Summary: Jesus met with a woman who had been a notorious sinner, who showed great affection for Him, which caused friction between Him and a Pharisee.
Harmony of the Gospels
Title: Another Tour of Galilee
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 Luke 7:37; Matthew 27:56,61; Matthew 28:1; Mark 15:40,47; Mark 16:1,9; Luke 24:10; John 19:25; 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.