November 18th, 2006
When you get to the football match and the place is crowded, the “Full House” signs are up, and there is a long queue of people waiting for stand-by tickets, most people would just give up and go home. In today’s reading, Jesus was preaching to a full house, and there was no way that four men carrying their friend on a stretcher could get close enough to attract Jesus’s attention and get their friend healed. Most people would have given up and tried again another day. But these four men were so convinced and determined to get their friend fixed up that they were prepared to do something bold, outrageous, risky, dangerous, and probably illegal. And it paid off handsomely.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 5
5:1 He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret and the crowd was pressed around him and listening to the word of God, 5:2 when he saw beside the lake two boats, which the fishermen had left in order to clean their nets. 5:3 He climbed into one of the boats which belonged to Simon and asked him to push it out a little from the land. He sat down and taught the crowd from the boat. 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Go out into deeper water and let down your nets for a catch.”
5:5 Simon answered, “Master, we worked all night and caught nothing, but because you say so I will let down the net.” 5:6 They did this, and caught a haul of fish so large that their net was breaking. 5:7 They called their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and filled both boats so full that they almost sank. 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it he fell at Jesus’s knees, saying, “Leave me alone, Lord, because I am a sinful man.” 5:9 He and all who were with him were amazed at the number of fish which they had caught, 5:10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people.” 5:11 They brought their boats onto the land, and left everything to follow him.
5:12 In one of the towns he encountered a man suffering from leprosy. When he saw Jesus he fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” 5:13 He reached out his hand to touch him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 5:14 Jesus instructed him no to tell anyone, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing as Moses commanded, as a witness to them.” 5:15 But news about him spread, and large crowds came to hear and to be healed by him of their illnesses. 5:16 He often withdrew to secluded places to pray.
5:17 On one of those days he was teaching, and sitting nearby were Pharisees and teachers of the law, who came from villages throughout Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The healing power of the Lord was with him. 5:18 Some men carried a paralyzed man on a stretcher and tried to bring him in to lay him before Jesus. 5:19 They were not able to find a way through the crowd, so they went up on the roof, and let him down through the tiles on his stretcher into the crowd right in front of Jesus. 5:20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said, “Man, your sins are forgiven.”
5:21 The religious lawyers and Pharisees began to question, “Who is this man that speaks blasphemies? Who except God alone can forgive sins?” 5:22 Jesus, reading their thoughts, answered, “Why are you questioning in your hearts? 5:23 Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you;’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ 5:24 Let me show you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 5:25 He got up at once in front of them, picked up his stretcher, and went home, praising God. 5:26 All were seized with amazement and filled with fear. They gave glory to God, and said, “We have seen strange things today.”
5:27 After these things he left, and noticing a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, he said to him, “Follow me!” 5:28 He left everything, and got up to follow him. 5:29 Levi made a great feast for him in his house. A large group of tax collectors and others were sitting down with them. 5:30 The religious lawyers and Pharisees complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 5:31 Jesus answered, “Healthy people do not need a doctor; sick people do. 5:32 I have come to call sinners to repentance, not righteous people.”
5:33 They asked, “Why do John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink?”
5:34 He answered, “Should the friends of the bridegroom have to fast while the bridegroom is with them? 5:35 The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” 5:36 He also told them a parable, “No one tears a patch from a new garment to put it on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the patch from the new will not match the old. 5:37 No one puts new wine into old wineskins, because the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilt, and the skins will be ruined. 5:38 New wine must be put into fresh wineskins, so that both are preserved. 5:39 People who have tasted old wine do not want the new, because they say, ‘The old is better.'”
Entry Filed under: Trust