Luke 5:12-26

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Verse 12 again shows the awesome (in the most literal sense) nature of Jesus – clearly Simon was not the only one who fell at his knees. But the words of the leper are fantastic as well: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Not for one second does he doubt that Jesus can heal him – but he is willing to submit to God’s will. It’s like saying ‘I would love for you to heal me, but if you don’t think it’s best then don’t. It’s up to you.’ It’s so true! God can do anything. And it is up to God. I’ve been challenged recently to bring my desires to God in prayer, but to always remember that what I really want is God’s glory. If something I think will bring him glory won’t, of course I don’t want him to do whatever I say. How great that man’s faith to be able to say “if you are willing”. I need to trust in God’s big plan more.

Why, in verse 14, does Jesus instruct this man not to tell anyone? We see this pattern in Jesus’ teaching again and again – yet in their excitement many people told everyone within earshot. I believe that Jesus didn’t want the word that the Messiah was here spreading before his death and resurrection when people could see what the Messiah was actually all about. After this, he reversed the gag order in the Great Comission (Matt 28, for example) and now Christians are free, and in fact commanded, to tell everyone they can this fantastic thing that’s happened to them. Can I be as excited that I have been brought from death to life as this man was at being healed of a skin disease? I hope and pray so!

Verse 16 tells me three things about Jesus’ prayer life. Firstly, he had one, which is odd given that he was God. I suppose that since he also had the weaknesses of being human, he needed this time to keep his ministry focussed Heavenwards. I don’t understand the theology, but one thing just hit me – if Jesus prayed, how can I hope to survive without it? Secondly, it was often. I need to pray frequently, if for nothing else to remind myself that God is at the centre of everything. Thirdly, it was solitary. Group prayer is great, but the basis of Jesus’ prayer life was solitary and personal. I need to continue striving to put a proper personal relationship with God (through reading his word and through prayer) above everything else in life. This includes even ‘Christian’ activities – in that situation I would have been tempted to prioritise ‘doing God’s work’ (healing the sick) above my relationship with him.

The second story in this passage also shows great faith. I wouldn’t have dared to demolish someone’s roof unless I was certain that Jesus was worth it all. But that’s not the only faith that these friends show. When they lower the paralytic down to Jesus, that’s all they do! They don’t present him with a list of requests but present him with their friend and wait for him to decide what’s best. Sound familiar? I wonder if they were surprised by Jesus’ response of focussing on sin not the obvious physical problems. Then again, the fact that Jesus forgave his sins shows that he wanted forgiveness (I think) so maybe they all knew what they were going for.

Looking at this has made me wonder about the first story. I wonder what ‘be clean’ means up there. A skin disease was considered unclean, but so is sin. When Jesus said ‘be clean’ was he forgiving sin and the healing came from that, as with the paralytic? Possibly not, but either way Jesus sees that the paralytic’s greatest need is for a right relationship with God. I want to see the problems of my friends as serious problems that I care about with Jesus’ compassion, but that they pale to insignificance when compared to the fact that they are at war with God.

There’s a lot of speculation here, which is fine, but I want to focus on what this is actually telling me. I should respond to Jesus in awe. I should have faith to trust in God’s plans not mine. I should be excited about telling people the gospel. I should pray. I’m going to need help with all that, but Jesus showed that he has the power to heal and transform us (physically and by forgiving sin).

Heavenly Father, thankyou for the true power that Jesus has over creation and over our lives. Thankyou that you have plans for everything, and help me to see that those plans are far better than what I think is best. I pray that you will help me to pray without ceasing, always submitting to your will, and I pray that you will give me a heart for telling people how great your offer is. Thankyou that you have forgiven me. Amen

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2 Responses to “Luke 5:12-26”

  1. Juan Carlos Says:

    Excellent!
    All The Glory & The Honor to Jesus, in Perfect Communion with Our Almighty Father and The Holy Spirit.

  2. Richard Criddle Says:

    Amen, Juan

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