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God’s Word for You

Luke 8:40 Jesus’ homecoming

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, April 16, 2018

40 A crowd welcomed Jesus at his homecoming, because they were all watching for him.

In the ancient calendar of the Jews, the religious new year began with Rosh Hashana in about our September. It seems as if the events before us took place shortly after that, perhaps in October of 29 A.D., on a day that was one of the fullest preaching days since the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29) and until “Busy Tuesday” of Holy Week (Luke 20:1-21:38).

Matthew tells us that this day, the day that he healed the demoniac in the Gerasenes, was the same that Jesus returned to Capernaum where called Matthew to be his disciple and ate a meal at Matthew’s home (the Apostle would certainly have remembered the events of that important day). There is a question about chronology here in the chart of the NIV Study Bible, which separates the call of Matthew from the rest of Matthew’s account at this point. Yet Matthew uses very specific terms. Jesus arrived in the Gerasenes following the storm which he famously calmed (Matthew 8:28). Just as he got out of the boat back in Capernaum, “behold!” (ἰδοὺ, Matthew 9:2) a paralyzed man was brought to him. While he was walking into town from that meeting (παράγων, Matthew 9:9) he encountered Matthew at his booth. At the meal or as Jesus left the meal, John’s disciples came “then” (τότε) to ask him a question (Matthew 9:14), and it was “while he was saying this (answering that question, Matthew 9:19)” that “behold” (ἰδοὺ) Jairus came with his question.

Taking everything in Matthew to be chronologically accurate (which is almost always the case), this one day seems to have involved the following events:

  • Night (previous day) – Jesus calmed the storm during their journey to the Gerasenes (Matthew 8:23-27).
  • Jesus heals the man (men) in the Gerasene cemetery (Matthew 8:28-34).
  • Jesus crosses back over to Capernaum and heals a paralyzed man there on the quay or that part of town (Matthew 9:1-8).
  • Jesus sees Matthew at the tax collector’s booth and calls him to be an apostle (Matthew 9:9-13). Matthew invites Jesus to his home to have dinner (lunch?) with him.
  • During the meal or shortly after, Jesus is questioned by John’s disciples about fasting (Matthew 9:14-17).
  • While answering them, Jesus is approached by Jairus the synagogue ruler of Capernaum and asked to help with his sick daughter (Matthew 9:18).
  • While going to Jairus’ house, Jesus heals a woman suffering from constant hemorrhage (Matthew 9:19-22).
  • Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Matthew 9:23-25).

It’s an interesting contrast that across the lake, the people begged Jesus to leave because he cast out demons. Here in Capernaum, there were people waiting for him to return to heal their sick and their dying. It would not always be this way, but Jesus was ascending to the height of his popularity at this point. More and more people were turning to Jesus in faith, to be healed of their illnesses, and to be healed of the greatest illness of all: sin. David had said, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1). This is the reason Jesus came to us. This is what he offers to us even now. He’s never too busy for you, and he has a place waiting for you and your homecoming to heaven.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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