Monday, February 11, 2008

Luke Chapter Five

Reading:  Luke 5.1-38

Scripture:  Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5.31,32

Observations:  Quickly we discover the grace of Jesus' message and ministry.  Peter, who felt most unworthy in the presence of Jesus, along with James and John were called to leave their fishing nets and fish for people.  A leper's "unclean" status does not keep him from Jesus' healing touch. The paralytic, with the help of his friends, finds forgiveness for his sins as well as healing for his paralysis.  And then Levi, the much despised tax collector, is called to leave his tax booth to follow Jesus.  

When the law-conscience Pharisees and Teaches of the Law are offended by Jesus' claim to forgive sins and by the undesirables he is associating with, Jesus responds by stating that it is for those very people he had come.

Apply: Those who are most open to Jesus are those who are most aware of their need. Conversely, those who set themselves up as the morality police are most prone to missing out on Jesus. Grace is Jesus' invitation to be honest without fear.  The legalistic religion of the Pharisees only leads to hypocritical denial of one's own sinfulness.  

Prayer:  Jesus, may I never forget that I am merely a sinner saved by your grace.  And help me to reach out with your grace to those who are are most in need of your forgiveness and healing.  


Gladys said...

The weather outside is frightful . . . so I am home on this bitter day!

" . . . for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" Oh, can that be said by me, except substituting woman for man. With the Catholic upbringing that I had, it was common to look inward consistently, especially before going to confession. There is nothing wrong with this, for if this is not done, then how will one repent and correct behavior? However, when this becomes the focal point as it had with me, of which all I saw were my failures and that I never measured up. I still tend to think this way after all this time!

Confession IS good and necessary . . . but after confession and repentance . . most importantly, is not to wallow, but to move on! In a sermon I heard shortly after being saved, instead of being "sin conscious" at that point, we should be "God conscious." That was a NEW concept for me, the "moving on" part. Why NOT focus on God and everything that He has done in my life and to be thankful for all His blessings rather than giving sin and the devil continued attention?!! So, as far as all my sins/shortcomings go, and they are many, and for which I need to confess/repent of periodically, they can still be overwhelming if I would let them,thinking along with Paul, "wretched man that I am! Who will set me free?" But, I can't stop there . . . the answer is in the next verse: "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 7:24-25)

And so it was with Simon Peter when he said "for I am a sinful man, O Lord," to Jesus in v. 8. When the amount of fish started causing the boat to sink, he REALLY became aware then that Jesus was God . . . and especially, a HOLY God! And then, the realization hit Peter, probably like a ton of bricks, of his own sinfulness. The comparison was just too much, the gap much too wide, and he fell at Jesus' feet, humbled and full of fear. For how can you meet God and not feel this way? But, the good news is, Jesus can work with humility! Jesus' response to him in v. 10 was: "Do not fear . . . from now on you will be catching men." He took care of the fear . . . and elevated him to be a fisher of men!

So, at the point when we REALLY realize the gap between our sinfulness and God's holiness and are humbled by that, Jesus can also say to us, "Do not fear . . . from now on you will be . . . My witnesses!!

Father, I ask that You keep me realizing the gap, i.e., Your holiness, for it is far too easy in this world to forget how holy You really are. And I, I will keep myself humble so that You can continue to work within me. Thank You Father, for Your mercy and Your grace!

traci said...

WOW Gladys, and Pastor Bill - thank you...
there is SO MUCH in this thing in particular did punch me as I passed.
...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 sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough."

I was the scum that Jesus invited to the table. Now I sit and eat with Him day after day, born again out of the "scumminess" and into His family (wow look at me I'm a new creature!!!)
- oh Father may I never think I am already good enough - may I never forget what Jesus has brought me out of - may I ALWAYS look to you with adoration, thanks and praise.

Laura K said...

"v. 17. Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them."

Please tell me if I understand this verse saying that the power of the Lord was present to heal the Pharisees and teachers!! The religious aristocrats came from miles around, and not one humbled himself to be healed of their hardness of heart.
Leading to v. 18-19, through the throng came the greatest small group to ever form- men who let nothing stop them from bringing their friend to the foot of Jesus to be made whole. In front of the ceremonious hand-washers came dirty and determined humility. The Pharisees were in fear of Jesus being right, the small group did not let their fear of being wrong stop them from working hard to get face to face with a chance at Healing, be they wrong or right.

I am guilty of behaving as the band of determined men, but thinking as the Pharisees. Many times have I rationalized as to why not do ____ or give _____.
So, you may hear this Scriptural prayer more than once during this Lent, as I have adopted it as my transfomration for 2008 :

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Phil 1:9-11

Scrap Happy said...

I like to read the chapter by myself and write my own observations, then read Pastor Bill's SOAP as well as the others. I thought it was interesting that Peter told Jesus to go away from him, because he was a sinful man. Peter started right off the bat, confessing his sins. I liked that Pastor Bill wrote," Those who are most open to Jesus are those who are most aware of their need." Thank you everyone, for your insight! :)