The Gospel of Luke - Part 28: Believers Partner - Luke 8:1-3

(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)


Review:

Over the last few weeks we studied examples of faith as described by Luke in chapter seven. We saw strong faith with the centurion, struggling faith with John the Baptist and saving faith with the sinful woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee.

Last week we saw the Pharisee miss out of what Jesus had to offer. He thought he was fine — while at the same time the sinful woman got salvation, forgiveness and peace. I know who won that one. She realized that she needed Jesus; Simon did not.

This morning, we will continue the study on faith, where in Chapter 8, Luke stresses the importance of faith for the Christian. In this chapter, Jesus mentions both "faith" and "believing" several times, more than any other chapter in the book of Luke.

Today, "believe" has become more of an intellectual word — it seems to suggest opinion more than it does commitment. But the Bible makes it clear that real faith will be conclusively demonstrated by our actions. Biblical belief is to know and depend on.  Notice how James emphasizes the importance of living out our faith in these verses from James 2:

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. … You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; … For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. —James 2:17,22,26
Remember, everyone lives by faith. Even an atheist lives by faith! The choice is not “faith” or “no faith”; the choice is rather what we will place our faith in. What are some different persons/things that people put their faith in? We live in times where so many people are discouraged by circumstances. But we shouldn’t put our faith in (depend on) circumstances, good or bad; we have to put our faith in God!

Humorist Garrison Keillor, from Prarie Home Companion fame, put it this way: "What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees and have faith that all this barking is not the last word."

Let’s not get too wrapped up in listening to the “barking” of the media and politicians. Let’s make sure that we are listening to Jesus. As we read through this chapter, we can learn a lot about what it means to live by faith. That’s where faith starts, with God’s Word.

D.L. Moody said:

"I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But it didn’t seem to come. One day I read Romans 10:17, Now faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.   I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since."
One theme you can track in this chapter is the practical expression of faith that God expects to see in the life of every believer:

A.   Believers Partner(v.1-3)
B.   Believers Obey(v.4-21)
C.   Believers Tell Others(v.26-39)
D.   Believers Trust Jesus   (v.22-25,40-56)

A.   Believers Partner - (8:1-3)
Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. —Luke 8:1-3
In this first section, we see that Jesus did not minister alone. He had a team. And that ministry team included more than the chosen Twelve. We want to especially focus our attention on the women mentioned here. But before we do that, let’s consider what we learn about Jesus in the first verse.  What Jesus was doing?
Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another —Luke 8:1
Jesus took the initiative. He didn't just stay in one place and wait for people to come to Him. We saw the same thing in Chapter 7 where He went to the house of the centurion, to the widow and to Simon’s house. He expects us to follow His example. That's why He said,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit... —Matthew 28:19
See the list of verses (last page) emphasizing our responsibility to go.

What does Jesus’ command that we “go” imply for us?

And what was he doing as he traveled?
Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. —Luke 8:1
Jesus emphasized the positive. His message was good news.

Singer Steven Curtis Chapman says, "In the Gospel, we discover we are far worse off than we thought, and far more loved than we ever dreamed."

And we learn that in these travels and proclaiming, ..the twelve were with Him. —Luke 8:1

Jesus wasn't traveling alone. The Twelve that He had appointed to be with Him were accompanying Him. Jesus modeled for us what He would later command us all to do, “Go and make disciples...” He didn't set up a school for disciples. He trained disciples by being with them, sharing His heart with them, letting them see Him do the ministry. Mark tells us:

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach... —Mark 3:14
Dr. Keith Phillips, who heads World Impact, a mission dedicated to planting churches in the urban poor communities in the U.S., says
"What is also apparent, this strategy of every believer making disciples brings the thrust of Jesus' ministry within the vocation of every Christian. To be sure, not many are called to pastor a great congregation or even teach a Sunday School class, but everyone is called to participate in the making of disciples. His commission is not a special gift; it is a command, and all who believe on Christ have no option but to obey."
What do you think are some keys to discipling someone (helping them grow spiritually)? The next two verses in Chapter 8 are often overlooked.
...and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. —Luke 8:2-3
You could ask, "So what?". What are some things we can learn from Luke 8:2-3?

1.   Women were important to Jesus.

Did you know that there were women who traveled with Jesus during His years of ministry? Only Luke includes this information in his Gospel. We tend to think that it was just Jesus and the Twelve traveling around. But these verses show that there was a larger group.

These verses really drive home the importance of women to Jesus, the worth and value He placed on women.

Maybe you’ve heard someone ask, “Why were all of Jesus’ disciples men?” They weren’t. All the Apostles were men; the disciples who followed Jesus included many women, as this passage indicates.

According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, what we read about here would have been a “scandalous situation” in Jesus’ time. First, rabbi did not accept women as disciples. Second, men did not travel with women other than their wives.

2.   What Jesus had done for these women:

...and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. —Luke 8:2
Despite the tremendous diversity in backgrounds of these women, they all had something in common — all had been helped by Jesus. That’s significant. Discipleship is a response to what Jesus says to us and has done for us. They followed Jesus in response to what they had done for them. Let’s consider what we know about these women from Scripture:

a.   Mary Magdalene — (Mary from Magdala)   Magdala was an important agricultural, fishing, and trade center of ancient Galilee.

 

We have two New Testament verses that indicate that this Mary, from Magdala, was exorcised of some seven demons.

Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. —Mark 16:9

...and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out... —Luke 8:2
Mary became part of an inner circle of Jesus' supporters. So we see that Mary Magdalene traveled with the group from early in His ministry and remained as one of the most faithful disciples, small “d” through the earthly end. She is a key player.

At this point let’s take a break until next week, when we will look at the other women who were traveling with Jesus during His Ministry and see what we can learn from their participation.

__________


Jesus Tells His Disciples: GO!

...but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. —Matthew 10:6

And as you go, preach, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." —Matthew 10:7

And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and {how} He had mercy on you." —Mark 5:19

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." —Mark 16:15

And He ordered him to tell no one, "But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them." —Luke 5:14

Go your ways; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. —Luke 10:3

And the slave came {back} and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, "Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame." —Luke 14:21

And the master said to the slave, "Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel {them} to come in, that my house may be filled." —Luke 14:23

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? —Luke 15:4

You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. —John 15:16

"And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" —Acts 22:21