Tonight, let’s continue to look at how Jesus did His ministry to the broken people.
Luke 5:18-26 Jesus heals a paralyzed man
18 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.
-So this paralyzed man apparently had some good friends; so much so that they carried him on his stretcher, probably from quite a distance, to see Jesus so he could get healed. It is likely that they had previously taken him to multiple physicians for treatment. When they get to where Jesus is, they were disappointed that they can’t get their friend to Jesus. Not easily deterred, they hatch a plan and lower their friend down into the house right in front of Jesus.
20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 “But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”–He said to the paralytic–“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” 25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.
-The paralyzed man’s friends were loyal and tenacious, but neither of these was their best quality; their best quality was their faith. It was Jesus seeing their faith that began the chain of events that ended in the paralyzed man walking!
-Jesus could have just as easily simply healed the man but instead He told Him that his sins were forgiven. In reality, forgiveness was a greater need for the man than the ability to walk. But was there another reason Jesus led with the forgiveness thing? He did it to get the Pharisees’ noses out of joint. He let them throw their little fit then He healed the man in order to prove His spiritual authority, not so much to the Pharisees but more to the crowd that witnessed the entire exchange.
-The paralyzed (or should I say formerly-paralyzed) man was given a directive by Jesus; “get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” As you read through the gospel accounts of Jesus’ many healings, it was common for Him to require some action on the part of the one receiving healing. Think about it: if Jesus had supernaturally healed the man and the man was truly healed, yet decided to never get up off his stretcher, then nobody would believe that he had been healed. And why did Jesus ask him to pick up his stretcher? I mean he no longer had a need for it, right? I think Jesus wanted the man to take it home as a reminder every time he looked at it of the miracle that Jesus did for him that day. It is also worth noting that the man got up “immediately” indicating how strong his faith was that Jesus had healed him. After that newly mobile man began to glorify God. Jesus always attempted to point people to his Father and wanted Him to be glorified. Jesus, during His time on earth, never sought glory for Himself, despite His right to do so. It was only after Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice on the cross and returned to heaven to be seated at His Father’s right hand, that He was fully glorified.
26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
-They were ALL struck with astonishment and began GLORIFYING GOD. Mission accomplished! Everything we do in our lives should point others to God and glorify our Heavenly Father.
5:27-35 Jesus attends a party in His honor at the home of a tax collector, with tax collectors and sinners as guests
27 After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him.
-Back in that day, tax collectors were considered especially despicable. They often charged people more than the taxes they owed, pocketing the difference. This means Levi was likely making a pretty comfortable living; yet he left it and walked away into a financially uncertain future. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus called others to follow Him but it isn’t recorded in scripture. Perhaps they told Him “no” and decided not to follow Him because they were not willing to give up everything to follow Him.
29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”
-I can’t help but think that Jesus was the subject of gossip among the religious people of the city. They were probably appalled that Jesus would go to a party at the home of a tax collector, and socialize with “those kind of people.” While the gossipers talked behind Jesus’ back, the religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, confronted Him directly. Not surprising, as they were quite proud and brazen.
31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
-Many of us overlook the shrewdness of His answer. When the religious leaders heard His answer they thought to themselves, “We aren’t sick and we are not sinners, so I guess He need have nothing to do with us!” In reality, they were sick and they WERE sinners but they were too blind to see it!
33 And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.”
-The religious leaders were always looking for a reason to criticize Jesus and make Him look bad in front of the crowds, hoping to erode His popularity. This time their accusation was that Jesus wasn’t making His disciples be “religious enough.”
34 And Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 “But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”
-Yet again, Jesus was showing that they didn’t have a clue about who He was, what His motives were, and what His mission was. Yet again, they were clueless.
Luke 6: 1-13 Jesus heals a man withered right hand
1 Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath; and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
-Here we go again. The religious leaders are at it again! This time they think they have caught Him breaking religious law, specifically the law of keeping the Sabbath holy. I have to wonder how they even knew Jesus’ disciples were eating the grain. Maybe they were stalking Jesus and His disciples! Or maybe they just like to take long walks through the wheat fields on the Sabbath… At any rate, they thought they had caught Him breaking the law.
-On a side note, it was a common tradition of the time (according to Jewish law) that the workers were instructed not to pick of any of the heads of grain that fell to the ground during the harvest. The wheat that landed on the ground was to be left for the poor so they could glean the fields and get some much-needed food. This must mean that Jesus and His disciples didn’t have much money.
3 And Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him, 4 how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?”
-Jesus knew that the Pharisees revered King David so He pointed out a case where David “broke the law” as a result of being hungry. This is another example of religious leaders elevating man’s rules over God’s rules. God had commanded them to rest on the Sabbath, but man (religious leaders) had written a list of numerous specific actions that were forbidden. It was this man-made law that Jesus had ignored, not God’s original commandment. How often does this happen in the church today, when man’s rules overrule God’s laws? It is in the heart of man to condemn; it is in the heart of God to forgive.
5 And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
-In another account Jesus explained to the religious leaders that they had it backwards. He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” These leaders loved to use the Law to beat people down.
6 On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. 8 But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward.
-It should be no surprise that Jesus knew what they were thinking. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. At this point, Jesus made a conscious choice, a choice to heal the man’s hand… on the Sabbath. He knew what their swift and sure response would be. But He chose to do the right thing anyway. He also chose to confront them head-on. Every time He did this, He came one step closer to being executed.
9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored.
-He looked around at them. Why? He was giving them a clear opening to answer His question. Crickets. Not a sound in response to His question. They knew they couldn’t answer without looking bad in front of the crowd. So He continues and heals the man. Again, as many times before, he asked the man to do something in order to complete the healing; “stretch out your hand.” And as happened all the other times, the person was healed. His hand was restored. The enemy had stolen health from the man’s hand and Jesus quickly and compassionately restored that healthy condition to his hand. Even today, God is a God of restoration.
11 But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
-They were filled with rage. Didn’t see that one coming! Why were they so angry? Was it because a man’s life was changed by his restoration? Perhaps it was because Jesus performed “work” on the Sabbath? I kind of doubt it. They real reason they were mad was that Jesus was gaining popularity and amassing a following, which was undermining their power, authority and control, and they were having none of it! They wanted Jesus dead…yesterday!
12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.
-This isn’t one of those exciting sounding verses that people memorize or quote. Mostly this verse just goes unnoticed. But the fact that Jesus went to the mountain, to a private place, to be alone with God to pray, or talk to God if you will, is hugely significant. Jesus, who is God, having laid down His deity temporarily while on the earth, found it necessary to spend time in prayer with God for the entire night! He needed comfort, peace and guidance. If Jesus thought it necessary to pray all night, then maybe I shouldn’t whine about the miniscule amount of time that I spend praying during my busy day…
17-19 Jesus heals many people of their diseases and cures those who are troubled with unclean spirits
17 Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.
-First of all, people came to see Jesus not just from that city, and not just from all of Judea, but even from the region of Tyre and Sidon. Jesus didn’t draw people from great distances (remember these people had to walk that great distance) simply because He was a charismatic speaker. He drew them for two reasons: healing and the message. His message resonated with people because they sensed the truth of the message.
-It is interesting that this verse makes a point to list two things separately here: first, healing of their diseases, and second, those troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. This is significant because Jesus was actually healing two very different types of things here. In the first case He was healing physical diseases and conditions. In the second case He was healing mental illnesses. I know this is referring to mental illness because it describes these people as being “troubled”. Being “troubled” is definitely not a description of anything physical, but of something mental, psychological, or emotional. That is a fairly accurate description of mental health issues. The fact that this mental illness component is singled out specifically, tells me that Jesus was just as concerned with healing the mind as He was with healing the body. Jesus had compassion on those with physical illness and on those with mental illness. These “broken” people broke Jesus’ heart.
-Another very important thing can be learned from this verse. It not only mentions the healing of those with mental illness, but it cites the root cause of their mental illness. What was the root cause? Unclean spirits. Unclean spirits, or demons, were responsible for the mentally ill states of these people. When those spirits were driven out, the mental illness left as well. Unfortunately, we have had a couple of thousand years to become “educated” enough to no longer believe in God, the Devil, angels, demons or the supernatural. The people who were cured of mental illness by Jesus that day might say that in our vast knowledge and intellect, we have become ignorant, much to our disadvantage. They understood the role that demons played in the lives of people and they let Jesus rid them of these spirits and their tormenting works. Perhaps we, not they, really are the ignorant ones…
19 And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.
-I believe their are two ways people are healed of physical diseases, both by the power of God. The first way is through the faith of the one who seeks healing. If they have the faith and don’t doubt that God/Jesus has the power and ability to heal them, the healing power of God is released and they received their healing. The second way is through the healing presence of God (some call it “the anointing”) in a specific place at a specific time. This verse indicates this when it says, “power was coming from Him and healing them all.” In other places in the Bible it says, “the power to heal was present” in relation to Jesus healing people. In this second case people who don’t have much faith can be healed. It is an example of God revealing His sovereign power.