Our faith in God is tested daily in a world of unbelievers, those who are doing life only for themselves and no one else. Many live to please themselves first, then others. Some depend on what others think before moving forward in life. A few people have no regard or respect for other human beings so they aggressively push their way through life, always on the offense and easily offended.
What a sad and dearly place to reside. It is a weary place to be in life for we will never be satisfied, never be comfortable with who we are and will be eternally irritable when things don’t go our way or when people don’t respond they way we think they should to us and for us. This state of being leads to unhealthy thinking which leads to depression. It also leads to unhealthy bodies because attitudes like this can make us physically ill.
If you could trade all these feelings and attitudes for being deeply gripped with awe and wonder…would you?
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 14 Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.
16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
21 But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
GOING DEEPER…(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Commentator)
Here was a man who needed to be changed, for he was a leper. Like sin, leprosy is deeper than the skin and cannot be helped by mere “surface” measures. Like sin, leprosy spreads (Lev. 13:7–8), and as it spreads, it defiles (Lev. 13:44–45). Because of his defilement, a leprous person had to be isolated outside the camp, as lost sinners one day will be isolated in hell. People with leprosy were looked on as “dead” (Num. 12:12), and garments infected with leprosy were fit only for the fire (Lev. 13:52). How important it is for lost sinners to trust Jesus Christ and get rid of their “leprosy”!
This man not only needed to be changed, but he wanted to be changed. Lepers were required to keep their distance, but he was so determined that he broke the law and approached the Lord Jesus personally. Throughout his gospel, Luke makes it clear that Jesus was the Friend of the outcast, and they could come to Him for help. The man humbled himself before the Lord and asked for mercy.
By the grace and power of God, this man was changed! In fact, Jesus even touched the man, which meant that He became unclean Himself. This is a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for lost sinners: He became sin for us that we might be made clean (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). Jesus is not only willing to save, but He is also able to save (Heb. 7:25), and He can do it now (2 Cor. 6:2).
Are you ready to trade sorrow, sin, depression, death for life to the full in Jesus?
Jesus instructed the man not to reveal who had healed him, but the cleansed leper became an enthusiastic witness for the Lord. (Jesus commands us to tell everybody, and we keep quiet!) Because of this witness, great multitudes came to Jesus for help, and He graciously ministered to them. But Jesus was not impressed by these great crowds, for He knew that most of the people wanted only His healing power and not His salvation. He often left the crowds and slipped away into a quiet place to pray and seek the Father’s help.That’s a good example for all of God’s servants to follow.
Jesus returned to Capernaum, possibly to Peter’s house, and the crowd gathered to see Him heal and to hear Him teach. But a new element was added: some of the official religious leaders from Jerusalem were present to investigate what He was doing. They had every right to do this since it was the responsibility of the elders to prevent false prophets from leading the people astray (Deut. 13; 18:15–22). They had interrogated John the Baptist (John 1:19–34), and now they would examine Jesus of Nazareth.
Since this is the first time the scribes and Pharisees are mentioned in Luke’s gospel, it would be good for us to get acquainted with them. The word Pharisee comes from a Hebrew word that means “to divide, to separate.” The scribes and Pharisees probably developed out of the ministry of Ezra, the priest, who taught the Jewish people to obey the law of Moses and be separate from the heathen nations around them (Ezra 9—10; Neh. 8—9). The great desire of the scribes and
Pharisees was to understand and magnify God’s law and apply it in their daily lives.
However, the movement soon became quite legalistic, and its leaders laid so many burdens on the people that it was impossible to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. 100:2). Furthermore, many of the Pharisees were hypocrites and did not practice what they preached (see Matt. 15:1–20; 23:1–36). In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5—7), Jesus exposed the shallowness of pharisaical religion. He explained that true righteousness is a matter of the heart and not external religious practices alone.
The scribes and Pharisees picked a good time to attend one of our Lord’s meetings, because God’s power was present in a special way and Jesus would heal a man with palsy. If leprosy illustrates the corruption and defilement of sin, then palsy is a picture of the paralysis that sin produces in a life. But Jesus would do more than heal the man; He would also forgive his sins and teach the crowd a lesson in forgiveness.
The paralytic was unable to come to Jesus himself, but he was fortunate enough to have four friends who were able to get him to Jesus. These four men are examples of how friends ought to minister to one another and help needy sinners come to the Savior.
To begin with, they had faith that Jesus would heal him (Luke 5:20), and it is faith that God honors. Their love for the man united them in their efforts so that nothing discouraged them, not even the crowd at the door.(How tragic it is when spectators stand in the way of people who want to meet Jesus. Zaccheus would have this problem. See Luke 19:3.) When they could not get in at the door, they went on the roof, removed the tiling, and lowered the man on his mat right in front of the Lord!
Jesus could have simply healed the man and sent him home, but instead, He used the opportunity to teach a lesson about sin and forgiveness. Certainly it was easier to say to the man, “Your sins be forgiven!” than it was to say, “Rise up and walk!” Why? Because nobody could prove whether or not his sins really were forgiven! Jesus took the harder approach and healed the man’s body, something everybody in the house could witness.
JESUS DECLARES HIS AUTHORITY…
Was the man’s affliction the result of his sin? We do not know, but it is probable (see John 5:1–14). The healing of his body was an outward evidence of the spiritual healing within. Jesus astounded the religious leaders by claiming to have authority both to heal the body and to forgive sins. The people had already acknowledged His authority to teach and to cast out demons (Luke 4:32, 36), but now He claimed authority to forgive sins as well. The scribes and Pharisees could not deny the miracle of healing, but they considered His claim to forgive sins nothing less than blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins. For making that kind of statement, Jesus could be stoned, because He was claiming to be God.
“SON OF MAN”
In Luke 5:24, we have the first recorded use of the title Son of man in Luke’s gospel, where it is found twenty-three times. Our Lord’s listeners were familiar with this title. It was used of the prophet Ezekiel over eighty times, and Daniel applied it to the Messiah (Dan. 7:13, 18).
“Son of man” was our Lord’s favorite name for Himself; this title is found at least eighty-two times in the gospel record. Occasionally He used the title “Son of God” (Matt. 27:43; Luke 22:70; John 5:25; 9:35; 10:36; 11:4), but “Son of man” was used more. Certainly the Jewish people caught the messianic character of this title, but it also identified Him with the people He came to save (Luke 19:10). Like Ezekiel, the Old Testament “son of man,” Jesus “sat where they sat” (Ezek. 3:15).
The healing was immediate and the people glorified God. But even more than receiving healing, the man experienced forgiveness and the start of a whole new life. Our Lord’s miracles not only demonstrated His deity and His compassion for needy people, but they also revealed important spiritual lessons about salvation. They were “object lessons” to teach spiritually blind people what God could do for them if only they would believe in His Son.
REFLECT AND CONSIDER
What is the measure of our faith?
Are we only impressed with Jesus for what He does or Who He is?
Has our faith become complacent?
Have we become spiritually blind? There is a rapid remedy for this illness! Believe, repent and be saved!
Will we do whatever it takes to get our friends and family to Jesus?
Do people see Jesus in us?
Are we gripped in awe and wonder of our Savior and Lord?
Dear Heavenly Father,, Lord and Savior,
I am in awe of You this morning as I listen to Your Holy Spirit speak softly to my heart. Your love and compassion grips me with wonder! Your works in my world feel my heart, mind and soul with amazement! You are who you Say you are! You are God and I am not. To you be all glory, honor and praise. You heal the brokenhearted. You took away all our sin. For that alone we praise and thank you! Your Word keeps me focused on You. Thank you. Continue to do what you must in my life. I know you will be gentle but firm.
And I’m singing…I Stand in Awe of You
You are beautiful beyond description
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due