Reading through the Bible together
Luke 8 introduces us to the women who accompanied Jesus and His twelve disciples on His Galilean evangelistic tour. In gratitude for healing them “of evil spirits and infirmities (Luke 8:2), they provided for Jesus’ needs. His ministry had attracted people from every level of society, including Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the estate manager for Herod, the ruler of Galilee. The work of these women in caring for Jesus’ needs was as essential as the work of His twelve disciples. What spiritual, mental, social, or physical healing has Jesus given you? How can you use your time and possessions to thank Him?
Luke also shares with us the Parable of the Sower. Like other biblical stories, parables were told to teach a single, God-centered, good-news truth, not a theological meaning in every detail. Instead, look for the truth Jesus wanted His listeners to learn. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus is preparing His disciples: “to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2). Before He sent them out, Jesus wanted them to understand that people would respond in different ways to their preaching.
As you read Jesus’ parable in Luke 8:4-8 and His explanation in Luke 8:11-15, ask God to prepare the soil of your mind and heart. “Hear the word [of God] and bear fruit” (Luke 8:15). Then, pray that God will give you the courage and strength to keep sharing His Word even when people don’t respond. Though many people’s hearts are hard, rocky, or thorny, others will be receptive to the Good News you plant. At the end of the parable Jesus cried out: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 8:8). Jesus confirmed the importance of both hearing God’s Word and obeying it (Luke 8:18). When His mother and brothers could not reach Jesus because of the crowd, Jesus again emphasized the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word: “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).
Luke 8 ends with stories which show that winds and waves (Luke 8:22-25), demons (Luke 8:26-39), sickness (Luke 8:43-48, and even death (Luke 8:40, 41, 49-56) obey Jesus’ Word. Today, Jesus’ Word still contains His healing power. As we hear and follow His Word, Jesus will rebuke evil spirits, the sicknesses we face, and if need be restore us to our right mind.
Douglas Jacobs, D.Min.
Professor of Church Ministry and Homiletics
School of Religion, Southern Adventist University