The Gospel In Luke 8 - Read & Study

"He came, He rescued, He died, He returned, and the people rejoiced."

*I encourage you to take out your Bible and read along with this devotional. I used the King James version.

The Sower, Jesus, spoke the Word. This sets the foundation for Luke 8. We see Jesus had come to grow seed, and like natural seed, what He spoke needed ground in order to grow. We are then described the limitations of the soil. There is a picture here painted also in the words of the prophet, John the Baptizer. He said he’d come to fill every valley and bring low every mountain, straighten crooked paths and smooth rough ways (Luke 3:5). He prepared the soil for the Sower. The Sower, Jesus, then sowed the Word of God.

Nothing in the chapters and verses of the Bible is out of place, so what is included in the remainder of Luke 8 goes back to this foundational image. Jesus interprets the parable, following this, but looking ahead from there, we have three stories – the crossing of the Sea, the demoniac of Gadarene, and the healing of both Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood. These set a pattern that imitates the one shown in the parable. They are the types of soil pictured.

The parable tells us this chapter is about the Word of God and that because the ground was too hard, too stony, and too full of thorns, it did not sprout. The devil stole what was heard by those of hardened hearts. Joy came for an instant to those standing on familiar stones. Though the temple was accessible to them, they had no water of the Spirit to cause that love for the Word to be sustained. Some heard the Word, but pagan culture, foreign gods, and worldliness were too powerful in their minds and so choked revelation of the Word. What did grow in good soil was because Jesus’ body and blood would be given for it. His Spirit breathed life into them. The Father revealed by Him caused them to bear fruit a hundredfold.

This parable paints a picture of Jesus. We see the city He spoke to, the temple He represented, the nations He would die for, and His death itself.

The picture of Him grows when Jesus commands the disciples to get in the boat. He intended to get to the other side. This was not optional. Just as His coming to earth was not optional but planned from before the beginning of time, though a storm blew up, the winds and the waves threatening to sink the boat and drown the disciples, at no point was there any threat of death because He’d come to calm the storm. And even greater, He’d come to set free men who desired to be free, for in crossing over, He found the Gadarene demoniac. I wrote on the demoniac before. I’ll include the link below. But he paints a greater picture than most realize. He represents not just Israel but all people: the lame, the sick, the blind, the multitudes which followed Jesus everywhere.

Thousands flocked to Him seeking healing and deliverance. Thousands of people filled with thousands of demons.

READ “And God Heard.”

The demons begged not go into the deep. The word “deep” here means “abyss.” They didn’t want to return to Hades. So why then did they choose the hogs? Much has detoured people from the story’s intent by speculation about the hogs. But the hogs were meant for us to see how much possessed one man. A herd of 2,000 drowning in the lake shows us that one man had at least 2,000 demons in him. This is the size of the problem. That the hogs drowned tells us this was what the demons wanted to do to the man but could not because he fought them.

God is merciful and of everlasting kindness. Israel knew this. God had delivered them from Egypt and from Babylon. He had rebuilt their nation, more than once. He’d mourned their destruction through Jeremiah in his lamentations because He is of such great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). In this manner, we see in these images, God’s rescue of both mankind and of His people. Jesus came amidst a people floundering in a sea of culture and religion, and commanded a legion of demons which had taken over to return where they came from. They begged to not go to the abyss and ended up there anyway.

“Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.” (Luke 8:33)

As we continue reading this chapter, the picture of Christ grows broader because the people of the Gadarenes begged Jesus to leave. Though He’d done such a large miracle in their view, they wanted Him gone. A man tormented sat there, in his right mind, yet the Healer shouldn’t be among them. In converse, Jesus’ arrival on the other shore brought gladness.

Do you see it? He came, He rescued, He died, He returned, and the people rejoiced.

“Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.” (Luke 8:37)

“And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.” (Luke 8:40)

The chapter ends with an image that returns us to its foundation. Jesus sowed the Word. Jesus also fulfilled the Old Covenant and began the New Covenant. In Luke 8:41, Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, sought out Jesus because His twelve-year-old daughter was at the point of death. As they journeyed to the man’s house, a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years sought to touch Jesus’ garment. The number twelve in both people is of notice.

But in the woman’s hemorrhaging, we see the Old Covenant, which had become so abused that its Christ, Jesus, called its leaders vipers and hypocrites. It was so clogged with rules and fine print that they had lost its purpose, as would be seen when they cried out for His death. Then we have a young girl, lying dead in her father’s house, with no breath of life in her. I cannot help but see Genesis 2:7 where the Spirit of God made man a living soul, and also Jesus, also age twelve, inquiring of the men in the temple, which He called His Father’s house.

Jesus would bring her back into her body and raise her to life. Remember, Jesus said, “She is not dead,” and when they didn’t understand Him, He clarified that she had died. Why did He state it this way? Because she was just awaiting Him to bring to her His Resurrection life. In her, we see the New Covenant, which was born of His shed blood. He fulfilled the Old in order to begin the New, heal His people, and include those who, looking back at the parable which began this chapter, couldn’t grow, being choked by so many thorns. The Jews and the Gentiles would become one.

These are the types of ground of the parable. That of the wayside that didn’t grow and so one man became demonically possessed and uncurable. That of the seed on the rock where the presence of God should have been but wasn’t, so a young girl died, and a woman was bleeding to death. That of the thorns, who choked cultures around them and couldn’t escape it. The people mourning the girl wailed their grief, when He who came to give life stood among them. That of the good ground that became hundredfold, is that when the chapter is finished, the storm is gone, the demons have returned to the abyss, the Old Covenant is healed (completed), and the New Covenant has begun.

I realize all of this is a lot to take in, so I encourage you to read Luke 8, but read it with the Spirit and not in your mind. Let Him reveal it to you, and if one time doesn’t do it, then read it on repeat. I promise the revelation will come. He so desires us to seek Him. He loves to pour out truth, but so often, we settle for less, content in our initial understanding when we are given so much more than we can ever grasp. See the greatness of God in this, the vastness and beauty of Him and His wisdom in that He painted these images for us, who seek Him diligently, to find.

“You spend time on the good earth, watering and nourishing the networks of the living. God’s river is full of water! By preparing the land, You have provided us grain for nourishment. You are the gentle equalizer: soaking the furrows, smoothing soil’s ridges, Softening sun-baked earth with generous showers, blessing the fruit of the ground. You crown the year with a fruitful harvest; the paths are worn down by carts overflowing with unstoppable growth. Barren desert pastures yield fruit; craggy hills are now dressed for celebration. Meadows are clothed with frolicking flocks of lambs; valleys are covered with a carpet of autumn-harvest grain; the land shouts and sings in joyous celebration.” (Psalm 65:9-13 VOICE)

Suzanne D. Williams, Author