The Gospel according to Luke (9)
8:28 to 9:27
The terrible power of such demonism as possessed by the man who lived in
the tombs which were caves where bodies were buried rather than houses, is seen
by the fact that though he had been restrained by his hands and feet being
chained, he had broken them all and been forced to go into solitary places (verse
29) away from other people and also had refused to be clothed.
When the Lord commanded the demons to leave the man they begged Him
repeatedly not to order them to go into the abyss. Little is said about the
abyss in Scripture, but it is significant that the 'deep' of Genesis 1:2 is
translated 'abyss' in the LXX and the same word is rendered 'bottomless pit' in
Revelation (A.V.) and occurs 7 times there (9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3). It
appears to be the prison house of evil spirits. Out of this place come not only
evil spirits, but the great man of sin, entirely controlled by Satan (17:8), and
finally Satan is imprisoned there during the millennium (20:1,3). In spite of
all our scientific knowledge, there is a lot we do not understand about the
creation and this is further shown by the statement in Philippians 2:10 of the
universal homage finally given to the Lord Jesus which includes 'things (or
persons) under the earth'.
Both the depths of the earth and sea appear to be places where beings
exist and we are entirely bound up to the Word of God for such revelation.
One thing is clear from Luke's account of the deliverance of this man
from the tombs, that the evil demons dread being incarcerated in the abyss and
they plead with the Lord not to send them there. They would rather enter the
bodies of animals, even though they are pigs. Christ permitted them so to do
with the result that the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and
were drowned (verse 33).
Those who tended the pigs were obviously amazed and ran and reported this
to all in the town and the countryside around. People then went to see what had
happened and they found the demon-possessed man completely cured, and dressed in
his clothes. They were upset and afraid of the Lord's great power which had been
exhibited in this remarkable way and as a result they asked Him to leave them.
They would rather lose the Lord than their pigs!
The man who had been delivered from such terrible bondage was so
impressed that he begged Christ to allow him to join His disciples, but the Lord
had other purposes for him. He said:
"Return home and tell how much God has done for you" (verse 39
Witness to his neighbours concerning the truth of his deliverance was
more important than joining the number who accompanied Christ, for in this way
the truth concerning Him could spread to others in the neighbourhood. Two more
evidential miracles are recorded in this chapter. When the Lord returned, He
found a crowd waiting for Him and from them Jairus, a man of note for he was a
leading Israelite of the town and an elder of the synagogue, approached Him and
fell at His feet, pleading for his only daughter, who was dying. The same
adjective is used of the widow's son (7:12) and the demon-possessed boy (9:38)
and even of the Lord Himself (John 1:18; 3:16). The Lord Jesus immediately made
His way to the ruler's house, although the crowds almost crushed Him (verse 42).
In the crowd was a woman who had suffered haemorrhage for 12 years and no one
could cure her. She had spent all her money on physicians and as Mark says 'was
nothing bettered, but rather grew worse' (Mark 5:26 A.V.). Luke omits this,
according to some manuscripts. Perhaps as a doctor he sympathised with the
difficulty of dealing with chronic cases! The woman touched the edge of the
Lord's cloak and immediately the bleeding stopped (verse 44).
Christ at once asked, 'Who touched Me?' To Peter this did not sound
reasonable, for the crowd was pressing upon Him, touching Him all the time. But
there are differences in touch and the Lord knew at once what had happened; for
He realised that power had gone from Him (verse 46) and this touch was one of
faith. The woman, seeing that her act had been discovered, came in fear to Him
and told Him everything. She evidently expected to be rebuked, but instead, the
Lord said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace'. Those
wonderful words, added to her healing, must have given her unbounded joy and
Before the Lord had finished speaking, someone from Jairus' house came
and told him that his daughter had died, and so it was useless and unnecessary
for Christ to come. But He said to Jairus, 'Don't be afraid; just believe, and
she will be healed' (verse 50). God always responds to faith that rests entirely
On arrival at the house, the Lord takes only the parents and the chosen
three, Peter, James and John into the room where the child was. He told the
professional mourners to stop their wailing, for He said, N"She is not dead but
asleep". They laughed at Him, knowing she was dead' (verses 52,53 N.I.V.).
There are many today that would do the same thing if they had witnessed
this miracle. They are ignorant of the Biblical fact (Old Testament and New)
that death for the believer is likened to going to sleep at night, and who is
afraid of doing this? And that sleep can only be broken by the One Who spoke and
awoke Lazarus in the grave and brought him out alive, and He will do this for all
His redeemed one day. (See John 5:25-29). Surely this is one of the greatest of
At this point in the narrative, the Lord Jesus took Jairus' daughter by
the hand and said, N"My child, get up!" Her spirit (life principle) returned,
and at once she stood up' (verses 54,55 N.I.V.). Note there was no long process
involved in coming back to life, It was immediate, 'at once'. Luke, the doctor,
notices that Christ told her parents to give her a meal, which the other
Evangelists omit. No wonder the parents were astonished! They had seen God at
This chapter begins with the commission of the Twelve. Christ 'sent them
forth'. Send is apostello from which the word apostle is derived -- one who is
sent by God. They were given the double office of a proclaimer of truth and a
healer of disease. This twofold ministry is declared likewise in Matthew 10:7,8.
They were to go out in faith with minimal equipment. They were not to take
extra coats, extra sandals, nor an extra staff. Every traveller and pilgrim
carried his staff and this must be sufficient. When this is understood the
apparent discrepancy between Matthew, Mark and Luke on this point is resolved.
Two coats were a sign of comparative wealth and the mention of 'two' in all three
Gospels helps us to understand that the same thing applies to shoes and staff.
Gould states 'in general, these directions are against luxury in equipment, and
also their providing themselves with what they could secure from the hospitality
As with the 70 later on, they were to stay in one dwelling and not go
from house to house. If they were not welcomed, then they were to shake the dust
from their feet in repudiation, just as Paul and Barnabas did on leaving Antioch
in Pisidia (Acts 13:51) and this was a testimony against the rejecters. Thus
they went through all the villages of Galilee, making the truth of the Messianic
When Herod Antipas heard of all this, he began to get agitated, for
rumour had it that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. Others said
Elijah had appeared or one of the prophets of long ago. Herod said:
'"I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?
And he tried to see Him (Christ).' (Luke 9:9 N.I.V.).
The verb tried is in the imperfect tense, which meant that he kept on
trying; he was anxious to get the problem solved if possible. But in spite of
his efforts they did not meet until the trial of the Lord Jesus later on (verses
7-9, and see Luke 23:8).
When the twelve apostles returned, they reported to the Lord what they
had done, and realising they needed rest and refreshment He took them to
Bethsaida. But the crowds followed. Christ accepted this and ministered to
their spiritual needs, speaking about the all-important kingdom of God, and He
met their physical needs too for He healed all those who needed it (verses
Seeing the great crowd of people, the apostles began to get concerned
about feeding them, for they were in a remote place far from food and lodging.
Late in the afternoon they mentioned this to the Lord, asking Him to send the
people away to fend for themselves. But He said to them, 'You give them
something to eat'. This was asking the impossible, but it was done to test their
faith. All they had was five loaves and two fishes and Luke adds, there were
about 5000 men there. That would hardly have fed five, let alone 5000! Again
the Lord was ready to demonstrate His Messiahship. He said to the twelve:
"Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each" (verse 14
When this was done, He took the small amount of food, gave thanks for it, broke
it into pieces and gave them to the disciples, who passed them onto the people.
And everyone of the 5000 ate and was fully satisfied. Not only this, but there
was food left over, which when picked up measured 12 basketfuls! This narrative
occurs in all the four Gospels. In John 6:1-14 it is given with fuller details.
The Evangelist follows this account with the great confession of Peter
and the doctrine of the cross. We have noticed how Luke stresses the prayer-life
of the Lord Jesus. Verses 18A20 read:
'Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were
with Him, He asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" They replied, "Some say
John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets
of long ago has come back to life." "But what about you?" He asked. "Who do you
say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."O (N.I.V.).
We have noticed that, among the Evangelists, Luke records the occasions when the
Lord engaged in prayer privately. Here is one of these occasions and surely, if
the Son of God felt the need of this regularly, how much more ourselves? A
non-praying life is an empty life spiritually. When His disciples were with Him
He asked them what was the estimate of the folk round about concerning Himself.
They gave Him some of the current ideas which they had heard, possibly on their
recent preaching tour, and this agrees with the kind of gossip that Herod had
Immediately the Lord challenged the disciples by the question, 'Who do
you say I am?' and 'you' is emphatic in the Greek. This is what really mattered
and was the reason why Christ introduced the subject. Peter's reply gives his
settled conviction, 'the Christ of God', meaning the Messiah of God, the Anointed
of God. The reader should carefully compare Matthew 16:13-19 which gives a
fuller account, including the Lord's statement that Peter's declaration was a
revelation from the Father and came from no human source (Matt. 16:17). This is
the first confession of the Lord Jesus as the Christ made by any of His
disciples. Hence its immense significance. It marks a climax in the education
of the Twelve. They now realize that the Saviour is the Messiah of Jewish hope
and Old Testament prophecy. And yet, as we read further in the Gospel, it is
plain that they do not grasp fully the spiritual conception of the Messiah, His
kingdom and the redemptive work that must yet take place, which means His
suffering, death and resurrection, for this is the solid basis of that kingdom.
Peter's next remarks, as recorded by Matthew, make this quite clear (Matt.
Luke omits this episode, but goes on to give Christ's revelation of the
sad events that were soon to come to pass:
'And He said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be
rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and He must be
killed and on the third day be raised to life"O (verse 22 N.I.V.).
The Lord had to repeat these words several times after this before the
full truth dawned on them:
'Then He said to them all: "If anyone would come after Me, he
must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants
to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his
very self? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be
ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of
the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste
death before they see the kingdom of God."O (verses 23-27 N.I.V.).
It is important to note that the words 'would' and 'wants' translate the Greek
thelo which expresses desire, to will or want to perform an action. It is
something that one chooses to do. In addition we must remember that coming to
Christ is one thing; coming after Him is quite another. It means following in