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Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 9: September 21, 2009, Luke 8.1-56

Day 9: September 21, 2009, Luke 8.1-56



My commentary is found below, after the text:

Luke 8.1-56
PARABLE OF THE SOWER

8 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
4When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5“A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

9Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’

11“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.


LAMP ON A STAND


16“No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”

JESUS’ MOTHER AND BROTHERS

19Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

JESUS CALMS THE STORM

22One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”


THE HEALING OF A DEMON POSSESSED MAN

26Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. 32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.


A DEAD GIRL AND A SICK WOMAN

40Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, 42for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying. As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. 43Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” 49While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” 51When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.


Commentary: God bless the women of the church! I have always said that without a strong group of women in a church, that church is doomed to mediocrity. Our reading starts out with the mentioning of some specific women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna). And then there is a little passage that is so important and so easy to overlook: (8.3) “and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.” Without these faithful women, the ministry of the Gospel doesn’t go forward. THEY provided out of their own resources the money needed to carry out the work of Jesus. Our partnership with God on behalf of the Gospel truly matters and these women lead the way to what it means to be faithful. I wonder what names of faithful women, both past and present, would be recalled as providing for the work of the Gospel here in San Clemente?



Our reading today feels like a marathon of events each coming right on the heels of the others: parables, teachings, healings, storms, and demons all coming at us in a relentless pace. I think Luke wants us to realize that once this Good News has been released there is no shortage of places where it needs to be proclaimed. One thing in this chapter really stands out for me. After the Gerasene Demoniac (the guy with the legion of demons living in the graveyard) is healed and presented in his right mind to the townspeople—the townspeople’s reaction is not joy, or gratitude, but FEAR? Why were they afraid? Are we afraid that Jesus might ‘cast out’ some of the demons in our own lives that we’ve become quite used to? Sometimes we prefer the devil we know to the good we have yet to encounter.



Finally look back at the parable of the sower: take an honest look at your own spiritual welfare. Do you find yourself mostly on the path, battling birds; in the rocks trying to grow roots; in the thorns, easily distracted; or amongst good soil that is allowing you to grow?

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