(16) And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
(17) And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.Luke 5:16-17
(16) And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
Jesus had been preaching and healing. He had just healed a leper which was a big deal. People were coming from everywhere to be healed. So, we see Him coming away to spend time with God. Jesus here gives us an example of balance in ministry. There were times that He was giving out, but there were also times of fellowship with God that He prioritized.
“(17) And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
Luke is giving us these narratives more in a thematic order than in a chronological one. He has been contrasting Jesus and His disciples with the Pharisees, and we will see that again in this narrative.
The setting of verse 17 is that of Capernaum. We know this because Mark gives us the same account and names the town in Mark 2:1. It says here that the power of the Lord was present. Jesus was available to them both in His teaching, and in His ability to heal. As we will see, He is also available to them for the forgiveness of sins.
We find out in verse 19 that He is inside a house, and there were some distinct groups of people with Him.
First, there were the crowds of people.
There were people there to hear Jesus’ teaching. There were people there to see Jesus perform some miracle.
Some no doubt wanted to be healed themselves.
Notice that they were from every town of Galilee (Northern Israel), and Judaea (southern Israel) and Jerusalem (the main city of Judea and Jerusalem. Jesus’ ministry was attracting the attention of people from a large region and from the most “important” places.
Next, there were the “Pharisees and doctors of the law”.
These were men who had devoted themselves to study. Many of them would have been “rabbi’s” themselves, with their own disciples. Yet they were not attracting to themselves the kinds of crowds that Jesus was attracting.
These men did not believe that Jesus was who Jesus claimed to be. They did not see Him as Messiah. What is sad is what is said about Jesus in regard to them in verse 17, when it says, “and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
Not everyone there needed physical healing, but everyone there needed forgiveness.
Jesus prioritized prayer, and so should we.
If Jesus took the time to get alone with God, then this should be our priority as well. The power to do ministry in a way that honors the Lord and bears the right kind of fruit comes out of a life that is close with the Lord. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “(5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Everyone that needs Jesus do not know that they need him.
The pharisees did not acknowledge their need for a Savior, yet the power of Lord was present to heal them. The forgiveness of God is sufficient for the whole world, but it is only efficient to those who recognize their need and call on the Lord for forgiveness. We must warn people and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to every man.
- Take time to pray today. It is easy to skip, but our ability to bear fruit is connected to our prayer life.
- Share the availability of Christ to forgive to someone today. Who in your life needs to hear about their need for forgiveness?