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Some Women Accompany Jesus

 8

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

The Parable of the Sower

4 When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5“A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

The Purpose of the Parables

9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that

‘looking they may not perceive,

and listening they may not understand.’

The Parable of the Sower Explained

11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

A Lamp under a Jar

16 “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”

The True Kindred of Jesus

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

 

Jesus Calms a Storm

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”

Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac

26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then 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.

34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, 42for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.

As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. 43Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” 51When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

 


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What I have here introduced from Luke belongs, perhaps, to another time; but I saw no necessity for separating what he has placed in immediate connection. First, he says that the twelve apostles preached the kingdom of God along with Christ; from which we infer that, though the ordinary office of teaching had not yet been committed to them, they constantly attended as heralds to procure an audience for their Master; and, therefore, though they held an inferior rank, they are said to have been Christ’s assistants. Next, he adds, that among those who accompanied Christ were certain women, who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases, such as Mary Magdalene, who had been tormented by seven devils To be associated with such persons might be thought dishonorable; for what could be more unworthy of the Son of God than to lead about with him women who were marked with infamy? But this enables us more clearly to perceive that the crimes with which we were loaded before we believed, are so far from diminishing the glory of Christ, that they tend rather to raise it to a higher pitch. And, certainly, it is not said, that the Church which he elected was found by him to be without spot and blemish, but that he cleansed it with his blood, and made it pure and fair.

The wretched and disgraceful condition of those women, now that they had been delivered from it, redounded greatly to the glory of Christ, by holding out public manifestations of his power and grace. At the same time, Luke applauds their gratitude in following their Deliverer, and disregarding the ridicule of the world. 174174     “D’autant qu’elles ont suyvi leur Liberateur, nonobstant l’ignominie du monde qu’il leur faloit endurer en ce faisant;” — “because they followed their Deliverer, notwithstanding the ignominy of the world which they must endure by so doing.” Beyond all question, they were pointed at with the finger on every side, and the presence of Christ served for a platform to exhibit them; but they do not refuse to have their own shame made generally known, provided that the grace of Christ be not concealed. On the contrary, they willingly endure to be humbled, in order to become a mirror, by which he may be illustriously displayed.

In Mary, the boundless goodness of Christ was displayed in an astonishing manner. A woman, who had been possessed by seven devils, and might be said to have been the meanest slave of Satan, was not merely honored to be his disciple, but admitted to enjoy his society. Luke adds the surname Magdalene, to distinguish her from the sister of Martha, and other persons of the name of Mary, who are mentioned in other passages, (John 11:1; 19:25.)

Luke 8:3. Joanna, the wife of Chuza It is uncertain whether or not Luke intended his statement to be applied to those women in the same manner as to Mary To me it appears probable that she is placed first in order, as a person in whom Christ had given a signal display of his power; and that the wife of Chuza, and Susanna, matrons of respectability and of spotless reputation, are mentioned afterwards, because they had only been cured of ordinary diseases. Those matrons being wealthy and of high rank, it reflects higher commendation on their pious zeal, that they supply Christ’s expenses out of their own property, and, not satisfied with so doing, leave the care of their household affairs, and choose to follow him, attended by reproach and many other inconveniences, through various and uncertain habitations, instead of living quietly and at ease in their own houses. It is even possible, that Chuza, Herod’s steward, being too like his master, was strongly opposed to what his wife did in this matter, but that the pious woman overcame this opposition by the ardor and constancy of her zeal.

Luke 8:19. And his mother and his brethren came to him. There is an apparent discrepancy here between Luke and the other two Evangelists; for, according to their arrangement of the narrative, they represent Christ’s mother and cousins as having come, while he was discoursing about the unclean spirit, while he refers to a different occasion, and mentions only the woman’s exclamation, which we have just now explained. But we know that the Evangelists were not very exact as to the order of dates, or even in detailing minutely every thing that Christ did or said, so that the difficulty is soon removed. Luke does not state at what precise time Christ’s mother came to him; but what the other two Evangelists relate before the parable of the sower he introduces after it. The account which he gives of the exclamation of the woman from among the multitude bears some resemblance to this narrative; for inconsiderate zeal may have led her to exalt to the highest pitch what she imagined that Christ had unduly lowered.

All the three Evangelists agree in stating, that while Christ was discoursing in the midst of a crowd of people, his mother and brethren came to him The reason must have been either that they were anxious about him, or that they were desirous of instruction; for it is not without some good reason that they endeavor to approach him, and it is not probable that those who accompanied the holy mother were unbelievers. Ambrose and Chrysostom accuse Mary of ambition, but without any probability. What necessity is there for such a conjecture, when the testimony of the Spirit everywhere bestows commendation on her distinguished piety and modesty? The warmth of natural affection may have carried them beyond the bounds of propriety: this I do not deny, but I have no doubt that they were led by pious zeal to seek his society. Matthew relates that the message respecting their arrival was brought by one individual: Mark and Luke say that he was informed by many persons. But there is no inconsistency here; for the message which his mother sent to call him would be communicated, as usually happens, from one hand to another, till at length it reached him.

Luke 8:26. There met him a certain man out of the city It is uncertain whether Luke means that he was a citizen of Gadara, or that he came out of it to meet Christ. For, when he was ordered to go home and proclaim among his friends the grace of God, Mark says, that he did this in Decapolis, which was a neighboring country stretching towards Galilee; and hence it is conjectured that he was not a native of Gadara. Again, Matthew and Mark expressly state that he did not go out of the city, but from the tombs, and Luke himself, throughout the whole passage, gives us to understand that the man lived in solitary places. These words, therefore, there met him a certain man out of the city, I understand to mean, that, before Christ came near the city, the demoniac met him in that direction.

As to the opinion that the man dwelt among the graves, either because devils are delighted with the stench of dead bodies, or gratified by the smell of oblations, or because they watch over souls which are desirous to approach their bodies; it is an idle, and, indeed, a foolish conjecture. On the contrary, this wretched man was kept among the graves by an unclean spirit, that he might have an opportunity of terrifying him continually with the mournful spectacle of death, as if he were cut off from the society of men, and already dwelt among the dead. We learn from this also that the devil does not only torment men in the present life, but pursues them even to death, and that in death his dominion over them is chiefly exercised.

Luke 8:38. And the men requested The Gadarenes cannot endure to have Christ among them but he who has been delivered from the devil is desirous to leave his own country and follow him. Hence we learn how wide is the difference between the knowledge of the goodness, and the knowledge of the power, of God. Power strikes men with terror, makes them fly from the presence of God, and drives them to a distance from him: but goodness draws them gently, and makes them feel that nothing is more desirable than to be united to God. Why Christ refuses to have this man as one of his followers we cannot determine with certainty, if it was not that he expected the man to make himself more extensively useful by communicating to his Gentile countrymen the remarkable and extraordinary act of kindness which he had received; and this he actually did, as we are assured by Mark and Luke.

39. Relate those things which God hath done for thee. He bids him relate not his own work, but the work of God His design in doing so is, that he may be acknowledged to be the true minister and prophet of God, and may thus acquire authority in teaching. In this gradual manner it was proper to instruct an ignorant people who were not yet acquainted with his divinity. Though Christ is the ladder by which we ascend to God the Father, yet, as he was not yet fully manifested, he begins with the Father, till a fitter opportunity occurred.

We must now add the symbolical meaning.557557     Nunc addenda est anagoge. — “Maintenant il rested adjouster la deduction ou derivation;” — “it now remains to add the inference or remoter instruction.” — The word anagoge, or rather ἀναγωγὴ was technically employed by divines of the allegorizing school to denote the mystical meaning, which was the last and most recondite, as the literal was the first and most obvious, of the various meanings which they supposed to be contained in every verse of the Bible. Never did those men encounter a more zealous or more formidable opponent than Calvin. But, while he manfully sets his face against all that is mystical, when it can plead no higher authority than the ravings of a wild imagination, he is equally careful that those instructions which are indicated, though not directly conveyed, by the sacred writers, shall receive due consideration. He lays down as a general principle, which he endeavors to support by the word of God, that the cures of bodily diseases, performed by our Lord and his apostles, were intended to be symbolical of the removal of spiritual diseases by the power and grace of the Great Physician. Seldom does he close his illustration of one of those miracles without adverting to the loftier and more important occasions on which the arm of the Deliverer will put forth its strength. It is to this symbolical meaning that Calvin, under the word ἀναγωγὴ, borrowing the language, but disavowing the principles, of an ancient school, now proceeds to draw the attention of his reader. The grounds of his opinion it were foreign to our purpose to examine, but we have judged it necessary to append this note, in order to bring out clearly what the Author means. — Ed. In the person of one man Christ has exhibited to us “proof of his grace” which is extended to all mankind. Though we are not tortured by the devil, yet he holds us as his slaves,558558     “Toutesfois nous luy sommes serfs et esclaves;” — “yet we are his serfs and slaves.” till the Son of God delivers us from his tyranny.559559     “De la tyrannic malheureuse d'iceluy;” — “from his unhappy tyranny.” Naked, torn, and disfigured, we wander about,560560     “Nous ne raisons que trainer ca et la estans nuds, deschirez, et dis- figurez;” — “we do but drag along here and there, being naked, torn, and disfigured.” till he restores us to soundness of mind. It remains that, in magnifying his grace, we testify our gratitude.

Luke 8:45. Who is it that touched me, Mark expresses it still more clearly, when he says that Christ looked around to see who she was. It does appear to be absurd that Christ should pour out his grace without knowing on whom he was bestowing a favor. There is not less difficulty in what he shortly afterwards says, that he perceived that power had gone out from him: as if, while it flowed from him, it was not a free gift bestowed at those times, and on those persons, whom he was pleased to select. Beyond all question, he knowingly and willingly cured the woman; and there is as little doubt that he drew her to himself by his Spirit, that she might obtain a cure: but he puts the question to her, that she may freely and publicly make it known. If Christ had been the only witness of his miracle, his statements might not perhaps have been believed: but now, when the woman, struck with dread, relates what happened to her, greater weight is due to her confession.

Luke 8:52. And all were weeping. The Evangelists mention the lamentation, that the resurrection may be more fully believed. Matthew expressly states that musicians were present, which was not usually the case till the death had been ascertained, and while the preparations for the funeral were going forward. The flute, he tells us, was heard in plaintive airs. Now, though their intention was to bestow this sort of honor on their dead, and as it were to adorn their grave, we see how strongly inclined the world is not only to indulge but to promote its faults. It was their duty to employ every method for allaying grief; but as if they had not sinned enough in disorderly lamentation, they are eager to heighten it by fresh excitements. The Gentiles even thought that this was a way of soothing departed spirits; and hence we see how many corruptions were at that time spread throughout Judea.529529     “Dont nous pouvons recueillir comment le pays de Judee estoit lots reinply de beaucoup de corruptions, et diverses sortes d'abus;” — “whence we may infer how much the country of Judea was then filled with many corruptions, and various sorts of abuses.”




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