Vol. 18, No. 39 – October 20, 2019
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
D. Activities of His Ministry, Luke 7:1-9:50.
4. Ministry to sinners, Luke 7:36-50.
a. The Prelude: The woman anointing the feet of Jesus, vs. 36-39.
b. The Parable: Two debtors, vs 40-43.
c. The Object Lesson: The Pharisee’s Rejection, vs. 44-50.
5. Ministry financed, Luke 8:1-3, Three great women of Jesus’ ministry.
6. Ministry illustrated through parables, Luke 8:4-21. Three parables.
a. The seeds sown on various soils, vs. 4-15.
b. The Lamp not covered, vs. 16-18.
c. Our true family members, vs. 19-21.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
4. Ministry to sinners, Luke 7:36-50.
a. The Prelude: The woman anointing the feet of Jesus, vs. 36-39.
A similar, yet different, story of a woman (one of the Mary’s) anointing Jesus at Bethany is told in Mat 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8. That anointing occurred in Bethany just days before the Crucifixion. This first anointing was in or around Capernaum near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
After having been accused of eating and drinking with sinners and called a glutton and drunkard, Jesus was asked by one of the Pharisees, (named Simon, vs. 40, 43-44), to dine / eat (PHAGO) with him. Jesus accepted his invitation by entering this man’s home and reclining at his table, even though this man most likely rejected John’s and Jesus’ invitation to be joined in union with Jesus and be identified with His death for salvation.
“While Jesus’ ministry of teaching and healing continued to ignite Galilee, drawing multitudes of followers, the Pharisees felt increasingly marginalized. Every time Jesus exercised His divine authority, their credibility waned. Each time Jesus forgave a sinner, the religious leaders lost their power to condemn. He contradicted their teaching, exposed their pride and hypocrisy, rejected their interpretation of Scripture, exposed the errors in their traditions, and even ridiculed them as petulant little brats. Nevertheless, a Pharisee invited Jesus to a banquet.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
“Reclined,” is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb KATAKLINO that means to, “recline at table, cause to lie down, or sit or lie down to eat.” It is only used by Luke here and in Luke 9:14-15, for feeding the 5,000; Luke 14:8, for accepting an invitation to a wedding feast; and Luke 24:30, for the Last Supper when He broke the bread. All three remind us of the previous section of being identified with Jesus in marriage and His death.
“Simon’s hospitality was not extended because he loved Jesus or because he actually believed in Him. It seems he was merely curious and wanted to see what manner of man Jesus was. Or, it could have been that he wanted to spy on Jesus or catch Him in some act or utterance. For whatever reasons Jesus was invited, He accepted. He went to Simon’s house because He loved Simon and wanted to call him to repentance.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary – Luke.)
This “woman,” GUNE, is identified only as “being a sinner,” HAMARTOLOS, cf. vs. 39. Some have speculated she was a prostitute but that cannot be verified. “Sinner” is a generic term with a broad range of possibilities from not keeping the Law in the Pharisee’s mind, to being a heathen, and everything in-between. Nevertheless, apparently the Pharisee knew who she was.
“Alabaster vial of perfume,” is ALABASTRON, “a box made of alabaster or a vessel for perfume,” with MURON that means, “ointment, perfume, sweet oil, or a healing ointment, salve, balm, lotion, cream, etc.” MURON is the juice like aromatic extract from plants, or perfumed oil. As a cosmetic, it could be translated “perfume.” “Ointment” is perhaps a useful English translation, since MURON was often medicinal and at times cultic in significance, being used for anointing (e.g., for burial in the embalming process). Nevertheless, this gesture of devotion came at considerable cost, because the ointment was very expensive, and the alabaster box was also costly, being made of a fine, translucent stone.
As such, when this unnamed woman anointed Jesus’ feet, she signaled her recognition of Jesus as Lord and His work upon the Cross that would result in His death. So, this was a preparation for His burial, as she was also identifying herself with Christ’ death (singing a dirge, vs. 32). She stands in stark contrast to the Pharisee Simon who did not recognize who Jesus truly was, cf. Luke 7:44-47, 49.
Luke 7:38, “And standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.”
Here, we have four acts that capture the essence of what we have seen thus far in chapters 6-7. Luke uses the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of the verbs in this scene for “weeping, wiping, kissing, and anointing” to indicate the continuous actions of this woman.
1. This sinful woman was “weeping,” KLAIO, “weep, mourn, lament, cry, etc.,” and “wet His feet” BRECHO PODOS, literally it is, “caused to rain on His feet,” “with her tears,” HO DAKRU. So, the water works were really turned on, in this scene, which tell us she recognized that she was a sinner and she needed a savior. It was her “mourning or weeping now,” as we have previously noted in Luke 6:21, that those who weep now will laugh/rejoice in eternity. This, along with the next act, reminds us of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13, that was an object lesson of the forgiveness of our sins both positionally and experientially.
2. Then she, “kept wiping them with the hair of her head,” EKMOSSA, “wipe or wipe off,” with THRIX, “hair,” HO KEPHALE, “head.” She kept wiping off the water from His feet with the only towel she had, the long tresses of her own hair. Interestingly, hair being the woman’s glory, she wiped Jesus’ feet by placing her glory at His feet, 1 Cor 11:15, “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.” So, she laid her glory at the feet of Jesus, which glorified Him. In other words, she humbled herself before God!
3. “And kissing His feet,” KATAPHILEO, “To kiss affectionately or repeatedly,” HO PODOS, “His feet.” Her tender, repeated kissing of Jesus’ feet demonstrated her deep reverence for Him. This was her identification of union with Jesus Christ; Dancing at the wedding, vs. 32.
4. “And anointing them with the perfume,” ALEIPHO HO MURON. This was a form of preparation of burial, as she identified with His death; the sing of a dirge, vs. 32. We see this preparation for the literal burial of Jesus in Mark 16:1; Luke 23:66; cf. John 12:7.
ALEIPHO is not the common word for anointing someone for position or service. That use was found with CHRIO, where CHRISTOS comes from. This was used more for spreading of an ointment for medicinal purposes, Mark 6:13; James 5:14, which means to bring healing, which is also what Christ did for us by paying for our sins upon the Cross. Yet, this word was used in the LXX of the OT in Ex 40:15; Num 3:3 for anointing someone to the priesthood, which is also in view regarding Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest.
Ex 40:15, “And you shall anoint them even as you have anointed their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing will qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”
“What courage must it have taken for her to enter this Pharisee’s home? What hope must have been in her heart when she gathered her most expensive possession, an alabaster flask of ointment? What brokenness must have rushed up in her heart and mind as she stood behind Jesus “weeping” (v. 38)? She knew she was a sinner better than anyone else did.” (Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Luke.)
Luke 7:39, “Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner’.”
Simon did not say this out loud, but “to himself.” This sets up Jesus’ response as He, who is God, knows the thoughts and intentions of a man’s heart, Acts 15:8; Heb 4:12.
Acts 15:8, “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us.”
Simon thought disparagingly about Jesus, “if this man were a prophet,” which uses the 2nd class “if” statement meaning, “if and he is not,” in the eyes of this Pharisee. This means that the Pharisee did not think Jesus was a Prophet, PROPHETES, because if He were, He “would have known,” GINOSKO, “who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” Even though Jesus performed innumerable miracles, healings, exorcisms, and resurrections, this legalistic self-righteous arrogant Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a true prophet, because in his mind, true prophets would not associate with such people like this. But these are exactly the type of people Jesus came for!
b. The Parable: Two debtors, vs 40-43.
Jesus then goes on to explain this to the Pharisee in a parable about two men who had a debt to another. One owed 500 denarii, (500 days of wages), and the other 50 denarii (50 days of wages).
Luke 7:40, “And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher’.” This Pharisee’s name is now revealed, “Simon,” which was a very common name in that day, as Peter’s name was Simon, and in the other Gospels of the anointing of Jesus with perfume, we see a Simon the Leper.
Simon concluded that Jesus could not be a Prophet because He had not discerned the woman was a sinner. So now, Jesus proved a greater discernment than knowing the sins of the woman by knowing the thoughts of Simon himself! But I don’t think Simon got it!
Notice Simon calls Jesus “teacher,” DIDASKALOS, which He was, but of all the titles for Him, this was the least. So, we see Jesus being demoted in this man’s mind from prophet to teacher.
Luke 7:41, “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.” This is the object lesson compared to our sins. Some have more, and some have less debt before God.
“Debtor,” is the Noun CHRE-OPHEILETES χρεωφειλέτης, from CHREOS, “debt,” and OPHEILETES, “one who owes,” that is from the Verb OPHEILO, “owe or be indebted.” CHREOPHEILETES is used only here and Luke 16:5. Both of these occurrences include a sense of mercy on the part of the one who forgave the debt, as well as a sense of relief for the one forgiven.
Luke 7:42a, “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.” This is the object lesson of the forgiveness of our sins: that Jesus will pay for all sins and God will forgive all sins in Jesus. Some people will have many sins forgiven, because of their many sins in life, while others fewer, yet all are paid for in full!
“Forgave,” is the Aorist, Middle, Indicative of the Verb CHARIZOMAI, χαρίζομαι that means, “give generously, grant, bestow; remit, forgive, release, or pardon.” It is utilized by only Luke and Paul. Luke understood it as the demonstration of our Lord’s “gracious giving,” His “bestowing favor” upon candidates for salvation. In our passages with a story about canceled debts, it is the outworking of God’s “grace,” CHARIS, as He “grants” sight to the blind, Luke 7:21, and illustrates God’s gracious granting of repentance and forgiveness to all who would believe.
Luke 7:42b, “So which of them will love him more?” With the answer being so obvious, the self-righteous Pharisee will condemn himself. “Will love him more,” uses AGAPAO in analogy for Category one love; Love towards God, as a result of the forgiveness of our sins, which is what Simon states in the next verse.
Luke 7:43, “Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave (CHARIZOMAI) more, (PLEION, “more or greater”).’ And He said to him, ‘You have judged, (KRINO), correctly, (ORTHOS, “rightly, correctly, or properly”)’.”
The Pharisees were so caught up with being holy and righteous through their own works that they would condemn those who were not like them, and would do nothing to help them overcome their sin other than condemn them or humiliate them into submission.
Yet, Jesus, coming with compassionate love, did everything necessary to help the sinner overcome their sins, by paying for them upon the Cross.
c. The Object Lesson: The Pharisee’s Rejection, vs. 44-50.
Jesus then explains the parable by relating it to this woman, her sins, and her response to having her debt forgiven, in comparison to Simon’s treatment of Jesus, indicating his rejection of Jesus as Prophet / Savior / Messiah / King.
Luke 7:44, “Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair’.”
Simon is rebuked for his uncompassionate treatment of Jesus, who was not “a sinner” like this woman was, in Simon’s eyes. He did not honor Jesus, even as a common guest. We see first that Simon did not recognize he was a sinner who needed a Savior; washing for forgiveness of sin.
Luke 7:45, “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.”
Secondly, Simon did not have love for Jesus and did not identify with the union he could have had with Christ.
Luke 7:46, “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.”
Thirdly, Simon did not identify with the death of Jesus for the payment of his sins.
Luke 7:47, “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Because this woman: 1) Knew she was a sinner and needed a Savior, 2) Laid her glory at the feet of Jesus to glorify Him, i.e., humbled herself before God; 3) Identified herself with the Union with Jesus Christ, and 4) Identified herself with the death of Jesus Christ, she received “forgiveness of her sins.” As such, she was forgiven much and therefore loved Jesus and God very much!
Yet Simon, in his arrogance, did not think he needed forgiveness and therefore did not have love for Jesus or God. He rejected the purpose of God for his life, vs. 30.
Luke 7:48, “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven (APHIEMI)’.”
Luke 7:50, “And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace’.”
This woman was not saved because of the works she performed in weeping, wetting, wiping, kissing, and anointing Jesus. She was forgiven of her sins because she believed in Jesus as her Savior / Messiah / King. Her faith led her to do good works in appreciation for what she had received. Her faith was demonstrated by her good works.
Luke 7:49, “Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’”
This caused the people who were at the dinner party to marvel at Jesus and question in their minds who He was. Apparently, they did not believe in Him as the Savior prior to this event, but because of this event, it gave the cause to ponder who He was, hopefully to the point of salvation by believing in Him. This was Jesus’ ultimate goal for accepting the invitation to and attending the dinner party.
5. Ministry financed, Luke 8:1-3, Three great women of Jesus’ ministry.
Luke 8:1-3, “Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, 2and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.”
“At this point in the story, Luke inserts an editorial note about the practical expression of faith on the part of genuine disciples. With His ministry on the move, the Twelve ministered alongside Jesus, while a band of women also followed—women whom Jesus had healed, released from demonic possession, or redeemed from sin and shame. The men had left their livelihoods to devote themselves to exclusive training as apostles. The women gave out of their own financial means to support the practical needs of Jesus and the Twelve. Like the “sinful woman” in the previous segment, these people gave tangible expression to their faith in the Messiah.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
Jesus continues His ministry going from town to town “preaching the gospel of salvation,” KERUSSO EUANGELIZO, i.e., “the kingdom of God,” BASILEIA HO THEOS, so that people could identify with His death and thereby be entered into union with Him forever in heaven.
Luke also tells us that the 12 Apostles were with Him on this missionary journey. They were with Him to learn what and how to preach. Later, Jesus sent them out to minister on their own and gave them power and authority to do so, Luke 9:1-2. Spending time in the presence of the Lord, studying His Word, is still the most essential aspect of preparing for ministry and service today.
Not only were the 12 Apostles with Jesus, but several other women, GUNE, who were “healed,” THERAPEUO, “from evil spirits,” APO PONEROS PNEUMA, and “sicknesses,” ASTHENEIA.
These women, in appreciation for what Jesus had done for them, reciprocated in love by supporting His ministry. Apparently, they had come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah / Savior / King, and demonstrated their faith by serving in Jesus’ ministry.
The women mentioned here were either demon possessed, as we see Mary Magdalene was, or had some kind of illness or disease that they were healed from. In fact “Mary who was called Magdalene,” MARIA MAGDALENOS, had received exorcism of 7 demons by Jesus, “from whom seven demons had gone out,” HEPTA DAIMONION. To whom much is given, love much in return, Luke 7:47.
Here we are given two other great women, “Joanna the wife of Chuza,” IOANNA GUNE CHOUZAS, “Herod’s steward,” HERODES EPITROPOS, (a household servant, who had authority over land or people, or served as an underling manager over property that belonged to his employer), and “Susanna, SOUSANNA. In addition, there were “many others,” POLUS HETEROS, who “were contributing to their support,” DIAKONEO, “from their private means / possessions,” HUPOARCHO.
The Greek simply reads, “Who kept on ministering to them from their possessions.”
“Were contributing to their support,” is the Verb DIAKONEO, διακονέω that means, “serve, wait upon tables, minister, help, or serve as deacon.” It is the action word related to the Noun for Deacons. This is not a noun, so they were not considered “deacons.” The office of Deacon did not exist until soon after the Church Age began.
Here, it is in the Imperfect, Active, Indicative for the ongoing action of these supporters of Jesus’ ministry. All of them being moved by gratitude for their deliverance from “evil spirits and sicknesses,” served Jesus’ ministry “from their own possessions,” HUPARCHO, ὑπάρχω “have or possess.” They supported the ministry from whatever they had or possessed. This could range from their time, talent, or treasures, but mostly emphasizes their treasures or monetary gifts that they gave to the ministry for its support. Yet, because these women were following Jesus during His missionary journeys, we can assume that this included other forms of “serving,” the ministry as the needs arose from a group of people traveling long distances.
Our text tells us of three of these ministering women, but there are many more that are unnamed, unknown women, women with broken pasts, and women of position. All kinds of women served the Lord and supported his ministry. The Christian church would never have gotten off the ground if it were not for women. Churches around the world would have closed their doors generations ago if it were not for women. And our church would not exist today if it were not for the women who serve graciously and wonderfully.
Serving graciously is the pattern of Christian ministry from the beginning. It is a partnership to spread the Word by those who hear the Word. Everyone does one thing or another, because the entire aim is to spread the Word of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard. That is why the local church exists. Of all the things the Lord may call us to do; we must not fail to spread the Word because we have a partnership in the gospel, Phil 1:5-6. It is our business. We do not look for government support or resources from private foundations. We all assume collective responsibility for supporting the ministry in our local assembly, our neighborhoods, and beyond. Let us never be distracted or forget this partnership that we are in. Those who hear the Word should be part of spreading the Word.
As the Bible tells us, Jesus had no place or dwelling of his own, Luke 9:58, but it does not say He begged for food, clothing, or shelter. His needs were met by the kindness of relatives and friends like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. Jesus trusted the Biblical principle also stated by Paul, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” Phil 4:19; cf. Mat 6:25-34.
This is our introduction to these women, which the Gospels later talk about, especially at the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. Let’s meet these three great women:
1. Mary Magdalene.
She is mentioned 12 times in the NT. Mary, MARIA, Μαρία is the Greek that comes from the Hebrew MIRIAM that means, “rebellion, rebellious, or bitter.”
This architecturally Hellenized site lays 3 miles northeast of Tiberias. Because of its important dried fish industry, its Greek name was Taricheia, (Josephus, Life 403-4). Excavations have confirmed the urban character of Magdala and in 2009 considerable remains of a synagogue of the Second Temple era were excavated. Magdala is only directly mentioned in a few late manuscripts of Mat 15:39 and Mark 8:10. However, the places mentioned in the original text refer to a region lying further to the north. Given that this Mary was from the town of Magdala may give a clue that Jesus ministered there.
This Mary was a prominent disciple of Jesus who followed Him in Galilee and to Jerusalem. She is always listed first in groups of named female disciples and was the first person to whom the resurrected Jesus made an appearance, Mat 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; Luke 8:2; 24:10; John 19:25; 20:1, 11-18. Her status is attested by the numerous references to her in early apocryphal and gnostic Christian literature
Although Jesus cast seven demons out of her, there is no Biblical evidence she was a prostitute or had a bad moral character, as is often assumed. In antiquity, demon possession was an indication of physical or spiritual illness; obviously, Mary Magdalene was quite ill before her encounter with Jesus.
Like the other women, all appear to have occupied a position of comparative wealth, and their chief motive was that of gratitude for their deliverance from “evil spirits and infirmities.” Of Mary it is said specially that “seven devils went out of her,” and the number indicates a possession of more than ordinary malignity.
And, although she came to the tomb of Jesus with embalming perfumes, she is not the same as the woman we just noted in Luke 7:36-50. When her name appears in Luke 8:2, there is not one word to connect it with the history immediately preceding, and the introduction of Mary in Luke 8 is quite removed topically from Luke 7:36. Likewise, she is not the Mary who anointed Jesus in Bethany.
Yet, she was one of the women at the Cross and was the first person to whom the resurrected Christ appeared, Mark 15:40; 16:9. Christ loved her, but no more than He loves anyone else, and the mythical story of being the wife of Jesus is completely false.
Her life of ministration brought Mary Magdalene into the closest companionship with Salome, the mother of James and John, Mark 15:40, and also with Mary the mother of the Lord, John 19:25. They “were standing at a distance, seeing these things,” Luke 23:49, during the closing hours of Christ’s agony on the Cross. The same close association that drew them together there is seen afterward. She remained by the Cross until Jesus’ death, and she waited until His body was taken down and wrapped in the linen cloth and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, Mat 27:61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55. She, with Salome and Mary, the mother of James, “brought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him,” the embalming process of their day, Mark 16:1. The next morning they came to the tomb with the spices Mat 28:1; Mark 16:2, and found it empty. At that time the angels appeared telling them that Jesus had risen and to go tell the others, Mat 28:5; Mark 16:5. Mary with the other woman and told the disciples including Peter and John, Luke 24:10; John 20:1-2 and, returning with them, she remained after they went back. Looking into the tomb, she saw the angels, and she replied to their question as to her reason for weeping, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Turning back, she saw Jesus, but did not at first recognize Him. Then, when Jesus spoke to her she exclaimed, “Rabboni” (Teacher) and rushed forward to embrace His feet. Jesus’ response was, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, Go tell my brethren…” John 20:17. Mary then went to the disciples and told them what she had seen and heard, John 20:11-18.
As such, to the very end, with unwearied devotion, with intent and eager willingness, with undaunted courage even in the face of dangers which broke the courage of the chosen Twelve, she followed and served her Lord. The actions of these women of whom Mary was one, in serving their Master’s need while in life, and in administering the last rites to His body in death, is characteristic of woman at her best.
2. Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward.
“Joanna ,” IOANA Iωάνα, or IOANNA
Ἰωάννα meaning “YHWH has been gracious, grace or gift of the Lord,” is said in our verse to be “the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward,” that is Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. “Chuza,” Chouzas, Χουζᾶς whose name means, “the seer or prophet,” is only mentioned here in the NT. We do not know anything else about him, or if the definition of his name is a title for him or just his name. Most likely, it is his name only and does not have any significance for the function or office of his life. We do not know if he accompanied his wife on her journeys following Jesus, or if he remained behind attending to his duties as Herod Antipas’ steward. Being the wife of a highly placed official in the court of Herod Antipas, perhaps the chief administrator of his estate, she may have been well able to contribute financially to Christ’s and the Apostles’ material needs.
As for Joanna, only Luke mentions her, as she is in our list of the “women who had been healed of evil spirits and illnesses.” Luke also notes her being with the other women who accompanied Jesus on His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, and was present when His body was laid in the tomb Luke 23:55, as she was also among those who prepared spices and ointments to embalm His body, and who found the grave empty, and went and “told these things unto the apostles,” Luke 23:56-24:10.
Luke 24:10, “Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.”
Although not mentioned by name, Joanna is most likely counted as one of the women who joined the disciples and Mary, the mother of the Lord, in the upper room in prayer. And was among the group of 120 who chose Matthias to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, Acts 1:15f., as well as being present on the Day of Pentecost.
“Susanna,” Sousanna, Σουσάννα whose name means, “lily, rose, or joy,” is only mentioned here in Scripture. She too is one of several women who were healed by Jesus, and accompanied Him and the 12 on their travels and helped meet the group’s expenses. Apparently, she had a significant enough role to be mentioned by Luke and our Lord in this passage.
She remains a mystery to this day. While the early church may have known her well, we know nothing more than that she followed Jesus, provided tangible support for His ministry out of her own financial resources, and may have been among the women who prepared the body of Jesus for burial. Yet, she is only mentioned here.
In these three women, we see a picture of love and devotion to our Lord in appreciation and reciprocation for His healing forgiveness. They are beautiful examples of having a servant’s heart.
6. Ministry illustrated through parables, Luke 8:4-21. Here we have three parables our Lord taught:
a. The seeds sown on various soils, vs. 4-15.
b. The Lamp that is not covered, vs. 16-18.
c. Who are our true family members, vs. 19-21.
a. The first parable is the great parable about the seeds sown on various soils that is also recorded in Mat 13:2-23; Mark 4:1-20. Some call this the “Parable of the Sower,” be we should call it the “Parable of the Soils,” because this parable puts the responsibility on the hearers of the Word, not the teachers. The emphasis is on those who receive the Gospel and Bible doctrine in their lives.
In this parable, we have four types of soil that seed is sown into. In the first half, Jesus tells the parable to the multitudes who had “gathered together,” (SUNEIMI, only used here). In the second half, Jesus explains the parable to the Apostles only, and for us, as it has been recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. So, we do not need to try to interpret this one, it has been interpreted for us. Nevertheless, we need to understand the message our Lord is teaching and apply it to our lives.
In this parable, we have a “sower,” SPEIRO, which can be anyone who is teaching or preaching the Word of God, (both the Gospel of Jesus Christ and/or Bible Doctrine), because the seed itself is the “Word of God,” vs. 11, and the sower is undefined by our Lord. So, the sower can be the Pastor/Teacher, Evangelist, or anyone in the Body of Christ, as we all are Royal Ambassadors for Christ with a commission to witness the Word of God, 2 Cor 5:20; Eph 6:20; 1 John 1:2; 4:14; 5:11; 3 John 1:3, 6, 12. Because the seed is the Word of God, it is good. Whether or not it bears fruit depends on the type of soil into which it falls, as we will see.
Then, we are given four types of ground or soil that the seed is sown onto:
- The Road/path, vs. 5, 12.
- Rocky Soil, vs. 6, 13.
- Amongst Thorns, vs. 7, 14.
- Good Soil, vs. 8, 15.
Along with the four types of soil, we have four outcomes of the seed sown on the various soils:
- Trampled underfoot, and the birds eat it, vs. 5.
- After growing a little, it withered away because of no moisture, vs. 6.
- Choked out because of the thorns, vs 7.
- Grew and produced a crop 100 times as great, vs 8.
In the explanation of the parable, our Lord tells us the cause of these four results:
- “The devil comes and takes away the word from their heart,” vs. 12b.
- “They receive the word with joy yet have no firm root,” 13b.
- “As they go on their way, they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life,” vs. 14b.
- “The ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart,” vs. 15b.
Our Lord tells of the literal four results:
- “They will not believe and be saved, vs. 12c.
- “They believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away,” vs. 13c.
- “They bring no fruit to maturity,” vs. 14c.
- “They hold fast the Word, and bear fruit with perseverance,” vs. 15c.
In this parable, the first is an unsaved person who remains that way, while the other three do receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ for eternal salvation and then have varying results in their spiritual walk.
1) In the first object lesson, “The Road Soil,” the seed gets “trampled underfoot,” which is the Verb KATAPATEO, καταπατέωthat means, “trample on, tread underfoot, or treat with disdain.” It is a compound word from the Preposition, KATA, “according to,” and the Verb PATEO that means, “to tread on, trample, or treat with contempt or disdain.” As such, our word is the emphatic use to emphasize the severity. It is used 5 times in the NT, once literally in Luke 12:1, and 4 times figuratively to generally convey the idea of “scornful neglect and rejection.”
- In Mat 5:13, for the “salt which has lost its savor.”
- In Mat 7:6, for “not casting our pearls before swine.”
- In Heb 10:29, for the “scornful disdain against Jesus Christ.”
Overall it means the ways and things of this world pack down in the heart of man so that Christ cannot take root within their soul, with the result that they reject Him and are even antagonistic towards Him.
In our verse, Luke 8:5, we see that this ground was packed hard by constant foot traffic, and the seed had little chance for growth. Birds ate the seeds before they could even sprout. As such, it explains the rejection of the Word of God, particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is ignored and rejected by falsehoods and counterfeits from worldly people, i.e., those living inside of Satan’s cosmic system. As it says, the “birds of heaven, OURANOS, devour it, KATESTHIO,” that means, “consume, devour, eat up, or destroy.” In other words, Satan, and his minions do all that they can to taint the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which ranges from nullifying it in the minds of people, to counterfeiting it with false religions, philosophies, and systems, and everything in-between.
In our Lord’s explanation, He says the “birds of the air” are in fact, “The devil (DIABOLOS, “the devil, slanderous, false accuser, the adversary”), who comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.” These people heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but because they are so influenced by the things of Satan’s world, including false religions, philosophies, sin, wealth, power, lusts, etc., they do not believe in the Gospel for salvation. The Gospel never enters the “heart,” KARDIA, the right lobe of the soul, for salvation. It comes into their “mind” NOUS, the left lobe of the soul, when they are told or taught the gospel, but they do not believe it and have it cycled to the right lobe of the soul where it would be if they believed it. Therefore, they remain unsaved.
This group fails at the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
2) In the second object lesson, “The Rocky Soil,” we have the first group of “saved,” people, as they “received the Word with joy.” Unfortunately, this seed is on “rocky soil,” meaning a thin layer of soil covering a ledge of rock. In this case, the seed would sprout in the thin soil by the sun’s rays, but when the sun would continue to shine on it, it would also dry out rapidly, and the young shoots would wither and die. It means that these people believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but then, “as soon as it grew up, it withered away.” Therefore, the rocky soil represents shallow faith.
“Withered away,” is the Verb XERAINO, ξηραίνω that is used 12 times in the NT and means, “wither, dry up, or dry out.” In other words, disintegrates and is no longer useful. Our Lord’s explanation tells us that, “they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, (PEIRASMOS, πειρασμός “temptation or testing,” Luke 4:13 of our Lord), they fall away,” (APHISTEMI, ἀφίστημι, “cause to revolt, mislead, lead away, withdraw from, abstain from, depart, desert, or fall away”), because they “had no moisture,” (IKMAS, only used here, which is a another of Luke’s medical terms in these passages that figuratively means they had no Bible Doctrine in their souls to sustain them in times of temptation, trials, and tribulations).
“Many people accept Christ and His message into their lives. But when persecution or temptation or a seductive doctrine comes along, they turn from Him. Such people live on their feelings rather than on their convictions. They have discovered that it is not always easy to live the Christian life, although it is easy to start. This does not mean their original commitment to the Lord was not genuine. It means they did not let the kingdom of God take root in their hearts. Again, it is a choice. The obstacles that prevent faith from taking hold can be broken up and removed.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary – Luke).
This group succeeds at the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but fails to receive the teaching of Bible doctrine immediately after their salvation.
3) In the third object lesson, “The Thorny Soil,” we have the second group, (two being the number of division), of believers who had some spiritual growth in their life, but unfortunately kept one foot inside of Satan’s cosmic system that eventually took over. The implication is both the thorns, (worldliness / Satan’s cosmic system / sin), and the good seed (Bible doctrine), “grow with each other,” and competed for space and nutrients inside the soul of the believer’s soul, where the thorns / Satan’s cosmic system / sin in the life of the believer, eventually over takes him and “chokes it (Bible Doctrine) out,” (APOPNIGO, “chokes out, cuts it off, overpowers, or kills”). In other words, the doctrine in this believer’s soul is eventually squeezed out where he becomes fruitless, as he once again functions exclusively inside of Satan’s cosmic system with all kinds of worldliness and sin in his life. Our Lord says, “they are choked with worries, (MERIMNA, “care, concern, anxiety”), and riches (PLOUTOS, wealth, riches, abundance”), and pleasures, (HEDONE, “pleasure, delight, strong desire, or lust”) of this life.” That is the definition of being overcome by Satan’s cosmic system. Matthew and Mark say these things are “deceitful,” and that they “choke out the Word” in the souls of people.
Luke 21:34, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.”
That is why you are to, 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
This is the person who is so wrapped up with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life that he cannot be totally committed to Christ. Earthly concerns are not necessarily bad in themselves, but they may drain your energy and turn you from Christ. Some are lured from Christ by the attraction of worldly pleasures. No matter how strong in faith a Christian is, he still cannot serve two masters, Mat 6:24.
As a result, these believers, “bring no fruit to maturity,” TELESPHOREO, τελεσφορέω, “bring fruit to completion or maturity.” Only Luke uses this word and only here. It is a compound word from TELEO, “to complete or finish,” and PHERO, “carry, bear, produce, or bring,” In other words, there is no Divine good production in their lives.
This group succeeds at the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the initial receiving of the teaching of Bible doctrine immediately after their salvation, but fails in the long haul to persevere with the intake and application of Bible doctrine, and eventually gave over to the Old Sin Nature.
4) In the fourth object lesson, “The Good Soil,” we have the third group, (the number of Divine perfection), of believers who receive the Word of God on a consistent basis and remain strong in it. Our Lord says, “They heard the Word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast and bear fruit with perserverance.”
An “honest and good heart,” uses two Greek words that both mean “good.” The first, KALOS, refers to beauty and nobility, the outward expression of goodness. The second, AGATHOS, good of intrinsic value, refers to perfection, completeness, and uprightness; the inward expression of goodness that leads to outward actions of Divine good production.
“Holds it fast,” tells us the good hearer understands the Word; he digs into the Word, meditates on it, and finds its true meaning, cf. Mat 13:23. The good hearer also receives the Word and it becomes a part of him, Mark 4:20. Luke says the good hearer keeps the Word; he holds onto it and puts it into practice.
These people had spiritual growth through the inculcation of Bible doctrine into their souls with application where they produced Divine good, the fruit of the Spirit, in their livers to the glory of God. The emphasis of their Divine good production is, “100 times as great,” which is the Greek Adjective HEKATONTAPLASIŌN, ἑκατονταπλασίων that means, “a hundredfold.” In other words, the seed that was sown in them, returned 100 more seeds. This is a general statement about their impact in the spiritual life in the lives of others while here on earth. In addition, our Lord states they had “perseverance,” HUPOMONE that means, “patience, endurance, steadfastness, or perseverance.” This is the first time this word is used in the NT, a first mention principle passage, and is used in Luke 21:19, and then extensively exclusively in the Epistles of the NT. It has the hint of persecution in its application, so it is “endurance in the face of persecutions.” It is also connected with confidence in God, His Word, and Plan for your life. Believers show God and others the quality of their Christian character and benefit themselves spiritually when they “endure patiently” the sufferings that come upon them because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
No plant grows to maturity overnight; neither does a Christian. But one who is truly Christ-like continues to be open to the living Word of God and will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
This group succeeds at the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the initial receiving of Bible teaching after their salvation, and perseveres in the long haul with the intake and application of Bible doctrine, where they grow to spiritual adulthood and produce Divine good.
Remember, everyone is accountable to God for the truth he hears, Rom 14:12. Each person must cultivate his own soil / heart of his soul. If one has no faith at hearing or applying the Word, it is because he does not give the seed any opportunity to grow within him, Mat 13:31, 32; 17:20. Hard-packed soil can be plowed and made ready for planting; rocks can be removed from stony soil; thorns and weeds can be plucked out by the roots. With proper attention, there is no reason any soil Jesus mentioned cannot become productive. Every believer can prepare the soil of his life, making it a place where the seed of God’s Word can grow and produce abundant fruit.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-108 & 19-109 & 19-110
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!