Today: [Luke 8] Are You Willing to Offend those with No Faith? In Luke 8 we find Jesus again in a situation where a child has died, and He is confronted by the mockery of those who have no faith. In response He puts them all out and proceeds to raise the dead back to life. Are you willing to offend those in your life who have no faith? Your answer may determine whether or not your dead are raised to life. If you want to see a miracle you have to be prepared to be an affront to those who refuse to believe.
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[Luk 8:1-26 KJV] 1 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, 2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. 4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 5 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. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 8 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. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 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. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 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. 13 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. 14 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. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience. 16 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. 17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither [any thing] hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18 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. 19 Then came to him [his] mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20 And it was told him [by certain] which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. 21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. 22 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. 23 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. 24 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. 25 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. 26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
In chapter 8 of Luke we are introduced to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, wife of a wealthy bureaucrat attached to king Herod, and Susanna, all women of means who supported Jesus ministered to Jesus of their substance (materiel support of His ministry). I wonder if they checked to see if He was a 501c3 organization? I wonder if they first reminded Him that freely He had received, therefore freely He should give without expecting to be supported by His followers? All of these “certain women” had been healed of evil spirits that Jesus had allegedly cast out of them. Does this mean that He was preying upon the vulnerable for financial gain? If Jesus had ministered in today’s religious climate, all of these charges and more may have been lodged against Him. Nonetheless we see that aside from common misconceptions about Jesus’ ministry there was a practical side to things that involved finances and expenses being underwritten by His supporters who appreciated what He did.
In verse 5 Jesus speaks to a large crowd, giving them what we identify as the parable of the sower. His disciples come to Him asking for an explanation of the parable. His response is to tell them BECAUSE THEY ASKED, it was given unto them to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to those not interested enough to ask it was not given to know, that “seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand…” That tells us that Jesus deliberately taught in coded language not for the purpose of simplifying His teachings but purposefully making them difficult to understand in order to turn away the tepid and lukewarm, and those with only a passing interest. What does this mean for us and how does it apply today? In today’s church climate, teachers who do not simplify their teachings in the extreme are considered unskilled in their pulpit delivery. The complaint is often made that the gospel is for the simple, and if a teaching isn’t easily understood then the teacher is disqualified. How would that apply in the instance of Jesus who stated plainly that His presentation style was purposefully intended to turn off and turn away all except the most insistent disciples hungry for truth?
Jesus expounds then to His followers the parable of the sower:
The Seed is the Word of God.
The Wayside Hearers are those easily distracted who allowed the message to escape them because their interest was not sincere.
The seed sown on the rock or stony ground are those who receive the message of the gospel enthusiastically but because they are merely emotional consumers of the message, fall away when it costs them something to commit to the message.
The seed sown among thorns are those who receive the word, and have depth to give it more than just a passing consideration, however they allow the problems of life and the tyranny of the urgent to marginalize the priorities of the gospel and they never get to the point of seeing the seed of the word to produce anything substantive in their life.
The good ground are those who receive “in an honest and good heart”. What does that tell us about the other three types of ground (or hearts of men)? The thorny ground hearers might see themselves as victims of the pressures of life. The stony ground hearers may see themselves as passionate advocates of the message, even though it has no deep impact on them. The wayside hearers may object that if the message had been more interesting or understandable they might have paid more attention. Jesus says in effect they are in reality dishonest and corrupt in their hearts, regardless of the excuses they give.
If the word of God is going to produce in your life v. 15 tells us we must do three things:
- Hear the word.
- Keep the word.
- Maintain patience to bring forth fruit.
The word keep there in v. 15 means to take hold of, retain, seize upon and hold fast. When we hear God’s word it is what WE DO with it that determines what happens next. It isn’t all up to God. You can’t take a passive attitude and just wait to see what happens next. You must act to incorporate it into your life and do so on a protracted basis with much patience if you are going to see it bear fruit. This is what those with honest and good hearts will do with the word of God once they hear it. If that isn’t what someone does with the word they may complain that it should have produced in their life but Jesus states plainly that they are speaking out of dishonest minds and corrupt hearts.
In verses 16-17 Jesus states that the word of God like a light will make manifest and expose what is in a person’s life, therefore we should (v. 18) take heed how we hear. What that tells us is that as far as Jesus is concerned the parable of the sower is an instruction manual for us that we might know how to hear the word of God sown into our hearts.
After delivering this message, apparently Jesus family members thought enough was enough and they sent word from the fringes of the crowd gathered that they would like to see Jesus. We know from other accounts that they thought He was beside Himself and apparently planned to apprehend Him and take Him back to Nazareth to avoid anymore embarrassment to the family. Have you ever embarrassed your family because of your testimony of doing what God called you to do? If you haven’t embarrassed your family, you probably aren’t making your calling and election sure. Nonetheless Jesus ignores His mother and brethren and simply declares that His true family did not consist of those naturally related to Him but rather those who heard His word and acted upon it.
[Luk 8:27-56 KJV]
27 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. 28 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. 29 (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.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32 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. 33 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. 34 When they that fed [them] saw what was done, they fled, and went and told [it] in the city and in the country. 35 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. 36 They also which saw [it] told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37 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. 38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 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. 40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people [gladly] received him: for they were all waiting for him. 41 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: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind [him], and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 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? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 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. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 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. 50 But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 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. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
Jesus crosses over to the other side of Gennesaret to the land of the Gadarenes. A man possess of many devils, naked among the tombs comes out shouting at Jesus to torment him not. The demons identify themselves as Legion (or many) and plead with Jesus to allow them to go into a herd of pigs. Notice that verse 31 shows that the demons thought Jesus would send them to a place they called “the deep” and they feared that exceedingly. That tells us that there is no secret domain where demons are dancing around the flames of hell making merry with their pitchforks. Whatever is happening here, it is Jesus who is in authority and not these demonic entities. Word spreads about the deliverance of the Gaderene and the people come out in force not to receive Jesus but to ask Him to leave their coasts. They don’t care that the man is set free. They don’t care that Jesus is a miracle worker with power over devils. They just don’t want the complications that His presence represents. Jesus gives no response but just turns around and gets back into the ship to leave.
Jesus goes back to the other side of the Gennesaret where He had taught the parable of the sower, and by contrast the people receive Him gladly. There He is approached by Jairus, the ruler of a local synagogue, and the man implores Jesus falling at His feet to please come and heal his only daughter, 12 years old. Jesus agrees to accompany the man back to his house, but the crowd is so great it is slow going. In the midst of the chaos a woman with an issue of blood pushes through the jostling crowd and touches the hem of Jesus garment. Immediately Jesus stops and looking around asks “who touched Me?” It seems to be a ridiculous question because hundreds of people are pressing in upon Him and touching Him, but Jesus insists that someone has made a demand on the healing virtue resident within Him. The woman comes forward, trembling and falls at Jesus feet, confessing that it was she, as though she had done something wrong. On the contrary Jesus tells her that her faith had made her whole, go in peace. Notice in this case Jesus didn’t say that He had healed the woman but that her faith had healed her. This is an important and much misunderstood truth. God gave to every man the measure of faith and the faith that God gives to us as human beings is capable of doing for us what we think many times only God can or will do. This is a truth greatly misunderstood and almost totally ignored in the teachings of Jesus.
After healing the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus is informed that all is lost, Jairus’ daughter is dead. Jesus rejects the report and answers Jairus that he should “fear not” but “believe only” and the miracle will yet happen. He arrives at Jairus’ home and the mourners have already begun. Jesus brushes past them insisting that the girl is not dead but is only sleeping. Jesus looks at this bad situation and refuses to see anything but a miracle. The mourners go from sad mournful sighs to snickers of mockery and jest. Who does Jesus think He is? Doesn’t He know a dead body when He sees one. Jesus puts them all out and raises the girl back to life again. Learn the lesson here. Are you willing to put out the mourners that gather around that which is dead in your life? Are you willing to reject the mockery of those around you in order to receive your miracle? It is often necessary to cut off some relationships that are working against what you are believing for if you are going to receive from God. Jesus does this and resurrection is the result. You likewise can receive your dead back to life again if you are willing to offend those around you who have no faith.
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