Sermon: Receiving More than You Ever Imagined (Luke 5:17-26)

Click Here for Audion Luke 5.17.26

Receiving More than You Ever Imagined

During the time of the intertestamental period (the time between the last OT book and the NT) there was a movement in Judaism which was mainly targeted at the middle class.  The Sanhedrin and the Sadducees were mainly from the upper elite of the Jews.  As a sort of offshoot, to address those of the middle-class, the Pharisee movement was born.

Because they were from the middle class and because they spoke in and among the rulers and elders for the middle class, they were popular with the masses.  This popularity gave them power.

This popularity is also what made them very dangerous.  They had the public’s ear and what they were telling the people was wrong.  The Pharisees had developed a system of rules and regulations which were set in place to go along with God’s law.  As time went on, their rules became even more binding than the Scriptures, and the people listened.

There is great danger to the souls of men and women when a popular preacher or teacher is teaching heresy.  They have a great influence on the common people.

Today, were going to see God’s love in action.  God’s love is forgiving sin and healing.

We’re going to see a battle that unfolds before us in this text.  Battle lines are drawn.  On one side we see the unbelieving Pharisees and on the other we see believing crowd.  One side attacks with accusations that could lead to the death sentence but in the end Jesus is victorious.

Luke 5:17-26 (ESV)

On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.  [18] And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, [19] but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.  [20] And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  [21] And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  [22] When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?  [23] Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  [24] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  [25] And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.  [26] And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

1. Jesus Brings Out Unbelievers (5:18)

On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.

Pharisees and the Lawyers of ancient Judah had come out to trap Jesus and try to stop what He was doing.  Why would they do this?  They were religious after all?  Many folks today believe that religion is all the same.

Jesus cared for the people by calling them to repentance and faith and by healing them.  The religious leaders of the day saw that the people were turning to Jesus.  His popularity was growing.  The Pharisees who at one time had the support of the common people were now losing it to Jesus.  Their system was beginning to fall apart.

They came out to try and catch Jesus in some heretical teaching.  They were listening closely to find some loop hole, some way to silence this Teacher.

Truth will always find opposition from those religious systems that are out to keep people in darkness for their own selfish gain.

Luke reports that they had come out from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. Their level of concern was great.  Jesus was a major threat to their way of life.  Jesus didn’t intentionally try to stir up trouble between Himself and the teachers of the Law.  At the same time, He cared deeply for the glory of God and for the good of the people.  The Pharisees cared only for themselves.  Their glory and livelihood came first.  Battle lines were drawn.  This is the first mention of this group by Luke.  He’s showing us that they were out to destroy Jesus and His ministry.

2.  Jesus Brings Out Believers (5:18, 19)

[18] And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, [19] but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.

Luke shows us five very dedicated and persistent believers.  These five men were not about to get turned away by the crowd, they were not about to go home without getting to see Jesus.

I believe Luke is showing us by way of contrast two types of people.  First, we saw the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who only came to trap Jesus in some new teaching.  They had no real interest in what He was doing except to find a way to trap Him and run Him out of town.  They had no faith.  This second group’s faith is exceedingly strong.  They believed so strongly that they were willing to do anything to see Jesus.

Other Gospel writers tell us that they dug through the roof to make a hole large enough to lower their friend through.

Both groups came out to see Jesus, one to condemn Him and one who believed Him.

There are many people today whose only interest in Jesus is to try and refute His teaching.  Many today go to such great lengths to try and disprove the Bible.  I pray we are like the second group who were willing to do whatever it took to make sure their friend had an encounter with Jesus.

The more I think about this scene and the events that transpire, the more I think this is a good picture of what prayer is.  Whether we’re praying for a lost person or a sick person, as we pray, it’s like we’re lowering the person through a roof into the presence of Jesus.  Is there someone in your life that needs lowered down to see Jesus?  This paralyzed man had as much faith as his friends but was too sick to ever lower himself down.  Lost people are too sick with sin to ever realize they need lowered down to see Jesus.  They are paralyzed with sin.  We can become like these four friends who each took hold of the rope and began working in tandem to make sure their friend saw the Messiah.  Is there someone you could team up with and begin a serious prayer ministry for the lost, sick, for our church?

Like the leper from last week, Jesus did far more than any of them ever imagined.  Never in their wildest dreams would they have ever thought that Jesus would heal so thoroughly and completely.

3. The Opposition Attacks (5:21, 22)

[20] And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  [21] And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Salvation has always come by grace through faith, and so it did that day.  What’s amazing in this passage is the fact that when the men lowered their friend down to Jesus they had in mind a physical healing.  Jesus, however, had something else in mind.  When He saw their faith He didn’t say, rise up and walk but your sins are forgiven.  He knew exactly what He was doing.  Jesus was drawing out the enemy.  He had them exactly where He wanted them.  They were going to give Him the perfect situation in which to show His divine authority.

To these unbelieving lawyers and Pharisees the pronouncement of the forgiveness of sin was considered blasphemy.  They knew exactly what Jesus was claiming when He said what He said.

Man, your sins are forgiven you. The Greek word translated forgiven is: avfi,hmi aphiemi {af-ee’-ay-mee} Meaning: 1) to send away 1a) to bid going away or depart– BibleWorks

Jesus, here is not only saying I forgive you for the sins you’ve committed but literally, I am sending your sins away from you.  I am separating you from the sins you’ve committed.

That’s what Jesus is willing to do for all who come to Him in faith and repentance even today.  Jesus will send your sins away from you.

There has always been a part of the human make up that knows we are all sinners and longs to hear those precious words from Jesus.  So much so, that man has even been set in place in the Roman Catholic Church who declares sins forgiven.  A priest declares absolution.  We all, down deep, long to hear those words.  We know that only God can make this declaration.

As soon as Jesus makes this declaration, the opposition pounces.  Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who is this man who is speaking badly of or slandering God’s name?  Then they ask the question or make a statement that is entirely true… Who can forgive sins but God alone? With this they were playing right into Jesus’ hands.

Who can forgive sin?  That’s a very good question.

If someone steals from another then only the one who had something stolen can forgive the thief.  In the case of any sin, God has been offended and sinned against.

Psalm 51:4a (ESV)

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight.

Here are the two options:

A- Jesus is God and does have the divine prerogative to Forgive sin.

B- Jesus does not have the right to forgive and is speaking blasphemy.

The scribes and Pharisees pick B.  Only God can separate sin from a person.  Jesus declares He has that power.  Jesus is God.

Psalm 103:12 (ESV)

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

4. Jesus is Victorious (5:22-26)

[22] When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?  [23] Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  [24] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  [25] And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.  [26] And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

These teachers of the law are reasoning all this in their hearts and Jesus is reading their thoughts.  What their also reasoning goes something like this…Oh sure you can say your sins are forgiven, anyone can say that.  Who really knows for sure if they are or not?

Jesus knew what they were thinking.

This should shock us to think Jesus knows what a person is thinking.  They thought that their innermost thoughts were private.  They were wrong.

To prove to everyone including these unbelieving teachers of the law that Jesus does have the power to forgive sins, He heals the paralytic, something they can see.

[24] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man.  That is very big.  That was something that every Jew knew the meaning of.  If we are to understand what He meant by the term then we need to quickly turn to the Book of Daniel.  In Daniel we are given a prophetic text pointing to the coming Messiah.

Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV)

I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven

there came one like a son of man,

and he came to the Ancient of Days

and was presented before him.

[14] And to him was given dominion

and glory and a kingdom,

that all peoples, nations, and languages

should serve him;

his dominion is an everlasting dominion,

which shall not pass away,

and his kingdom one

that shall not be destroyed.

When Jesus uses this title for Himself, He is telling all who are there that He does have this power and authority and that God the Father has given it to Him.  He can heal.  He can forgive sin.  He is the King.  And His kingdom will never end.

Jesus victory that day against the forces of evil was seen by everyone present.  The paralyzed man went home carrying his mat as a secondary blessing.  What was primary was that Jesus received glory first and He forgave sin second and third, the paralyzed man was healed.  He and his four friends came to Jesus that day thinking that the best they could hope for was a healing.  They went home with far more than they ever imagined.

5. God is Glorified (5:25, 26)

[25] And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.  [26] And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

The man goes home glorifying God.  The people begin glorifying God and all were amazed.

We have seen extraordinary things today.

We have seen extraordinary things…What was some of the things they saw?

True Faith- a man lowered through a roof

Jesus reading the minds of the Pharisees

Jesus forgiving sin

Jesus healing

A paralyzed man immediately stands up and walks and runs and jumps and praises God.

They saw the true Messiah, King Jesus…the Son of Man.

Always remember that when God is glorified we are the most blessed.  So many today think God is just out to show us goodness.  He is first and foremost out to be glorified and in the process He is good to us.

 

 

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