corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 8

 

 

Verses 1-3

WOMAN’S MINISTRY

Luke 8:1-3. “And it came to pass consecutively, He was going through city and village, proclaiming and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the Twelve were along with Him, and certain women who had been healed from evil spirits and disease; Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom seven demons had gone, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod, and Susanna, and many others, who continued to minister unto Him from those things which appertain to them.” In this catalogue of Christian workers who accompanied our Lord, assisting Him in His vast and stupendous ministry in the interest of both soul and body, also supplying Him and His apostles, doubtless, with temporalities, were Mary, called Magdalene, from her resident city Magdala, which stands on the northwestern coast of the Galilean Sea. It is now a dirty, barbaric village, occupied by nomadic Arabs. Many have taken up the conclusion that she was this fallen woman described in the preceding chapter. Of this we have no evidence whatever, and should not indulge in gratuitous fancy. This woman was in Capernaum, about ten miles from Magdala overland. Some able writers have pronounced Mary Magdalene a common harlot. This may have been true, but we have no evidence of it. Jesus cast seven demons out of her, but we do not know what kind; but we do know that she became one of His truest disciples and brightest saints, standing at the front of the faithful sisterhood, who lingered last at the cross, and were the first to look into the empty sepulcher, and the first to go and preach the risen Jesus, and doubtless is this day one of the brightest glorified saints. We see here that Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, was also a constant minister of our Lord, keeping her king and his court well posted about the mighty works of Jesus, as ever and anon she returned home to the royal palace at Machaerus, where her husband was a member of the king’s cabinet. Besides these two sisters, so prominent in the ministry of our Lord, were Susanna and many others, who ministered unto Him constantly and regularly. This is the second great tour our Savior takes, peregrinating the whole country from city to city, accompanied by the twelve apostles and these ministering sisters, constituting a grand evangelistic force, so they could go into a city and literally capture it with the agencies of gospel grace.


Verses 4-18

CHAPTER 26

THE SOWER

Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-25; & Luke 8:4-18. Mark: “And again He began to teach by the sea; and a great multitude were gathered unto Him, so that, entering into a ship, He sat in the sea. The whole multitude was at the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables. And He said unto them in His teaching, Hear ye! Behold, a sower went out to sow, and it came to pass while he was sowing, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it; and others fell among the rocks, where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth; the sun having risen, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away. And other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked it out, and it brought forth no fruit; and others fell in good ground, and springing up brought forth fruit, and produced, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold. And He said unto them, Let the one having ears to hear, hear.”

Matthew 8:10 : “And His disciples coming said to Him, Wherefore do You speak to them in parables? And He responding, said to them, Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” How clearly do we see this law of spiritual thrift universally demonstrated in the kingdom of God! The great preachers are not those favored with brilliant precocity in the outset. Adam Clarke, who became the greatest linguist and theologian of his day, is said to have been proverbial for his juvenile stupidity. The brightest saints did not all receive a Pauline conversion nor a Pentecostal sanctification; but utilizing the germ of grace and spark of fire, they have moved on from the tinkling rill to the swelling river, from the potato-hill to the towering mountain. If you do not cultivate the grace given and utilize it for God, it will be taken from you, and given to others who will magnify the Donor. “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand;” i.e., they see with their physical eyes and hear with their mortal ears, while their spiritual senses are locked tight in the death of sin. “The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled unto them, saying, By hearing, ye shall hear, and may not understand; seeing, ye shall see, and may not perceive.” You observe here the contingent tense of these verbs revelatory of grace, which is freely administered by the Holy Spirit to all who will receive it, as He is ever present to open the blind eyes and unstop the deaf ears, soften the stony heart, and quicken the dead spirit into life, thus giving blessed spiritual availability to all who will reciprocate His merciful intervention.

“For the heart of this people has waxed gross, and they hear heavily with their ears, and they have closed their eyes, lest they may see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and turn, and I shall heal them.” (Isaiah 6:9.)

Where E.V. here says “be converted,” the reading is simply “may turn unto Me,” denoting their own spontaneous action, receptive of Divine mercy and spiritual overtures. “Happy are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men desired to see those things which you see, and saw them not; and to hear those things which you hear, and heard them not.” All the prophets, from the days of Abel through the lapse of four thousand years, had hoped and longed to see Jesus come on the earth, but died without the sight. So the saints of the Christian ages have lived and died, longing to see Jesus return in His glory. Shall our faith waver because He tarrieth? God forbid! Mark 4:14 : “The sower soweth the word. Those who are by the wayside, when the word is sown, and when they may hear it, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which was sown in their hearts.

And likewise those who were sown upon the rocks are they who, when they may hear the word, immediately with joy receive it. And they have no root in themselves, but are temporary; then tribulation or persecution arising on account of the word, immediately they are offended. And the others, who were sown among the thorns, are they who, hearing the word, and the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches and desires concerning remaining things come in, choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those which were sown in good ground are they who hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold.” Here, in this notable, beautiful, and exceedingly lucid Parable of the Sower, we have four different sowings — the wayside, the stony ground, the thorny ground, and the good ground. You observe the final failure on the part of all the sowings except the good ground. The wayside sowing was all caught away by the fowls of the air, which emblematize demons. Consequently there were no results whatever in their case. O, what a large proportion of popular audiences belongs to this class! The precious truth on which they are dependent for salvation is snatched up by their guardian demons and carried away, the Word going in at one ear and out at the other, leaving them utterly empty and blank; so they get nothing, thus living and dying under the blaze of gospel day, but in practical heathenism, only hastening to a more dreadful damnation than if they had lived and died in Central Africa. The second sowing is among the rocks, where soil is scarce, and the underlying strata near the surface. It is a well-known fact in agriculture that this sort of land warms early under the vernal sun, germinating quickly, giving farmers the first grass in spring and the first vegetables; yet it is the first to wilt under the scorching summer sun, and to feel the heavy tread of an autumnal drought. What is needed to make this land all right? Blow up the rocks, break them to pieces, using the workable for edifices, fences, and roads, burning the fragments into lime to enrich the ground, thus transforming these almost worthless stony hills into fertile fields and blooming gardens. The stony ground here is the superficial convert, who, as Jesus says, “immediately receives the Word with joy;” i.e., is converted easily and quickly, characteristic of the great, sweeping revivals, in which hundreds and thousands are counted, and after a year we scarcely find a corporal’s guard. The trouble is, they are not “rooted and grounded in love.” (Ephesians 3:18.) Hence, when tribulation or persecution rises, they are offended; i.e., they fall away. If the work could move on steadfastly, not giving them time to backslide, till the dynamite of the Holy Ghost blows out and breaks up all the stony strata in the deep interior of the heart, thus sanctifying them wholly and transforming them into “good ground,” they would stand all right. The third sowing is in the thorny ground, which is much better and more hopeful than the stony ground. Thorns indicate rich soil, yet they are awfully obnoxious to the crop, and exceedingly difficult to get rid of, surviving every other indigenous bramble, and even making their appearance after the land has been cultivated a hundred years. We need the long, sharp mattock of entire sanctification to dig them out by the roots, then burn them into ashes, and sow it on the fields to enrich the soil, thus developing it into good ground. Jesus tells us that these thorns are the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and desires appertaining to other things; i.e., things other than the kingdom of God. The thorny ground here gets a much better and deeper work of grace than the stony ground, and is apt to get the victory over the seductive temptations to carnal pleasure and worldly amusement incident to the youth, and go on into the sterner responsibilities of middle life, to find accumulating riches, multiplication of worldly business, social and official aggrandizement, preponderant over the citadel of grace in his heart, ultimately getting the door open wide enough for Satan, with a cohort of carnal and worldly imps, to come in, quench the fire of spiritual devotion, and freeze him into a beautiful iceberg, reflecting the splendor of the polar sun, which shines six months without setting, concentrating the admiration of the whole Church, so they elect him a member of the General Conference, promoting him to honors and emoluments, making him a ruling elder; and, finally, preaching him a glorious funeral sermon, while he is with Dives in hell. The digging necessary to take out all the thorn roots is quite a painful ordeal, while the consuming fire of the Holy Ghost, in His sanctifying Pentecost, by the mere mention, brings stampede into a popular Church, filled up with these thorny-ground backsliders. The fourth sowing is on the good ground. Of course you already know what this good ground is. It is the heart which the Holy Ghost has made good, as none are good by nature. In the Divine estimation, pursuant to the great plan of salvation, the ground is not good till all the rocks and thorns are sanctified out. You see ample provisions are made in the economy of gospel grace to make all the ground good; i.e., sanctify every heart. How can you make the hard, dry, wayside land good? Throw the fence of God’s gracious providence around it, and keep stock from treading on it. The vernal showers will soften it, the freezes loosen it up, till it becomes alluvial. Cast fertilization on it, take out all of the rocks, and grub up all of the thorns; let the plow go down deep, and the harrow do thorough work, and before you are aware, you have good ground. You see in the progress of this parable that, out of the four sowings, only one proves a success. The wayside does not so much as receive the seed till it is devoured by the demons. The stony ground germinates quickly, but utterly withers speedily, terminating in total failure; while the thorny ground not only germinates, but grows up and produces fruit; but Luke says it does not bring it to perfection; i.e., it either rots on the stalk, or after it is gathered, as unripe fruit will not keep. Hence you see that the only hope for the first three sowings is to turn all of the land into good ground — i.e., get all hearts sanctified wholly — then every sowing will be a success. You here see the wonderful growth in grace peculiar to sanctified people; as in case of the good ground some produce thirty-fold — i.e., at the end of life had thirty times as much religion as when they were converted; others, sixty; and others, a hundred — i.e., winding up with a hundred times the quantum of regenerating grace. O what an incentive to everybody to come into the good ground — i.e., to get sanctified wholly!

“And He said to them, Whether does the light come, that it may be placed under a bushel or under a bed? is it not that it may be placed on a candlestick? for there is nothing hidden which may not be revealed; nor was there anything secret, but that it may come into the light. If any one has ears to hear, let him hear. And He said to them, See what you hear. With what measure you measure, it shall be measured unto you, and shall be added to those who hear. For whosoever may have, shall be given unto him; whosoever has not, it shall be taken from him whatsoever he hath.”

Thus our Lord winds up this beautiful, lucid, and instructive Parable of the Sower with a few pertinent practical remarks. If you would not put your light under a bushel, you must become good ground, and appreciate the wonderful possibilities of accumulation here specified, one gaining thirty, another sixty, and another a hundred fold. His trite maxim about hearing, He also subjoins. To the unspiritual it sounds insignificant, as the multitude were then hearing His voice; yet it is only the spiritually quickened ear that can hear the voice of God that wakes the dead, physical ears only hearing the voice of the man who can not save. We receive the Man Christ, while the God Christ saves us. He also here very pertinently repeats His wonderful law of spiritual thrift. That if we faithfully utilize the gifts and graces He gives us, He will increase them indefinitely; while if we are lazy and unappreciative, He will take them away altogether, giving us a place with the “unprofitable servant.”


Verse 19

CONSANGUINITY OF THE HOLY GHOST

Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; & Luke 8:19; Luke 8:21; Luke 11:27-28. “And it came to pass while He was speaking these things, a certain woman, lifting up her voice from the crowd, said to Him, Blessed is the womb having born Thee, and the breast which Thou didst suck. And He said, Truly, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” This is simply the gushing ejaculation of a woman in the crowd, so carried away with admiration of His mighty works and wonderful preaching that she is electrified with the conception of the glorious honor appertaining to the woman who enjoyed the privilege and the blessing of motherhood, thus giving the world such a Son. Matthew: “And He, speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers are standing without, seeking to speak to Him. And responding, He said to the one having spoken to Him, Who is My mother and who are My brothers? Reaching forth His hand toward His disciples [Mark says they were all sitting down around Him in a circle], said, Behold, My mother and My brothers. For whosoever may do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, My sister, and My mother.” Luke says, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” His reputed father, Joseph, is not mentioned here in connection with the family, neither have we a single word in reference to him since Jesus accompanied them to the temple when He was twelve years old. There is not doubt but he died during the ensuing eighteen years. We hear of Jesus having sisters living in Nazareth; doubtless married. Questions arise in reference to these brothers of Jesus — four in number, James, Judas, Simon, and Joses — the Roman Catholics, conservatively to their Mariolatry, claiming that they were the sons of Joseph by a former marriage; and the Protestants, certainly with more plausibility, that they were the uterine brothers of Jesus, and of course younger than Himself, as we have not an intimation that Joseph had a former marriage, and especially from the fact that we always find them in company with Mary, which looks much like she was their mother. Jesus then being thirty-two years old, if they were children of Joseph by a former marriage, it would put them up considerably in bachelorhood, and not seem very plausible that they would have been giving a stepmother so much attention. There is no doubt but they, thinking that He was wearing Himself out, wanted to prevail on Him to relax labor, and go home with them, and take a good rest, which was incompatible with the urgency of His important ministry. We see here, His natural relatives go into eclipse when contrasted with the spiritual. So we all find, as we become more spiritual, our physical consanguinity sinks into deeper eclipse; not that we love our natural relatives less, but the consanguinity of the Holy Ghost is so much sweeter and richer than that of this world, that we find our affections absorbed and literally captured by the saints of God, admiring and appreciating them in proportion to their approximation to that Perfect Man, the fairest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.


Verse 21

CONSANGUINITY OF THE HOLY GHOST

Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; & Luke 8:19; Luke 8:21; Luke 11:27-28. “And it came to pass while He was speaking these things, a certain woman, lifting up her voice from the crowd, said to Him, Blessed is the womb having born Thee, and the breast which Thou didst suck. And He said, Truly, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” This is simply the gushing ejaculation of a woman in the crowd, so carried away with admiration of His mighty works and wonderful preaching that she is electrified with the conception of the glorious honor appertaining to the woman who enjoyed the privilege and the blessing of motherhood, thus giving the world such a Son. Matthew: “And He, speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers are standing without, seeking to speak to Him. And responding, He said to the one having spoken to Him, Who is My mother and who are My brothers? Reaching forth His hand toward His disciples [Mark says they were all sitting down around Him in a circle], said, Behold, My mother and My brothers. For whosoever may do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, My sister, and My mother.” Luke says, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” His reputed father, Joseph, is not mentioned here in connection with the family, neither have we a single word in reference to him since Jesus accompanied them to the temple when He was twelve years old. There is not doubt but he died during the ensuing eighteen years. We hear of Jesus having sisters living in Nazareth; doubtless married. Questions arise in reference to these brothers of Jesus — four in number, James, Judas, Simon, and Joses — the Roman Catholics, conservatively to their Mariolatry, claiming that they were the sons of Joseph by a former marriage; and the Protestants, certainly with more plausibility, that they were the uterine brothers of Jesus, and of course younger than Himself, as we have not an intimation that Joseph had a former marriage, and especially from the fact that we always find them in company with Mary, which looks much like she was their mother. Jesus then being thirty-two years old, if they were children of Joseph by a former marriage, it would put them up considerably in bachelorhood, and not seem very plausible that they would have been giving a stepmother so much attention. There is no doubt but they, thinking that He was wearing Himself out, wanted to prevail on Him to relax labor, and go home with them, and take a good rest, which was incompatible with the urgency of His important ministry. We see here, His natural relatives go into eclipse when contrasted with the spiritual. So we all find, as we become more spiritual, our physical consanguinity sinks into deeper eclipse; not that we love our natural relatives less, but the consanguinity of the Holy Ghost is so much sweeter and richer than that of this world, that we find our affections absorbed and literally captured by the saints of God, admiring and appreciating them in proportion to their approximation to that Perfect Man, the fairest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.


Verses 22-25

STORM ON THE GALILEAN SEA

Matthew 13:18-27; Mark 4:35-41; & Luke 8:22-25; Luke 9:57-62. Mark: “And He says to them on that day, it being evening, Let us cross over to the other side. And leaving the multitude, they receive Him, as he was in the ship; and there were many other ships along with Him. And there is a great storm of wind, and the waves poured into the ship, so that it was already sinking.” Matthew says is was covered with the waves, and Luke says they were being filled up and were in danger. The Sea of Galilee, seven hundred feet below the Mediterranean, as a natural consequence of this deep depression, is surrounded by mountains on all sides, except the deep valley through which the Jordan flows from the north and out toward the south. Consequently it is very liable to sudden tornadoes; the atmosphere, pouring down in all directions from the highlands, gets turned about, and develops whirlwinds, which are very dangerous, as it is sixteen and one-half miles long and seven and one-half miles wide, with a coast of seventy-five miles. We were warned by the guidebooks to beware of storms. This we heeded, lighting on the good fortune to get a very valuable boat, which was built last year, in Beyroot, for the especial accommodation of the German emperor. We found it splendid, and, sailing over the sea two days, encountered no storm. “He was lying in the stern, sleeping on a pillow; they arouse Him up, and say to Him, Master, is there no care to Thee that we perish?” Matthew: “And He says to them, Why are ye cowardly, O ye of little faith?” This was a just rebuke; because they might have known that they were in no danger with Him on hoard. This is the secret of perfect love, which always takes Jesus aboard, casting out fear. Mark “And rising, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Be quiet!

be calm! And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said to them, Why are ye afraid? How have you not faith? And they feared with great fear, and continued to say to one another, Who then is this, because the wind and the sea obey Him?” This was a most incontestable miracle, commanding the elements of nature, illustrating to all that He had made the sea and the storms, and had nothing to do but speak, and they promptly obey. We sailed over the same route last November, meanwhile we read the account of this storm and the miraculous calm.


Verses 26-37

THE DEMONIZED GADERENE

Matthew 8:28-34; Matthew 9:1; Mark 5:1-21; and Mark 5:26-40. We visited this country of the Gadarenes, which comes down to the northeast coast of this sea; Gergesa, their capital, situated on a beautiful, rich plain, enjoying a handsome view of this beautiful water, as well as the majestic mountains and fertile valleys of the surrounding countries. Matthew says they came to Gergesa, Mark and Luke say they came to the country of Gadara. This is in perfect harmony, as Gergesa was the city and Gadara the country. You must remember that when our Savior bade the temple adieu, the day before He was arrested, He said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Within forty years from the utterance the Roman armies signally verified it. Hence the desolation has been on that country ever since. However, Gadara was a Gentile country; but it was the subject of a terrible Divine retribution, as we will see in this narrative, for rejecting the ministry of Jesus. “And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes, and a man with an unclean spirit, from the tombs, met Him immediately having come out of the ship, who had his habitation among the tombs; and no one was able to bind him with chains, because frequently he had been bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been slipped off by him and the fetters torn to pieces, and no one was able to subdue him.” Matthew says there were two demoniacs, exceedingly fierce, so no one could pass that way. Mark and Luke speak of but one. Luke says that he wore no clothing. It is a notable fact that raging maniacs have an aversion to wearing clothing, and if possible will tear it off. Mark: “And he was all the time, night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains; was crying, and cutting himself with stones. Seeing Jesus a great way off, he ran and fell down before Him, and crying, with a great voice, said, What is there to me and to Thee, O Jesus, the Son of the Most High God? I adjure Thee, in the name of God, that you torment me not; for He said to him, Unclean spirit, come out from the man.” Luke says: “For a long time he had possessed him, and he was kept bound with fetters and chains; and smashing his fetters, he was driven by the demon into the wilderness. And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? and he said, Legion, because many demons had entered into him. And he continued to exhort Him that He may not command them to depart into the abyss;” i.e., the bottomless pit.

God never created the devil, a sinner, nor a snake. The snake originated from the transformation of the Nahash, an intelligent biped, one of the intermediate links between man and the lower animals, and unfortunately used by Satan in the abduction of humanity. Satan is a fallen archangel:

“How thou art fallen, O Lucifer, the morning star!” (Isaiah 14:12.)

The term “devil” is the ordinary cognomen of Satan, demon being the regular epithet applied to those innumerable evil spirits, swarming up out of the bottomless pit and thronging the atmosphere, their highest aspiration being a habitation in some human spirit, as in the case of this Gadarene, into whom a whole legion — i.e., ten thousand — had crowded together. Nothing is so terrible to these demons as the gloomy dungeons of the bottomless pit. Consequently they importuned Jesus not to send them thither. Originally the intelligences inhabiting the innumerable worlds, constituting the celestial empire, were presumptively all on probation. In the fatal revolt of Lucifer, an immense host, perhaps one-third (Revelation 12), followed the apostate archangel. As this apostasy, in all probability, infected many celestial worlds, we find innumerable hosts of fallen demons roaming round this world, hunting a habitation in some human heart. (Ephesians 6) We have no right to conclude that this Gadarene is the only legionaire in all the earth. It is pertinent to remember how all the demons, with whom Jesus comes in contact, recognize Him. We have no record at what epoch in bygone eternity the angels were created; evidently long before Divinity spoke this world into existence. As Jesus is co-eternal with God Himself, identical with the uncreated Jehovah, the recognition of these demons is doubtless a vivid reminiscence of the bright celestial ages which glided away before the dark period of rebellion and ruin supervened. It is here specified that the legionaire tore his clothing from his person, smashing all the fetters and escaping from all the chains with which they could bind him. The muscular power of these Oriental red men is vastly superior to that of Europeans and Americans. In all probability, he was a natural giant, as were most of the aborigines in that country in the days of Joshua; for you must remember he was not a Hebrew, but a Gentile. It is generally believed that physical strength is located in the muscles. This is a mistake. The muscles are the mere instruments used by the nerves, which are the custodians of physical power. A crowbar is a most potent instrument in the hands of a stalwart man; but left alone, utterly impotent.

I thought the muscles were the custodians of physical strength till, in 1884, a stroke of partial paralysis demonstrated the utter impotency of the muscles without nervous stimuli. From a human standpoint, the exegesis of Samson’s paradoxical strength was the induement of the Holy Ghost, who operated through his nerves, thus imparting miraculous physical dynamics. Now remember, this Gadarene had ten thousand demons, ready in a moment to electrify his nerves, thus imparting an incredible muscular power. I have seen epileptics whom it took a half-dozen strong men to manage. You have all witnessed the extraordinary feats of strength and activity performed by maniacs, lunatics, and epileptics. This man was doubtless a combination of them all, so many demons, ready at any moment to turn loose the very galvanic batteries of the pandemonium on their poor victim, thus making them instrumental in the most paradoxical feats of agility and power. Why did he dwell among the tombs? Satan is king of death and hell. He sways his leaden scepter over every graveyard, holding fast every human body in the dark sepulcher, as their souls in the regions of woe. Hence these demons found congeniality among the tombs.

Mark 5:11. “And there was at the mountain a great herd of swine, feeding. And all the demons entreated him saying, Send us into the swine, that we may go into them. And Jesus immediately permitted them. And the unclean spirits, having come out, went into the swine, and the herd rushed down a steep place into the sea, and there were about two thousand, and they perished in the sea.” These heathen Gentiles set great store on the hog, a notoriously unclean animal, which God’s people were forbidden to raise, heavy interdictions being laid on the eating of the same. When I visited that country last November, our dragoman showed us the mountain traditionally recognized as the pasture of the swine, and the cliff down which the whole herd stampeded into the sea; thus transmitting to us a most monitory lesson against demoniacal possession, which is so common in all ages, the present day being no exception to the rule. Here we see these hogs unhesitatingly choosing suicide rather than demoniacal possession. This verdict of the swine should put millions to the blush this day, who go over the earth, full of demons, and claiming a place among the bon tons of society. “And those herding them fled, and proclaimed in the city and in the country; and they came out to see what is that which has been done. And they come to Jesus, and see the demonized man sitting down, clothed, and in his right mind, him who was called Legion; and they were afraid. And those seeing, explained to them how it occurred to the demonized man, and concerning the swine. And they began to entreat Him to depart from their coasts.” Luke 8:36 : “And those seeing, explained to them how the demonized man was saved; and the whole multitude of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes entreated Him to depart from them, because they were possessed with great fear.” Here we have the united testimony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to the unanimous and importunate verdict of all the Gadarenes, requesting Jesus to leave their country. That this awful and hopeless demoniac had been wonderfully saved, all admitted. But there was another phase to the matter — they had lost their swine. Now a pertinent question looks them all in the face. Will they have Jesus or bacon? If they keep Jesus, they can have all of the sick healed, all the devils cast out, all the people saved, soul and body, and turn their country into a little heaven, so they can live on angels’ food instead of “hog and hominy.” The popular verdict comes quickly, and without a dissenting voice: they all decide to let Jesus go, and save their bacon to eat and sell for the money.

DOOM OF GADARA

“And embarking into the ship, He returned;” i.e., went back to Capernaum, the center of His evangelistic work in the North, thus throwing a dark shadow over all of that country of the Gadarenes, which has wrapped it in gloom and withered it with desolation these eighteen hundred years. When I visited that country, with its beautiful, fertile plains, bordering on the sea; majestic, rich mountains, with innumerable valleys and coves — all, at the time of our Savior’s visit, flourishing as the gardens of the Lord, cultivated by a thriving and enterprising people, whose temporal needs a gracious Providence had most abundantly supplied. So they needed nothing but the Savior, whom, in loving, Fatherly affection, He so kindly sent them. O what a grand introductory He made among them in saving the worst man they had! How all hell rallied to hold their grip tight on Gadara! Jesus comes to all people, even uninvited, thus pitying their blindness and ignorance, and giving all a chance for salvation. But when He turns the light on them, if, instead of rejoicing in it, they prefer darkness, and, like these besotted Gadarenes, even have the impudence to ask Him to leave, He always goes, leaving them to their choice, with the devil and hell, world without end. Jesus saves none against their will; neither does He stay where He is not wanted. When I stood upon the old walls of Gergesa, the capital of Gadara, to which Jesus went, and looked around upon the ruins of the city, without an inhabitant except the wandering Arabs, then on the spot, grazing their herds and flocks, and saw their country, which has lain desolate eighteen hundred years, I saw in panorama, as I look out over the sea, Jesus embarking on the ship, which sails away, appearing smaller and smaller, till she passes out of sight, thus leaving poor Gadara doomed and ruined. How signally has this been verified in the dismal fate of that country! The Gadarenes have literally faded from the face of the earth, not one to be found; their capital desolate, their cities and villages depopulated and destroyed; their country in the hands of the nomadic Bedonins, the wild sons of Ishmael, in reference to whom God said, “His hand shall be against every man’s hand, and every man’s hand against him.” They are born robbers. If you would visit the land of Gadara this day, you would need an armed escort to save you from robbery and murder. What a warning to the people who request Jesus to depart from them!


Verses 36-41

THE LEGIONAIRE TURNS PREACHER

“And the man out of whom the demons had gone, besought Him that he should be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to your own home, and explain how many things God hast done for you. And he went away, preaching throughout the whole city how many things Jesus did for him.” Mark 5:20. “And he went away, and began to preach in Decapolis how many things Jesus did for him, and all continued to be astonished.” This is quite contrastive with the uniform habit of Jesus, telling them not to publish His mighty works; as here, instead of making such a prohibition, He orders the man to go and tell everybody the wonderful miracle Jesus wrought in his deliverance from the demon. The solution of this contrast hinges on the fact that the Gadarenes were Gentiles, and did not want a Jew for their king. Jesus always, when among the Gentiles, told them to go and tell His mighty works; the prohibition among the Jews arising from the popular enthusiasm, everywhere rampant, to rally the multitude and crown Him King, which would have precipitated His death before He had time to finish His work. It is said that the legionaire went to Decapolis. Now, remember, “Decapolis” is not the name of a city, but of ten cities (as the word means), throughout that whole country, whose terror he had been ever since the demons had entered into him. I do not wonder that Jesus sent him to preach, as he was the very man to reach the people who had long trembled at the mention of his name.

Luke 8:40 : “And it came to pass that Jesus, returned, the multitude received Him; for they were all expecting Him.” This multitude were at Capernaum, His resident city, on the north coast, whence He had sailed to Gadara. As they were on the lookout for Him, such should be our constant attitude of momentary expectancy for our Lord to appear.


Verses 41-56

RESURRECTION OF JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER

Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:23-43; & Luke 8:41-56. Mark: “And, behold, one of the chief rulers of the synagogue, by name Jairus, comes; and seeing Him, falls at His feet, and entreats Him much, saying, My little daughter is now at the point of death; having come, lay Your hands on her, in order that she may be saved, and shall live. And He went away with him, and a great multitude follows Him, even treading on Him. And He, still speaking, they come from the chief ruler of the synagogue, saying, Thy daughter is dead; why do you still trouble the Teacher? And Jesus, immediately hearing the word spoken, says to the chief ruler of the synagogue, Fear not; only believe. And He comes to the house of the chief ruler, and did not admit any one to follow Him, except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, and He sees the uproar, the people weeping and wailing much. And coming in, He says to them, Why do you mourn and weep? The little child is not dead, but sleepeth. And they hooted at Him. And putting all out, He takes the father and mother of the little child, and those who are with Him, and goes in where the little child was lying. And taking the hand of the little child, says to her, Talitha cumi, which is interpreted, Little girl, I say unto thee, Arise. And immediately the little girl stood up, and began to walk round; for she was twelve years old. And they were delighted with great delight. And He commanded them much that no one should know it; and He said that something should be given to her to eat.” There at Capernaum, His resident city, the home of Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew, and the scene of more miracles than any other city in the world — thither the multitudes from all nations have come, bringing their sick, and laying them down at His feet, unutterably delighted to see the blind receive their sight; the deaf gloriously healed; the poor cripples, throwing away their crutches, and leaping exultantly; the paralyzed, lunatics, maniacs, demoniacs, and all sorts of epileptics, wonderfully and triumphantly healed, causing the surrounding mountains to echo and reverberate their stentorian shouts. Now He adds to the voluminous catalogue of these stupendous miracles the climax of all; i.e., the resurrection of the dead. Luke says that she was his only daughter, a lovely damsel of twelve years. We see He takes none with Him into the presence of the corpse except the father and mother, and Peter, James, and John. These three apostles, enjoying a deeper insight into spiritual things than the other nine, are not only thus honored on this notable occasion, but we find them His only concomitants on the Mount of Transfiguration, and also receiving His especial attention and confidence amid the agonies of Gethsemane. The Jews were accustomed to mourn for the dead seven days. In this mourning they blew on the pipe, producing a loud, shrill, solemn sound, which commingled with the bitter wailings of the mourners. The people in that country this day practice that same excessive weeping and mourning over the dead. E.V., “Laughed Him to scorn,” is not a good translation, as there was no laughing there. The idea is, they “hooted at Him,” thus ridiculing His assertion, “She is not dead, but sleepeth.” You will find the New Testament discarding that grievous word “death,” and substituting the mild and hygienical term “sleep.” This is in harmony with the great plan of salvation, which includes the body and mind, as well as the soul, contemplating complete and glorious restitution, recognizing the body immortal as the soul, which is certainly true, if we take in the resurrection.


Verses 43-50

THE BLOODY HEMORRHAGE

Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-36; Luke 8:43-50. Mark: “A certain woman, being with a hemorrhage of blood twelve years, and having suffered much from many physicians, and spending all things in her possession, and being profited as to nothing, but rather having come to the worst, hearing concerning Jesus, coming behind in the crowd, touched His garment. For she said, If I may touch His garments, I shall be saved. And immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she knew that she was healed from her disease.” The presumption is that this woman did not have lung hemorrhage, as they are not apt to survive so long. We have no intimation as to the character of the hemorrhage. It must have been very serious, as she had availed herself of all possible medical aid, even submitting to financial bankruptcy. We have the significant statement, polla pathousa hupo pollon iatron, “having suffered much from many physicians,” involving the conclusion that these physicians, instead of relieving the ailment, had greatly augmented her suffering. Doubtless this is a very significant truth; in the majority of cases, the medical treatment only adds to the suffering of the patient, without curing the disease. This poor victim of a twelve years’ hemorrhage had not only suffered much gratuitously, without receiving any benefit, but had expended all of her living and come down to poverty. Now that she has nothing, the physicians will not medicate her; therefore, in her hopeless desperation, she is in good fix to turn over the work to Jesus. You see, from this illustration, that there is no real conflict between Divine healing and medical treatment, as they seldom come in competition; the people, like this woman, going to the ultimata thula with physicians before they really turn over the case to Jesus, and trust Him alone to heal them. “And immediately, Jesus knowing in Himself that the power had gone out from Him, turning in the crowd, He said, Who touched My clothes? And His disciples said to Him, You see the crowd treading upon You, and You say, Who touched Me? And He was looking around to see the one having done this. And the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done unto her, came and fell before Him, and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, Daughter, thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace, and be thou whole from thy disease.” Here we see an indisputable confirmation of bodily healing through faith, precisely as the soul is healed through faith.

We do not get what we ask for, but what we believe for, our faith being the measuring line of our reception from God. The human side of Divine healing is simple faith in Jesus for that very thing, as He is no respecter of persons. The great law, “As your faith is, so be it unto you,” is applicable to the body as to the soul. We do not say you must discard your physician, but we do say that you must have faith in Jesus alone to heal you. Perhaps if Jesus had come along at an earlier day, when she was paying out her money and looking to those physicians to heal her, her faith in them would have vitiated her faith in Jesus, and thus defeated her healing. Your physician may help you, like your nurse; but you make a great mistake when you look to them for healing. In this I do not depreciate the medical profession, as the most competent physicians I have met in my extensive travels have confessed to me their utter incompetency to heal the sick, but only to assist nature, it being the province of God alone to give health and life.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 8:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/luke-8.html.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology