Harmony of the Gospels

 Harmony of the Gospels

-AD 28-
(23) Another Tour of Galilee
Luke 8:1-3


And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:1-3)

“And it came to pass afterward,”-After Christ had healed the centurion’s servant at Capernaum; and had raised a widow’s son that was dead, to life, at Nain; and had said many things commending John the Baptist; and after He had taken a meal at a Pharisee’s house, where he met with a woman who had been a notorious sinner, who showed great affection for Him, which caused friction between Him and a Pharisee.

“that he went throughout every city and village,”-He made a circuit through every city in the Galilee.  He was an itinerate preacher, like the circuit riding preachers of early America. 

“preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God:”-John had preached repentance as a preparation for the kingdom; but Jesus now appears to have preached the kingdom itself, so He was bringing good tidings to those that heard.  The good news was the Gospel, which had been expected, but was now taking place.  He was preaching the doctrines and mysteries of the Gospel dispensation, such as: free and full remission of sins for His own sake; justification by His righteousness; acceptance in Him, the beloved Son of God; and complete salvation by Him as the Savior of His people.  He spoke of Grace: that entrance into the kingdom of God is not through any outward act, but only through regenerating grace; and He taught that what it is that gives a right to it, is a righteousness that is even greater than the Scribes and Pharisees, it is nothing less or more than His own righteousness.

“and the twelve were with him,”-Here we get a glimpse of the tireless activities of the ministry of Christ.  He journeyed from place to place constantly preaching the gospel to the people, and privately He was ceaselessly instructing His disciples.  The twelve were serving an apprenticeship in the work that He would soon send them out alone to do.  From this point on, it could hardly have been said that He had a home, because of His constant wandering; He and His disciples would be sustained by the offerings of friends.

“And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits”-Women who had been cured  by Christ of demon-possession.

“and infirmities,”-Women who had been cured of various diseases of the body.  Jesus had a double claim on these women, because He had brought healing to their bodies and new life to their souls.  He is the physician of both the body and soul.  The fact that these women followed Jesus was against the customs of the times and of the Jews.  The rabbis taught that women should not be taught the Law.  This was a man’s world and women had very few rights.  But these women ministered to Jesus and the disciples from their substance.  It breaks the heart to think of Jesus having to live on the generosity of His ransomed people; but that just shows the depth of His poverty.

“Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,”-Mark 16:9 states that Christ ordered the demons out of her, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”  It was not unusual for a person to be possessed by more than one demon, for we read in the same chapter that a legion of demons was cast out of one man (see Luke 8:30, 33, 35:  “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.  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.  Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”  Now this woman was said to be a widow, therefore she was not bound to her husband and was free to follow Jesus.  Many think that Mary had been an immoral woman, perhaps even a prostitute, but when she had repented and reformed her ways she became a zealous followed of Christ.  What a change of service this woman experienced: from demonic bondage to the freedom of Christ.  She was a faithful follower of Christ, and she is mentioned in [1]Luke 7:37; [2]Matthew 27:56,61; [3]Matthew 28:1; [4]Mark 15:40,47; [5]Mark 16:1,9; [6]Luke 24:10; [7]John 19:25; [8]John 20:1,18.  Mary’s name indicates that she was a native of the city of Magdala.  Of all the towns that dotted the shores of Galilee, in Christ’s day, only this city and Tiberias remain.  It is on the west shore of the lake at the southeast corner of the plain of Gennesaret.  Today, it is only a small collection of mud hovels.

“And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward,”-It should be noted that this woman had access to the pleasures of Herod’s court, because of the important position that her husband held, but for Christ’s sake she chose to leave them behind and follow Christ.  Joanna is mentioned again in Luke 24:10, “It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”  Some feel that Chuza is the nobleman mentioned in John4:46, “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.”  If so, the healing of her son, explains her devotion to Jesus.  It is not likely that her husband was openly a believer in Christ since his closeness to such a godless man as Herod was, would have precluded that, but it is probable that he had received the gospel, and that he was willing that his wife should be both a follower of Christ and a contributor to his care.

“and Susanna,”-It is believed that this woman was rich, however she is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture.  But it is her service to Christ that memorializes her name, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” (Mark 14:9)

“and many others,”-That is, many other healed women. 

“which ministered unto him of their substance.”- The ministry of these women shows the poverty of Christ, and His apostles, and explains how they were able to give themselves so unremittingly to their work.  Some of the apostles also may have had means enough to contribute somewhat to the support of the company, but in any event the support was meager enough, for Jesus was among the poorest on earth (see [9]Luke 9:58; [10]Matthew 17:24; [11]2 Corinthians 8:9).  His reaping of worldly things was as scarce as His sowing of spiritual things was abundant.  It is becoming noticeable that Jesus is beginning to remove the fetters of custom which bound women, and to bring about a condition of universal freedom. In Galatians 3:28 it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What a company this was, and all of them ministering to Him of their substance, and He allowing them to do it and subsisting upon it.  He was not ashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty that He lived on their gifts of love.  He fed others miraculously: for Himself, He lived on the love of His people.  This should be a good example for us, that the churches of Christ should take good care of their ministers.


Scripture references:

[1](Luke 7:37; KJV) 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

[2](Matt 27:56,61; KJV) 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

[3](Matt 28:1; KJV) 1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

[4](Mark 15:40,47; KJV) 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

[5](Mark 16:1,9; KJV) 1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

[6](Luke 24:10; KJV) 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

[7](John 19:25; KJV) 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

[8](John 20:1,18; KJV) 1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

[9](Luke 9:58; KJV) 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

[10](Matt 17:24 (KJV) 24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

[11](2 Cor 8:9;KJV) 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

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