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Archive for May, 2013

Party for Jesus

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 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?”

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (vv. 29-32).

Categories: jesus, luke, matthew

Jesus Recruits Levi

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, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Categories: jesus, luke, matthew

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

One day Jesus was teaching in a house, and the healing power of the Lord was with Him. Pharisees and religious scholars were sitting and listening, having come from villages all across the regions of Galilee and Judea and from the holy city of Jerusalem.

Some men came to the house, carrying a paralyzed man on his bed pallet. They wanted to bring him in and present him to Jesus, but the house was so packed with people that they couldn’t get in. So they climbed up on the roof and pulled off some roof tiles. Then they lowered the man by ropes so he came to rest right in front of Jesus.

In this way, their faith was visible to Jesus.

Jesus (to the man on the pallet): My friend, all your sins are forgiven.

The Pharisees and religious scholars were offended at this. They turned to one another and asked questions.

Pharisees and Religious Scholars: Who does He think He is? Wasn’t that blasphemous? Who can pronounce that a person’s sins are forgiven? Who but God alone?

Jesus (responding with His own question): Why are your hearts full of questions? Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or “Get up and walk”? Just so you’ll know that the Son of Man is fully authorized to forgive sins on earth (He turned to the paralyzed fellow lying on the pallet), I say, get up, take your mat, and go home.

Then, right in front of their eyes, the man stood up, picked up his bed, and left to go home—full of praises for God! Everyone was stunned. They couldn’t help but feel awestruck, and they praised God too.

People: We’ve seen extraordinary things today (vv. 17-26, The Voice).

Categories: jesus, luke

Jesus Heals, Then Gets Away

Another time in a city nearby, a man covered with skin lesions comes along. As soon as he sees Jesus, he prostrates himself.

Leper: Lord, if You wish to, You can heal me of my disease.

Jesus reaches out His hand and touches the man, something no one would normally do for fear of being infected or of becoming ritually unclean.

Jesus: I want to heal you. Be cleansed!

Immediately the man is cured. Jesus tells him firmly not to tell anyone about this.

Jesus: Go, show yourself to the priest, and do what Moses commanded by making an appropriate offering to celebrate your cleansing. This will prove to everyone what has happened.

Even though Jesus said not to talk about what happened, soon every conversation was consumed by these events. The crowds swelled even larger as people went to hear Jesus preach and to be healed of their many afflictions. Jesus repeatedly left the crowds, though, stealing away into the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:12-16, The Voice).

There are times that Jesus presents as somewhat introverted, getting away from the crowds.

Categories: jesus, luke

Fishing for Humans

Picture these events:

On the banks of Gennesaret Lake, a huge crowd, Jesus in the center of it, presses in to hear His message from God. Off to the side, fishermen are washing their nets, leaving their boats unattended on the shore.

Jesus gets into one of the boats and asks its owner, Simon, to push off and anchor a short distance from the beach. Jesus sits down and teaches the people standing on the beach.

After speaking for a while, Jesus speaks to Simon.

Jesus: Move out into deeper water, and drop your nets to see what you’ll catch.

Simon (perplexed): Master, we’ve been fishing all night, and we haven’t caught even a minnow. But . . . all right, I’ll do it if You say so.

Simon then gets his fellow fishermen to help him let down their nets, and to their surprise, the water is bubbling with thrashing fish—a huge school. The strands of their nets start snapping under the weight of the catch, so the crew shouts to the other boat to come out and give them a hand. They start scooping fish out of the nets and into their boats, and before long, their boats are so full of fish they almost sink!

The miracles Jesus performs come in all types: He heals the sick. He frees the oppressed. He shows His power over nature. He will even raise the dead. But as the story in verses 21-26 shows, one of the greatest miracles of all is forgiveness. To have sins forgiven—to start over again, to have God separate believers from their mistakes and moral failures, to lift the weight of shame and guilt—this may well be the weightiest evidence that God’s Son is on the move. The kingdom of God doesn’t throw all guilty people in jail; it doesn’t execute everyone who has made mistakes or tell them they’re just getting what they deserve. Instead, it brings forgiveness, reconciliation, a new start, a second chance. In this way, it mobilizes believers to have a new future.

Certainly Jesus has communicated the message of the Kingdom through words and through signs and wonders. Now Jesus embodies the message in the way He treats people, including outcasts like Levi. As a tax collector, Levi is a Jew who works for the Romans, the oppressors, the enemies. No wonder tax collectors are despised! But how does Jesus treat this compromiser? He doesn’t leave him paralyzed in his compromised position; He invites him—like the paralyzed man—to get up and walk, and to walk in a new direction toward a new King and Kingdom.

Simon’s fishing partners, James and John (two of Zebedee’s sons), along with the rest of the fishermen, see this incredible haul of fish. They’re all stunned, especially Simon. He comes close to Jesus and kneels in front of His knees.

Simon: I can’t take this, Lord. I’m a sinful man. You shouldn’t be around the likes of me.

Jesus: Don’t be afraid, Simon. From now on, I’ll ask you to bring Me people instead of fish.

The fishermen haul their fish-heavy boats to land, and they leave everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:1-11, The Voice).

Categories: jesus, luke, peter

Outline of Luke 5

  1. Peter’s miraculous catch of fish
  2. Jesus heals a man’s skin disease
  3. Friends drop a paralyzed man through a roof for healing
  4. Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple
  5. Jesus answers the Pharisees’ questions with stories
Categories: luke, outline

Jesus Travels

The next morning, Jesus sneaks away. He finds a place away from the crowds, but soon they find Him. The crowd tries their best to keep Him from leaving.

Jesus: No, I cannot stay. I need to preach the kingdom of God to other cities too. This is the purpose I was sent to fulfill.

So He proceeds from synagogue to synagogue across Judea, preaching His message of the kingdom of God (vv. 42-44, The Voice).

The image of Jesus sneaking away is a surprising one. How interesting that Jesus would find it necessary at times to avoid the glare of the crowd.

Categories: jesus, luke

Jesus Heals

By this time, it’s just before nightfall, and as the sun sets, groups of families, friends, and bystanders come until a huge crowd has gathered. Each group has brought along family members or friends who are sick with any number of diseases. One by one, Jesus lays His hands on them and heals them. On several occasions, demonic spirits are expelled from these people, after shouting at Jesus, “You are the Son of God!”

Jesus always rebukes them and tells them to be quiet. They know He is the Anointed One, but He doesn’t want to be acclaimed in this way (vv. 40-41).

Categories: jesus, luke

Peter’s Mother-in-Law

Picture this:

Jesus then leaves that synagogue and goes over to Simon’s place. Simon’s mother-in-law is there. She is sick with a high fever. Simon’s family asks Jesus to help her.

Jesus stands over her, and just as He had rebuked the demon, He rebukes the fever, and the woman’s temperature returns to normal. She feels so much better that she gets right up and cooks them all a big meal (vv. 38-39).

Categories: jesus, luke, peter

Jesus’ Healing the Demon-Possessed Man

Next He went to Capernaum, another Galilean city. Again He was in the synagogue teaching on the Sabbath, and as before, the people were enthralled by His words. He had a way of saying things—a special authority, a unique power.

In attendance that day was a man with a demonic spirit.

Demon-Possessed Man (screaming at Jesus): Get out of here! Leave us alone! What’s Your agenda, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: You’re the Holy One, the One sent by God!

Jesus (firmly rebuking the demon): Be quiet. Get out of that man!

Then the demonic spirit immediately threw the man into a fit, and he collapsed right there in the middle of the synagogue. It was clear the demon had come out, and the man was completely fine after that. Everyone was shocked to see this, and they couldn’t help but talk about it.

Synagogue Members: What’s this about? What’s the meaning of this message? Jesus speaks with authority, and He has power to command demonic spirits to go away.

The essential message of Jesus can be summed up this way: the kingdom of God is available to everyone, starting now. When Jesus refers to the kingdom of God, He doesn’t mean something that happens after death, far off in heaven; He equates the kingdom of God with God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. So the kingdom of God is life as God intends it to be—life to the full, life in peace and justice, life in abundance and love. Individuals enter the Kingdom when they enter into a relationship with Jesus, when they trust Him enough to follow His ways. But make no mistake, the Kingdom is about more than individual lives; it is about the transformation and renewal of all God has created. It may start with individual responses, but it doesn’t stop there.

Jesus describes His purpose as proclaiming this message. But Jesus not only expresses His message of the kingdom of God in words, He also dramatizes it in deeds. Luke calls these amazing deeds “signs and wonders,” suggesting that these actions have symbolic meaning, which is significant, and are wonderful, which means they fill people with awe and wonder. In the coming chapters, the wonder that the original eyewitnesses feel is palpable, and Jesus’ actions are significant signs of the kingdom of God.

The excitement about Jesus spread into every corner of the surrounding region (vv. 31-37, The Voice).

Categories: jesus, luke
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