Day 144, Luke 8

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus and the twelve were financially supported, at least in part, by women of some means (8:2-3)? It would certainly seem likely that Joanna, for example, the wife (or perhaps the widow) of a steward of Herod Antipas, was likely a woman of wealth and influence. Isn’t it also interesting that one who multiplied food for thousands of others subsisted on the generosity of creatures He had created? Unfathomable humility!

Jesus’ ministry is still supported by individual donations from people who follow and love Him. People who believe in Him naturally want to support His on-going work with their finances.

We’ve already read the parable of the sower in both Matthew and Mark’s Gospels. Luke, however, includes one little significant phrase by Jesus. Speaking of the person who represents the “good ground,” Jesus said that person has an “honest and good heart” (8:15). Isn’t that true? The condition of the heart determines if people will repent and follow Jesus. We should never hesitate to share the gospel, however, just because it appears people have hard hearts. I’ve seen people with seemingly very hard shells who wept tears at hearing the gospel. And I’ve seen others, who initially appeared very soft and kind, vehemently resist the truth. The gospel reveals what is in a person’s heart.

Tragically, but justly, those who shut their ears to the truth are judged by God, who is not one to cast His pearls before swine. In some manner “even what they think they have shall be taken from them” (8:18), which is just as ominous as it is vague. Yet to those who open their ears, He gives more understanding (8:18). That’s you!

How can we tell when people have truly received God’s Word? They “bear fruit” and keep on bearing fruit (8:15). Jesus’ true family members are those “who hear the word of God and do it” (8:21).

Apparently, Jesus was the only one who fell asleep while He and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. This shows us that, although He was divine, He was also human. If He stayed up late at night praying, He had to take a nap the next day. And if Jesus took naps, then naps are scriptural! Every siesta isn’t a sign of laziness. Rather, naps can be an indication of faith, especially when you sleep through a storm. Worry is definitely the enemy of sleep. Jesus was apparently free from anxiety, because He was sleeping through a “fierce gale” (8:23) until awakened by His disciples, whom He subsequently questioned, asking, “Where is your faith?” (8:25). He had told them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake” (8:22). In His opinion, they had no reason to be afraid that they weren’t going to make it. It is good to remember that “Fear not!” is a commandment found often in the Bible, not a suggestion!

The demons who possessed the madman of the Gerasenes knew they were completely at the mercy of Jesus, as illustrated by their plea not to be sent out of the country (Mark 5:10), their entreaty to be permitted to enter the nearby herd of pigs (8:32), their begging not to be cast into “the abyss” (8:31), and their imploring Christ not to torment them (8:28). God always has been and always will be sovereign over Satan. Don’t be afraid of the devil or demons. They are terrified of Christ in you.

Today’s reading certainly emphasizes the importance of faith. Not only did Jesus rebuke His disciples for their lack of faith as they crossed the Sea of Galilee, but faith is credited as the reason that Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood were healed.

Of those three instances that had something to do with faith, two ended in miracles because faith was exercised, and one ended in a rebuke because faith was not exercised (that is until Jesus exercised His faith and rebuked the wind and the waves). Might there be a hidden lesson here?