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Notes on sermon preached 15 August 2010 on Luke 5 v.17-26
We continue our excursion through Luke’s gospel with this familiar story of the healing of the paralytic. The title “Remarkable Things” is taken from the comments of the crowd at the end of the incident as they say “We have seen remarkable things today”. What remarkable things are they talking about? We will consider six “Remarkable things”
- 1. The Teaching of Jesus
Jesus is in the middle of a teaching tour of Galilee. The incident in question takes place whilst Jesus is teaching the word of God – this time in a home. As was often the case His teaching was accompanied by healing. What an awesome privilege to sit under the teaching of Jesus! As we read at the end of the Sermon on the Mount “they were amazed at his teaching”.
- 2. The Faith of the Friends
The next remarkable thing we see is the faith of the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus.
- Faith that was visible
For faith to be real, it has to be visible, As James said “I will show you my faith by what I do”. Jesus responds to faith that can be seen that results in action. Does yours?
- Faith to be Friends
It is one thing to be friends with people that can give you something in return, the wealthy, the popular, the people to be seen with. This person had none of that, His friends were people who only wanted to give into the relationship.
- Faith to go to Jesus
Faith always takes our situations to God. Here we see a group of people taking their friends’ problem to Jesus. Where do you take your problems?
- Faith to do what was necessary
But it was not all plain sailing! When they got there, having carried a paralytic through narrow streets past a crowd, they couldn’t get near Jesus! So they did what was necessary. They carried a paralytic up a flight of external stairs and proceeded to tear apart the roof, before carefully lowering their friend to where Jesus was. What determination! What a liberty, what arrogance and what irresponsibility! What desperation! In short….what faith!
Is your faith like that? What steps are you prepared to take in order to see God do what you need him to do?
- Faith that changed his life
Jesus worked in this man’s life as a result of the faith of his friends. (this does not mean that saving faith can come about as a result of someone else’s faith – the Bible clearly teaches that salvation must be accompanied by faith on the part of the individual concerned). The point that Jesus is making here is that our faith, as we bring others to God, can be a decisive factor in the workings of the Holy Spirit. Take heart – you can make a difference!
- 3. The Response of Jesus
The response of Jesus is not what one would expect. This man had been brought to him with the intention of asking God to heal him. Yet Jesus bypasses this and goes to the deepest need of all – forgiveness. The deepest need of the human condition is to be forgiven. And only the gospel of Jesus can do this. Let’s get our priorities right. Forgiveness of sins is our greatest need and the greatest need of those around us.
- 4. The Reaction of the Pharisees
Who were they?
The religious establishment had become dominated by a conservative, ultra-orthodox sect called the Pharisees. There were many good people amongst them, but they had become characterised by a desire for power, geed and legalism. Some of their number were teachers of the law – the “professors” of Judaism who were regarded as the authority on the word of God.
Why were they there?
They had heard of this new teacher, and whilst we are not told their motives, from what we see elsewhere, we may reasonably assume that they were disturbed at this headline-hitting young preacher from Nazareth, who threatened their supremacy amongst the religious order of the day.
What were they thinking?
Hearing Jesus pronounce the sins of the paralytic forgiven, the Pharisees, whatever their motives, are quite right. Who can forgive sins but God alone? Their knowledge of the law is such that they can see straightaway the issue. If Jesus is claiming to be able to forgive sins, he must be a blasphemer….unless….
How did Jesus react?
- prophetic insight
We need to note in passing that here Jesus moves in one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The has insight into the hearts and minds of the Pharisees to enable Him to minister to them. What an awesome gift!
- which is easier…?
Jesus can see straightaway the problem that the Pharisees have. They know that anyone claiming to forgive sins must be a blasphemer..unless there is some other explanation. So he presents a way forward for them. Saying to someone that their sins are forgiven is easy. It would also be blasphemy unless the person saying it had the authority to say it. So what would demonstrate that Jesus had this authority? If this person could say something miraculous and see it happen it would certainly demonstrate that this person DID have the authority to forgive sins! Jesus always gives an opportunity to resolve the problems of our faith.
- helping them towards faith
So the initial statement of the forgiveness of sins followed by the miracle is the method that Jesus uses to help these Pharisees towards faith. It was an opportunity for them to be amongst the first to understand who Jesus really was. It seems unlikely that they took the opportunity.
- 5. The Healing Miracle
A Secondary Blessing
- When Jesus heals it is a wonderful testimony and a demonstration of His compassion and power. But it really is a secondary miracle. Jesus came to forgive sins. The total redemption of our body awaits us in the future. We have glimpses of it now…but remember that this man eventually dies! As did everyone who Jesus healed. The real miracle here is the forgiveness of sins.
A Sign to make them wonder!
We can see here to power of the miraculous. This is one of the few occasions where Jesus seems to perform a sign effectively almost saying “watch this”. Here was the opportunity for the crowd to put two and two together and start to wonder…and then understand the person of Jesus.
A Sign producing Faith…and judgement
As we can see, signs produce faith in those who see, it. They are also tools of His judgement. Those who have seen the signs and yet resist Him are without excuse.
- 6. The Effect on the People.
What a day this was!
- Everyone was Amazed – the sequence of events caused amazement amongst the people
- …gave praise to God – it cause them to give praise to God. Do we praise god as we see Him at work
- …filled with awe – are we filled with awe at the presence of the God of the Bible?
- “…we have seen remarkable things!”. We see remarkable things in God’s word, and we see remarkable things in our own lives.
What is our response?