Luke 5:12-26 – 29 Jun 2008)
This morning, we shall consider God’s word from Luke 5:12-26.
There are 3 different characters that we will look at in this passage:
And these are:
1) The Leper
2) The friends of the “paralyzed man”
3) and most importantly, Our Lord Jesus Christ
Let us begin by looking at the Leper.
I want to tell you 3 things about this leper.
Firstly, he had a deadly disease.
The Bible describes this leper as “a man full of leprosy”.
In other words, it was probably an advanced stage of leprosy.
This man must be looking really awful.
His skin must have turned white.
Some of his fingers may even have fallen off.
If you ever saw him, you may feel very faint or uncomfortable.
I suggest you read Leviticus 13 when you are home to get feel of what leprosy was like.
Secondly, this leper acknowledged that he had a disease.
He had come to a stage where he was totally helpless.
He acknowledged that he had a fatal disease.
Now, this is important.
Because there are people who do not want to know that they are sick.
For example, sometimes we may be afraid to go for a medical check ups.
(I am not sure about you, but I am afraid to go for medical check ups.)
I am afraid that the check up will show me that I have some illness.
We all like to believe that we are well.
We all like to believe that we do not need the doctor.
Until we are totally helpless and realize that we cannot avoid the subject any more.
This leper came to the stage where he knows no one could cure that leprosy that he had.
And according to the Lev 13, he was considered as being unclean.
He was not to be found near people.
He was to be cast out from the presence of everyone in Israel.
In fact, in his current state, everyone will want to shun away from him
So, it is a strange thing that he was found in the city.
The parallel account in Matthew 8 tells us that this city was Capernaum, where many people lived.
We can only guess that this leper must have come to seek Jesus.
He was probably in such a helpless state, he did not care what other people thought about him.
He did not care if people would stone him or criticize him.
He just wanted to be cured.
And he knew that only Jesus can help him.
Therefore he came to Jesus and begged Him saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Thirdly, I want to tell you that Jesus was willing to heal him of that disease.
You know what? Jesus could have said, “I am not willing to make you clean”.
Jesus was under no obligation to heal him at all.
He could have said “What are you doing in the city?”
“Don’t you know that people with leprosy like you cannot be here?”
“There are laws governing this.”
“You know the law of Moses.”
“You had better get out before you are stoned.”
But Jesus did not say anything like that.
Instead, He said “I am willing; I am willing to make you clean”.
Friends, the bible has always compared physical leprosy to spiritual leprosy that dwells in all of us.
This spiritual leprosy is our indwelling sin.
We don’t like to be told that we have a disease.
We don’t like to be told that we are sinners.
“O, I didn’t kill a man, rob the bank or commit physical adultery.”
So, I think I am not a sinner.
Or sometimes, you look at a man and say “He’s quite a good man”.
He’s filial, honest, helps others, looks decent, talks nicely, he should be ok.
Friends, don’t be deceived by the world’s standards.
Jesus in Matthew 5 tells us that “that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable to judgment.”
“Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Do not let your own standard of holiness deceive you that you are going to make it to heaven.
God owns heaven and if you want to be in there, it has to be on His terms and not yours.
He has no obligation to let sinners like us go in there.
God is holy and will not accept even the slightest sin.
Don’t ever think that He would accept any lesser form of holiness than what He says is necessary.
You have to understand that you are a helpless sinner and you need Jesus to help you with your sins.
You had had better seek His grace and mercy early.
And just like Jesus said “He was willing” to heal the leper, He is willing to make you clean.
So, come humbly and earnestly to Him quickly for help.
Come before your spiritual leprosy destroys you and leads you into the way of no return.
And just like the Leper, you will find the cleansing from sin that only Jesus can give.
The second character we want to consider is the group of friends who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus.
They were probably a group of very close friends.
We make this inference from the trouble they took to seek the well-being of their paralyzed friend.
We are not given details on how and when this man got paralyzed.
May be they were playing football together and their friend got hurt.
We do not know and we should not speculate.
We only know that the friends were trying all ways and means to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus.
I believe they must have already tried to help him in many different ways.
They may have brought him to many doctors.
Some of them probably brought food to his family.
Some of them probably visited him regularly.
Some of them probably helped to raise money to support his family.
But all that they were probably already doing could not bring healing to their friend.
So, they brought him to Jesus.
Now, it was not easy to do that.
Because Jesus was often surrounded by many people.
It was not easy to get to Him.
But they knew they had to get to Jesus and they were determined to do so.
They could not get to Him by land or by sea.
So, they employed what we call the 3rd dimension approach.
They got to Jesus by letting their paralyzed friend down from the roof – the 3rd dimension.
This shows their utmost determination to get their paralyzed friend well because they knew only Jesus could help him.
Notice we are told in verse 20, “When He saw THEIR faith,….”
It was as if Jesus was willing to heal this paralyzed man because He was impressed with the faith of his friends.
We have no doubts that the prerogative to heal belonged to Jesus and Jesus alone.
The ability of their friends to act like this in faith also came from God.
But we note that Jesus was delighted with such faith demonstrated by determination.
Their actions demonstrated that they totally believed that Jesus was able to help.
And Jesus praised them for this.
And Jesus indeed healed their paralyzed friend.
Let me ask you how you are helping your friends who are in need.
Have you been rendering all the physical help that is possible?
Have you been giving them all the time you can spare?
In all that you are doing for them, let me remind you not to forget to bring them to Jesus.
Bring them to Jesus in prayer.
Bring them to Jesus in their faith.
Only Jesus can ultimately help them.
Your physical help rendered will only provide temporal relief.
Your gifts that you give will only last a certain period of time.
Sometimes, when we help people, we do all the so-called “tangible things” but never suggest to them faith in Jesus.
Yes, all these help are necessary, practical and reflect our care and concern for them.
But don’t forget that it is Jesus who can provide the permanent and ultimate help they need.
So, bring your friends to Jesus.
Let me speak to the parents in our midst.
You are probably trying to give the best material things to your children.
You worry about their education, their health, their characters, their social lives…
As you do that, don’t forget that the best thing you can do for them is to bring them to Jesus.
Pray for them; insist on spiritual disciplines, set that example for them and don’t stop telling them about Jesus.
And may God be merciful to us Christian parents, to bring our children His kingdom at an early age.
If you are sitting here today because your friend, parents or family members are trying to bring you to Jesus, do not resist their efforts.
It is the best thing that your friend, parents or family members can do for you.
Just like this paralyzed man.
He probably did not know what he was in for.
He probably could not appreciate why his friends were doing this.
Why are they putting him through this danger of letting him down from the roof in the house?
Don’t they realize this is extremely dangerous?
What if one of the strings snapped?
What if one of the friends lose his balance and they drop him?
“I am already paralyzed; are you trying to injure me more”?
No, your friends mean well for you and meeting Jesus is probably the best thing your friends can do for you.
So do not resist it.
Use the opportunity to find out more about Jesus if you do not know Him.
And you can experience the joy that this paralyzed man experienced in deliverance.
Finally and most importantly, we shall consider the 3rd character in this passage – our Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to tell you 3 things that we learn about Jesus in this passage.
First, I want you to realize that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s righteous requirement
Jesus was 100% God and 100% man when He was on earth.
As a Man, Jesus never sinned.
Heb 5:8 though being a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
Setting the example of keeping the law himself, He also taught everyone to keep God’s law.
For example, He advised the Leper who was healed to do as Moses commanded. (v14).
He submitted Himself totally to God’s laws and was 100% without sin.
He was therefore able to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sin.
Friends, this is Jesus your God and Saviour.
This is Jesus who gave His life for His people.
Today, I want to ask you how you regard Him.
When we respect some people that we know on earth, our actions demonstrate our respect for them.
For example, I believe the students in our midst will all keep quiet if their school principals walked into their class suddenly.
If the President is visiting your home you will get up very early and ensure that you get prepared for his visit.
Comparatively, do you have more respect for Jesus than you have for these people in your lives?
Do you make it a point to get up early to prepare for Church?
Do you make it a point to be in Church early to prepare your heart to worship Him?
During worship, do you focus your thoughts on Jesus or do you let your mind wonder in other thoughts?
Do you go out of your way to get God’s things done or are these just “by-the-way” tasks for you?
Do you spend more time reading your bible than you watch TV or on your hobby?
In 2 Sam 24-24, a man called Araunah offered a piece of land to king David where he could make sacrifices to God.
And Araunah wanted to give it to David free of charge.
But David said, “…No, but I will surely buy from you at a price. And I will not offer burnt offerings to Jehovah my God of that which costs me nothing.”
David regarded God highly and wanted to make sure he was not doing things for Him out of convenience.
Friends, I am not trying to make you feel bad.
I want you to consider our Lord Jesus Christ.
He was a perfect man – absolutely without sin.
No man was ever like Him.
Do you hold Him in higher regard than any other person you know?
He gave His life for you so that your sins can be washed away and you don’t have to face God’s wrath.
In response, are you showing your gratitude to Him by how you live your life in His presence?
Do you have a holy reverence and fear of Him?
Do you give priority to Christian things in your life?
Friends, this is your wonderful Savior, your Lord Jesus Christ.
Friends, this Jesus Whom we worship.
Who is He to you?
Secondly, I want you to realize that Jesus is merciful and compassionate and will receive those who come to Him helplessly.
Yes, He is God; He is Holy; He deserves our rightful worship, respect and reverence.
If Jesus did not lay down His life for us, we are doomed.
The bible tells us that animal sacrifices cannot take away our sin in the long run.
We have no hope but to be separated from God eternally.
But we thank God that Jesus gave His life for us.
Why did He do it?
This is the mystery of God’s mercy and grace.
We may never understand this with our puny minds.
But when grace and mercy still prevails today, don’t miss it my friends.
If you walk away from this opportunity to repent and appreciate God’s mercy and grace, it may not come back to you.
You have to repent right now and turn back to Him.
Do so before it is too late.
Thirdly, I want you to know that it is possible for us to respond skeptically towards the kind offer of Jesus.
In our passage today,
While Jesus was going about God’s work,
While Jesus demonstrated His divine nature by His miracles,
While the grace and mercy of God was still available,
There was a group of people who was skeptical about it all.
There were people who poured scorn over all that they saw.
These are the scribes and the Pharisees in verse 21.
They did not do it openly.
They did so in their heart.
And that was enough to condemn them.
Because God, being God omniscient, knows exactly what was in their hearts.
I do not know what you are thinking right now I do not know what is in your heart.
Some of you may be thinking, “I’ve heard this so many times…”, “it’s the same old message”,..
Friends, do not despise the simplicity of the gospel.
Do not pour scorn over God’s word.
The Bible tells us that there will be those who will do this.
Do not be one of these people.
If you still do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, make it a point to do so.
As your friends, ask your Pastor questions.
Do not let any skeptical thoughts remain in your mind.
Think about Jesus – how wonderful a Saviour He is.
Think about how Holy He is that we should give Him respect and reverence.
Think about how merciful and gracious He has been to us sinners.
Repent and turn to Jesus and worship Him.
Don’t be like the scribes and the Pharisees.
They saw the miracles of Jesus many times.
They heard the offer of salvation to many people.
But they never found it for themselves.
Friends, I urge you to think about Jesus and to seek Him quickly.
Let us pray.