Setting

Chapter 8 begins with noting the followers of Jesus. This special mention suggests that what is to follow serves the special purpose of preparing the disciples for the ministry. In this lesson, we will study how Jesus’ parable of the sower not only called the people in general to respond to God’s word, it also taught the disciples, who were to be the future missionaries, what to expect when witnessing for the Lord.

Key Verse

(8:15)

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Outline

  • Jesus’ Traveling Ministry and His Followers
    (8:1-3)
  • The Parable of the Sower (8:4-15)
    (8:4-15)
  • Declaration of the parable
    (8:4-8)
  • Purpose of parables
    (8:9-10)
  • Explanation of the parable
    (8:11-15)
  • A Lamp on A Lampstand
    (8:16-18)
  • Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
    (8:19-21)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    Read through the passage of this lesson and record briefly what is taught about the word of God.

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Segment Analysis

  • 8:1-3

    1.

    Who were Jesus’ traveling companions?

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    See verses 1-3.

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  • 2.

    What is remarkable about these followers?

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    Luke makes special mention of the women among Jesus’ followers. While women were often neglected in those days, they played an important role in supporting Jesus’ ministry. These women became disciples because of their great debt of love to the Lord (2).

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  • 8:4-15

    3.

    What is the teaching behind the words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”?

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    Everyone who hears of the message of the gospel must open his heart to accept it. The Lord’s solemn declaration beckons us to pay careful attention and accept the message of the gospel (Heb 2:1-3). We have been blessed with the opportunity to understand the gospel of salvation (Mt 13:16). So we must humbly receive it and act upon it. But those who do not respond to the Lord’s beckoning will have no part in God’s kingdom.

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  • 4.

    What is the purpose of parables (10)?

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    Parables serve a dual purpose of revealing and concealing (cf. Mt 13:10- 15, 35). They reveal the mysteries of God’s kingdom to believers but conceal them from the hard-hearted.

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  • 5.

    What are the “mysteries of the kingdom of God”?

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    Generally speaking, “mystery” refers to God’s plan and purpose, which no one can know except through God’s revelation. Specifically, the mystery is the gospel of salvation of Christ through which Gentiles and Israelites alike become heirs of God’s kingdom (1Cor 2:7; Eph 3:6; Col 1:26,27). This message is a mystery because it was hidden for ages and 1is still hidden from the unbelievers.

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  • 6a.

    What does the seed refer to?

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  • 6b.

    What does the soil refer to?

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    See verses 12 and 15.

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  • 7.

    According to Jesus, what is the purpose of sowing seed?

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    So that those who hear may believe and be saved (cf. 12).

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  • 8.

    What is the point of this parable?

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    The gospel of the kingdom meets with various kinds of responses. The same message has no effect on some for one reason or another, while it bears fruit in others. The condition of a person’s heart determines whether God’s word will have effect on him and whether he is worthy of God’s kingdom.

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  • 9.

    How should your faith take root? (cf. 13).

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    cf. Lk 7:47-48 and the corresponding explanations in Lesson 10.

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  • 10a.

    How do the cares, riches, and pleasures of life “choke” a person’s heart?

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    They distract us from continual learning and practice of God’s word. Likewise, it is impossible to serve God while letting our minds be preoccupied with worries, wealth, and enjoyment (cf. Lk 16:13). These earthly pursuits will make our spiritual lives unfruitful and ineffective (cf. 2Pet 1:8).

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  • 10b.

    What can you do to remove the “thorns” in your heart?

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  • 11.

    Explain how we can achieve the following and be like the good soil? a. Hear the word with a noble and good heart b. Bear fruit with patience c. What is the evidence that indicates what kind of soil we have?

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    a. We must hear God’s word and accept it with humility and sincerity.
    b. We must persist in living out God’s word, although doing so would involve great hardship, and the benefit may not be immediately apparent.

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  • 12.

    What is the evidence that indicates what kind of soil we have?

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    We can know what kind of soil we have by looking at whether we bear fruit. If we truly accept and live by God’s word, the life of God becomes manifest in us, just as the seed in the good soil thrives and bears fruit. We will live a new life in the image of God and dedicate our lives to His service.

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  • 8:16-18

    13a.

    What does the light in 16 refer to?

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    Matthew records this saying in a different context (Mt 5:14-16), referring to the good conduct of believers (cf. Eph 5:8; Php 2:15). In the context of this passage in Luke, however, the light may also refer to God’s word (cf. Ps 119:105).

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  • 13b.

    What does this light reveal?

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    Based on the context, there are two possible meanings to verse 17. On the one hand, the light of God’s word reveals the mysteries of God’s kingdom. On the other hand, it reveals the motives of men’s hearts, bringing to light either faith or unbelief. (cf. Heb 4:12-13).

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  • 14.

    Explain the meaning of verse 18. Why must we “take heed how we hear”?

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    This verse echoes verse 10. We must make a careful decision when we hear the gospel message. If we accept the message of God’s kingdom, we will receive even greater knowledge about God’s will. But if our hearts are calloused, we will not be able to see and understand the mystery of God’s kingdom.

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  • 8:19-21

    15.

    Why are the hearers and doers of God’s word the mother and brothers of Jesus? What does this mean?

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    Jesus was not speaking in terms of family relationships in this world. Neither did he deny his own earthly family. He regarded spiritual ties with the believers as far more important than the earthly family. Those who hear and do the will of the heavenly Father identify themselves as members of God’s household and thereby become members of Jesus’ spiritual family.

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