Monday, February 15
Week Two of 42 Days through Good News according to Luke
Luke 5:12-32 — More Healing & Calling of Matthew
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.
19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.13) “reached out his hand and touched the man”—Jewish ritual cleansing rules (what we now know as kosher laws) prohibited contact with lepers (Numbers 5:1-3). People with leprosy were considered ‘unclean,’ or ritually impure, and required to wear a special uniform, to live outside of town, and to warn people who approached them not to touch them (Leviticus 13:45-46). Anyone who touched someone with leprosy was also considered unclean until it could be demonstrated that they had not caught the disease. So, Jesus’ choice to touch the man is unusual, bold, compassionate, and could be considered reckless. By healing through touch, Jesus addresses the man’s need in two ways: he physically heals the man of the disease, and he welcomes the man back into society; this is likely the first human contact the man has had since he caught the disease. Touching the man also turns the normal rules on their heads: usually when an unclean person touches you, you become unclean; but when Jesus touches an unclean person, the unclean person becomes clean. With Jesus, instead of an ever-spreading uncleanness, an ever-spreading cleanness becomes possible.
- (v.14) “show yourself to the priest . . . as a testimony to them”—the priests were responsible for officially inspecting people and declaring them clean or unclean (Leviticus 13 and 14).
- (v.17) “Pharisees and teachers of the law”—these are the religious experts. They’re probably here to check out the new rabbi in town: to see how Jesus measures up and to figure out whether he’s on their side.
- (v.24) “the Son of Man”—this becomes Jesus’ preferred title for himself. To a certain extent, it’s a very humble title, simply meaning, “human being.” By using it, he’s identifying himself with all of us. But it is also a subtle reference to one of the more famous Messianic prophecies, in which Daniel predicts the coming of a holy king who would be ‘like a Son of Man’ (Daniel 7:13-14)
- (v.31) “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”—Jesus has been doing a lot of healing of people who are physically sick. He’s been healing them out of a genuine desire to see them well, but also as a metaphor for an even more primary mission: to forgive sinners. Just like doctors heal sick people, Jesus forgives sinners. He’s a sin doctor. This puts Peter’s exclamation, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” in a new light. By calling Peter to follow him, Jesus is not saying, “Oh, Peter. Don’t get down on yourself; you’re not that bad.” Rather, he’s saying, “Of course, you’re sinful, Peter. That’s why I’m calling you. If you come with me, I can help you with that.” The Pharisees think of sinners as people to be avoided. Peter fears that he will be punished for his sins. But Jesus draws near to sinners, for the sake of healing them, not punishing them (and us!).
Taking it home:
- For you: Jesus looks at our faults and mistakes as sickness he wants to heal, rather than as failings that must be punished. Ask Jesus to take care of your sins today. Jesus is a sin doctor. Ask him to point out any sin-sickness in you, to diagnose the cause of the sin, to heal you, and to give you the prescription you need to stay in good spiritual health.
- For your Six: Jesus shows the leper that He is both willing and able to heal his sickness. In other words, Jesus is both good and powerful. Do your Six have a harder time believing in His goodness or His power? Try asking Him to demonstrate whichever one they need most, just like He did for the leper.
- For our church/ILTJ: In this passage we see Jesus caring for people who are left on the outside of society. Pray for our church to be a welcoming space for any in our community who are feeling isolated. Pray specifically today for our Hope for the Homeless outreach. Ask that all whom they encounter would feel a tangible sense of the love of Jesus.
- To Talk About: Life can get busy, which Jesus totally understood. He was a very busy man. In this section alone he was healing the sick and the paralyzed and also preaching. In verse 16, however, we see that it says, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” This is such a great example of Jesus taking care of himself. Do you have a quiet place you like to sit and rest?
- To Do: Set a timer or stopwatch for five minutes (shorter for younger kids – maybe longer for older kids) and each person pick a spot to just practice sitting quietly and praying. If just sitting is challenging, take paper and pen and you can draw or write what comes to your mind while you are praying. Come back together and share what it was like to just intentionally sit quietly and pray.