For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough

8:1.  “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.”

The gospel presented by the Lord was not exactly the same as the gospel which we are commanded to preach.  His call was to Israel to repent so that they might first enter the millennial kingdom, and then of course at its end, pass into the eternal kingdom.  The gospel given us to preach is a call to Jew and Gentile alike to repent so that they might enter the eternal kingdom. 

It must not be forgotten that the Lord was making a bona fide offer of the millennial kingdom.  Had Israel, as a nation, repented and believed in Him, He would still have been crucified by the Romans, His death being necessary to make atonement for sin.  The seven years of the Tribulation would have followed His resurrection, and would have ended with His return in power and glory to deliver the believing remnant, judge the nations, and inaugurate His millennial kingdom.  The offer of the millennial kingdom did not, in fact, cease officially until AD 70, the 38 years between AD 32 (the year of His crucifixion) and AD 70, corresponding to the 38 years during which the unbelieving generation of Moses’ day were turned back into the desert to die, while a new generation grew up to replace them, and enter Canaan. In the 38 years which ended in AD 70 the old unbelieving generation of Israel died out, and a new believing generation, the Church, grew up as it were, to replace them, and enter the better blessings of the eternal kingdom.

It should be noted, however, that while the offer of the kingdom wasn’t officially withdrawn until AD 70, the death of Stephen marked the beginning of the withdrawal of the offer and the beginning of the Lord’s turning to the Gentiles, He by His foreknowledge, knowing that Israel would not believe.

All this could have been 2,000 years ago.  As the world stage was set then, so will it be again just prior to the now imminent Tribulation.

Nor should we ignore the comment that “the twelve were with him.” Twelve is the number particularly associated with Israel.  The nation consisted of the twelve tribes descended from Jacob/Israel.  But twelve is also the number associated with those under God’s government, as ten is associated with God as the Governor.  Twelve, however is also associated with the Church, for it is built on the foundation laid by the twelve apostles (Eph 2:20), i.e., their doctrine, for it is to be noted that it was their doctrine, not the apostles themselves, which was the foundation of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself being the only foundation.

8:2.  “And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,”

8:3.  “And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”

The Holy Spirit has been careful to record the ministry of faithful women who provided out of their own resources for the temporal needs of the Lord and His disciples.  Some of them, Joanna for example, were persons of means.  It is the love of money, not the possession of it, that excludes men from heaven.  The Lord has room for rich and poor alike in His Church.  This record of their ministry to Him should remind us that everything we have has been entrusted to us as stewards who must one day render an account of our stewardship.

8:4.  “And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:”

A parable was a simple a story used to illustrate heavenly truth, and as to why the Lord should have used parables, the answer is given in Mt 13:10-15; Mk 4:11-12; Lk 8:10.  It is not for unbelievers to understand the things which God has reserved for the eye and ear of faith.  Unbelievers must first believe their need of Christ as Savior, and trust Him, before they can become sharers of His counsels.  The modern trend of encouraging unbelievers to attend Bible studies is without biblical warrant. Unbelievers are to have the gospel preached to them.  It is folly to be presenting doctrine to men and women who haven’t first learned that they are sinners who will be in eternal torment in the lake of fire if they die without having repented and trusted in Christ as Savior.  In this connection it is significant that this first parable lays such stress on the gospel.

8:5.  “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.”

Christ on another occasion spoke of Himself as the corn of wheat that must fall into the ground and die, but here He is the Sower, and the seed is the gospel.  Sowing speaks of death and resurrection.  The Lord was indirectly pointing to His Own soon-coming death and resurrection.  Only a fourth of the seed produced fruit.  The gospel will go largely unheeded.  The Sower was first Christ, and then any who go forth as His servants preaching the gospel, and every believer is responsible to engage in that sowing, as He Himself has commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mk 16:15.  Verse 11 assures us that “The seed is the word of God,” and verse 12 tells us that the seed fallen by the way side is that preached to those interested only in earthly things.  Satan, by countless distractions, quickly removes the memory of what they have heard, and the result is that they continue on the journey of life unaffected.  It is doubtful if there has ever been a time when distractions were more plentiful.

The fowls, as always in Scripture, represent Satan’s evil spirit hordes.  The fact of his being mentioned here at the very beginning reminds us that he is always alert to seize every opportunity to undo the work of the evangelist.

8:6.  “And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.”

This, we are told in verse 12, portrays the Gospel heard by some who in the heat of emotional excitement, profess to believe it; but who, because there has been no conviction of sin, and therefore no repentance, abandon the profession at the first trial of their supposed faith.  One thing we should never forget is that God always tries or tests faith, and in the absence of such testing, the professed believer ought to question whether he has in fact been born again.

A practical lesson for elders is that they shouldn’t neglect to subject to thorough scrutiny the professions of those seeking fellowship in their local church.  The profession that doesn’t warrant the reception of the man into a local church is very unlikely to gain him entrance to heaven.  To neglect making such an examination is not kindness, but sheer dereliction of duty, indicating as little concern for the man’s soul as for God’s honor.

8:7.  “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.”

This describes the hearer whose concern is with “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” verse 14.  He is never really awakened, never made to tremble at the thought of entering hell, never really cares about eternal realities.  It is significant that thorns are the Biblical symbol of sin, reminding us that anything which hinders the consideration of the state of the soul is sin.

8:8.  “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.”

This, we are told in verse 15, portrays the gospel heard by the man who does have a care about his soul, who does tremble at the thought of entering hell.  It reminds us that fear is an essential part of salvation; and a proof that much of the so-called “gospel” preached today is spurious, is that the element of fear is completely absent.  He who has never been made afraid is unlikely to have ever been saved!

The Lord’s assurance that there was “fruit an hundredfold” reminds us that a genuine conversion produces spiritual fruit, as it is written, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Mt 7:20.  It is lack of spiritual fruit that calls in question the reality of many of today’s professions.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” is the same exhortation concluding the letters to the seven churches in Re 2 and 3.  All may hear with natural hearing, but he who hears spiritually, i.e., who understands, is warned to obey the message, for to understand and still refuse to obey, compounds guilt.

8:9.  “And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?”

This indicates that at this stage the disciples were apparently as dull of understanding as were the crowds.  The Holy Spirit hadn’t yet been given, and apart from the enlightenment which He gives, all men are incapable of comprehending spiritual truth.

8:10.  “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.”

“Mysteries” refers to hidden truths or sacred secrets which cannot be known apart from Divine revelation, and this has to be understood against the background of God’s foreknowledge.  It isn’t teaching that some are predestinated to salvation, and others to damnation, but that God foreknows who will, and who will not believe.  Where continued unbelief is foreknown, He in His sovereignty in some cases withholds revelation of truth.  By the exercise of that same sovereignty He sometimes gives understanding even though He knows that it will not produce belief.  Why He makes this choice is not revealed, but it must never be mistaken for predestination.

8:11.  “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

This ought to teach us that wherever there is a biblical reference to seed, we should look for  spiritual truth relative either to the written Word, or to Christ the Living Word.

8:12.  “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.”

They heard only with their ears.  There was no spiritual understanding.  Inasmuch as the fowls are said to be the devil, we learn that fowls are the biblical symbol of evil spirits, so that behind every literal mention of fowls lies a deeper spiritual truth relative to the evil spirits of the air who do Satan’s bidding.

The word saved conveys the warning that salvation is a matter of life and death.  When men trust in Christ they save their souls from hell and the lake of fire.

8:13.  “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.”

Here also the hearing is natural, not spiritual.  The emotions were involved, but not the intelligence.  Its being said that they believed for a while, is not to be understood as teaching that a believer can lose his salvation.  He can’t!  They professed to believe, but the profession was false.  They never believed to the salvation of their souls.  “Temptation” incidentally is literally testing or trial.  As noted already, God subjects faith to testing, and this is a great mercy, for it gives the one tested an opportunity to evaluate the reality of his profession, and where it is found false, to repent and exercise genuine faith in Christ to the salvation of his soul.

8:14.  “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.”

Thorns are the Biblical symbol of sin, and as discussed above, here remind us that anything which keeps us from trusting in Christ is sin.  Some of those obstacles are the cares of this world, the devotion of all one’s energies to the accumulation of this world’s wealth, or the mindless pursuit of this world’s passing pleasures.  Their bringing no fruit to perfection is the warning that such people may have a profession of faith, but the fruit that reveals the reality of one’s profession is missing from their lives.

The reference to fruit reminds us that where there has been a genuine conversion there will be spiritual fruit as evidence.  True Christianity consists of more than a mere lip profession of faith.

8:15.  “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.”

An honest and good heart is one which concurs in God’s indictment that there is none righteous, for all have sinned.  The possessor of such a heart admits that he has neither righteousness nor anything else to commend him to God.  He admits that if he is to be saved it must be by God’s grace.

Such a man hears, not only with his ears, but with his understanding also.  Keeping the word, incidentally, doesn’t make salvation contingent upon a life of sinless perfection following conversion.  It declares rather that there is an honest attempt to obey God, not in order to be saved, but to express gratitude for salvation already received as God’s priceless gift.

The bringing “forth fruit with patience” ought to teach us that literal and spiritual fruit bearing are similar: both take time. The process can’t be rushed.  Nor should we ignore the reference to patience.  Spiritual growth doesn’t come overnight.  The fruitful life is that which patiently nurtures itself daily on the Word, and waits with patience for God’s direction relative to every step taken.  It is not marked by a hasty running without God’s direction. 

8:16.  “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.”

The lighted candle speaks of testimony; and in Matthew and Mark, and in Lk 11:33 the vessel is called a bushel, a container associated with the commerce of that day, so that it speaks of the world’s business.  The lesson here relates to testimony, the command not to cover the light with a vessel or bushel, telling us that the ordinary affairs of life, particularly the world’s business, are not to be permitted to hinder or mar our testimony. The command not to put it under a bed warns that sloth and pleasure-seeking are likewise not to be allowed to hinder or mar our testimony. 

“That they which enter in may see the light” reminds us that we are responsible to bear such a testimony as will lead others to Christ.

A further truth being taught here is that there must be not only belief in the heart but also verbal confession of Christ, as it is written, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” Ro 10:9.

8:17.  “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.”

For the believer, the day of reckoning will be at the judgment seat of Christ.  Everything done out of love for Christ will receive an eternal reward; everything else will prove to have been worthless.  It is imperative that everything be done out of a pure motive: love for the Lord.

For the unbeliever, the judgment of his deeds will be at the great white throne, that judgment being to determine the degree of his punishment to be endured eternally in the lake of fire - not as many mistakenly believe, to determine whether he may enter heaven.  Each man makes that decision here on earth by accepting or rejecting Christ as Savior.

8:18.  “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.”

This continues to emphasize that the hearing which results in genuine conversion produces also an obedient life, obedience being proof of the reality of the profession, the result of that obedience being that he who has spiritual life will have also an abundant eternal reward.  The mere professor, however, having no genuine faith, will discover when it is eternally too late that he has lost not only his worthless profession, but also his priceless soul.  He who has not is also the unbeliever.  What he seems to have are the things that men prize, e.g., money, fame, pleasure, etc., but death will deprive him of all these, leaving him with nothing for eternity, except unending torment and remorse in the lake of fire.

8:19.  “Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.”

Since His mother clearly represents the believing remnant; and his literal brethren, the unbelieving mass of the nation, the failure of His mother and brethren to be able to come near to Him here is the symbolic announcement of the truth that during the Church age Israel as a nation will experience the blindness mentioned by Paul in Romans 11, and will be cut off nationally, though believing individual Jews will be saved and have membership in the Church just the same as believing Gentiles.

As a Jewish entity, the believing remnant of two thousand years ago, which His mother here represents, had no national claim upon Him, and became instead the nucleus of the Gentile Chur­ch because the mass of the nation rejected Him.  In the coming Tribulat­ion there will again emerge a believing remnant which will become the converted nation that will inherit millennial blessing.

8:20.  “And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.”

8:21.  “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”

Beyond the literal fact that His mother and brethren were unable to get near to Him, lies the spiritual truth relative to Israel during this present age.  His mother and brethren represent the two parts of Israel (the believing remnant, and the unbelieving mass of the nation), and remind us that the relationship with Him which is now denied to Israel as a national entity during this present Church age, is still available to believing individual Jews, as it is to believing Gentiles, obedience being, as it always has been, the proof of genuine faith.  The profession of the lip must be confirmed by an obedient life.

8:22.  “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.”

This continues to portray the Lord’s departure from the unbelieving Jewish nation and His turning to the Gentiles, the disciples representing the believing remnant which became the Church, and which, as a corporate entity, is here represented by the ship.

8:23.  “And 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.”

His being asleep in the ship in the midst of the storm adds another brush stroke to the symbolic picture, for during this Church age it does indeed seem that He “is asleep” neither knowing nor caring what happens to the Church.  The turbulent sea whipped up by the wind, represents the sea of the nations impelled by Satan to raging rebellion against the Church as they were also against the Lord during His sojourn here on earth, Isa 57:20.

The water coming into the ship may speak of the intrusion of the world into the Church, and as the water endangered the ship so does the intrusion of the world also endanger the Church.  The ship’s being “filled with water” points to the sad truth that the professing (not the true church) is also filled with what the water here represents: unbelievers.

Having noted this symbolic portrayal of the experience of the Church, it is necessary, however, to realize that an equally valid application is to the experience of the believing remnant of Israel in the Tribulation.  In that context the ship represents the believers of that era as a corporate body; and the storm, Satan’s agitation of the nations against those who belong to Christ.  The Lord’s being asleep continues to portray what will be deemed by some in the Tribulation to be His indifference to their plight.  The ship’s being brought to the point of sinking declares also the truth that just before the Lord’s return to deliver those sorely persecuted believers, it will seem as though they must indeed all perish.

8:24.  “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.”

This reminds us that all things are under His control even when it seems that He “is asleep.”  The faith to believe this will enable us to walk in the enjoyment of His peace which passeth understanding, so that it will be as though there were a great calm, the calm of course, being in our hearts, not amongst the rebellious nations or Satan’s legions.

That moment when the disciples awoke Him portrays both the end of the Church age, and the resumption of His dealings with Israel after the Church has been delivered by His coming to the air to rapture her home to heaven.  The time between His waking, and His quelling the storm, portrays the Tribulation era.  It too will close with His rising up in power and glory, returning to end those seven years of judgment, bringing human and demonic rebellion to an abrupt end, and establishing the “great calm” of His millennial kingdom.

8:25.  “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.”

Our faithlessness also merits His rebuke.  Well might they ask, “What manner of man is this?”  They had yet to learn that He was none other than God the Son.  We who have learned that lesson have no excuse for not trusting Him amid every circumstance of life.

We should note also the contrast between the Lord’s conduct in the midst of that literal storm, and when He was in the midst of the terrible storm of God’s wrath which began in Gethsemane and ended at Calvary.  He Who with a word stilled the winds and sea, could also with a word have banished into hell the demons and men who raged against Him when He hung on the cross, but He refused to exercise that power, for apart from His death there could be no salvation for men.  The exclamation of the wondering disciples was, “What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”  The wondering worship of every redeemed heart must surely be, “What manner of Man is this, that He was willing to submit to the storm of God’s wrath, even though those for whom He was giving His life were they who mocked and taunted Him even as He died!  The love that led Him to remain on the cross in spite of their taunts, is a cause of greater wonder than the power displayed that night when He stilled the literal storm.

8:26.  “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.”

Some manuscripts state the place to have been Gergesa or Gesara, and many believe this to be correct since it was located on the shore of the lake while Gadara was several miles back from the lake shore.  The exact location, however, is of little importance since it doesn’t change the spiritual message.

The Gadarenes, meaning reward at the end, represent the Gentiles, and remind us that there is a reward for every man at the end of life: eternal blessing in heaven for the believer; eternal torment in the lake of fire for the unbeliever.  Its being “over against Galilee” means “opposite Galilee,” but since Galilee is associated with the believing remnant of Israel, Gadara then, seems to represent the very opposite: a people, the Gentiles, marked by unbelief.

8:27.  “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.”

Mt 8:28 mentions two demoniacs, and the explanation for the seeming discrepancy may be that Luke, for a reason not revealed, has focused on one, perhaps the more dominant of the two.  This demoniac is a type of all unbelievers, his actual state portraying their spiritual condition.  His being under the control of the demons (for that is the correct word rather than devils, there being myriads of demons, but only one devil), reminds us that every unbeliever is under the control of Satan who controls the demons, for he who doesn’t serve God, must serve the prince of darkness.  And relative to the “long time,” man has been in this state a long time: since the day Adam rebelled.

Clothing represents righteousness - the filthy rags of self-righteousness which clothe the unbeliever, or the righteousness of Christ which clothes the believer.  The man’s nakedness is the symbolic revelation of the truth that every unconverted man is similarly destitute of righteousness.  It is significant that the first discovery made by Adam after he had sinned was that he was naked.  He had lost the righteousness of innocence which had covered him prior to the fall.

Since a house is one of the Biblical symbols of a corporate testimony, its being said that he didn’t dwell in any house, is the symbolic revelation of the truth that the unconverted, whom he represents, are also outside God’s “house” - in the OT age, outside Israel; today, outside the Church; and in the Tribulation, again outside Israel.

His dwelling in the tombs, i.e., amongst the dead, announces that the unconverted also dwell amongst the dead, for until a man is born again he is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.

8:28.  “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.”

8:29.  “(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.)”

Since the man was under the control of the demons, his falling down in the presence of Christ assures us that it was the demons who bowed at the Lord’s feet, and reminds us that one day every rebel man will also be made to bow and acknowledge, too late for mercy, the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That an eternity of torment awaits every rebel is announced in the demon’s plea, “torment me not.”

The broken chains around his wrists and ankles add another element to the symbolic picture, for they speak of the rules made by man to govern society, those very rules being the mute confession that even in his lawless rebellion against God man can’t live without some form of restraint on the lusts of his own fallen nature.  The chains being broken, however, remind us that the evil of the old nature cannot be restrained.  Man is continually changing the laws to accommodate the desires of his old nature, retaining only as many of those restraints as he deems needful to prevent the dissolution of the whole social structure, but even so it is apparent that this catering to the old nature has already so weakened the foundations of society that the whole edifice is ready to collapse, as in fact, it will in the impending Tribulation era.

The man’s being driven by the devil into the wilderness (the place of death) reminds us that the ultimate end of the unbeliever will be to be consigned to the ultimate abode of death, the lake of fire.

8:30.  “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.”

A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 men, so that even if the language is figurative rather than literal, the fact remains that the man was indwelt by a phenomenal number of demons.

It must be recognized that when the Lord asks a question it is never to elicit information but confession, for He is omniscient: He knows all things.  It must be recognized also that in Scripture a change of name is indicative of a change of state, e.g., Jacob became Israel; Saul the persecutor, became Paul the Apostle.  The Lord’s asking the man to state his name therefore, is the same thing as asking him to confess what he was, and significantly, this is always the first step leading to conversion, for until a man is willing to confess himself a sinner without any righteousness, he cannot be saved.

The man appears to have been so totally controlled by the demons within him that his words were theirs, reminding us that unconverted man, though unaware of it, is similarly under the dominion of Satan; and the multitude of the indwelling hordes simply declares the truth that Satan’s minions are legion.

8:31.  “And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”

Their plea is the tacit acknowledgment of the Lord’s authority over them, reminding us that Satan can do only what God permits.

The word “deep” here is not the sea, as is commonly believed, but rather the abyss, the bottomless pit, in which Satan will be imprisoned during the Millennium.

8:32.  “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.”

8:33.  “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.”

Swine are used in Scripture to represent apostates, i.e., those who having known the truth, have abandoned it and turned to walk again in uncleanness, see 2 Pe 2:22.  The departure of the demons therefore from the man, and their entering into the swine which were then drowned, portrays the truth that all unbelievers will have their eternal portion with Satan and his demons in the unending torment of the lake of fire, their entry into that terrible place being described as “the second death” (Re 20:14).

8:34.  “When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.”

The city appears to represent the Church; and the country, the unbelieving world, so that the spiritual truth being declared in their relating the news in both places is that saint and sinner alike are warned of the terrible consequences of sin.  It will cause the former to lose his reward; the latter, his soul.

8:35.  “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.”

What a transformation was wrought in the former demoniac!  His sitting is indicative of the rest into which the sinner enters at conversion, while his being at the feet of Jesus portrays him as a learner, and reminds us that we are commanded to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2 Pe 3:18.  His being clothed speaks of his being clothed spiritually with the righteousness of Christ; while his being in his right mind, declares that the believer is the only wise man on the earth, for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  The fear displayed by the others, however, reminds us that one may be made to tremble, as did Felix, yet stop short of being saved.

8:36.  “They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.”

8:37.  “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.”

It is strange that they who had been given irrefutab­le proof of the Lord’s restorative power should have refused to bring other sick ones for healing, but perhaps it is just another proof of the perversity of the natural heart.  They obviously valued their swine more than their souls.  Their requesting the Lord to leave their country portrays the attitude of those who reject the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and remind us of the solemn warning against such folly, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man,” Ge 6:3; “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Pr 29:1.

His re-entering the ship and returning to Galilee, may portray His turning again to Israel after the rapture of the Church, to bring out of that nation the repentant remnant that will be the new Israel which will enter the Millennium.

8:38.  “Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,”

8:39.  “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.”

Every believer has the desire to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul declared, “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better,” Php 1:23.  But as there was work for Paul to do here on earth, so is there work for each of us.  We are to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, Mk 16:15.  And so also with the former demoniac.  He too was to be the Lord’s witness; and we do well to note the order of his testimony.  It was first to his own house, then the city, and as we learn from Mk 5:20, then to Decapolis, i.e., the ten-city region.  This is still the pattern for our witness.  Note that following the Lord’s ascension, the witness of the disciples was first to Jerusalem, then to Samaria, and then to the whole world.  It is folly to think of witnessing in far off fields if we haven’t first told our own families, then the neighbors, fellow workers, and those with whom we have daily contact.

When the Lord later visited Decapolis (Mk 7:31) the people welcomed Him, indicating that the former demoniac’s testimony there had borne fruit.

8:40.  “And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.”

If we have been correct in viewing Christ’s departure from Galilee to Gadara as symbolizing His turning to the Gentiles after being rejected by Israel, then this return to Galilee represents His turning again to Israel after the rapture of the Church, to bring the believing remnant out of the Tribulation into the millennial kingdom.  The warm welcome accorded Him speaks of the eagerness with which the believing remnant will receive Him during the Tribulation.

8:41.  “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:”

Jairus is Greek for Jair, which means he will enlighten.  He may represent the 144,000 Jews who will first believe in Christ following the rapture of the Church.

8:42.  “For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age and she lay a dying.  But as he went the people thronged him.”

This dying daughter would then be a fitting type of the rest of Israel, already dead spiritually, and daily drawing nearer to physical death.  Inasmuch as she was healed, however, she represents only that part of Israel that will trust in Christ during the Tribulation.  There is a lesson also in her being twelve years of age, for twelve is the number of those under God’s government.  While all things are under His rule, Israel is uniquely the object of His government, she being the only one of all the nations which He choose to be His earthly people.

The thronging people may then very well represent the Gentiles in the Tribulation, the woman with the faith to be healed of the issue of blood, representing the believing Gentiles of that era.

8:43.  “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,”

8:44.  “Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”

Since “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” this issue of blood speaks of life ebbing away, a fitting picture of the state of every unconverted man.  The reference to her having spent all her living on physicians who had effected no cure, may have reference to the multitudinous Gentile religions in which men have sought unsuccessfully for salvation.  The implied large amount of money uselessly spent, reminds us that the world’s religious systems don’t offer their services free.

Her coming behind Him portrays the Gentile “dogs” creeping in to eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table, Mt 15:27, and like the Canaanite woman referred to in Mt 15, the Gentiles are saved on the same basis as are the Jews, that is, by faith.

It is instructive to note that the time of her sickness is the same as the age of Jairus’ daughter: twelve years.  The Gentiles too, though they refuse to obey Him, are as much under Divine government as are the Jews.

8:45.  “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?”

The omniscient Lord knew who had touched him, and why, but here, as always, His question wasn’t to elicit information, but confession, for there must be confession of sin before it can be forgiven.

8:46.  “And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

This may not be taken to mean that his inherent virtue had been diminished by the woman’s touch, but rather that He was aware that someone had touched Him believingly.

8:47.  “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.”

This is the pattern of confession accompanying every genuine conversion.

8:49.  “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.”

Love for Christ should translate into love for the unconverted, for example Moses was willing to be stricken from God’s book if only Israel might be spared, Ex 32:32, and Paul could have wished himself accursed if only his people might be saved, Ro 9:3.  The love of Jairus for his only daughter may represent the love of the 144,000 for their unsaved countrymen, while the messenger’s announcement of her death may portray what will be the belief of many in the Tribulation: that Israel is dead and without hope of recovery.  But the girl wasn’t beyond hope of recovery, however much outward signs may have indicated the contrary, and as she was revived so will the nation which she seems to represent also be recovered in the Tribulation.

A practical lesson we may learn from this is that we should never conclude that anyone is beyond God’s saving grace. 

8:50.  “But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.”

How even the most hopeless situation changes when Christ is brought into the reckoning!

8:51.  “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.”

I regret being unable to read the spiritual significance of the Lord’s allowing only those five to witness His restoration of the girl, for I’m certain that there is instruction here which goes beyond the announcement of the literal facts.

8:52.  “And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.”

Those who “laughed him to scorn” were not the parents or the disciples, but the multitude gathered for the loud wailings that were the normal accompaniment of the ritual connected with death.

Expositors disagree as to whether the girl was dead, but surely it ought to be enough for faith to believe the Lord’s assurance, “she is not dead, but sleepeth,” for to Him Who is the resurrection and the life, it is just as easy to raise one from sleep as from death; and from physical death, as from spiritual. Everything indicates that she was literally dead.   To human reason Israel may seem to be dead, but the Word of God assures us that the Lord of life will raise her up again.  In the Tribulation a believing remnant will be awakened out of a two thousand year death-like sleep to enter the Millennium as the new Israel “born in a day.”

8:54.  “And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.”

He Who is the Living Word called the universe into existence by speaking a word, and by the same power and method He caused this dead girl to rise from death.  That same power, through the Gospel, is available to impart spiritual life to sinners “dead in trespasses and sins.”

8:55.  “And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”

It is easy to see in her recovery a picture of the conversion of a sinner, and of a remnant of Israel in the Tribulation, nor should we miss the significance of His command, “Give her meat.” The believer’s new spiritual life must be nourished with spiritual food, the written Word, just as his physical life needs to be sustained with literal food.   

8:56.  “And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”

I regret being unable to read the spiritual significance of the Lord’s forbidding the parents to tell anyone about the miracle, for there can be no question that He had some reason for enjoining silence.

[Luke 9]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough