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, 2 and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 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. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 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. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 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. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 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.
19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. 21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
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. 23 But 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. 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. 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.
26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 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. 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. 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.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 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. 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. 34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 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. 36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
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. 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, 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.
40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him. 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: 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. 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, 44 came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 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? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 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. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
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. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 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. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
This chapter begins with an acknowledgment of the importance of women in Jesus’ ministry: “The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
“Motley crew” has always been a good description of the followers of King Jesus. Here the Word mentions women who had been cured of diseases, women who had demons cast out of them, and the wife of Herod’s household manager. For a better idea of Chuza’s position, here’s a quote from the website “Inside the Royal Household” – of England:
“With the Royal Household, everyday jobs become exceptional. This is because, whatever their role and whichever department they’re in, our people are part of something remarkable. They provide invaluable support to the Royal Family – enabling them to fulfill their duties and serve the nation. And, working in magnificent and historic surroundings, they’re inspired to deliver to a higher standard … The Master of the Household’s Department handles everything involved in the official and private entertaining across all the Royal residences. Their remit spans hospitality, catering and housekeeping arrangements. As such, their diverse team includes everyone from florists and upholsterers to specialist craftspeople and caterers.”
Anyone who has been close to employees of powerful authorities, including high-ranking military officers, knows that a spouse can make or break a career. Which makes me wonder what Chuza felt about his wife’s involvement with a stone-broke bunch of vagabonds led by a mystery man who seemed to be churning the nation like butter – “…a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town …” And this was just the beginning. And – I have to chuckle here – did Chuza and his wife have a joint bank account? Because “These women were helping to support [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their own means.”
I wonder if she had a VISA card. 😀
I wonder who Susanna was. Her name is mentioned nowhere else in the entire Bible! I think, ladies, God wanted to make sure you know that no matter how unknown you are, He remembers you. He sees you. He calls you by name! YOU are NOT insignificant to the Holy One of Israel.
Ladies, your efforts, no matter how small they may seem to you, no matter how insignificant you think they are, are known to God and remembered by Him. Your deeds are NOT small. They are NOT over and done with. They are remembered by the Most High. He brags on you to the angels! You make Him proud of you when you spend your time, your effort, to do good and to support those who carry the message of salvation through faith in Jesus.
Prayer counts, too, ladies.
The foregoing applies to men too. I just wanted to emphasize that women are equally important to God, because I’ve heard too many comments from Christian women who felt that they were somehow less important, less valuable, than men. That’s not true, and God’s Word is filled with many bold flags proclaiming the value of women. Usually, in a Biblical culture, men take the leadership roles far more often. But different roles does not signify inferiority.
The parable of the sower and the seed is a heartbreaker and a mystery and very scary. Every mature, alert, involved Christian has seen exactly what King Jesus describes here. It’s enough to break your heart sometimes, when you see people you care about turn away from God’s love and eternal joy and life. Also it sounds as if people can become believers in Jesus and then lose their belief. It also sounds, by the words of King Jesus Himself, as if God deliberately withholds from some people knowledge that would bring them to salvation. Can that be? If so, how can God be loving and just?
I don’t know. I don’t like not knowing, but I refuse to fabricate an explanation when nothing I can think of fits what I think I know. It has been my experience that when a person falls into the trap of having to have an answer to every question, that person becomes vulnerable to wishful thinking and even lies from hell. I can only say that in my sixty-nine years of life, God has been far more than just to me – He has been merciful. And His influence on me has always been to make me a more righteous and good person. Given that, I’ll set this question aside for now. Probably for this life. We may literally not have the ability to understand the answer.
Like children trusting their parents, we have to trust our Heavenly Father when we don’t understand. By all means try to find the answers to questions that disturb you. But if after a time you still have no answers, you have to decide whether you will trust God based on what you do know.
In verses 19-21, we see Jesus living the demand He later made of others: He ignored His own family in order to do what God the Father sent Him to do. Not even family comes before God. The experience of a family splitting because one or more were determined to follow Jesus must be excruciating, but the required response is clear: when God calls you, you are to obey Him no matter what the cost.
From Matthew chapter 10:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Faith in Jesus and in God the Father is not a piece of clothing to be taken off when it becomes uncomfortable. It may hurt. It may cut you to the heart. Jesus could have quoted the commandment to respect your mother and father, and obeyed Mom and gone home, which was what was wanted. But look what happens when you do obey God! The disciples got to see the King of Kings display His authority over a fierce storm at sea and over a legion of demons. They saw a woman healed from a long-standing, embarrassing medical problem. Then they saw Him raise a child from the dead!!
Sometimes our rewards may be long in coming, but they will come, in God’s appointed time. He gave us reasons to believe that.
“All these people [heroes and patriarchs of the faith] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39)
Christian faith is not a dream. It’s a VISION! The King is coming. He’s coming for those of us who truly believe. Who “hold [our faith] fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)
“There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith I can see it afar …”
“Then Jesus told [Thomas], ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ ”
The disciples got a wake-up call when they woke Jesus up in the middle of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Remember, at least several of these men had been commercial fishermen before they became disciples of Jesus. The Sea of Galilee was their second home. But the boat was swamped. The Amplified Classic uses this very odd description in translating those verses: “… a whirlwind revolving from below upwards swept down on the lake…”
What (the devil?) was going on?
But Jesus dealt with it as if it were nothing: “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.” And He asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?” Like, “You woke me for no more than that? What’s the matter with you?”
I can imagine myself, mouth wide open, shocked, staring bug-eyed and wondering just like the disciples did, “OK, and who is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
And maybe later (like after getting my feet on solid ground?) regaining enough presence of mind to ask myself, “When He asked where our faith was, was He implying that we should have been able to do what I just saw Him do? Aaauuhuuunhhh! What have I signed up for?”
And then the Gadarene maniac. Who turned out to be a nice guy, after Jesus evicted a legion of demons from him. The disciples had just seen Jesus exert His authority over a fierce storm. Now they watched as the King of Kings dealt effortlessly with “a legion” of demons. Demons who begged for mercy, who begged Jesus not to torment them. Who could not do anything, stay, go, or choose their destination, without King Jesus’ permission. They literally begged Him to allow them to enter a herd of pigs nearby, and He gave them permission.
But the pigs were >cough cough< too pigheaded to be controlled by the demons. They committed suicide instantly rather than live with demons in themselves.
The people of that town had the strangest reaction. When the herdsmen reported what happened, the townspeople came to the spot, and they saw a man who had been uncontrollable, a raging, maniac who ran around naked mutilating himself, “… sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.”
“Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.” Crazy.
It seems certain that these people were not Jews, and Gadara was not in any Jewish territory. Which brings up an interesting question: did the demons outsmart themselves?
Remember recently when we looked at the Roman centurion whose servant Jesus healed, and the Syro-Phoenician woman out of whose daughter Jesus cast a demon? Remember what Jesus said to the woman, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel… it’s not right to take the children’s food and give it to the dogs”? Remember on what grounds she persisted in her request? “True, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables”?
That was the key that gave Jesus authority to heal her daughter. And the centurion’s request was presented and seconded by local Jewish authorities. Ditto. In both cases, a Jew had to be involved – as the supplicants for the centurion’s servant, and in parable as the masters whose crumbs the dogs ate.
But with the Gadarene maniac there was no Jewish go-between. So how could Jesus evict those demons without violating His “prime directive”?
Because the demons asked Him to. :E
He (the “head demon”, I’m guessing) acknowledged Jesus’ authority while essentially claiming that he / they were at present outside Jesus’ “jurisdiction”. Matthew’s gospel reports two maniacs, but is so close otherwise that it has to be the same incident. In Matthew chapter 8, the demons are said to cry out, “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
But they panicked. Jesus had already begun to command the demons to leave the man (or men), and the demons blurted out, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
So He did. :E Because they had in essence given Him the option.
Forgive my imagination. It may be a technicality, but “he who lives by the fine print dies by the fine print.” Those who believe they can think faster than God are doomed to disappointment.
And the last two incidents: On the way to heal a dying twelve-year-old girl, Jesus is delayed by a woman who is desperate. She “who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years”, and all the doctors could do for her was bankrupt her. Her last hope was Jesus. But according to Jewish law, she was unclean. (See Leviticus 15:25) She should not, according to Jewish law, have touched Him. But twelve years … she just couldn’t take any more. So she violated the Law, and Jesus knew instantly that someone had touched Him with a purpose, because He “felt power go out of Him.”
He persisted in His inquiry and the woman confessed what she had done, which took some courage. She was scared. She “came trembling and fell down before Him.”
Jesus’ response fills my heart with joy! Makes me laugh out loud for joy! He totally ignored the Mosaic Law, and immediately responded, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
This is the sort of thing that causes me to give my allegiance to King Jesus.
But bad news immediately followed: word came from Jairus’ home that his daughter had died. Look how King Jesus immediately reassured Jairus: “Don’t fear; only believe, and she will be well.” As we know, He resurrected Jairus’ daughter.
Notice something different about Jesus resurrecting this child? The “faith healers” of our time advertise themselves shamelessly. Especially considering that they can’t heal anyone. But Jesus told the girl’s parents to tell no one what had happened. If they obeyed His instruction, He saved them from being hounded endlessly by the equivalent of the press. By the curious. He saved them from being hated by those whose children He did not heal or resurrect.
Our God is awesome. That word is so overused today. I hear it maybe a hundred times a day at work. But it finds its most appropriate application only in describing the Holy One of Israel and King Jesus. They are awesome in power, in love, in mercy, in forgiveness of our sins, and in judgment against sins.
“We will glorify the King of kings
We will glorify the Lamb
We will glorify the Lord of lords
Who is the great I am.
Lord Jehovah reigns in majesty
We will bow before His throne
We will worship Him in righteousness
We will worship Him alone!
He is Lord of Heaven, Lord of Earth
He is Lord of all who live
He is Lord above the universe
All praise to Him we give!