We’re all over the map in chapter 8. There are two episodes that describe juxtaposed positions of discipleship (vv. 1-3 & 19-21); there are two parables (vv. 4-18); there’s a nature miracle (vv. 22-25) and finally, three healing miracles to close the chapter (vv. 26-56).
There too much here to go into great detail, so let’s tag some highlights.
-First: Jesus’s use of parables is well known. He uses parables in much the same way we use morality tales like Aesop’s Fables to teach kids lessons about moral and ethics. The parables of the sower and the lamp that we have here are well known to us. Nevertheless, Jesus’s explanation of why he uses parables is not exactly the clearest thing he’s ever taught either. The point, however, is simple to invite others to really listen to what Jesus is saying so as to undercover and understand the real meaning of the words he’s using. So, while the parable might be about seeds or a lamp, it’s really about Faith, Hope and Love; it’s really about Service and Sacrifice. Jesus is inviting his listeners, and us as readers, to really pay attention and see and hear what Jesus is really getting at.
-Secondly: Remember what we said about miracles: they are God, who is the Creator of all things, including the Laws of nature, breaking into the Laws, changing them, so as to bring about a good. Notice the episode of Jesus calming the seas in this chapter. It turns out, that another prerequisite to receiving that miracles to have Faith in Jesus. Well, what does that mean? It’s demonstrated in the healing miracles that follow. Jesus tells Jairus and the woman with the bleeding disease to have a little faith in him: Believe that I can indeed do this for you; believe that I want the best for you; believe that I am who I say I am, and I will change your lot in life.
-Finally, notice again the vast and unconditional compassion and mercy that Jesus shares with those he encounters today: the women who follow him at the beginning of the chapter; his invitation to discipleship and familial intimacy in vv. 19-21; and the healing words of consolation and restoration he uses with Jairus’s daughter, Jairus, and the woman with the bleeding disease. Compassion and mercy are at the very center of Jesus’s personality.
Point for Prayer
“Jesus, Word of love and life, you reach out to me in many different ways. At times I am rocky ground and often I am a thorn bush or a foot path. Enable me to be the good ground that will blossom with love and faith and compassion for others. Amen”(87).