Luke 8

Chapter 8

Hearing the Word

The Women Who Minister to Jesus. 1 After that, Jesus journeyed through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the kingdom of God. Traveling with him were the Twelve, 2 [a]as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; 3 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza; Susanna; and many others. These women provided for them out of their own resources.

The Parable of the Sower.[b] 4 When a large crowd gathered together as people from every town flocked to him, he said in a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the path and was trampled upon, and the birds of the sky ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7 Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 And some fell onto good soil, and when it grew it produced a crop of a hundredfold.”

After saying this, he cried out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of Parables.[c] 9 Then his disciples asked him what the parable meant. 10 He said, “To you has been granted knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but for others they are made known in parables, so that

‘looking they may not see,
and hearing they may not understand.’

11 The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower.[d]“The meaning of the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. 12 The seed on the path represents those who hear, but then the devil comes and carries off the word from their hearts so that they may not come to believe and be saved. 13 Those on rock are the ones who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a short while, but in time of trial they fall away.

14 “That which has fallen among thorns are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the concerns and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. 15 But that which is on rich soil are the ones who, when they have heard the word with a good and upright heart, keep it and yield a harvest through their perseverance.

16 The Parable of the Lamp.[e]“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a pot or places it under a bed. Rather he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing is concealed that will not be made known and brought to light. 18 Take great care, therefore, about how you listen. For to the one who has, more will be given; from the one who does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

19 The True Family of Jesus.[f] Then his mother and his brethren arrived, looking for him, but they could not get near him because of the crowd. 20 He was told, “Your mother and your brethren[g] are standing outside, and they want to see you.” 21 But he replied, “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

The Progressive Revelation of the Mystery of Jesus

22 Jesus Calms the Storm.[h] One day, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And so they set forth, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. Then a windstorm swept down on the lake. As a result, the boat was becoming filled with water, and they were in danger. 24 So they went to him and awakened him, saying, “Master! Master! We are perishing!”

Then he awakened and rebuked the wind and the turbulent waves. They subsided and there was calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were filled with fear and a sense of awe, and they said to one another, “Who can this be? He gives orders to the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

26 Jesus Casts Out a Legion of Demons.[i] Then they sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped ashore, he was approached by a man from the town who was possessed by demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes. Moreover, he did not live in a house but among the tombs.

28 When the man caught sight of Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you, do not torment me!” 29 For he had ordered the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times in the past it had seized him, and on such occasions they used to restrain him with chains and shackles, but he would manage to break loose and be driven by the demon into the wilds.

30 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

32 Now on the mountainside a large herd of pigs was feeding, and they pleaded with him to let them go into the pigs. He allowed this. 33 The demons then came out of the man and entered the pigs. Thereupon the herd charged down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

34 When those tending the herd saw what had occurred, they ran off and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. 35 As a result, people came out to see what had happened. When they came near Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and in his right mind, and they were frightened.

36 Those who had been eye-witnesses to the incident told how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and went away.

38 The man from whom the demons had gone out pleaded that he be allowed to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home and give witness to what God has done for you.” He then departed, proclaiming throughout the town what Jesus had done for him.

40 Jesus Heals a Woman and Raises a Child.[j] When Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they had all been waiting for him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, came forward. Throwing himself at the feet of Jesus, he pleaded with him to come to his house, 42 because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying. And as Jesus went forth, the crowds were pressing in on him.

43 There was a woman who had been suffering from bleeding for twelve years, but no one had been able to cure her affliction. 44 Coming up behind him, she touched the fringe of his cloak, and her bleeding stopped immediately.

45 Jesus then asked, “Who was it who touched me?” When everyone denied doing so, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing closely upon you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I could sense power going out from me.”

47 When the woman realized that she had not escaped notice, she came forward, trembling, and knelt down before him. In the presence of all the people, she related why she had touched him and how she had been healed immediately. 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue leader and said, “Your daughter has died. Do not bother the Teacher any further.” 50 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Do not be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be saved.”

51 When he arrived at the house, he permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Everyone was weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Stop your weeping! She is not dead; she is asleep.” 53 They laughed at him because they knew that she had died.

54 However, Jesus took her by the hand and called out to her, “Little child, arise.” 55 Her spirit returned, and she stood up at once. Then Jesus directed that she be given something to eat. 56 Her parents were stunned, but he gave them strict instructions to tell no one what had happened.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 8:2 Some women belong to the group of disciples; this was an occurrence quite rare at that period. As for Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene), the expression “seven demons” suggests some violent illness with symptoms that were disconcerting for a woman.
  2. Luke 8:4 Since the time of the Prophets, harvesting was a current image of the Judgment (Joel 4:13). Sowing evokes the activity of Jesus. Jesus knows from experience that preaching the Gospel converts only hearts that are well disposed. Nevertheless, he underlines with optimism the growth of the seed: despite all risks and obstacles, the Word of God will make progress among human beings.
  3. Luke 8:9 At the moment, only the disciples are sensitive to the riches of the Gospel; the others do not yet have a free heart. See also note on Mt 13:11.
  4. Luke 8:11 In the meditation of the early communities, the parable of the sower becomes a lesson for the believer. In daily life, in trials, in the pleasures of life, the work of the demon is an obstacle to the Gospel. Jesus knows this. He also knows the generosity of which humans are capable. He puts us on guard but also calls us to make a persevering effort to let our life be transformed by his teachings.
  5. Luke 8:16 Are the mysteries of the kingdom definitively denied to others (v. 10)? No. The secret is not forever. Soon the disciples will bring the message to all people (see Lk 12:1-12). How will they receive it? We will be judged on the yield of the Word in our life (see Lk 19:25-26).
  6. Luke 8:19 The true family of Jesus is made up of those who hearken to the Word. Luke places this episode as a conclusion to the texts on receiving the Gospel. Belonging to Jesus is the joy of the believer.
  7. Luke 8:20 Brethren: i.e., according to Hebrew idiom, close relatives. See note on Mt 12:46.
  8. Luke 8:22 God alone is master of the sea (see Pss 65:7; 89:10; 107:25-28). The authority of Jesus over the unleashed elements shows his power divine.
  9. Luke 8:26 The incident is meant to show that Jesus is stronger than all the forces of evil lumped together, the forces of Satan himself. Jesus goes to face these forces in a pagan region east of the Lake of Tiberias, where, it was thought, Satan must be reigning supreme. There is a herd of pigs there, animals unclean in Jewish eyes; the herd dashes over the cliff, signifying the return of the demons to their hell.
  10. Luke 8:40 This episode places before us two distressed people. The first is a father on the verge of losing his young daughter, with the rites of mourning under the specter of death already organized. The second is a woman humiliated by a sickness that carries the stigma of legal impurity, preventing her from participating in religious services and from approaching the Prophet (see Lev 15:19-27). Jesus intervenes in their distress and manifests his power and goodness, both of which are those of God. Nevertheless, he refuses to give his intervention a dramatic character; the only witnesses of the girl’s raising from the dead—described in the same way as the action of Elijah (see 1 Ki 17:17, 22)—will be apostles, who are no longer seeking miracles. Here then is the portrait of Jesus: he brings life to those who approach him with faith.

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