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12 Luke 5.17-26

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Luke 5:17-26

Lakehurst, New York, May 6th 1937, 7 pm: The "Hindenburg" has come all the way from Europe - a luxurious flying hotel, faster than any ship of its time. The pride of the Third Reich prepares to land, and hundreds of onlookers have gathered to watch.

Then, all of a sudden, a burst of flame just forward of the upper fin. In a matter of 33 seconds, the largest airship ever built goes down in a fiery blaze.

35 people died in the flames - and nobody knew why. Sabotage? A bolt of lightning? Static electricity? A spark?

v    There is one theory that is more intriguing than the rest

Ø     St Elmo’s fire

§        St Elmo’s fire is somewhat of a myth, but to the few who have witnessed it…

·        It is fact

Ø     St Elmo’s fire is a plasma that forms around metal objects when the air is charged with electricity before a strong thunderstorm

§        Those who has seen it describe it as a bluish-white glow that sometimes slightly hisses

·        Whatever you believe…

¨     St Elmo’s Fire is a precursor to an explosive event…A thunderstorm

v    And that is what we have in our text today

Ø     A “St Elmo’s Fire” type of situation

READ 5:17

A Battle Brewing (5:17)

v    Here Jesus is teaching once again with power and authority as he always did

Ø     And the very tangible power to heal was present as well

§        The “St Elmo’s Fire” so to speak

·        Luke wanted to telegraph the impression that the room was charged with power

¨     Like a thunderstorm approaching

Ø     “The power of the Lord was present…”

v    And just like a violent thunderstorm is produced when you have two very different air masses colliding together

Ø     So you have Jesus and the Pharisees together for the first time in Luke’s Gospel

v    Pharisees had come from all around

Ø     Luke tells us from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem

§        And they had come not with an open mind

·        Clear from all accounts of Pharisees in the Gospels

¨     The only Pharisee that we know of that sought out Jesus for true teaching was Nicodemus (John 3:1-21)

v    You see…

Ø     The Pharisees were…

§        A hyper-pious group of men whose saw their job as Law enforcers

·        They developed about 150 years earlier out of an anti-Greek group called the Hasidim

·        Formed for good reason

¨     To keep the Jewish way of life alive in the face of the Greek cultural tidal wave

Ø     Post Alexander the Great

Ø     But over time the Pharisees became more and more strict, legalistic

§        Going beyond what the Law required

·        Developed a system of traditions that went beyond the Mosaic Law

¨     In order to keep from breaking it

Ø     Intent was good, but the result was not

§        Led to legalism

Ø     E.g.

§        Rest on the Sabbath

·        No activity whatsoever

¨     Not even doing good works that glorified God’s

¨     Like healing!

§        Lord’s name in vain

·        Could not speak or write it

Ø     Just as then, legalism today has a good intent, but bad results

§        No drinking, playing cards, dancing, etc.

v    So these legalists and traditionalists were to come in contact with the author and definer of the Law himself

Ø     A storm indeed!

v    But there was another scene unfolding outside…

READ 5:18-19

A Challenge Presented (5:18-19)

v    Jesus was now a well known figure in and around Israel

Ø     The Pharisees had heard and come

§        And so had many other people

·        Possibly to hear His authoritative teaching

·        And possibly to see a miracle

v    So they stuffed themselves into this home like sardines

Ø     Overflowing out the door, around the windows

§        There was no room to move

v    And up walk four men carrying a paralytic on a mat

Ø     They had also heard of Jesus and his miracle working ability

§        Perhaps one of them witnessed the miraculous catch in Lake Galilee

§        Perhaps the exorcism of the demon

§        Perhaps the healing of the leper

§        Perhaps one of Jesus’ many other hrealings

·        We don’t know

v    What we do know is that they tried to get to Jesus and could not

Ø     When I was 5, my mother took me and my sister to Europe for the year

§        I don’t remember much

·        Family joke

§        But I do remember going to L’Abri, Switzerland to hear Francis Schaeffer teach

·        One day I was outside playing on a scooter

¨     Wanted to go to my mother

Ø     Had to fight my way through the crowd with the scooter

§        HARD

§        I can’t imagine trying to get through a crowd like that with a man on a mat!

v    RQ: So what did they do?

Ø     They climbed up on the roof and dug a hole and lowered the man down in front of Jesus

v    Think about what these men did for a second…

Ø     This demonstrates amazing Love

§        They loved their friend so much that they were willing to look like fools

·        Lift this man up on the roof

§        And to go to extremes out of love

·        Rip the roof apart

§        God did the same toward us

·        Romans 5:8

¨     But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

·        In 6 days we will celebrate God ripping open Heaven and lowering his son

¨     Being born in a manger

Ø     To grow up and live for one purpose

§        To die for our sin

·        In our place

¨     on Christmas morning, let this image of what the men did remind you of what God did for us

Ø     Ripping open a hole in heaven and lowering His Son

Ø     What these men did also demonstrates amazing Tenacity

§        The tenacity not to give up

·        The men probably asked many times to get through

¨     But were refused

Ø     However, these men found a way to get their beloved friend into Jesus’ presence

§        Do we display that kind of tenacity when trying to get our friends, family, neighbors to church

·        How easily we just give up after one refusal to get them to come to church, Bible study, women’s fellowship, Potluck dinners, etc.

¨     The Bible picture what our tenacity should be like…

Ø     Jude :23 ~ snatch others from the fire and save them

§        Illustration: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

·        Hot to the touch

¨     But always persevered!

§        When we really believe that Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life

·        We will go to great lengths to get those we love into Jesus’ presence

Ø     It finally demonstrates amazing Faith

§        The kind of faith that said…

·        “If only” we can get their friend to Jesus, he would be healed

¨     The “If Only” type of faith

Ø     The type that sees Jesus as the only resort

§        That is the type of faith that we need

·        The type that is desperate to get our family, friends and neighbors in front of Jesus

·        The type of faith that says…

¨     If only my mother would come and hear

¨     If only my brother would come into His presence but once

¨     If only my best friend would come and just listen to the Gospel

Ø     RQ: Do you have the Love, Tenacity and Faith to say…

§        If Only I could get those around me in Jesus’ presence

·        We need the “If Only” type of faith shown here

Ø     Jesus saw this “If Only” faith

§        And chose this moment to lay claim to who he really was…

·        God incarnate…

¨     The forgiver of sins

READ 5:20-21

v    An Attack Made (5:20-21)

v    Jesus took advantage of the charged moment to speak 5 words that he knew would send off a flurry of mental activity

Ø     By saying…

§        “Friend, your sins are forgiven”

·        There was Disappointment and Disbelief

v    We are not given an insight into the 4 friends’ minds

Ø     But we can imagine their Disappointment

§        “Oh great! We dragged him all the way up here, and for what!...Forgiveness?  We wanted our friend to walk out of here.”

§        But what Jesus was doing was touching his greater need

·        The need for forgiveness

There's a story about a traveler making his way with a guide through the jungles of Burma. They came to a shallow but wide river and waded through it to the other side. When the traveler came out of the river, numerous leeches had attached to his torso and legs. His first instinct was to grab them and pull them off.

But the guide stopped him, warning that pulling the leeches off would only leave tiny pieces of them under the skin. Eventually leading to infection.

The best way to rid the body of the leeches, was to bathe in a warm balsam bath for several minutes. This would soak the leeches, and soon they would release their hold on the man's body.

v    You see…

Ø     Jesus could have immediately healed the paralytic

§        But that would be just like ripping the external part of the leech off still leaving the infectious part still inside the man

·        Jesus wanted to completely release the hold sin had on this man’s body

¨     As he does with me and you when He forgives us our sins


v    So we have disappointment where the 4 friends are concerned

Ø     And disbelief where the Pharisees are concerned


v    The Pharisees knew what Jesus was claiming by saying your sins are forgiven

Ø     Their theology was correct

§        No one can forgive sins except God

§        Forgiveness is a divine prerogative

·        Isa 43:25

¨     I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

Ø     But their hearts were evil

§        They disbelieved

·        They attacked him in their minds and called him a blasphemer

v    They were right in their theology, but wrong in their application

Ø     Their heads were right, but their hearts were wrong

§        And the heart is all important

·        You see.

¨     You can have all the head knowledge about Jesus you want

Ø     Know Scripture better than most

Ø     Know all about the different doctrines

Ø     Know all the history and meaning of events

§        But if it doesn’t sink from head to heart

·        It does not save

Ø     James 2:19

§        You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

·        The demons have the head knowledge

¨     But in there heart they despise Jesus

Ø     True faith is a matter of the heart

§        Romans 10:9        

·        That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

Ø     Paul when praying for the Ephesian church wrote

§        Eph 1:18

·        I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

Ø     You see…

§        God is willing to let those who believe in their heart but do not have a perfect theology into His heaven

·        We are all in that category

¨     None of us have everything figured out perfectly

§        But He is not willing to let a person in who knows all about God, but does not have a heart of faith

v    The 18’ from your head to your heart are the most important 18” in the world

v    Jesus overheard their hearts and so chooses this moment to reveal who he is to them…

v    READ 5:22-25

v    A Victory Won (5:22-25)

There is a legend of an Irish king who disguised himself and went to a banquet hall of one of his barons.  He was escorted to a lowly place among the throng who sat at the feast. The brilliance of his conversation and the nobility of his man­ner soon attracted the attention of someone with sufficient authority to escort him to a higher table.

The same thing oc­curred once more, and soon he was seated among the nobles of the realm. After a display of great wisdom, one of the lords spoke out and said, "In truth, Sir, you speak like a king. If you are not a king, you deserve to be." Then the king removed his disguise and took his rightful place among his subjects.

v    In a sense, Jesus removes his disguise at this time to the Pharisees that should have recognized Him

Ø     He does this in two ways…

§        First he makes a very clear link between his power to heal with his divine authority to forgive

·        V. 23 ~ Which is easier: Sins forgiven or get up and walk. So that you may know…

¨     Miracles were not for miracles sake

Ø     Always a purpose

§        RQ: Have you ever wondered why Jesus performed so many miracles?

·        To demonstrate who he was…the long awaited messiah

¨     Very God of Very God

Ø     John’s Gospel makes this very clear ~ 7 miracles

§         John 20:30-31

·        Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name

§        Jesus removed his disguise in another way

·        He uses the term “Son of Man”

¨     First of 25 uses in Luke (80x in NT)

Ø     The Pharisees should have recognized it

§        Came from the Vision that Daniel had regarding the Messiah

§        Dan 7:13-14

·         “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed

Ø     What Jesus was saying is…

§        “I am that person”

·        And he proves it when the paralytic stands up and walks away

v    And the people understood as v. 26 tells us…


v    A Triumph Celebrated (5:26)

Ø     Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God

§        Actually the Greek word there is better rendered “glorified God”

·        You see…

¨     Everything Jesus did glorified God, gave more glory to God

Ø     Action, speech, life

Ø     That is what our life is about also

§        Once we experience the healing of Jesus Christ…

·        Once we have the incredible free gift of salvation…

¨     The rest of our life should be given over to glorifying Jesus

Ø     Romans 12:1

§        Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship

Henry Saulnier headed up the ministry of Chicago's Old Pacific Garden Mission from 1940 to 1986, where he was a bundle of compassion and whirlwind of activity. Even into his 80's, Saulnier endured increasing arthritic pain to work late into the night at the mission. During Gospel meetings at invitation time, he regularly hobbled up and down the aisles of the mission auditorium, tenderly placing an arm on the shoulders of sin-ravaged men, nudging them to go to the prayer room for personal counseling to receive God's pardon and a new life in Christ.

He once summed up his philosophy of Christian life in one unconventional sentence: Work like the blazes, but give God the glory.

1 Cor 10:31

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God

v    Let’s leave here today praising God as they did those many years ago…

Ø     Not because of the miracle that we have seen

§        But because of the miracle that each and every one of us is…

·        A new creation in Christ.

·        Easier to say “sins forgiven”

¨     No proof needed, cannot corroborate

Ø     But to prove what he said is true

§        He heals the paralytic

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