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Christmas Reflections: Walk Through Luke - Chapter 8



The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.


December 8

Day 8

Luke chapter 8

There are 24 chapters in this book

They bring us through the story of Jesus - the reason for this season.


I also include in the bottom or comments some “extras” like short videos and songs that you may have never heard (or artists you may not know) that resonate with me during this holiday time.


Each post will start with who is who so that you can get a solid understanding of what this chapter is about. I encourage you to read the chapter in your own Bible after you read this. If you don’t have a Bible there are lots of free apps. I use several versions in my studying to ensure I have a full understanding of what I’ve read.


This is my commentary.


Who was Luke?

A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.


New characters continue to be introduced - new in this chapter:


* Females traveling with and following Jesus:

- Mary Magdalene (Jesus cast 7 demons from her)

- Joanna (was married to Chuza)

- Herod’s business manager

- Susanna

- Many unnamed people who were using their own resources to help Jesus and his disciples on their journey

- Jesus’ blood brothers

- A homeless, possessed man in the town of Gerasenes

- Herdsmen

- A man named Jairus (who was a leader in a synagogue), his wife and friends, and his 12 yr old daughter (who died)

- A woman who had suffered with having her period constantly for 12 years


TWELVE

12 is an important number in this chapter.

  • 12 disciples.

  • 12 yr old girl raised from the dead.

  • Woman healed after 12 years of bleeding.

12 is a number of completion.

  • We have 12 hours in a half a day.

  • 12 months in a year.

  • 12 is the year before someone turns a teenager.

  • When the clock strikes 12 a new day has begun.

  • Jesus had 12 disciples (yet many people traveled with him and believed in him).

  • There are 12 days of Christmas


THE IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN

Women are named in this chapter. At least 3 (another important number). This is unusual since during these times women were not “allowed” to be leaders and would likely not be mentioned by name in stories. Jesus makes it a point to have these women play prominent roles in his journey. Women weren’t allowed in the synagogue to hear teaching and yet he made a way for them to hear directly from Him as they followed.


MORE THAN 12 FOLLOWED

Jesus continued to travel around preaching, speaking and teaching. He was traveling with a caravan of disciples and followers. There were the official 12, but there were also others. There are some specific named women in this chapter.


These women had all been healed of something by Jesus.

* Mary Magdalene may be the most recognizable name, but she wasn’t the only woman traveling. She is mentioned 12 times in the Bible, was an important friend to Jesus, and witnessed his life, death, and resurrection. You can see a very short clip about Mary from The Chosen (clip in the comments below) this episode is one of the first ones in season one and I promise you what leads up to this day is so well produced - you will learn so much about who she really was before she became the most prominent female follower of Jesus. The series is free at thechosen.tv or YouTube. Please watch it. It’s one of the best produced quality programs on TV.


* Joanna - was married to a guy who managed the household for Herod Antipas (who was very wealthy) It’s likely she had the financial resources to travel with the group although we don’t know what Jesus cured her of. She joins Mary and Jesus’ mother later when Jesus dies and brings spices to his tomb only to see He is not there, but risen.

* Although unnamed, it’s likely that Herod’s business manager was also wealthy and that all these women were the actual ones bankrolling the journey.


Funny to think these women were closely tied to Herod, and it was Herod who ultimately became paranoid about Jesus. He’s the guy I mentioned in an earlier post that married his sister in law, reluctantly beheaded John the Baptist when he was seduced by his wife’s daughter, and ultimately had Jesus crucified.


* Susanna - we don’t know anything about her but her name is mentioned meaning she had a more important role than the many unnamed travelers.


TWO STORIES

As I mentioned in a previous post, Jesus’ teachings were often in the forms of parables or stories. This chapter has 2

Story 1:

Jesus told the large crowd of listeners about a farmer who had some seed he was going to plant.

As he scattered it:

- some fell on the walkway and was eaten by birds and stepped on

- Some fell in the rocks and started to grow but eventually wilted and died because it didn’t have a good water source.

- Some fell among weeds and thorns which eventually choked out and killed the plant

- Some fell on fertile soil and produced a crop 100x more than what was planted


After Jesus told this story his said “anyone with ears to hear should listen to understand.”

The disciples were enlightened and didn’t necessarily need these stories to explain the secrets of the kingdom of God, but Jesus used the stories to help others understand - otherwise people would look and not really see, and hear but not really understand


Here is what Jesus said the meaning of the story was:

1. the seed was God’s word

2. The seed on the sidewalk is the people who heard the message of God but the devil took it away from them so even though they’ve heard these things they don’t believe in their hearts (we can’t just be hearers, but are called to be doers of the Word). You cannot just say you’re a Christian and not live like one.

3. The seed on the rocks are people who hear God’s message and receive and believe it (or treat learning about God and Jesus as a fad) but when times get tough they forget and fall away into temptation because they didn’t establish deep roots. They stop believing in God when they have problems (He walks WITH us through valleys. We can’t get through easy times alone let alone tough times. Rely on Him)

4. The seed in the thorns represent people who hear the message and receive it but get so caught up in making money and worrying about money since they love the pleasures and riches of life. So they don’t live out what they hear and don’t grow in maturity in their faith. These people think money and more of it will make them happy and so they don’t let the message truly change them (this is a common struggle and even for me. But Jesus says to not worry and that everything WILL be provided for if we just believe)

5. The seeds in fertile soil then represent the people with a good foundation, rooted in healthy knowledge of God’s words, clinging to it, and knowing that by sticking to the Word, the harvest and the abundant life is coming and the role of this seed is to produce many more seeds


Story 2:

Jesus says you would not buy a lamp and put it under a bed or cover it up. You’d put it on a stand so it could light up the room so everyone could see the light from the lamp and all that it shines on.

While we don’t see everything God has for us right now, there will come a time when it is illuminated.

Some of what God will reveal hasn’t come to light yet. So be careful what you hear. The person who has received some things will receive more things. Some people have nothing. They think that have a little bit but will lose even that. Everything is about to be open and it is our responsibility to share what we know, hear, and read. This is why I’ve been writing these posts.


For those that know me, know how much family matters. In this next section of Luke, Mary (mother) and her other children came to see Jesus speak. Someone told Jesus they were there to see him and he said “my ‘mother and brothers’ are the ones who hear God’s word are are obedient to it.” This is the second time his mother probably had her heart broken. Remember when he was 12 and stayed behind after a Passover? I wonder how Mary felt this time. I have a HARD time sharing my kids with others because I want to be with them all the time

Mary had to share her son with the entire world, ultimately seeing him suffer a cruel and brutal death knowing she couldn’t prevent it or protect him. I wonder if that day Mary got to see her son or if the messenger had to tell her to just be a part of the crowd like everyone else.

I wonder if his blood brothers were resentful of him. We know not all of them loved him or followed him. How much sibling rivalry did they have? Mary’s heart would be broken a 3rd time soon when he is brutally killed and hung in front of her.


WAVES ON THE WATER

The chapter continues with Jesus wanting to cross the lake and during the trip he fell asleep in the boat. Massive waves started throwing so much water in the boat it was frightening the disciples who were manning the boat. Imagine sleeping through a massive wavy storm so bad the boat was about to capsize.

The disciples frantically woke Jesus up and told them they were in trouble and about to drown. Jesus stood to his feet and looked out into the water and said “silence! Quiet down!”. The waves ceased and the water became as smooth as glass. Then he looked at the disciples and said “why can’t you just trust me”. They were dumbfounded. Afraid but dismayed. They thought who can this man be that he calls out to the winds and the seas and they obey him?

NAKED MAN AT A CEMETERY

When they got to the other side of the lake across from Galilee they got to Gerasene and met a man possessed, living naked in some tombs. He had been arrested before and the Demons were so strong that they would break his chains and lead him back to these caves to be tormented by them. When Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of the man he fell on the ground and shouted “what do you want with me Jesus of Nazareth, Son of the most high God - please don’t punish me.” There’s no way this person would have known Jesus. This was the demon speaking to Him. Jesus asked “what’s your name” and the man said “Legion” it was the name the demon gave since there were several living in the man.

The demons begged Jesus to not send them to the bottomless pit of hell. Imagine they were asking Him not go there and how horrible of a place it must be. They’d rather torment a man than be in hell. They begged Jesus to let them just go into a nearby herd of pigs.

A CHANGE CAME

So they did and then Jesus sent them down a hill to fall into the water to drown. The men who were caring for the pigs ran (not walked) to the town and told everyone what happened. A bunch of people came to see and they found this possessed man now fully clothed and healed sitting at the feet of Jesus listening. They were perplexed and afraid and asked Jesus to go away. How could the tormented man be one way and was now completely another? Only Jesus. As he was leaving, the man asked if he could go too. Jesus told him no but to go to everyone he could find and tell everyone what God did for him.

Interesting twist - until now it seemed Jesus told people to tell no one about the miracles and now he wanted this man to tell everyone. The time was coming. Change was in the air.

TWO DAUGHTERS

In Galilee everyone was waiting for him and welcomed him back. Jairus was the leader of the synagogue and his only child was very sick and dying. She was 12. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house to heal her. On the walk there - tons of people were crowding Jesus. One woman in particular had been bleeding (menstruating) for 12 years. She quickly and quietly just touched the hem of his clothing so she could be healed. Instantly she stopped bleeding. Jesus stopped and said “who touched me just now?” The disciples said how can we know? There are so many people trying to get to you.”

He said he needed to know who it was because he could feel a large amount of energy and power go out of him.

She came forward shaking and bowed down before Jesus, told him why she touched him and that she was immediately healed. He said “my daughter, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace.” She didn’t even need to ask Jesus for the healing. She simply came near.


That’s what he wants from us - to come near to him, to know him, to follow him.


THE HEART OF A FATHER

A messenger met them and said the little girl didn’t make it. She had died. They told Jairus to not bother Jesus. Jesus told him “don’t be afraid” (sound familiar?) “Just believe and have faith and your daughter will be made well.”


When Jesus got to the house only Peter, John, James, He, and the parents went inside. Everyone was crying since the girl had died. Jesus told them to stop crying and that she was only asleep. The scoffed at Him because they knew she was dead. He held her hand and said “little girl get up”. Her spirit came back into her and she stood up immediately. Jesus told the parents to give her something to eat. They were amazed but He again said not to tell anyone what happened.

Jesus didn’t want people focused on the miracles. He wanted people focused on the MESSAGE. The message was that He came to heal, to forgive, to guide, and ultimately to save.


Tomorrow chapter 9



PRAYER

Lord thank you for showing the importance of women in your words and life. Thank you that I’m one of them. Thank you for making sure that the home of my heart and spirit only have room for you. May I only seek you and trust that enough-ness. Let me be a seed planted in fertile soil, not on the sidewalk, rocks, or In the weeds. Illuminate my heart, soul, and mind. Let me then also be a light that shines and isn’t shrouded. Thank you for showing that no ask is too big for you and that you can do things for me that are beyond me if my mind eyes and heart are fixed on you and the purpose. Thank you for calming waves and that when it seems unstable in life you still say to trust you and follow you because there’s a bigger plan here. Amen.


MUSIC - the universal language

Here’s a song to welcome us to this day:

The song that resonates most to me is about the many many times in the Bible Angels (and now Jesus in Luke) tell us not to be afraid. The song below is a beautiful song by my friend JJ Weeks https://youtu.be/zy1gAbBKlZ8


Here's another by Bethel music


This one will get you thinking:


And a last one. I wonder if this is how the disciples felt and yet all Peter needed to do was reach out his hand and grab a hold of Jesus.


EXTRAS:

Here is a video/audio depiction of this chapter. It’s from The Chosen and where Jesus heals Mary of Magdala https://youtu.be/uIolqFni50w


Here's the clip of Jesus healing the daughter:


And the clip of Him healing the bleeding woman


And the clip of Jesus calming the waters and saving Peter (Simon) https://youtu.be/fwh_ZYF0N7w?si=dvXMr29xpEhiEvCy

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