Text: Luke 5
Event(s): Jesus cleanses a leper; Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic; Matthew the tax collector is called and a reception is held; Jesus is questioned about fasting
Luke 5:14 “and He charged him to tell no one” Why did Jesus sometimes ask people who’d received a miracle to essentially, keep it to themselves? Jesus wasn’t just there to heal people, He was there to share the good news of the Kingdom. He knew that if the publicity of this miracle got out and spread, people would be more drawn to the excitement of the miracles and that would have interfered with the message He was there to give. Mark 1:45 tells us, “he (the leper who’d been healed) went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places;” In other words, this mans disobedience somewhat hindered Jesus’ ministry. From this we see His model; there has to be a healthy balance and order between preaching, teaching and miracles. Receiving miracles is great and gives God glory, but it doesn’t guarantee a surrendered, obedient heart.
Luke 5:20 “man, your sins are forgiven you” Sin was the cause of this man’s paralysis. Not all illnesses or conditions are purely physical. We are body-soul-spirit beings. What happens in our soul (our mind, will, emotions) has a direct impact to what happens in our body. And what happens in our body affects our soul and our spiritual life, (and so on). Jesus had the discernment to recognize the source of the affliction. With the leper, He extended His hand and touched him to bring healing to his body. With the paralytic, He extended forgiveness.
Luke 5:39 “and no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new, for he says, “The old is better“. I think if we were willing to admit it, with some things, we can all be somewhat resistant to change. It takes courage to let go of the comforts of what is familiar to lay hold of what is yet to be.
I love this quote by well known theologian William Barclay,
“We should never be afraid of new methods. That a thing has always been done may very well be the best reason for stopping doing it. That a thing has never been done may very well be the best reason for trying it. . . . Let us have a care that in thought and in action we are not hidebound reactionaries when we ought, as Christians, to be gallant adventurers.”
Today’s Takeaway: Today, let’s ask God to show us if there’s any area where we’ve drawn some clear lines in the sand, or boxed ourselves in from potential opportunities. Seasons of prayer and fasting are a great way to erase those lines, hear God more clearly and prepare ourselves for the new thing He wants to do.
Additional (optional) reading: The Gospel of Matthew and Mark also give an account of these events that take place in Luke 5. Those parallel texts are: Matthew 8:1-4; Matthew 9:1-17; Mark 1:40-45; Mark 2:1-22