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LUKE - Chapter 8

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Luke 8

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.

I.  THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF JESUS  3-21 (continued)

3.  Second Period of the Ministry in Galilee and Across Its Lake  6, 17 -- 9, 17 (continued)

8, 1-3:  The Ministering Women.  Peculiar to Luke.    1.  Cf. 4, 43 f.    2.  Mary, who is called the Magdalene is mentioned here by the Evangelist in such a manner that he seems to be introducing her to the reader for the first time, so that she can hardly be the same penitent woman of whom St. Luke has just been speaking.  She is called the Magdalene probably because of her origin from Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Genesareth, about six miles south of Capharnaum.  Elsewhere she is mentioned only in connection with the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Seven devils, perhaps merely in the sense of many devils; cf. the symbolic use of seven in 17, 4; Matt. 18, 21 f.  Diabolical possession is an affliction of man's physical life and therefore implies nothing as to the moral life of the possessed person.  Cf. Mark 16, 9.    3.  Joanna, the wife of Chuza, is mentioned only here and in 24, 10.  Judging from the office that her husband held, she was evidently an affluent and influential woman.  Susanna is not named elsewhere.

8, 4-15:  Parable of the Sower.  The whole passage is much shorter in Luke than in Matthew and Mark.    4-8.  The parable itself: parallels in Matt. 13, 1-9 and Mark 4, 1-9.    9 f.  The reason why Jesus taught in parables: parallels in Matt. 13, 18-23 and Mark 4, 13-20.

8, 16-18:  Purpose of This Teaching.  Parallel in Mark 4, 21-25; cf. also Matt. 5, 15; 10, 26; 13, 12.    18b.  Cf. 19, 26; Matt. 25, 29.

8, 19-21:  Jesus and His Brethren.  Parallels in Matt. 12, 46-50 and Mark 3, 31-35.    21.  The description of our Lord's response is considerably longer in the other Synoptic Gospels.

8, 22-25:  The Storm on the Lake.  Parallels in Matt. 8, 18.23-27 and Mark 4, 25-40.    23.  They were filling: grammatically the word they refers to the disciples, but according to the sense the subject of the verb is the boat (22).

8, 26-39:  Expulsion of the Devils in Gerasa.  Parallels in Matt. 8, 28-34 and Mark 5, 1-20.  As usual, Luke's account is much more similar to Mark's than it is to Matthew's.  But several of the Marcan details are omitted in the Third Gospel, which, however, has certain peculiarities of its own.    26.  Which is opposite Galilee: this is added by Luke for the benefit of the Gentile Christians who would not be acquainted with Palestinian topography.    27.  Luke alone mentions that the demoniac wore no clothes.  But the Second Gospel presupposes this also, for we read there that after his cure the man was found "sitting clothed" (Mark 5, 15).    29b.  In Mark a similar description of the ferocious power of the demoniac is given when the man is first introduced.    31.  Not to command them to depart into the abyss corresponds to Mark's "not to drive them out of the country."  There is no contradiction in these two forms of the entreaty, but Luke is more exact here.  The abyss, according to its original meaning, is any immeasurable depth.  In the Old Testament this word is often used of the deep sea (in the Douay Version it is generally translated as "the deep"; cf. Gen. 1, 2; 7, 11; Ecclus. 1, 2; 16, 18; etc.), but also of the depths of the earth considered as the abode of the dead (cf. Ps. 70, 20).  In the New Testament it is used once in the latter sense (Rom. 10, 7) and several times as the name of the abode of the demons (Apoc. 9, 11; 11, 7; 17, 8; 20, 1.3; etc.).

8, 40-56:  The Daughter of Jairus; the Woman with a Hemorrhage.  Parallels in Matt. 9, 1.18-26 and Mark 5, 21-43.    42.  Luke alone tells us that this was the only daughter that Jairus had.    43.  Contrast the harsher terms used by Mark in regard to the ill treatment that the woman had suffered from many physicians.  Luke, the physician, speaks more gently of the men of his profession.

Confraternity Bible:

The Ministering Women  1 And it came to pass afterwards, that he was journeying through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  And with him were the Twelve, 2 and certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, who is called the Magdalene, from whom seven devils had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who used to provide for them out of their means.

Parable of the Sower  4 Now when a very great crowd was gathering together and men from every town were resorting to him, he said in a parable: 5 "The sower went out to sow his seed.  And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up.  6 And other seed fell upon the rock, and as soon as it had sprung up it withered away, because it had no moisture.  7 And other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.  8 And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold."  As he said these things he cried out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

9 But his disciples then began to ask him what this parable meant.  10* He said to them, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that 
'Seeing they may not see, and hearing they many not understand.'
11 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.  12 And those by the wayside are they who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.  13 Now those upon the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, but believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.  14 And that which fell among the thorns, these are they who have heard, and as they go their way are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen.  15 But that upon good ground, these are they who, with a right and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bear fruit in patience.

Purpose of This Teaching  16 "Now no one, when he has lighted a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a couch, but he puts it upon a lamp-stand, that they who enter may see the light.  17* For there is nothing hidden that will not be made manifest; nor anything concealed that will not be known and come to light.  18 Take heed, therefore, how you hear; for to him who has shall be given; and from him who does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away."

Jesus and His Brethren  19 Now his mother and brethren came to him; and they could not get to him because of the crowd.  20 And it was told him, "Thy mother and thy brethren are standing outside, wanting to see thee."  21* But he answered and said to them, "My mother and my brethren are they who hear the word of God, and act upon it."

The Storm on the Lake  22 Now it came to pass on one of those days, that he and his disciples got into a boat, and he said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake."  And they put out to sea.  23 But as they were sailing, he fell asleep.  And a squall swept down upon the lake, and they were filling and were in peril.  24 So they came and woke him, saying, "Master, we are perishing."  Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water; and they ceased, and there came a calm.  25 And he said to them, "Where is your faith?'  But they were afraid, and marvelled, saying to one another, "Who, then, is this, that he commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey him."

Expulsion of the Devils in Gerasa  26 And they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.  27 Now when he landed, there met him a certain man who for a long time was possessed by a devil, and wore no clothes, and lived in the tombs, not in a house.  28 And when he saw Jesus, he fell down before him, and crying out with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the most high God?  I pray thee, do not torment me."  29 For he was charging the unclean spirit to go forth from the man.  For many times it had laid hold of him; and he was bound with chains and fetters, and kept under guard, but he would break the bonds asunder, and be driven by the devil into the deserts.

30 And Jesus asked him, saying, "What is thy name?"  And he said, "Legion," because many devils had entered into him.  31 And they entreated him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

32* Now a herd of many swine was there, feeding on the mountainside.  And they kept entreating him to give them leave to enter into them.  And he gave them leave.  33 And the devils came out from the man and entered into the swine; and the herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and were drowned.

34 And when the swineherds saw what had happened, they fled and reported it in the town and in the country; 35 and people came out to see what had happened.  And they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the devils had gone out sitting at his feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.  36 And those also who had seen it reported to them how he had been saved from Legion.  37 And all the people of the Gerasene district besought him to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear.

And he got into a boat and went back.  38 But the man from whom the devils had gone out prayed him that he might remain with him.  But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "Return to thy house, and tell all that God has done for thee."  And he departed, publishing throughout the whole town all that Jesus had done for him.

The Daughter of Jairus  40 Now it came to pass when Jesus had returned, that the crowd welcomed 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 falling at the feet of Jesus, he entreated him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

And it happened as he went that he was pressed upon by the crowds.  43 And a certain woman who for twelve years had had a hemorrhage, and had spent all her means on physicians, but could not be cured by anyone, 44 came up behind him and touched the tassel of his cloak; and at once her hemorrhage ceased.

45 And Jesus said, "Who touched me?"  But as all were denying it, Peter, and those who were with him, said, "Master, the crowds throng and press upon thee, and dost thou say, 'Who touched me?'"  46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I perceived that power had gone forth from me."  47 But the woman, seeing that she had not escaped notice, came up trembling, and falling down at his feet, declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been healed instantly.  48 And he said to her, "Daughter thy faith has saved thee; go in peace."

49 While he was yet speaking, there came one from the house of the ruler of the synagogue, saying to him, "Thy daughter is dead; do not trouble him."  50 But Jesus on hearing this word answered the father of the girl, "Do not be afraid; only have faith and she shall be saved."

51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and James and John, and the girl's father and mother.  52 And all were weeping and mourning for her.  But he said, "Do not weep; she is asleep, not dead."  53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  54 But he, taking her by the hand, cried out, saying, "Girl, arise!"  55 And her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately.  And he directed that something be given her to eat.  56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.


10: Isa. 6, 9 f.  To the followers of Jesus, full knowledge of the sublime mysteries of the messianic kingdom is given, whereas the others, such as the Pharisees, Scribes, and great masses of incredulous people, must be content with the figurative discourse.

17: Jesus admonishes His disciples that the truths of salvation, which He had privately explained to them, must be made known to the world.

21: Spiritual relationship is more noble and higher than carnal relationship.  In this spiritual relationship, His Blessed Mother shared more perfectly than any other creature.

32: He granted the devils permission to enter the swine, thereby showing His Apostles the reality of demoniac possession and expulsion, the power of Satan as well as the dependence of the devil upon the permissive will of God and upon His own superior power.