As we read through Luke each week there will be two devotions focusing on particular passages. Click here to read past devotions.
- Drop Everything: It might seem the disciples drop everything to follow without knowing anything about Jesus (see Mark 1:16-20). Yet, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law before calling him (4:38-39). And Jesus was teaching and healing before calling the disciples. More than likely the disciples knew or at least had heard of Jesus before they dropped everything to follow him. But knowing him, they did drop their nets, leave money at the table… to follow.
- Luke has a slightly different list of the twelve disciples (Here is a chart comparison). Multiple minor changes, one significant: is it Thaddeus or Judas son of James? Judas “not Iscariot” is mentioned in John’s gospel (14:22). Possibly Judas went by another name after the betrayal (went by Thaddeus) or some have suggested that the group of twelve was not set. Of course we know Judas Iscariot was replaced, Acts 1:23-26.
Focus Point: “Their” (Luke 5:17-26)
This is a beautiful story of determination, but even more of friendship. This is what it looks like to have community. Which begs the question – we all want to experience community like the guy on the mat. BUT are you willing to be the one carrying, climbing, and chopping through the ceiling?
I suppose the most important word in the passage is forgiveness, but the most significant to me is “their”. It was not the paralytic’s faith, but the community of friends’ faith that led to forgiveness. That brought salvation. “Seeing THEIR faith Jesus said…”
I want this community. I want to be this kind of friend.
- The physical and spiritual are intertwined in the Bible’s worldview. A sickness could be caused by an evil spirit or could be punishment for a sin. Our modern worldview sees Jesus forgiving sins and healing the body as two distinct events. For first century Jews the distinction would not be so apparent.
- This partially explains the Jewish Purity Codes. Becoming physically clean was part of becoming spiritually clean and ready to worship. In many ways they practiced “cleanliness is next to godliness”… (The fact that this statement is relatively new demonstrates how long tradition hangs around… even traditions Jesus overturned!)
- “tiles” – While Luke uses the word “tiles” for the roof, which was typical of Mediterranean style, the houses of Capernaum would “have consisted of wooden cross beams overlaid with a matting of reeds, branches, and dried mud” (Garland 242). Easy to dig through and often replaced. (Never the less, I imagine the owner was cranky… hopefully the friends came back to repair).
Connecting to Today: Sunday was my birthday and in the mail arrived a ManCrate. It literally came in a wooden crate with a mini crowbar to open. If you wanted a laugh, imagine my ten minute struggle to pry it open.
What was inside the crate was great, but the experience was better. However silly, true to their name, the gift made me feel manly. “If he can break the crate before the crate breaks him, his heroism will be displayed, and his reward earned.”
Inside each of us there is a need for spiritual and emotional healing. To know we are valuable. Of course we want physical prosperity, but health and wealth don’t equate fulfillment. And Jesus understands this… Green writes, “forgiveness is the healing moment” (241). The man was lame, but his deepest need – our deeper need – is to have our core healed and to know we are loved by the Creator. To be forgiven. To be valued. And Jesus answers this need. For all of us.
Consider: We all want this kind of community. The kind that carries, climbs, and chops! So, how can you be a friend who brings healing? Physical, emotional, and spiritual. Name a person you can carry today. Take action. A small step, send an encouraging text. Or a big step, forgive someone who hurt you.