This next chapter in Luke’s Gospel is where Jesus tells some simple men to give up their livelihoods and follow Him. They had to trust Jesus. However, before they could trust Jesus, they had to believe in Him. Let’s dig in…
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon (Peter), its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus had to perform a miracle so that Peter, Andrew, James and John would recognize that He was sent by God and be able to trust Him enough to leave their homes and their jobs and follow Him. I did something similar 16 years ago as I left my home and friends in Florida and drove cross country to Arizona not having a job and putting my trust in God. Continuing…
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 14 Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. (Leviticus 14:2-32) This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
21 But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
Here we start seeing Jesus call Himself the “Son of Man” — it seems to refer to Jesus as being the son of Adam — the first man as we saw in His genealogy in Luke 3.
Leprosy was a highly contagious skin disease. Anyone with leprosy was an “untouchable”. Nevertheless, Jesus, when asked by the leper if He was willing to heal him, Jesus replied, “I am willing”. He touched him and healed him.
Even though he told the healed man not to say anything, word spread about the miracle and people sought Jesus out for healing. In spite of that, Jesus went, when He could, to be alone to pray. Which is something we should also do everyday.
The next major healing story is the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends. They wanted to get their friend to Jesus so He could heal him. But, the house where He was preaching was too crowded. So, they climb up on the roof, opened a hole and lowered their paralyzed friend to where Jesus was. Now, that’s faith. Jesus saw that, but what does He tell the man first? “Your sins are forgiven”!
How can anyone tell if someone’s sins are forgiven? The Pharisees, of course, questioned Him. Then, Jesus proved His authority by not just forgiving the man, but healing the man. When you see a truly paralyzed man stand up and walk — you’ll believe it!
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)
27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”
31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
Imagine that! Jesus eating with sinners. Do you think that you’re righteous like those Pharisees? Or do you realize that you are a sinner and that you need to repent of your sins — that is, stop sinning?
Here’s the difference
Back when I was a “prodigal“, having fun, living and working in Puerto Rico, I had a job at a hotel as activities coordinator. A few times a week, I held a bingo game by the pool for the tourists. The last game was always the “jackpot”. The whole pot of money collected from selling the cards would go to the winner of the final round. But, I used to pocket some of it. No one ever saw me. Depending on the pot, I could take in from $20-50. As long as the jackpot was decent, no one noticed.
Now I know that God noticed.
I’ve since repented, and been born again. A few Sunday’s ago, I was working in the back booth managing Facebook Live at church. At the end of the service a lady handed me a folded $100 bill. She trusted that since I was a worker there, that I would see that it got it to the right place. The other tech people had left and no one had seen her give it to me. I could have so easily pocketed it! But, I didn’t. I showed it to one of the staff and she told me to put in the locked collection box — which I did.
This next part isn’t so much about fasting as it is about being born again….
A Discussion about Fasting
33 One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”
34 Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
36 Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.
37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”Luke 5 NLT
What is He talking about?!
The “new wine” is the Good News — the Gospel of Salvation. If a person who has repented of their sins and they are “born again” — that is, they left their old, sinful life behind and is living a new life in Christ. That person can hear the Good News, believe it and grow in Christ.
If a person who is still sinning and thinking they are righteous enough to get into heaven because they go to church and follow false teachings and man made rules and rituals, they like the “old wineskins”. They are fine with the “old wine”, aka the false teachings. They can’t accept the truth of the Good News.
Healing of Mind, Body and Soul
The healing that Jesus offers us is not just physical but also spiritual. He heals us not just on the surface, but in-depth. Moreover, He also heals the mind and soul.
For the many years that I was a prodigal, I faced an identity crisis. I was trying to “find myself” in everything and anything the world had to offer in the 70s and 80s. It wasn’t until I started turning to God that He started renewing my mind with His Word and the Gospel Truth, that my soul was was forever healed when I finally invited Him in to my heart.
Are your ready for the healing that only Jesus offers?
Place your life into the Potter’s Hands…
- Part 1: From Catholicism to Prodigal
- Part 2: From Prodigal to a Progressive, Halfway Christian
- Part 3: From a Halfway Christian to a True, Born Again Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!