Friends and Foes- Luke 5:17-26
17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.
1. Who is YOUR teacher?
Let’s stop and look at this for what it is. Jesus draws crowds.
Strong teaching draws crowds.
At this time the Word of God is the primary function of everyone’s life. Religion and attending synagogue is what is the norm.
Religion is the mainstay of this world and this culture. It’s not ours for sure, but this is how life happens in the time of Jesus.
Now this certain day is no different than any other day. Jesus is teacher and teachers teach.
However, this time, the fame of Jesus is growing and he starts to be recognized by Pharisees. This is the first time that Luke brings them into his account.
These teachers of the law want to hear what this Jesus guy is going to talk about.
Not only that, these teachers were coming from all the local synagogues to hear Jesus. He was becoming famous or infamous one would say.
Do you think they came because maybe they were curious?
Do you think they came maybe because they were threatened?
What are reasons why your enemies come out?
To catch you in something you said?
Or maybe to defame you?
Things to think about.
Please realize that the power of Jesus still rings out through us via the Holy Spirit.
We can see through the spiritual gift of discernment, peoples motives.
Love them anyways.
“Everybody Always” is book I encourage everyone to read. If you have not, I highly recommend it.
So, let’s get to know who these guys are. I am referring to the Pharisees
NET Note on Pharisees - Pharisees were members of one of the most important and influential religious and political parties of Judaism in the time of Jesus. The Pharisees were strict and zealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions such as angels and bodily resurrection There were more Pharisees than Sadducees (according to Josephus, Ant. 17.2.4 there were more than 6,000 Pharisees at this time). Pharisees differed with Sadducees on certain doctrines and patterns of behavior.
Many Pharisees opposed Jesus, where Jesus condemns their hypocrisy, but some followed him...
This group is a laymen’s fellowship, popular with the common people and connected to local synagogues, chiefly characterized by adherence to extensive extra-biblical traditions, which they rigorously obeyed as a means of applying the law to daily life.
Do we all understand the difference between Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law?? If a driver gets pulled over for going 3 miles over the speed limit, the spirit of the law officer will give a warning and let them go. The letter of the law officer will issue a ticket for those 3 miles. The Pharisees were those letter of the law people.
Here’s a truth that I want to share with you. Are you Pharisee? Are you a person who is so bound by the letter of the law that you can’t reach out to people who need Jesus? I heard of an account where a community center was built with other people of faith. I prayed about that and I see that Jesus is bigger than that. If something is to be done for the community then we should do it together. Look, we all go to worship in other places and rightfully so, however merging our resources to reach people to benefit a community is great practice that sadly many Christians won’t be a part of so many things that would benefit the Kingdom. I think we really need to ask ourselves, “Is God glorified with our division?”
And the power of the Lord was present [c]to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
2. What kind of friend are you?
Let’s give it up for these friends.
Talk about ingenuity
Talk about not caring what others thought
Talk about love knowing no bounds
Talk about love for their brother.
Just brings up the truth.
What are we willing to do for our brothers and sisters? Wow!
Jesus at the end of the command tells this man that his sins are forgiven. I don’t know if the friends knew that the man’s sins kept him in his condition on the bed, I think they might have known
Friends help friends with dealing with their sins
Friends help friends with dealing with their sins.
Circle back a minute. The power of the Lord was present to heal him.
Don’t you find that bit of information interesting?
Don’t you think that the Lord Jesus Christ can always heal? In the story of the leper we remember that Jesus was asked if you are willing. Remember that exchange? Think with me now, Jesus was willing and I believe he is always willing. But in this account the power was already there to heal them. NO need to ask questions. I wonder what Jesus shared about that day that had Dr. Luke note this power.
I wonder if the power of the Holy Spirit was so raw and real that the folks were in such a state of belief and faith that they knew Jesus was going to work his healing power for God that day. Wow
These people knew that healing was going to happen because of the word that Jesus spoke.
They were so moved that they figured out a way to lower the man in the bed to be healed.
I love me some friends like this.
I want to be a friend like this. Don’t you?
But let’s not forget that these 2 acts of King Jesus came after prayer and by Jesus getting away into the wilderness. Jesus got away to be Refreshed and Charged up in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus always has the power but I find it interesting nonetheless. He had the power yet, he gives us the beautiful example of getting away to pray. Can we heed that lesson; that advice; that prompting?
That power was unleashed by the love, conviction, and faith of the paralytic’s four friends. We must love those around us so much that we will tear through roofs for their sake. We must have the conviction that Jesus is the only way. We must believe that he can and will heal those who come to him. To those longing to be healed, do you believe Jesus is the only way? Do you believe He can and will heal you?
That brings me to a story that just happened last week at Refresh Church. We give God the glory. We honor Him. WE just spoke on the healing of the paralytic. Nowadays, with Covid and the like, we know that we can’t touch people or even go the hospital, however we also know that Jesus wants us to believe in Him and He can still touch.
Can I tell you what Happened?
We have a sweet sister named Jan in the fellowship. After church on Sunday, she reached out to the body of Christ here at Refresh to pray her neighbor JC.
JC, who is not a Christian, whom we have been praying for his salvation, had stroke. He had surgery the day before to remove cancer from his lungs. All reports at this time don’t look good. His wife was very, very upset as I think is normal.
She could not go with him because of Covid and hospital bans. She also doesn’t walk with Jesus yet.
But when the fire truck left she said God bless you to the fireman. That is a huge deal for her to say that. So, the body of Christ starting praying.
Do you want to know what happened next?
They decided to air lift him to another hospital because of some hemorrhaging on his brain.They could not give him the clot busting drug because it was too soon after his surgery.
The reason for the need to air lift was to drain the blood from brain.
Do you want to know what happened next?
So, the helicopter broke; they were not able to air lift him.
You got to think now, “well this guy is a goner or not going to make it,” right?
Well not the case,
Since they could not fly him to the place they needed to, they started poking and prodding this man and low and behold he did not have a stroke. Somehow that diagnosis was not correct.
We believe that the power of prayer was made real and this man was touched by the Spirt of the Lord Jesus and was given healing.
We teach the word verse-by-verse and give truths that convey the grace of God.
It’s up to us to put into action by prayer what we believe. I believe that the Word went up to the believers of our Hero Jesus Christ and He made intercession on behalf of this man JC and said, “it’s not his time yet”. I believe Jesus still wants to show himself strong and full of compassion on those people who need the touch of Jesus.
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
3. Do we limit God’s plan for us?
Well the pharisee came and behold they got what they wanted.
Something to trap Jesus in.
They are not telling a lie. No one can forgive sins but God alone
They are right. However, the attitude of their heart is wrong.
They are saying it amongst themselves because they are mad.
They all want to know who the heck this guy is and why is he allowed to talk like this.
If anyone in your walk tells you that they can forgive sins or that you must confess your sins to him in order to receive forgiveness. I am going to tell you something very quickly, run Forest, Run Forest Run.
Only Jesus can forgive sins, only God can forgive sins and guess what? It’s the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of Sin, righteousness and judgement. Only someone in authority can do that.
Look back at the story
Jesus knows their hearts; he perceived their thoughts. This is a real scary truth my friends. Jesus knows all of our hearts. He knows the good and the bad. He knows all the junk in your trunk. He still loves you. That should make us all shudder.
Blasphemies is what they said Jesus’s whole ministry was about. Blasphemies is to say something that dishonored God. To claim divine prerogatives or claim to speak for God when one really does not would be such an act of offense. The remark raised directly the issue of the nature of Jesus’s ministry.
Jesus drops the big question on these guys
Which is easier- To both the questions there is no easy answer to be truthful
Jesus knows that forgiving sins and doing a miracle of speaking life into someone’s legs is impossible.
We all know this, that is why Jesus says this, he legitimately cuts to the heart of the matter.
No jabs and body blows in this boxing match of words. Straight out haymakers.
No reason to play around.
Jesus wants these guys and all who would hear of this account then and now to know that Jesus is answer to all the questions and He alone can do whatever He wants for His kingdom.
Jesus, doesn’t give them the time to respond. He just simply says to the man while they are all listening. Notice how in this healing, he just simply speaks, he doesn’t need to walk up to the man and outstretch his hand and help the man up.
He says, “Arise, get up”.
No question from the man either. He doesn’t say to Jesus, “I have been on this mat for I don’t how long, I don’t think I can do it alone, I am going to need some help up”.
Take up your bed. Don’t leave your thing that gave you comfort and kept the dirt and rocks away from you. For me after this healing! If I was the guy, I would burn it, but Jesus says pick it up and move and walk into your house. Take it with you back to your home. No need to prance around or make a parade, just take it home.
A double miracle happens right then in front of all these guys
Could you have imagined the tension that was around this guy.
All the naysayers and the Jesus haters saying, “what is this guy doing?”
Look at the last part of this passage.
The man got up and took his stretcher back home with him. This was a stretcher-like contraption also guys. This guy would not have the ability to have been at the meeting unless something was built to move him like a stretcher to move him along and also drop him down from the roof. Just an extra visual for all of you to see in your mind what this man was on.
This man’s immediate obedience was honored. He immediately got up. He did not dilly dally around. I bet when the power of God fell on Him, that fire was so hot inside him, he probably felt like he was prodded with a Holy fire poker that gave comfort and he was up like a popcorn kernel that transferred into a piece of popcorn. Can you see that in your head?
As we clean this up, fear and wonder filled the crowd. The word for fear is the Greek word phobia. We know that many people have phobias like the fear of spiders which is arachnophobia. The fear of being in small space we know as claustrophobia. The point is this, this is a big word that is conveying a big truth.
These folks were genuinely scared and also amazed. Only God can bring these potentially scary things and make them a bitter sweet symphony.
Strange things were seen by all.
We don’t see them as strange, but put yourself in the TEVAs (Jewish sandals of these folks, it would have been a big deal and it is a big deal.
So, let’s clean this up
1. Who is YOUR teacher? Jesus is always teaching-then and now.
How do we get Jesus’s teaching? We get it by being in his word.
The simple truth found in that is that we as Christians get the opportunity to read our Bibles and pray and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding to apply the Word in our lives.
2. What kind of friend are you? As Christians, and I am speaking to Christians, we can be those type of brothers and sisters who look beyond someone’s sins and loves the person and takes them to Jesus. Taking people to Jesus will never be a regretful decision for anyone
3. Are you limiting God’s plan for your life? Jesus, again does miracles and heals the sins of all men and women. Do you remember what your life was before Jesus? Think with me and be thankful that Jesus now has told us arise, let’s get going and do the work of the kingdom
Do you want Jesus to consider you a friend? Do you lead your friends to Jesus and the hope of eternal life? Let us know how we can pray for you!