and flute players to leave - Matthew 9: 24 "He said, “Leave (anachoreo - depart - Mt 2:14 - present imperative)."

Robertson on flute playersThe flute-players (tous aulētas). The girl was just dead, but already a crowd "making a tumult" (thoruboumenon) with wild wailing and screaming had gathered in the outer court, "brought together by various motives, sympathy, money, desire to share in the meat and drink going at such a time" (Bruce). Besides the several flute-players (voluntary or hired) there were probably "some hired mourning women (Jeremiah 9:17) praeficae, whose duty it was to sing naenia in praise of the dead" (Bruce). These when put out by Jesus, "laughed him to scorn" (kategelōn), in a sort of loud and repeated (imperfect) guffaw of scorn. Jesus overcame all this repellent environment.

She has not died, but is asleep - John MacArthur comments that "Jesus’ declaration that the girl had not died, but was asleep brought a revolutionary new perspective to death. By likening it to sleep, He redefined death as temporary; thus sleep is used in Scripture as a metaphor for the body in death (John 11:11-14; Acts 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:14-15; 5:10; 2 Peter 3:4). But while the body sleeps temporarily in death, the soul does not (cf. Luke 16:19-31; 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Rev. 6:9-11)."

Died (599)(apothnesko from apo = marker of dissociation implying a rupture from a former association, separation, departure, cessation + thnesko = die) literally means to die off and here speaks of literal physical death.

Robertson on she is asleepJesus undoubtedly meant that she was not dead to stay dead, though some hold that the child was not really dead. It is a beautiful word (she is sleeping, katheudei) that Jesus uses of death.

It is interesting that in John 11:11 Jesus said "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”and then in John 11:14 Jesus said "to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead." 

Is asleep (2518)(katheudo from katá = an intensive + heúdō = to sleep) means literally to sleep, fall asleep or be fast asleep (Matt. 8:24; 13:25; 25:5; 26:40, 43, 45; Mark 13:36; 14:37, 40, 41; Luke 22:46; 1 Thess. 5:7; Sept.: Gen. 28:13; 1 Sam. 3:2, 3, 5; 2 Sam. 12:3) and figuratively (as here)  to die or be dead (Matt. 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52 cf. John 11:11-14; 1 Th. 5:10; Da 12:2). Another figurative sense speaks of an attitude of spiritual laziness or indifference, to be spiritually indolent, to be indifferent. The idea is to be "asleep" in your sin, secure and unconcerned in sin, or indolent and careless in the performance of duty (Eph 5.14, 1 Th 5:6, cf. parallel thought but not using katheudo in Ro 13:11-13; 1 Cor. 15:34).  

Vine"to go to sleep," is chiefly used of natural "sleep," and is found most frequently in the Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke. With reference to death it is found in the Lord's remark concerning Jairus' daughter, Matt. 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52. In the epistles of Paul it is used as follows: (a) of natural "sleep," e.g., 1 Thess. 5:7; (b) of carnal indifference to spiritual things on the part of believers, Eph. 5:14; 1 Thess. 5:6, 10 (as in Mark 13:36), a condition of insensibility to Divine things involving conformity to the world (cp. hypnos).

TDNT -  The primary sense is “to sleep.” Sleep is highly rated in antiquity, but the activism of the Greeks and Romans finds too much sleep distasteful; the early hours up to sunrise are the main periods of intellectual production (lucubrations). Peaceful sleep in time of peril (cf. Socrates) is a mark of greatness.  b. Sleep is also viewed as an incursion of the suprasensual, so that antiquity pays great attention to dreams. Attempts are made to interpret these scientifically; they mostly have to do with such material things as prosperity or poverty, health or sickness, etc. Some religious significance attaches to temple sleep.  c. Figuratively sleep has a derogatory reference, e.g., to deficient concentration or the inactive or vegetative life.  d. Since sleep embraces the ambivalence of human life and death, the question arises whether life itself is not a sleep, and its activity a mere dream. But sleep and death are also equated, with immortality as the inference.

GilbrantGreek and Roman societies were early risers, and it was considered disgraceful to lie in bed until late morning. In the later mystery religions the importance placed upon the interpretation of dreams makes sleep more significant. Septuagint Usage - The Old Testament treats sleep primarily as a normal function of human existence. In a positive sense sleep is the reward of honest labor (Eccl 5:12), the righteous sleep well (Pr 3:24), and in Psm 127:2 sleep is the gift of God to His beloved. The Law also protects the sleep of the poor (Ex 22:26,27; Dt 24:12). Negatively, beds of luxury and excessive sleeping are condemned.

Katheudo - 22x in 20v - Usage: asleep(8), do their sleeping(1), goes to bed(1), sleep(3), sleep do(1), sleeper(1), sleeping(8).

Matt. 8:24; Matt. 9:24; Matt. 13:25; Matt. 25:5; Matt. 26:40; Matt. 26:43; Matt. 26:45; Mk. 4:27; Mk. 4:38; Mk. 5:39; Mk. 13:36; Mk. 14:37; Mk. 14:40; Mk. 14:41; Lk. 8:52; Lk. 22:46; Eph. 5:14; 1 Thess. 5:6; 1 Thess. 5:7; 1 Thess. 5:10

Katheudo - 28x in 25v in the Septuagint - 

Ge 28:13; Ge 39:10; 1 Sa 3:2; 3:3; 1 Sa 3:5; 3:6; 3:9; 19:9; 26:5; 26:7; 2 Sa 4:5; 4:6; 4:7; 12:3; 1 Ki. 18:27; Ps. 88:5; Prov. 3:24; Prov. 6:22; Cant. 5:2; Isa. 51:20; Ezek. 4:9; Dan. 4:10; Dan. 12:2; Amos 6:4; Jon. 1:5; 

Genesis 28:13  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie (Lxx = katheudo), I will give it to you and to your descendants.

Spurgeon - They were so sure she was dead that they had actually hired the minstrels for her funeral — so Mark tells us — and the pipers, and the women that made those strange, Oriental lamentations were there, ready to inter her.

Luke 8:53  And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.

KJV And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

  • laughed Lk 16:14; Job 12:4; 17:2; Ps 22:7; Isaiah 53:3
  • knowing Mark 15:44,45; John 11:39; 19:33-35


And they began laughing at Him - Mark says that then "They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out." (ekballo - “threw them all outside.” The verb used, almost always has the connotation of force in Mark) (Mark 5:40) And scoffers still laugh at Jesus' power to resurrect the dead back to life. This reminds me of the reaction to Paul's mention of the resurrection in Acts 17:32 

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer (chleuazo - throw out the lip), but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."

HendriksenIt seems that these mourners were endowed with the dubious gift of shifting in one sudden moment from dismal moaning to uproarious mirth. Does not this very laughter also confirm the belief that the child had really died? Does it not therefore also bear witness to the genuine nature of the child's restoration from death?

Robertson on Mk 5:40 - Having put out (ekbalōn) the rest by a stern assertion of authority as if he were master of the house, Jesus takes along with him these five and enters the chamber of death "where the child was" (hopou ēn to paidion). He had to use pressure to make the hired mourners leave. The presence of some people will ruin the atmosphere for spiritual work. 

Vincent on Mk 5:40 - "Wonderful authority in the house of a stranger. He was really master of the house" (Bengel). Only Mark relates the taking of the parents with the three disciples into the chamber.

"They jeered at him" (Weymouth).

"They were laughing in his face" (Hendriksen)

Laughing (2606)(katagelao from katá = against, denoting opposition + geláō = to laugh)  means to laugh at, to ridicule, to scornfully mock, to deride. Only 3 uses Mt 9:34, Mk 5:40, Lk 8:53.  In the sense of mocking in Pr 17:5, 30:17, Job 21:3 Laughing in Lk 8:53 is in the imperfect tense (over and over) - you can just hear their scornful, mocking laughter.

RobertsonNote imperfect tense. They kept it up. And note also kat- (perfective use). Exactly the same words in Matthew 9:24 and Luke 8:53. The loud laughter was ill suited to the solemn occasion. But Jesus on his part (autos de) took charge of the situation.

Katagelao - 16x in 16v in the Septuagint -

Gen. 38:23; 2 Chr. 30:10; Est. 4:17; Job 5:22; Job 9:23; Job 21:3; Job 30:1; Job 39:7; Job 39:18; Job 39:22; Job 41:29; Ps. 25:2; Prov. 17:5 (="He who mocks [Lxx = katagelao] the poor taunts his Maker"); Pr. 29:9; Prov. 30:17 (="The eye that mocks [Lxx = katagelao] a father"); Mic. 3:7; 

Spurgeon - But Christ put them all out. They laughed him to scorn, and, therefore, he would not work the miracle in their presence. It is not meet to cast pearls before swine.

Knowing that she had died - They knew (unlike comments by some commentators) that she was not taking a nap but that she was dead.

Luke 8:54  He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Child, arise!"

KJV And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

  • he put Lk 8:51; Mark 5:40
  • took Jeremiah 31:32; Matthew 9:25; Mark 1:31; 5:41; 8:23; 9:27
  • Maid Lk 7:14,15; John 5:21,28,29; 11:43; Acts 9:40; Romans 4:17

Mark 5:40 "He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was."

Took her by the hand -  Recall that Jairus had asked  Jesus to "come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live" (Mt. 9:18), and the Lord willingly did so. Jesus' touch is "A touch of life" (Robertson)

Called, saying, "Child, arise (present imperative)!" - Mark has "He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”)." (Mk 5:41) Presumably Aramaic was her native tongue. It is notable that Mark often retains Aramaic terms, while Luke translates them into Greek.

Holman Bible Dictionary on Talitha cum - (tal' ih thuh-cyoo' mih) Transliteration of Aramaic phrase meaning, “damsel, arise.” Jesus' words to Jarius' daughter (Mark 5:41 ). The girl's relatives thought she was dead by the time the Lord arrived, but He pronounced it only as sleep (Mark 5:39). The Aramaic reflects Mark's attempt to preserve the actual words of Jesus, who probably spoke Aramaic rather than Greek in which most of the New Testament is written. (See longer note in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Talitha Cumi).

Wiersbe on Talitha kum! Peter would one day say "Tabitha cumi!"—Acts 9:40.) This was not a magic formula but a word of command from the Lord of life and death (Rev. 1:17-18). Her spirit returned to her body and she arose and began to walk around the room!

Robertson on Talitha cum - These precious Aramaic words, spoken by Jesus to the child, Peter heard and remembered so that Mark gives them to us. Mark interprets the simple words into Greek for those who did not know Aramaic (to korasion, egeire), that is, Damsel, arise. Mark uses the diminutive korasiōn, a little girl, from korē, girl. Braid Scots has it: "Lassie, wauken." Luke 8:5-9 has it Hē pais, egeire, Maiden, arise. All three Gospels mention the fact that Jesus took her by the hand, a touch of life (kratēsas tēs cheiros), giving confidence and help.

Arise (command in present imperative) (1453) (egeiro) means to rise (stand up) from a sitting or lying position (Mt 8:26, 9:5), to awaken from sleep (Mt 8:25), and as in the present context figuratively to "awaken" from death (rise up). In Romans 4:24, egeiro describes the bringing Jesus back from the dead and thus raising Him or causing Him to rise. The idea of wake up from death is conveyed by egeiro because sleep was used as metaphor of death for believers (there is however no "soul sleep"). 

WiersbeResurrection is a picture of the way Jesus Christ saves lost sinners and raises them from spiritual death (John 5:24; Eph. 2:1-10). The Gospels record three such resurrections, though Jesus probably performed more. In each instance, the person raised gave evidence of life. The widow's son began to speak (Luke 7:15), Jairus' daughter walked and ate food, and Lazarus was loosed from the graveclothes (John 11:44). When a lost sinner is raised from the dead, you can tell it by his speech, his walk, his appetite, and his "change of clothes" (Col. 3:1ff). You cannot hide life! Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus on three special occasions; and this was the first. The second was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:28ff), and the third was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33ff). Campbell Morgan has pointed out that each of these events has something to do with death and that the three disciples learned from these experiences some valuable lessons about Jesus and death. In the home of Jairus, they learned that Jesus is victorious over death. On the Mount of Transfiguration, they discovered that He would be glorified in His death; and in the Garden, they saw that He was surrendered to death. James was the first of the Twelve to die (Acts 12:1-2), John the last to die, and Peter's death was predicted by Jesus (John 21:18-19; 2 Peter 1:13-21). All three men needed these lessons, and we need them today. (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

Luke 8:55  And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.

KJV  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

  • her spirit  - This expression, thus used of one who had been dead, strongly implies, that at death the soul not only exists separately, but returns and is re-united to the body, when it is raised from the dead. 1 Kings 17:21-23; John 11:44
  • and he Lk 24:41-43; Mark 5:43; John 11:44

She got up immediately - Immediate not progressive recovery is the characteristic of the miracles of Jesus. Mark writes "Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old (i.e, she was not newborn who could not walk)." (Mk 5:42) Robertson on began to walk in Mk 5:42 "Rose up, and walked (anestē kai periepatei). Aorist tense (single act) followed by the imperfect (the walking went on)."

Spurgeon on immediately (straightway) - Do note here the word “straightway.” Just now we had the word immediately, and now we have straightway. It is one of the distinguishing features of the gospel, both of Mark and of Luke, that both evangelists use the word “eutheos,” “straightway.” Christ’s miracles do not take a long time to do; they are done straightway. If there is a distressed soul here now, your salvation need not take months and years; it may be done today, and in a moment thou mayest be able to rejoice that thy sins are forgiven, and that thou art a child of God. “She arose straightway, and he commanded to give her meat.” There are no unnecessary miracles. It wanted a miracle to give her life, but meat could sustain it, and, therefore, there is no further miracle performed.

He gave orders for something to be given her to eat - This speaks of Jesus' tenderness and compassion for the whole person. This would also clearly indicate she was alive and had a real body and was not some phantom (cf Jesus eating fish in His post-resurrection appearance to the disciples - see Lk 24:37-39, 41-43)

He gave orders for something to be given her to eatSpurgeon applies this writing "Young saints want feeding as soon as they are converted. The conversion may be by miracle, but they will need to be fed by ordinary means. Be ready, dear people of God, with your milk for those who are but newly born: “He commanded to give her meat.” 

John MacArthur on the significance of Jesus' power to resurrect Jairus' daughter - The resurrections the Lord performed during His earthly ministry demonstrated the power He will one day use to resurrect all people. In John 5:28-29 Jesus said, “An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His [Christ’s] voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” The bodies of believers will be raised and reunited with their spirits to live forever in heaven; the bodies of unbelievers will be reunited with their spirits to experience everlasting punishment in hell. Believers need not fear death because they have put their faith in the One who conquered it. (Ed: cf Da 12:2-3)

Luke 8:56  Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

KJV And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

  • he charged Lk 5:14; Matthew 8:4; 9:30; Mark 5:42,43


This is the fourth time in Luke 8 where we encounter astonishment at Jesus' miracle working power - (1) the disciples (Lk 8:25), (2) the people of Gadara (Lk 8:37), (3) the woman healed of a hemorrhage (Lk 8:47) and the girl’s parents (Lk 8:56). One day all believers will marvel too for we "will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." (Mt 24:30) Hallelujah! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! Show us Thy great power. Amen

Her parents were amazed - Mark writes " And immediately they were completely astounded." (Mk 5:42) Robertson on the phrase in Mk 5:42 "completely astounded" -  Completely (ekstasis - of one removed out of his senses) astounded (existemi) in Mk 5:42 - We have had this word before in Matthew 12:23 and Mark 2:12, which see. Here the word is repeated in the substantive in the associative instrumental case (ekstasei megalēi), with a great ecstasy, especially on the part of the parents (Luke 8:56), and no wonder.

Were amazed (astonished, astounded, besides one's self) (1839)(existemi from ek = out + hístemi = to stand) literally means to stand out from or to stand outside oneself (and thus to be beside oneself). To put out of position, to displace or to change. To remove from its place. For example Aristotle writes "you won't budge (existemi) me from my position on these matters." The NT uses of existemi are all related in some way to the human mind. Richards adds that existemi "suggests astonishment mixed with anxiety, stimulated by extraordinary events that cannot be explained." Existemi is translated “He (Jesus) has lost His senses” in Mark 3:21. 

Spurgeon - For Jesus did not wish, at least at that time, to have the story of his miracles blazed abroad. Of him the prophet had long before written: “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.”

He instructed them to tell no one what had happened - Mark 5:43 says "And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this."

Spurgeon on tell no one what had happened - But we know from another evangelist (Mt 9:26) that the fame thereof went abroad everywhere, and, indeed, the healing of a soul is not a thing to be kept secret, but when any are raised from the dead the world must know it.

Matthew says that "This news spread throughout all that land." (Mt 9:26)

John MacArthur summarizes this section - There were times when Jesus did not want the news of a miracle to be spread, because the resulting crowds of curiosity seekers would hinder His ministry (cf. Mark 1:40-45) or seek to make Him king by force (John 6:14-15), or as an act of judgment, hiding the truth from those confirmed in their rejection of Him (Luke 9:21). As noted above, the news would spread on its own. The parents could enjoy being reunited with their daughter, and rejoice in Christ’s goodness, grace, and mercy to them. All of those matters could play a part in the restriction of silence Jesus put on them—but they are not the main reason. Our Lord frequently called for this kind of silence (Matt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; 17:9; Mark 1:25, 34, 44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26, 30; 9:9; Luke 4:41; 9:21). The real reason is given in Mark 8:30-31: “And He warned them to tell no one about Him. And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” He did not want to be known as a healer or miracle worker—or even only as the Christ—those were true but incomplete. When He is proclaimed, it must be as the crucified and risen Savior. There is no gospel of Jesus Christ without the cross in all its meaning and the resurrection with all that it accomplished. Paul summed it up when he said he would only preach “Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) and proclaimed that salvation is for those who believe that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10). This account of two of the countless miracles the Lord Jesus Christ performed reveals His personal, compassionate concern for hurting people. To the oppressed and burdened He offers rest (Matt. 11:28-30; for the troubled He provides peace (John 14:27; 16:33); and most important of all, to those enslaved by sin He offers salvation (Luke 4:16-21; 19:10) through the cross and resurrection to come.

Kent Hughes sums up the miracles in Luke 8 - This is the capstone to a trio of episodes meant to teach us the comprehensive power of Jesus. Amidst the towering walls of water on a storm-tossed sea, Jesus cried out, "Be muzzled!"—and the sea instantly lay flat. Confronted with a pathetically demonized man, the spirits pled with Jesus not to send them to the Abyss. But he did with a word—first through the swine, and then to the eternal pit. He is the God of nature and super-nature. But he is also the God of timing and space, of all providence, and in the healing of the woman and the raising of a child we see him initiating and elevating human faith. Jesus can do anything! He is sovereign! Nothing is too great for him. He can save your soul! He can restore your life! He can supply your most desperate need! (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume I: That You May Know the Truth)

Steven Cole on Luke 8:49-56 -  Clearly, it was a lesson in faith for Jairus and his wife, for the disciples, and for us:

In fearful situations we must overcome hindrances to faith and put our trust in Jesus.

Sooner or later, we all face these fearful situations where we don’t know what to do. The bottom suddenly drops out from under us and we are overwhelmed. Such situations are never fun, but Jairus’ story shows us that …

1. There are benefits for us in fearful situations.

There were at least three benefits to Jairus that apply to us:

A. Fearful situations help us clarify our priorities.

It’s easy to drift off course in life and to spend our time in things that aren’t in line with our priorities, if we were to stop and think about it. But we don’t stop and think about it until a crisis like this brings us up short. As a synagogue ruler, Jairus was responsible for the maintenance of the building and for arranging the services. It was a position of status given only to those who had money and prestige. I can’t say for sure, but Jairus may have been a man who was over-committed to outside interests. But all of his success and prestige in the community suddenly paled in significance when he was faced with the loss of his only daughter.

Worldly success doesn’t insulate anyone from tragedy and death. It may afford a person access to the best medical treatment available. But doctors can only do so much. Every person must be ready to face death for himself and his loved ones. When it stares us in the face, we’re reminded that love for God and for others is the only thing worth living for.

When our daughter, Joy, was nine, we narrowly missed losing her when she fell out of a tree and barely missed landing on a rock that would have killed her. As it was, she had to have dozens of stitches in her arm. I have always deeply valued each of our children, so my priorities were not out of line. But then and even now, when I see the scars on her arm, my priorities come into focus. Becoming a “successful” pastor in the eyes of the Christian world isn’t my priority; being a faithful husband and father who imparts a love for God to my family is my priority.

B. Fearful situations strip away our pride and let the Lord prove Himself mighty on our behalf.

I don’t know if the male ego was bent in the same direction in first century Israel as it is in our day. But in our culture, most men tend to be “macho.” We don’t like to admit that we’re weak and needy. We like to think that we’re tough, in command of every situation. You see it when it comes to stopping to ask directions. The wife says, “Let’s pull into this service station and ask how to get there.” He says, “I’ll find it, dear. Just relax!” Sure enough, two hours later, they finally find it!

But this fearful situation stripped Jairus of any pride. He fell at Jesus’ feet, totally helpless. It wasn’t a dignified place for a synagogue ruler to be. He probably got his nice robe dirty. But he didn’t care. He knew he needed Jesus. He was willing to admit his need and be humbled, even in public.

That’s what gives the Lord the opportunity to prove Himself mighty on our behalf! If we protect our pride and come to Jesus and say, “Lord, I’ve almost got the situation under control, but I could use a little advice from You,” He is robbed of His glory. But when we come and cast ourselves at Jesus’ feet and say, “Lord, You must do it or there is no hope,” He is glorified and others are drawn to put their trust in Him. Hudson Taylor, the great pioneer missionary, used to say that when God wanted to open inland China to the gospel, He looked around until He found a man weak enough for the task. Fearful situations strip away our pride and let the Lord prove Himself mighty.

C. Fearful situations remind us of our mortality and drive us to trust in Christ.

Necessity is not only the mother of invention; it’s also the mother of faith. We don’t trust God as we should until we are forced to trust Him. There is nothing that drives us to desperation and fear like the threat of losing a child. But our fear can be God’s opportunity if we trust in Him.

Someone has said that we hang the heaviest weights by the thinnest wires. We put our hopes on this life, which is so tentative. We live and plan our lives as if death is a far-distant thing, something we need not think about until we’re in our eighties. But that which matters most to us can be taken quickly and without warning. When we stare death in the face, be it our own or the death of a loved one, we are suddenly reminded that life is a vapor and that we must be right with God.

Extreme necessity often drives a person to Jesus who wouldn’t come under less dire circumstances. Jairus had a position of prominence. He needed to maintain good relations with the Jewish leaders. Jesus wasn’t their most popular subject at the moment. In fact, they were plotting how they could kill Him (Mk 3:6). Chances are, Jairus wouldn’t have risked their disfavor by coming to Jesus if he didn’t have to. But his dying daughter forced him to come and trust in Jesus. This crisis proved to be of great benefit to him, not only in the healing of his daughter, but by giving birth to his faith in Christ, which meant eternal life.

Some of you face fearful situations today—a difficult marriage, a rebellious child, a personal health problem, the loss of a job or a financial setback. Whatever your fearful situation, it can be of great benefit if you let it clarify your priorities, strip away your pride, and drive you to trust in Jesus so that He can be glorified through it. But trusting Him isn’t easy:

2. In fearful situations we must overcome hindrances to faith.

When Jairus came to Jesus, he believed that Jesus could heal his daughter. But there were several hindrances or hurdles that Jairus had to overcome. I’ve already mentioned the hindrance of public opinion. What would the rabbis and others think of this synagogue ruler bowing before Jesus? There was also the hindrance of his own pride and reputation, which he would have felt the need to protect.

He also had to overcome the hindrance of interruptions, as this woman interrupted Jesus on His way to Jairus’ house. Jairus must have thought, “Why did this woman have to touch Jesus now, of all times? Let her touch Him tomorrow! My daughter is dying! Every second matters!”

Then his worst fears were realized as his friends came to tell him that his daughter had already died. That’s another hindrance to faith: Well-meaning, but misguided doomsayers who discourage us from clinging to the only source of hope. What they say may be true—Jairus’ daughter was dead. But they never add the mighty power of Jesus into their calculations. With Him there is hope even when human hope is lost!

With Jesus’ help, Jairus managed to hang on past that hindrance. But when they arrived at his house, he faced another. The house was already filled with professional mourners. Jewish custom demanded that even the poorest man hire a minimum of two flute players and one mourner in the event of a wife’s death. A man of Jairus’ position would have more. These people would perform a dance of death in which they swayed rhythmically with their hair hanging down. They gradually increased their mournful lament and the wild movement of their bodies until they worked themselves into a frenzy. That was the scene that greeted Jairus and Jesus as they came into the house.

Jesus quieted them and said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep” (Lu 8:52). The mourners began scoffing and laughing at Jesus because they knew that the girl had died. What did this man who just arrived on the scene and who hadn’t yet seen the girl know? Jairus was faced with another hindrance to his faith: Did he believe Jesus or these mockers who had the facts on their side?

Jesus’ words have led some to say that the girl wasn’t really dead, but just in a coma. But Luke makes it clear that the girl was dead (Lu 8:53, Lu 8:55, “her spirit returned”). Why, then, did Jesus say that she was asleep? His words were a parable with one meaning for those who believed in Him and another meaning for those who scoffed. For those who believed, there was the hope that she would be awakened. In Jesus’ presence, death was only temporary, like sleep. But for those who scoffed, Jesus was a simpleton who didn’t know what He was talking about. He didn’t know as much as they did. They were confirmed in their unbelief. Jesus put them out and later gave strict orders to Jairus and his wife not to make known how He had raised their daughter back to life. To those who had, more was given; to those who did not have, even what little they had was taken away.

When we face fearful situations, believing in Jesus is not easy. We will face hindrances and setbacks which can shake our confidence in Him. The world will often laugh at us and say, “What a fool to trust in Jesus! We have the facts on our side.” But we must overcome these hindrances and cling to our Savior. Just as He called Jairus to faith in the face of fear, so He calls us.

3. In fearful situations we must put our trust in Jesus.

I love the way that Jesus encouraged and nurtured Jairus’ weak faith in this crisis. He does the same with us today. Note these four ways Jesus encourages us to trust Him in fearful times:

A. Jesus’ willingness to accept us where we’re at encourages us to trust Him.

Jairus believed in Jesus, but it wasn’t an especially strong faith. The nobleman from Capernaum had believed that Jesus’ word spoken in Cana would heal his son from that distance. The centurion from Capernaum believed that Jesus could heal his servant by speaking the word without entering his house. But Jairus didn’t go and plead, “Speak the word and my daughter will get well.” He asked Jesus to come and lay His hands on her. It was a weak faith in comparison to the others, but Jesus accepted it and worked with Jairus from that point.

The Lord Jesus is so gracious! He doesn’t refuse to work with you unless your faith is perfect. You may have to cry out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24). Come to Jesus wherever you’re at, cast yourself upon Him, doubts and all, and He will begin the process of perfecting His good work in you.

B. Jesus’ power in working with others encourages us to trust Him.

Jesus started to go with Jairus, but then got interrupted by this woman with the hemorrhage. This was a hindrance to Jairus’ faith, in that while Jesus was dealing with her, word came that Jairus’ daughter had died. But it also served to strengthen his faith, as he saw Jesus’ power heal this needy woman. She had been 12 years in her affliction, the same number of years that Jairus’ daughter had lived. When Jesus called the woman “daughter,” He may have said it partially for Jairus’ benefit. In effect He was saying, “Jairus, this woman is My daughter who has been unclean for 12 years; I must heal her, too! What I do for her, I can do for your daughter.”

Jairus was put on hold while Jesus answered the call of this woman. Sometimes God puts us on hold. Our prayers don’t seem to be getting through. When that happens, it’s easy to think, “What’s going on? Why isn’t God answering my prayers?” But then we hear of how He has answered someone else’s prayers, and we’re encouraged. He can do for me what He did for that person!

C. Jesus’ tenderness encourages us to trust Him.

When word came that his daughter had died, Jairus’ face must have reflected fear and panic. But Jesus quickly and tenderly calmed him: “Don’t be afraid; just trust Me” (Lu 8:50, Living Bible).

Notice how tenderly Jesus dealt with the little girl. He took the dead girl’s hand, a defiling act for a Jew. But Jesus could not be defiled by death. His touch communicated that He cared for her. Then He spoke tenderly to her, “Child, arise.” Then Jesus told the exuberant parents to give her something to eat! In all of the excitement, that practical matter could easily be overlooked. Jesus tenderly cares for the whole person.

Doesn’t this glimpse of Jesus’ tenderness make you want to trust Him! Like a father helping his youngster learn to ride a bike, Jesus comes alongside and cheers, “Attaway! Keep going! You’re doing great!” If we fall and skin our knee, He tenderly cleans and bandages it and helps us get up and start over again.

D. Jesus’ mighty power over death encourages us to trust Him.

For Jesus, raising the dead was as easy as raising a sleeping child would be for us. He merely spoke the word and the dead girl came to life. Each time Jesus raised the dead, He did it by speaking: To the widow of Nain’s son, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Lu 7:14). To Lazarus, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Jn 11:43). Jesus said, “An hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear [My] voice and shall come forth,” some to eternal life, others to judgment (Jn 5:28). What a claim! On that coming day, His voice will cause bodies decomposed for centuries to be resurrected! Even now He speaks to those who are spiritually dead and imparts new life to them by His grace (Jn 5:25-26)!

Because Jesus is powerful over death, we can trust Him! John Calvin said, tongue in cheek, “There is no room to fear that [your] faith will be more extensive than the boundless power of God.... Our faith, however large, will never embrace the hundredth part of the divine goodness” (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker reprint], Harmony of the Evangelists, 1:414). No matter how fearful the situation, Jesus wants us to trust Him. He may or may not deliver our loved ones or us from death. But even if He does not, we can trust His mighty power and know that one day He will speak the word and all we who have trusted in Him will be gathered with Him, triumphant over sin and death.

Conclusion - The great Bible teacher, G. Campbell Morgan, lost his firstborn daughter. Forty years later, preaching on the story of Jairus, he said,

I can hardly speak of this matter without becoming personal and reminiscent, remembering a time forty years ago when my own first lassie lay at the point of death, dying. I called for Him then, and He came, and surely said to our troubled hearts, “Fear not, believe only.” He did not say, “She shall be made whole.” She was not made whole on the earthly plane. She passed away into the life beyond. He did say to her, “Talitha, cumi,” “little lamb, arise”; but in her case, that did not mean, stay on the earth level. It meant that He needed her, and He took her to be with Himself. She has been with Him for all those years, as we measure time here, and I have missed her every day; but His word, “Believe only,” has been the strength of the passing years. (Jill Morgan, A Man of the Word [Baker], pp. 82-83.)

However fearful your situation, Jesus’ word is for you: “Don’t fear, just trust Me.” He wants you to move from fear to faith in Him. Jesus is the only One who can calm our fears, because He alone has conquered death. On another occasion He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:1-3).

Discussion Questions

  1. Does faith require that we believe that Jesus is going to answer our prayers affirmatively or is it enough to believe Him whatever the answer?
  2. Why does God sometimes delay the answers to our prayers?
  3. What would you say to a critic who taunted, “How can you trust a God who allows a child to die?”
  4. Is fear sin? Is it ever okay? If so, when?