Luke 8:1-3 (NIV) 1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
On verses 1-3: In addition to Jesus’ 12 disciples, here in verses 2-3 we get our first look at the women who walked alongside Jesus as he ministered from town to town. These women came from various backgrounds – Mary Magdalene came from a broken past; Joanna was a high ranking administrator who managed King Herod’s household. However, one thing they all had in common was that they all were impacted by Jesus’ ministry in some way: some had been battling demons which Jesus delivered them from; others had diseases which Jesus healed. What touches me in verse 3 is that many women supported Jesus’ ministry out of their own means.
What can we learn from this?
Women are greatly valued in God’s kingdom. Women have as much of a place in Jesus’ kingdom as men.
It takes generous, big-hearted people to power a ministry. Maybe your gift is not in public speaking, singing, or taking care of people, but God has blessed you with wealth or the ability to make money. If that’s you, then you have such a crucial role to play in the kingdom of God. The wealth God gives you is a talent in your hand that God has placed there for His greater purposes. Use the talents God has given you to make a life-changing difference in the lives of others.
Luke 8:4-11 (NIV) 4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
On verses 4-11: Notice what happens in this parable: A farmer plants the same kind of seed in 4 different types of soil and gets 4 different results.The seed represents the Word of God. The 4 different types of soil represent 4 heart conditions that we will discuss below. What can we learn from this? The condition of your heart will in many ways determine how much you grow in your relationship with God.
Luke 8:12 (NIV) 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
On verse 12: First there is the cold, prideful heart, represented by the hard path. How do I know if I have a cold, prideful heart? One clue is I’m quick to reject God and other people’s advice. I’m stubbornly set on doing things my way regardless of what God or others think. I’m quick to criticize and slow to apologize. What is the result of having a cold, prideful heart? Those with a cold, prideful heart don’t experience much of God at all.
Luke 8:13 (NIV) 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
On verse 13:Second there is the shallow, superficial heart, represented by the rock. How do I know if I have a shallow, superficial heart? One clue is that I tend to follow my feelings so much that I never end up developing the habits and disciplines necessary to grow spiritually. Another clue is that I give up easily when it comes to spiritual things. What is the result of having a shallow, superficial heart? Those with a shallow, superficial heart don’t last.
Luke 8:14 (NIV) 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
On verse 14: Third there is the distracted, worried heart, represented by the thorns. How do I know if I have a distracted, worried heart? You’re weighed down by the concerns of life and yet you’re slow to come to God for help with those concerns. Your relationship with God is often squeezed out by other interests and commitments which you think are equally important. What is the result of having a distracted, worried heart? In addition to lacking peace, those with a distracted, worried heart don’t grow.
Luke 8:15 (NIV) 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
On verse 15: Fourth, there is the hungry, humble heart, represented by the good soil. How do I know if that’s me? You have a healthy spiritual hunger and humility that cause you to see your need for God. In addition to being aware of your need for God, you are also acutely aware of your weaknesses and confess them to God openly. Out of spiritual hunger and humility you go out of your way to seek after God. You develop the habits necessary to keep your relationship with God going, even in the tough times. What is the result of having a healthy, hungry heart? Those with a hungry, humble heart bear great fruit in their relationship with God, “a hundred times more than was sown” (v8). Which type of soil are you? Here is some good news: to a great extentyou get to choose what kind of heart you will have toward God. Every day choose to come to Jesus with a hungry, humble heart. If you do, nothing will stop you from growing in your relationship with God.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times when my heart toward You has been cold and prideful, shallow and superficial, or distracted and worried. Since the attitude of my heart is in many ways my choice, I choose today to come to You with a hungry, humble heart. Thank You that when I do this consistently, You will cause me to grow in my relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!