Christmas to Calvary — December 8

Some Women Accompany Jesus

And it happened that afterward also he was going about from one town and village to another preaching and proclaiming the good news concerning the kingdom of God, and the twelve were with him, and some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (who was called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza (Herod’s household manager), and Susanna, and many others who were helping to support them from their possessions.

The Parable of the Sower

And while a large crowd was gathering and they were going to him from town after town, he spoke by means of a parable: “The sower went out to sow his seed, and while he was sowing, some seed fell on the side of the path and was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. And other seed fell on the rock, and when it came up, it withered, because it did not have moisture. And other seed fell in the midst of the thorn plants, and the thorn plants grew up with it and choked it. And other seed fell on the good soil, and when it came up, it produced a hundred times as much grain.” As he said these things, he called out, “The one who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Reason for the Parables

And his disciples asked him what this parable meant. And he said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest they are in parables, so that

‘Seeing they may not see,
and hearing they may not understand.’

The Parable of the Sower Interpreted

Now the parable means this: the seed is the word of God, and those beside the path are the ones who have heard. Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved. And those on the rock are those who receive the word with joy when they hear it, and these do not have enough root, who believe for a time and in a time of testing fall away. And the seed that fell into the thorn plants—these are the ones who hear and as they go along are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and they do not bear fruit to maturity. But the seed on the good soil—these are the ones who, after hearing the word, hold fast to it with a noble and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

The Parable of the Lamp

“And no one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. For nothing is secret that will not become evident, and nothing hidden that will never be known and come to light. Therefore consider how you listen, for whoever has, to him more will be given, and whoever does not have, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away from him.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

Now his mother and brothers came to him, and they were not able to meet with him because of the crowd. And it was reported to him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside wanting to see you.” But he answered and said to them, “These are my mother and my brothers—the ones who hear the word of God and do it.”

Calming of a Storm

Now it happened that on one of the days both he and his disciples got into a boat, and he said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they set sail, and as they were sailing, he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were being swamped and were in danger. And they came and woke him up, saying, “Master, master! We are perishing!” So he got up and rebuked the wind and the billowing waves of water and they ceased, and it became calm. And he said to them, “Where is your faith?” But they were afraid and were astonished, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water and they obey him?”

A Demon-possessed Gerasene Healed

And they sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as he got out on the land, a certain man from the town met him who had demons and for a considerable time had not worn clothes and did not live in a house, but among the tombs. And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For it had seized him many times, and he was bound with chains and shackles and was guarded, and breaking the bonds he would be driven by the demon into the deserted places.) So Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered into him. And they began imploring him that he would not order them to depart into the abyss. Now there was a large herd of pigs feeding there on the hill, and they implored him that he would permit them to enter into those pigs. And he permitted them. So the demons came out of the man and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed headlong down the steep slope into the lake and were drowned. And when the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and reported it in the town and in the countryside. So they went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out sitting there clothed and in his right mind, at the feet of Jesus, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who had been demon-possessed had been healed. And all the people of the surrounding region of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, because they had been seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. And the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging him to stay with him, but he sent him away, saying, “Return to your home and tell all that God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole town all that Jesus had done for him.

A Woman Healed and a Daughter Raised

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, because they were all waiting for him. And behold, a man who was named Jairus came, and this man was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at the feet of Jesus and began imploring him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.

Now as he was going, the crowds were pressing against him. And a woman who was suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years (who, although she had spent all her assets on physicians, was not able to be healed by anyone) came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her hemorrhaging stopped. And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched me?” And when they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pressing you hard and crowding you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, because I know power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she did not escape notice, she came trembling and falling down before him. In the presence of all the people, she told for what reason she had touched him, and that she was healed immediately. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

While he was still speaking, someone came from the synagogue ruler’s house, saying, “Your daughter is dead! Trouble the Teacher no longer!” But Jesus, when he heard this, replied to him, “Do not be afraid! Only believe, and she will be healed.” Now when he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him except Peter and John and James and the father and mother of the child. And they were all weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep! For she is not dead, but is sleeping.” And they began laughing at him, because they knew that she was dead. But he took her hand and called, saying, “Child, get up.” And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately, and he ordered something to be given to her to eat. And her parents were astonished, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Are there any parts of God’s Word you struggle to believe? Why or why not? How do you answer or work against your objections in order to fully accept God’s Word? Do you pray for God’s help to receive and believe His Word in those areas?

Live-the-Word Challenge:

Think about someone in your life you know is struggling (mentally, physically, emotionally – it does not matter), and pray for them by name.

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