-This is a great chapter centered around faith, and in the case of John the Baptist and the Pharisees, a lack of it. This narrative passage brings us to the point of decision, using many examples, as to what to make of this Man. Who is He? What is His authority? His claims can only be that of Deity, and we see people here in this section wrestling with that conundrum. We see the great faith of the generous centurion and the sinful woman. We observe the continuous miracles and spectacles that became associated with them. Most of all we see the saving faith that gives one peace and contentment. *Application* Where are you at today in your own faith struggle? Are you like John the Baptist and the Pharisees trying to make sense of everything God is trying to reveal in your life? Or are you turning all authority and devotion over to the Lord like the centurion, widow, and sinful woman? Anoint Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life by faith trusting Him for all things temporal and eternal.
Verse to Memorize: Luke 7:50
-Jesus taught in parables most often in His ministry. Luke 8 gives us the parable of the sower (those who give the testimony of the LORD) and the seed (the Word of God). As the seed goes out it lands on four different types of soils.
-The first type of soil is on the road where there is a trampling and easy fodder for flying birds. This soil, Jesus teaches, is people who have heard the truth of the gospel, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart. These never believe and therefore are missing salvation.
-The second type of soil is filled with rocks and cannot contain the moisture required for continual growth. These are people who hear the word and receive it, but as they go on their way (the follow through) they fall away (by definition apostasy, Hebrews 3:12; 6:1-9). There is a tasting of the Holy Spirit and the power of the age to come that comes through belief, but no sealing work is done (Ephesians 4:30) and in time of temptation, Jesus says, they fall away.
-The third type of soil has thorns that grow up with the seed and choke it out of productivity for bearing a crop. These are people who have heard, but go on their way and get choked out by the cares, worries, pressures, riches, and pleasures of this earthly life. No fruit comes to maturity with them. There is debate among biblical scholars as to the salvation of this group of people. On one side it could be said that these don’t really know God and are not genuine in their faith (Matthew 7:16-29). On the other hand, there is substantial evidence in the Scriptures that one can be carnal (worldly, fleshly, sinful) and still make it to the eternal Kingdom as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-16). In fact the book of 1 Corinthians is written to some believers who were very deep in sin and immorality, yet Paul addresses them as saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). This is the more proper position in my opinion, but I would never be dogmatic on this issue. *Application* The danger here is licentiousness. We can become so worldly that the things of God have little appeal to us. Our selfish pleasures are what end up consuming us and we become no good for the Lord. The Bible speaks of God’s severe discipline in cases like these (1 John 5:16, Hebrews 10:30-31; 12:5). God’s grace may be sufficient for salvation, but there are always consequences for disobedience and sin.
-The fouth type of soil is the good soil, which produces a crop a hundred times as great. These are the ones who have heard the word with an honest and good heart (it is always about the heart), and hold it fast bearing fruit with perseverance. The LORD is looking to and fro throughout the earth to strongly support those who in their heart are completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9). *Application* This is certainly our challenge and hopefully our destiny. The LORD shows up to aid His servants who are completely faithful. Have a heart that is after God (1 Kings 11:4).
-Jesus goes on to conclude that everything will be exposed and nothing will remain hidden. His point in verse 18 should be well taken. “Take care how you listen.” *Application* The voice of the Lord calls; are you listening?
-Increase is a major thrust in Jesus’ teaching here as well. *Application* Keep working hard to bring spiritual fruit.
-Next Jesus describes His true family. He is not being rude as His biological relatives come to see Him; He is simply making a point. “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21).” *Application* James picks up on Jesus’ teaching with his letter later on in the New Testament. Our actions reveal what we really believe.
-Jesus calms the storm on the Sea of Galilee and then asked the disciples where their faith was. He demonstrated power for even the forces of nature, which they had never seen before. This left them fearful and amazed. *Application* When was the last time you left someone stunned and amazed by your faith? Be daring and see what the Lord will do for you! This is the simple teaching from this harrowing experience.
-Now the miracle of Gerasene demoniac is narrated. Jesus demonstrates His power to heal a person who has no one to help and no hope for sanity. His response is different with this individual who wanted to follow Him. Jesus tells the man to return to his house and describe what great things God had done for him. This man did exactly that. He became an evangelist with an incredible testimony!
-The chapter ends with a couple of more healing miracles performed by Jesus. He heals a woman who had a twelve year hemorrhage because of her faith. Belief is also a requirement for the resuscitation from death of a twelve year old girl. Jesus tells them not to be afraid, only believe. *Application* Faith of this kind is certainly rare, but it can happen. Miracles happen every day. Have you ever realized that the simple act of thinking is a miracle and outside the realm of the natural (see C.S. Lewis, Miracles, especially chapter 3)? Thinking is supernatural event. Think about it J!
Verse to Memorize: Luke 8:15