Great Expectations Sunday School Training- Part 2 and 3

What expectations should drive a Great Commission Sunday School Class? What is an open group? What is a closed group? How can we use our classes to help people takes steps toward Christ? Enjoy part 2 and 3 of the Great Expectations Sunday School training.

Watch Session 1 if you missed it!

Great Expectations Sunday School Part 1

What expectations should drive a Great Commission Sunday School Class? What is an open group? What is a closed group? How can we use our classes to help people takes steps toward Christ? Enjoy part 1 of the Great Expectations Sunday School training.

Great Expectations Sunday School Part 1

What expectations should drive a Great Commission Sunday School Class? What is an open group? What is a closed group? How can we use our classes to help people takes steps toward Christ? Enjoy part 1 of the Great Expectations Sunday School training.

Part 2 and 3 can be found below.

Luke Series- Session 11- How to Miss Out on What God is Doing

                                                                                 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • There are many different types of personalities in the world, and there are all kinds of theories about how to classify them.
  • Some of those may be helpful, some may not be.
  • I’m not exactly sure how to label my personality, but I will say I know this about myself.
  • I’m someone who does not like to feel like I’ve missed out on something.
  • As a young person I would go to bed late and get up early because I didn’t want to miss out with what was happening.
  • People in our culture reflect this same value by constant scrolling on social media, or monitoring the news.
  • Some people have to look at their phones for every ding and dong that it makes, simply because of the fear of missing out.
  • So much of what we think we will miss out on won’t really hurt us if we miss it.
  • But there are some things in life that we do not want to miss out on.

Tension:

  • There is a horrifying verse in the passage that we are looking at today.  It is one of the scariest verses that we’ve looked at so far, when you understand who he is talking about.  The verse is at the end of this week’s text in verse 11.

(11)  And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.   Luke 6:11

  • The “they” in this passage are the pharisees. 
  • The word “madness” here comes from a word that speaks to both foolishness and rage.  It is the kind of anger that makes one do stupid things.  The effect of their rage here was to commune with each other about how they could end the ministry of Jesus.
  • What you need to know about the pharisees and scribes is that in their mind they were completely dedicated God.  They spent their entire lives in pursuit of their version of good works. 
  • Everyone in that culture would have looked at these men and thought “Wow!  They are so dedicated to God.”  These pharisees would have seen themselves as completely dedicated to the scriptures.  They had whole books of the Bible memorized.
  •  Scribes had systems of behavior related to how they copied the scripture.  They would not write out the name of God.   They had ceremonial washings every time they came to God’s name as they wrote.
  • Their own evidence of their dedication to God would have been highly associated in how they lived out the sabbath day.  They had hundreds of pages of teaching on what it meant to not work on the sabbath.  If you spit on the ground that was work.  If you moved a stick in the dirt that was plowing.  You could only go a certain number of steps from your home, but if you placed food that number of steps away, it was as if  your home was extended to that place so you could go that many steps more from the food.  You could carry no more on your person than the weight of half of a fig.  To carry more would be work.
  • Yet, with all of their discipline and desire to try to work towards heaven they completely missed out on what God was doing.  When God showed up, they were at odds with Him.  Imagine thinking that you are as dedicated as possible to God, and then someone telling you that all of your effort and dedication are not making you right with God.  You are at odds with God.  Imagine hearing that all your effort to help people be right with God are actually leading people astray.
  • The Old Testament reveals the righteousness of God and our falling short of His will.  It also points to God’s plan of redemption that He would execute to redeem fallen man to Himself.  These guys had gotten to the place where they were more committed to their interpretation of the scriptures than what scriptures actually said.  They were so committed to their religion that they missed out on what God was doing.
  • So when Jesus shows up and tells them that they are wrong, they do not take it very well.  Here is something very scary:  You can be very sincere, and very wrong.  You can be religiously dedicated, and spiritually dead.  It is possible to miss out on what God is doing.
  • How do you miss out on what God is doing? How do you miss out on Jesus?

You can miss out on what God is doing in 3 ways seen in this text.

1.  Disregard His Authority. (vs. 1-5)

  • In these weeks passage the word sabbath shows up 6 times. 
  • The question of what is lawful comes up three times. 
  • Luke is bringing these circumstances up not just chronologically but also topically. 
  • When you read through this part of Luke, Jesus starts out being widely and warmly accepted.

(14)  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.  (15)  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.  Luke 4:14-15

  • But as you walk through the following verses you find that over and over again Jesus is being rejected because of His claim to deity. 
  •  In 4:16-30, He claims to be the Messiah to His own hometown and they so reject His message that they take Him out of the synagogue with intention to throw Him off of a cliff.
  • In chapter 5, as we studied last week, Jesus heals the paralytic man claiming to have the power of God to forgive sins because He was the “Son of Man”, the title of the Messiah who will rule over the nations. 
  • The pharisees and scribes, who were there from Jerusalem to watch Jesus, did not like this claim to deity and did not see Jesus as the Messiah, nor did they see Him as God. 
  • At the end of Chapter 5 you see Jesus saying that new garments cannot patch old garments, and new wine cannot be put into old bottles.  He was essentially saying that the theology that was being purported by Judaism in that day was antithetical to the truth.  We now see that illustrated in our passage.
  • Here Jesus is walking through corn fields with His disciples. 

(1)  And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

  • There was provision made in the Old Testament for people to pluck an ear of corn to eat it even if it was not your land.  You could not go reap corn from His field with a sickle, but if you wanted an ear to eat it was not wrong to take it.  The disciples knew this well and so they picked the corn.
  • When it says that they were “rubbing them in their hands”.  This is what you do to shuck the corn and to get corn off of the cob.
  • The Pharisees seem to always be around.  Look at their question:

(2)  And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? Luke 6:2 

  • What is assumed in that question? They assume that plucking corn and rubbing it was work.  They saw the plucking as harvesting, and the rubbing as threshing. 
  • One commentary said this: 

 “The sabbath tradition of the Mishna is known as “the forty save one,” because there are thirty-nine specific, different tasks prohibited in this list (Lohse [1971] pp. 12-13). According to these rules, the disciples’ actions would have been a quadruple violation! They had reaped, threshed, winnowed and prepared food. Even some Jews were aware of the burdensomeness of this tradition. In the Mishna, Ḥagiga 1:8 reads, ‘The rules about the Sabbath . . . are as mountains hanging by a hair, for Scripture is scanty and the rules many.’ “

  • The pharisees assume in their question that their law was God’s law, when it was not.  What do I mean?  What did God actually say about sabbath?

(8)  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  (9)  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  (10)  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  (11)  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:8-11

(14)  Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.(15)  Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 31:14-15

(2)  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

Exodus 35:2

(12)  Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.  (13)  Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:  (14)  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.  (15)  And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

  • The teaching and command of the sabbath was simply “do not work”. 
  • There is some definition of what that looked like, but not much. 
  • The sabbath was a gift to mankind.  Part of the curse was toil in work.  God had told Adam that He would eat from the sweat of his brow.  See this in Genesis 3.

(17)  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (18)  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  (19)  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:17-19

  • Work itself was not the curse, but toil in work. God rested in creation week, and He commanded His people to rest from their labors.
  • But the pharisees had, in their religious system, defined what it meant to obey the sabbath beyond what the scripture said. 
  • So, what the pharisees were asking was really, “Why are you not submitting to our interpretation of the rules about the sabbath?”
  • Think about it.  They looked at the Creator of the World, the Author of Scripture, who had been made flesh to come and die so that they could be forgiven of their sin, and they said to him, essentially, ‘Why aren’t you submitting to us?’  Why are you so sinful?  Why are you teaching your disciples to be so sinful?  You are not God.  They were saying in effect, you are not the authority on what the Bible says, and how the Bible should be applied.  We are!

Application:

  • It is dangerous to deny what scripture says, but it is also dangerous to add to what scripture says.  When we disobey what scripture says, or add to what scripture says, we are denying the authority of God.  When we deny his authority, we will miss out on what He wants to do in our lives.
  •  How do we deny God’s authority?
    • When we make rules for others out of application of scripture that are not explicit, we deny the authority of scripture.
    • When we live in disobedience to what scripture says we will miss out on what God wants to do in our lives.
  • Now notice how Jesus responded to their question. 

(3)  And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;  (4)  How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?  (5)  And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Luke 6:3-5

  • Jesus challenged their interpretation of the sabbath by bringing up a person for which they would have high regard.  He brought up David. 
  • “Have you not read so much as this” would have been offensive to them.  They would have defintely read this and known the story.  The pharisees were big on Bible knowledge without Bible understanding.
  • In the narrative to which Jesus referred, David was running from King Saul, and had gotten to the place where He needed food but could not go out in public to get it.  So he went to the priest, Ahimelech, to survive.  We see this in 1 Samuel:

Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?  (2)  And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.  (3)  Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.  (4)  And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.  (5)  And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.  (6)  So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away. 1 Samuel 21:1-6 

  • Jesus was claiming that the priest and David would not have held to their interpretation of sabbath observance.  When it came to choosing the ceremonial over David’s survival, both David and Ahimelech chose preserving life. 
  • Jesus is making it clear that their interpretation of strict observance to the ceremonial made them miss the bigger point. 
  • In this case they were missing out on the bigger point of the authority of scripture and Jesus Himself.  They were comfortable with holding people to rules that God did not make in the name of God.  This was taking God’s name in vain.  They were comfortable with opposing Jesus’ authority in God’s name.  So, look what Jesus said to them in summary:

(5)  And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.  Luke 6:5

  • He is the one with the authority over the Sabbath. 
    • They are calling him out for breaking the Sabbath and the Sabbath was his idea. 
    • Work was his idea. 
    • Rest was his idea. 
    • Days were his idea. 
    • Man was his idea. 
  • Therefore this question amounted to the creature telling the Creator how to do things.  Jesus is saying, I have the authority to say what is right and wrong.

Application:

  • Make no mistake about it.  Jesus Christ claimed authority not just from God.  Jesus Christ claimed authority as God. 
  • He created the world, and came in the flesh to bring glory to God by redeeming fallen mankind. 
  • We miss out on what God is doing when we do not recognize His authority. 

You can miss out on what God is doing in 3 ways seen in this text.

1.  Disregard His Authority. (vs. 1-5)

2. Mistake His Identity.  (v.5)

 (5)  And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Luke 6:5

Explanation:

  • Part of Jesus’ answer to their question is to make His identity clear. Jesus calls himself by two titles in this verse. 
  • The “Son of Man” is a messianic title from Daniel 7.  Look at the verses.

(13)  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  (14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:13-14

  • The “Son of Man” in Daniel’s vision is the one to whom dominion of an everlasting, eternal kingdom is given.  It is at once a reference to the person’s deity and their humanity.  The only one who can fulfill that title is Jesus Christ!  This is who Jesus was claiming to be.  This is who Jesus is!

Application:

  • Jesus is not just the one who came to die for our sins and rise again.  Jesus is the one who is coming again to rule and to reign.  If you do not recognize who He is you will miss out on what He wants to do in your life both now and eternity.

 (5)  And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Luke 6:3-5

  • “Lord of the Sabbath”
  • The Word “Lord” is the greek word “kurios”.  This word is found 748 times in 687 verses in the New Testament.  Every New Testament writer uses the word.  It’s in every New Testament book except for 1st and 3rd John.
  •  Strong’s Concordance defines “kurios” as “supreme in authority” or “controller”. The idea is of one who is in charge or in control. These pharisees missed out what God was doing because they did not acknowledge who Jesus was.  They thought they should be in charge, when Jesus is the one in charge.  They thought they were right to question Him on the sabbath when the whole thing was his idea and Creation from beginning to end.  He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and the Lord of everything else.
  • These leaders thought that their system of religion trumped Jesus.  As participants in that system they thought that they had authority over Jesus.  They thought their interpretation and application of scripture trumped Jesus.  The problem is that they added to scripture, and mistook Jesus identity.  They refused to see the evidence because they did not want to see it.  He is Lord.  He is in charge. 

Application:

  • What area of your life are trying to hold authority over?  Where are you not submitting to God and what He wants for you?  You will miss out on what God wants to do in your life if you are trying to be the lord over your own life.  We must submit to what He wants for us.

You can miss out on what God is doing in 3 ways seen in this text.

1.  Disregard His Authority. (vs. 1-5)

2. Mistake His Identity.  (v.5)

3. Be at odds with His purpose. (V.6-11)

Explanation:

  • Jesus had declared that the Old Testament had spoken about his mission.  In Luke 4:18-21, Jesus quoted Isaiah and claimed to be the fulfillment of what He said. 

(16)  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

(17)  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

(18)  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

(19)  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

(20)  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

(21)  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Luke 4:16-21

  • Make no mistake about this:  People mattered to Jesus.  Jesus came on a mission to preach the good news, heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to recover the sight of the blind, and set at liberty them that are bruised.  He was there to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  The time for jubilee was at hand because Jesus had come to set at right what was wrong.  This was his purpose.
  • With that understanding notice what happened next:

(6)  And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught and there was a man whose right hand was withered.  (7)  And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. 

  •  Here is another sabbath day.  Here the pharisees are looking to what Jesus is doing.  Jesus saw a man with a “withered hand”. 
  • This would have been someone that the pharisees would have seen as a sinner first and foremost.  In their mind He was handicapped because He had sinned.  In their mind they were blessed because they were righteous.  The scribes and pharisees see themselves here as ones that want to uphold the law and catch Jesus in an act.
  •  But what is so wrong about their theology and their religious system is that it was denying this man compassion and denying Jesus’s identity and authority.  They were literally looking to see if Jesus would heal and would then see that healing as a sin, and proof that He was not sent from God.

(8)  But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. 

  •  Here we see Jesus miraculously seeing their thoughts and knowing their hearts.  Jesus uses this opportunity to make a point and help someone.

(9)  Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? 

  •  They were more interested in the ceremonial than the moral.  They were more interested in their own interpretation of the law than what the law actually said.  They were more interested in their own power and piety than in what God was actually doing. 
  • Jesus asks them “Is it lawful to do good?”  That was the whole point of the law! 
  • In denying Jesus’ authority and identity, they were also missing his purpose.  He was coming to set right what was wrong.  Sin brings forth death.  The curse of sin is overwhelming, and Jesus was come to restore what had been cursed.  They were using the law to be at odds with that purpose.
  • So, look what Jesus did!

(10)  And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 

  • Jesus restored what was broken.  Jesus healed what was disabled.  Jesus helped this man, and the pharisees were enraged.

 (11)  And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

Application:

  • When we fail to recognize Jesus’ authority and identity, we will fail to recognize His mission.  His mission is to bring eternal and abundant life to everyone.  He wants salvation for “whosoever will”.  To be at odds with Him is to be at odds with that mission.  This same Jesus said at the end of his ministry to His disciples, and therefore to us, these words:

(18)  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

(19)  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

(20)  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20

  •  As you live your life, does it reflect that you know the mission of God?  Does it seem as though you own this mission yourself?  To miss out on Jesus’ authority, identity and mission is to miss out on what God wants to do in you and through you.

Conclusion:

You can miss out on what God is doing in 3 ways seen in this text.

1.  Disregard His Authority. (vs. 1-5)

2. Mistake His Identity.  (v.5)

3. Be at odds with His purpose. (V.6-11)

Luke Series- Session 10- Luke 5:16-26

                                                                                                   

Introduction:

Connection:

  • I saw something very disturbing on my news feed this week.  I have been having to do some heart work because of it.  Look at this.
  • Kevin Ritchey put up a post online that said,
  • It is Superbowl Sunday, and if you are rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, I forgive you.  That is wrong but I will not hold it against you.
  • I have been supporting the TB Bucs since they were in the popsicle stick uniforms back in the early 90’s.
  • This would be our second Super Bowl win.
  • And yet, out of the goodness of my heart, if you support the chiefs, you are forgiven.
  • All kidding aside, we all understand something unique about forgiveness.
  • If you have sinned against someone and you seek their forgiveness, and then someone else offers forgiveness on their behalf, you instinctively know that this is not forgiveness really at all.
  • If I did something to really offend my wife, and my brother-in-law heard about it, called me up and said “Don’t worry, Ben.  I forgive you.”  We would know that this was not enough for the kind of restoration that is needed between my wife and me.

Tension:

  • What you and I need to understand is that all sin is at its core a sin against God.
  • God made man in His image.  He loves mankind corporately and individually.
  • When we sin against those He loves, it is against Him.
  • At the core of this mornings message is this idea of forgiveness.  Who can forgive us?
  • Does Jesus have the authority to forgive sins?
  • This question therefore is tied very directly with Jesus’ identity.
  • What have we learned about Jesus so far in this series?
    • He fulfilled the prophecy about the birth of the messiah- where, when, and how.
    • He was announced by angels to Mary, Joseph, and the Shephard’s.
    • He was confirmed by Anna and Simeon that He was the Messiah.
    • He was announced by John the Baptist who called people to prepare the way for the Messiah through repentance.
    • He was rejected by His hometown when he claimed to be the fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah that said He was coming to preach the gospel to the poor, set free the captives, bring sight to the blind, set at liberty those that are bruised and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  They tried to kill Him, and He got away.
    • He demonstrated His control of the natural world by causing His disciples to catch boatloads of fish in the middle of the day.
    • He was recognized by those disciples as God.
    • He and his disciples are contrasted with the pharisees over and over again.
  • In today’s text, Jesus claims the right to forgive sins, identifies Himself as God, and demonstrates that both of these claims are true.
  • Jesus not only has the right, but also has the power to forgive sin!
  • We see in this text 4 responses to these claims, and in today’s service you will have one of these 4 responses.

Today, you will respond to Jesus offer of forgiveness.  Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Explanation:

“(16)  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

  • Jesus had been preaching and healing.
    • He had just healed a leper by touching him in verses 12-16.
    • 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.

Response #1- Observation. V.17-

“(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.”

  • 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).Map

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    • 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.

Application:

  • 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.
  • The crowds were there to observe what Jesus was doing and saying.  Yet knowing about Jesus and even believing that He exists is not enough.
  • It is not enough to just acknowledge his historicity and his notability.
  • We must warn people and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to every man.

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

(18)  And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

Explanation:

Notice the paralyzed man.

  • The verse describes the man as “in a bed” and “taken with the palsy”. 
    • This would have been someone who had no ability to get up and walk. 
  • The theology of the day taught that people in that condition were that way because of their sin or the sin of their parents. 
  • Where our culture tends to show compassion to the disabled at some level, showing compassion to the disabled in this culture would have been seen by the religious elite as going against God, since God was “obviously judging” this person. 
  • This could be why when the man came to the house filled with at least some level of the religious leadership class, they were kept out.  No one deferred to them.
  • Is it possible that the man was in the state he was because of sin?  Of course! 
    • There are times when our suffering comes because of our own sin. 
    • Still at other times, we suffer because of those who have sinned against us. 
    • Sometimes our suffering comes because we live in a world marked by sin. 
  • This man had sins in his life, and this will be made clear from the story.
  • We will see as we move forward that this man saw an opportunity not only for healing but for forgiveness.

The men who carried him

(19)  And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

  • The gospel of Mark tells us how many of these men there were. 

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

Mark 2:3

  • These men believed that if they brought their friend to Jesus, that Jesus could do something for Him. 
  • Did the man plead with these men to bring him?  
  • Were these men strangers that heard his pleas, neighbors, family members, or people from his past life? 
  • We could speculate, but we do not know. 
  • What we do know is that they were tenacious. 
  • When people would not let them into the house through the normal means, they went to the roof.
  • Roofs in those days were flat.  They often served as a porch for people to go on and sit in the cool of the evening. 
  • Access to the ceiling would often be made by stairs built on the side of the house to go up. 
  • So, you can just see these four men, each with their corner, carrying their friend to the front door, people denying them entry, and one of them saying, “Up to the roof!”.  They get to the top. 

“Now what?”. 

“Let’s lower him to Jesus.” 

“Are you serious?  You want to rip open the roof?  What about the owner?” 

“I’ll pay him back or fix it myself.  It is worth a shot.  What if Jesus heals him?”

“Alright.  Good thing this ceiling is tile.”

“You guys be careful with me!”

  • So, they start ripping off the tile, and then they attach ropes, and begin to lower the man in right in front of Jesus.
  • Notice the faith of all of these guys. 
  • It is a pretty simple idea, but it is profound. 
  • The paralytic man was willing to let these four people carry him to Jesus and lower him through a roof. 
  • He was willing to be seen by all of these religious and good people who thought he was a sinner and may well have been right. 
  • He was willing to take the chance that Jesus would confront him about his sin and not forgive him. 
  • He was even willing to be lowered through a roof. 
  • The men were willing to take the chance, make the effort, and pay the price maybe even for the roof to get their friend to Jesus. 
  • Why? 
  • They saw the opportunity.
  • They believed that Jesus could do something for this man that they could not do themselves. 
  • They believed that Jesus could do something for this man that no one else could do.

Application:

  • What you believe about Jesus is paramount. 
  • These men had the faith to go to Jesus for what they needed. 
  • They recognized their need for Jesus, and it drove how they saw their circumstance. 
  • Does the condition of the roof matter now to the paralyzed man?  No way.  The roof is long gone.   But His sins, as we will see, are forgiven today and He is in heaven with Christ.
  • When we believe Jesus is the Son of God that can forgive sins, we will see our world differently and respond accordingly. 
  • We will respond in faith and go to Jesus ourselves first. 
  • We will do whatever it takes to get our people to Jesus.

Response:

  • Are you looking for hope outside of Jesus, or apart from Jesus?  Go to Jesus by faith!
  • Who is someone that you need to get to Jesus?  How can you help him get to Jesus today?

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

Response #3- Objection

(20)  And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Explanation:

  • We see multiple miracles in this narrative.  Jesus has the ability to know what a person is thinking and feeling.  We see this both with the paralytic man, his friends, and with the scribes and Pharisees. 
  • Jesus sees the man’s faith and his desire for forgiveness. 
  • When the paralytic man is lowered into the room right in front of Jesus, He offers the man forgiveness. 
    • Without faith it is impossible to be forgiven, and this man is coming not just for physical healing.  He is coming for forgiveness.

(21)  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

Luke 5:20-21

  • This brings up the question that is central to the point of this narrative. 
  • Jesus also sees the thoughts of the hearts of the pharisees and scribes. 
  • Here they object to Jesus’ claim.
  • They are right in one sense and very wrong in another. 
  • They are right in their assertion that only God can forgive sins. 
    • That is correct. 
    • God is the only one who can forgive sins. 
  • They are wrong in their assertion that what Jesus said was a blasphemy. 
    • They are assuming that it is blasphemy because they do not believe that He is God. 
    • Jesus is stating clearly that He is God.
  • This story contrasts the kind of person that goes away forgiven, and the kind of person that does not.  Jesus says later in chapter 5 to the pharisees,

“(31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.  (32)  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:31-32

  • The pharisees do not see themselves as spiritually sick. 
    • They do not see themselves as those who need forgiveness. 
    • Even if they did believe that they needed forgiveness, they certainly did not believe that Jesus could do anything to forgive them.
  • The paralytic is just the opposite. 
    • He knows he needs forgiveness. 
    • He knows he needs healing, and he believes that if he got to Jesus, Jesus could do something about it.

Luke 5:22

(22)  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?  (23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

Explanation:

  • Not only did Jesus see the heart of the paralytic man, but He also saw the hearts of the pharisees. 
  • They had the right idea that no one could forgive sins but God. 
  • What they were wrong about is their assessment of Jesus. 
    • They had heard about His miracles. 
    • No doubt they had heard about rumors of Him being born of a virgin. 
    • No doubt they had heard that John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Messiah. 
  • They had heard about and may had even seen some of His miracles. 
  • The fact was that they did not want to believe. 
  • They refused to identify Jesus as even someone sent by God, much less God in the flesh.
  • To challenge their wrong thinking Jesus asks a great question. 

“(23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” 

  •  What is the answer to that question? 
    • Both are equally difficult to do for mere men. 
    • We do not have the capacity to forgive sins or to command healing in sick people. 
  • Yet, that was not the question.  The question was “which is easier to say?”. 
  • Clearly, it is easier to say “your sins be forgiven you” because it is unproveable whether a person’s sins really are forgiven. 
    • If I say to a handicapped person, “Get out of your wheelchair and walk”, either they do or they do not.  It is instantly provable.
  • For this man to be healed it had to effect brain, muscle, blood flow, muscle memory, bone and probably much more physiologically. 
    • When we see people in rehab learn to walk again when the chances are severely slim, we see that as incredible.  For this paralytic to be fully, instantly healed would be a miracle.

 (24)  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

  • Jesus tied His authority to forgive sins to His authority to heal. 
  • There is a connection to those things. 
  • The reason that there is sickness at all is because of the presence of sin. 
  • For God to ultimately heal us he had to deal with our sin problem. 
  • “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” 
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  • Those who die in Christ will be ultimately healed and given a glorified body because their sins have been forgiven by God. 
  • Those whose sins are not forgiven will go to the eternal death.
  • In this instance, Jesus is essentially making the claim that if he can do the harder thing to say, then He has the authority to do the easier thing.  If He can heal the man, He can forgive sins.   
  • Ultimately, that claim is tied to who He is.  Jesus is claiming to be God. 
  • In verse 24 He calls Himself “the Son of man”.  This title is not only Messianic, but also a claim to deity. 

(13)  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

(14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

  • The “Son of Man” in Daniel’s vision is the one to whom dominion of an everlasting, eternal kingdom is given. 
  • It is at once a reference to the person’s deity and their humanity.  The only one who can fulfill that title is Jesus Christ!  This is who Jesus was claiming to be.  This is who Jesus is! 
  • Jesus Christ can forgive sins because He is both God and man.  He came to die and will reign forever.
  • It is with this authority that He looks at the paralytic and says, “So you know that I have the power on earth to forgive sins, Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

Application:

  • The forgiveness of sins is tied both to the authority of Jesus to forgive sins, and our response of faith to Jesus to believe.  If we do not think we need forgiveness, or if we do not believe that Jesus can forgive, we will not be forgiven. 
  • If you are going through something difficult physically today, know that ultimately those who trust in Christ as Savior will be healed.   If you are enduring pain in this life, there is a reason for it.  Do not waste this side of eternity.  Use your life, even through your pain, to make a difference for Christ now!

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

Response #3- Objection

Response #4- Acceptance

(25)  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

Explanation:

  • When Jesus healed, He healed completely. 
  • Think about all that had to happen for this man to be healed. 
    • Muscle and bone had to regenerate. 
    • Memories in the brain that helped the brain remember how to walk had to come to pass. 
    • This man was completely and fully healed. 
    • He did not get up walking slowly, limping or bent over. 
    • He got up.  He picked up His bed.  He went home. 
  • The whole time he went he was glorifying God.  Worship was happening.
  • Now remember, Jesus had tied the healing to His ability and authority to forgive sin. 
  • Jesus forgives sin just like Jesus healed. 
  • He healed completely, and He forgives completely. 
  • By healing this man, He proved that He can forgive sin. 
  • He proved that He was God.
  • Notice the reaction of the crowd. 

(26)  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

  • They were amazed.  They glorified God. They were filled with fear. Jesus proved to these people that Jesus could forgive sin. 
  • In fact, if you remember, the passage said in verse 17 that the power of God was present to heal them. 
  • The forgiveness that was available to the man was available to them. 

Application:

  • God’s forgiveness is available to you, today. 
  • He has the authority and the power to forgive.  He wants to forgive.  We must go to Him by faith and seek His forgiveness. 
  • Have you accepted God’s free gift of salvation?  Ultimately Jesus made the forgiveness of our sin possible by taking the judgement and sin of the whole world on Him.  “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  
  • The scripture says in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10

Response:

  • Forgiveness is fully and finally available in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Call in Him today for salvation.  Confess your sin today and be cleansed.  Believe on Him and be healed. 

Conclusion:

What is your response today?

  • Are you just an observer, seeing the evidence and doing nothing about it?
  • Do you see Jesus Christ’s offer of forgiveness as an opportunity for yourself and those around you?
  • Are you objecting to Jesus as Savior, Forgiver and Lord?
  • Are you ready to accept Him today as Savior?