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Christmas Reflections: Walk Through Luke - Chapter 5



The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.


December 5

Day 5

Luke chapter 5

There are 24 chapters in this book

They bring us through the story of Jesus - the reason for this season.


I also include in the bottom or comments some “extras” like short videos and songs that you may have never heard (or artists you may not know) that resonate with me during this holiday time.


Each post will start with who is who so that you can get a solid understanding of what this chapter is about. I encourage you to read the chapter in your own Bible after you read this. If you don’t have a Bible there are lots of free apps. I use several versions in my studying to ensure I have a full understanding of what I’ve read.


This is my commentary.


Who was Luke?

A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.


New characters continue to be introduced - new in this chapter:

* Simon’s (Peter) coworkers James and John (sons of Zebedee - also called “sons of thunder”)

* a man with leprosy (skin disease)

* unnamed Pharisees and teachers of Moses law

* some men and a paraplegic man

* Levi (Matthew) and his tax collector friends


What I took away from this chapter is the importance of trust, going deeper than you have before, and leaving the comforts of old (which are often uncomfortable in reality) behind for something way better.


This chapter starts out with Jesus on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. For reference here is a photo. You can see how close this was to where the modern day war is still being fought. The key difference is that on this day may years ago, people were clamoring to hear from Jesus. Fast forward to today when His name and followers are in the minority in the region.



SPEAKING TO A CROWD

There was a crowd pushing each other to try to get close enough to hear him speak. Remember - there were no micro or megaphones back then, no stages or amplified acoustics.


Jesus saw 2 boats coming into the shore and went to the owner of one - named Simon (later called Peter) and got in his boat. He asked Simon to push him slightly off shore so he could preach to the people. It is thought the acoustics would somehow be magnified by doing this.


PHYSICS

Here's something interesting about physics:

If water is calm, its flat surface allows sound waves to travel unobstructed and to reflect from the surface. Instead of dissipating in tall grasses and other obstructions on land, sound waves retain their coherence for longer distances over calm water. I live on a small lake and I know this to be true. If my neighbors on the other side are talking even in a normal volume I can hear them. I have to always remember that when I'm on the phone or talking to someone in person as well.


GOING DEEPER

Once he finished preaching to these masses - HE decided to focus on the few. He told Simon and his crew to take the boat into deep waters.

Deep water is where they spent their days fishing. It was a comfortable place. But the night before was fruitless.

Jesus told the crew to cast their nets to catch fish but Simon explained they caught nothing after an entire night of fishing. However - he had an innate trusting of this man Jesus and told the crew ok let’s try it again.


PAUSE

Please watch a clip of this from the absolutely incredible TV series The Chosen. I'd normally put this at the bottom of the post but this is super important to watch here now. Please. Pause right now and watch it. It brings this entire part of the chapter to life. It will be worth the short few minutes. Then come back and read the rest. I promise you it’s worth pausing and watching. https://youtu.be/hWGCkovAUWM)


WHAT IS RIGHT?

Remember what I wrote yesterday about “right”? They cast the nets on the right. Even though they thought they’d be right about not catching anything it was Jesus who was right.


TRUST

As you just saw - they had been fishing and working hard with no luck. This time they trusted Jesus. Maybe they were just so frustrated they thought they would just do what He said because they thought nothing would come of it anyway.


Have you ever felt that way? Like - you try and try and try and work really hard and nothing comes of it? Well in this chapter once they relinquished trying to do it all themselves - they caught so many fish a nearby fishing crew needed to come help them. Both of their boats were so filled that they started to sink. This is all written in the Bible - not just what you saw in the clip.


Simon was overcome by God’s miracle, grace, and love that he told Jesus “please sir. I’m a bad man and unworthy. Go away from me.” Jesus was not going anywhere. He continued to pursue Simon through all of his questions and stumbles and made him a great leader of his disciples. There is more to learn about this unlikely friendship as you continue to read my posts each day leading up to Christmas.


Simon was struggling with this experience of meeting Jesus. I strongly invite you to watch the next episode of The Chosen to see this play out. It’s one of the most well produced shows right now. And it’s free to watch online.


DO NOT BE AFRAID

When Simon was struggling over this (what Jesus has just done), Jesus said “do not be afraid”. Remember our earlier chapters when Gabriel told Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and shepherds to not be afraid?!


How often do we know we need to trust deeper and “cast a net ‘one more time’” but we just don’t. Jesus is just saying don’t be afraid.

For me it’s a daily thing and a reminder again that we can stay safely on shore and not catch anything - or take the boat deeper and do what it was created to do - be a vessel for fishermen to do what they were called to do. We were all called to do something. Cast your net. Trust Him if it’s for Him.


Here’s what you didn’t see in the clip but what happens in the rest of the chapter- Jesus told Simon He was going to do a new thing., an uncomfortable thing.


TRANSFERABLE SKILLS

He spent his entire career fishing for fish, now he would be fishing for men. Same sort of job title, different skills and competencies. He didn’t know he had what it would take but he trusted God and literally pulled his boat to shore, left everything (not just some things…all things) comfortable to him and followed Jesus.

We are never fully prepared for change when the change comes from God.

LEAVE THE OLD BEHIND

Maybe God is asking you (I’m writing this for me so I know he’s telling ME this) to pause - know He has gifted you with many skills. You have had much success but it may be time to use those skills to do a new thing. Something for Him. It might be that change is coming for you. If it is - trust him. Follow him. Leave the old behind.


In Ephesians it says that God can do far, far more than we can imagine. We just need to trust and believe and ask for him to guide us to what he wants from our service of purpose.


Back to the chapter.

One day later Jesus was with his new friends and saw a man with a contagious and infectious skin disease. Instantly the man fell to the ground in front of Jesus and said “master - if you want to make me well I know you can, please do!”


HE CAN DO ALL THINGS

Jesus told the man “yes I do want to heal you.” Despite his illness Jesus touched the man and immediately he was healed. Jesus told the man not to tell anyone and to go to the Priest, make an offering, show him he was healed, and get on with his life. Jesus wanted the man to understand that SHOWING his changed life to others was more important than TELLING people what happened.


May our lives all be offerings to Him. He is not afraid of us and will come near despite whatever is inflicting us. These people were highly contagious and Jesus healed. Jesus is not surprised by or afraid of a pandemic or things happening in your life. Perhaps it’s all happening to simply be a vehicle for us all to trust Him more despite our circumstances.


Many people found out what happened and many more sick people wanted to be healed.

THE GIFT OF PURSUIT

If someone gave you a massive gift that changed your business and your life, If someone healed your mind or your body from something afflicting you, wouldn’t you tell everyone? I know sometimes I’ll buy a product that I love and I tell everyone about it. Well - friends - these posts and the reason I write them is because Jesus pursues me. I sin daily. He pursues still. I have believed in him since I was 12 and yet don’t always follow him in a straight line. He still pursues me.

These posts are a way for me to remember that and for me to share with you how beautiful it is to know him and to BE KNOWN by Him - the King of all that has ever been or will be.

I’ve had encounters with Jesus that showed me whatever I overcame I could never have done on my own. It’s my wish for you to know Him like I do and for me to know Him better every day that I’m still alive.


I suspect it was overwhelming for Jesus during this time. Everyone wanted to be around him to do something FOR THEM. Jesus is not an ATM machine. You do not just go to him when you need something. He wants us to be in fellowship with him.

After he did all of this healing in chapter 5, the

Bible says that Jesus would often go away from the crowds to pray in quiet. I wonder what He said to His Father during those times?

We all need private time to just speak to Him, recharge, and be silent.

PAUSE

Maybe now is a good time for another intentional pause. Could I invite you for just a moment to stop reading and go to Him. Just say what’s on your mind.


Maybe you’re struggling with something. Maybe you’re thankful for something amazing. Maybe you just want Him to know that you love Him. Pause. Tell Him! He loves to hear from us. Then come back and read the rest of this chapter summary.


Thank you if you paused.

Our days get so busy that the One that should be most important to us sometimes takes last place in our minutes.


TEAR THE ROOF OFF

Back to the chapter.

Another time Jesus was teaching at someone’s house. Some of the guests that night were Pharisees (these are very traditional Jewish people who were intent on following written laws), and teachers of Moses’ law. Guests at the event were from all over, villages from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.


Imagine if you had a special visitor coming to your home for a very special event. You’d know who was on the guest list and if you’re like me you’d want the event to go perfectly with no disruption.


Well?

Some men carried their friend (who was paralyzed) to the event to see if they could get close to Jesus and have Him heal their friend. The event was so crowded the only way they could get to Jesus was through the roof of the home. They broke off some tiles and literally lifted the man down through the roof to be in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw the man, interestingly He didn’t ask what was wrong or even ask if the man wanted to be physically healed -

He simply said “I forgive you for the things you’ve done.”

So even though this man couldn’t move or perhaps even speak, and his friends brought him for healing, perhaps not on his own accord - Jesus wanted him to know that He FULLY forgives the man for anything and everything.


PRIORITIES

Instead of being glad for the man being healed, the Pharisees and teachers started to gossip about how could this man possibly offer healing and forgiveness of sins as that could only come from God.


Maybe even the homeowner was upset because now he had to have his roof repaired. This wasn’t about the religious teachers or the one who invited Jesus to preach and meet others. In this moment - Jesus indeed met others.

He met that man right where he needed to be and in front of everyone made that man whole again.

When you meet Jesus anything you think about from your past goes away.

  • You are fully whole to him - crafted in his image.

  • He came for you.

  • He came for that man.

  • He came for the homeowner who invited others.

  • He even came for the religious pious priests who still chose to not believe.


WHAT HE SAID

Jesus knew they were grumbling and told them “don’t think on these things. I told him I forgave him. I could have said stand up and walk. Which one is easier for me to say??” Then he boldly said “I want you to know, that I, the Son of Man, have authority here on Earth and I have that authority to forgive people of their sins.” Then - He looked back at the man since He already forgave him, and told him the second part of this difficult message - “I’m saying to you now - stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

The man did just that. He praised God the entire way home saying “God is great and powerful and we have seen very strange and special things happen today.”


JESUS WANTS US ALL

Next - Jesus left the party and went to see a tax collector named Levi (soon to be called Matthew). Jesus told him “come follow me.” He got up from his lucrative job, left every single thing behind, and followed Jesus. This sounds simple but it was not easy. Tax collectors were hated. They were sinful. They would not easily leave a job that made their lives very comfortable. Matthew did. There's another wonderful scene in The Chosen that shows Matthew leaving his job to follow Jesus. Rather than posting the clip - I want to encourage you to watch the show. It's free online and so worth your time.


PARTY AT MY HOUSE

Not long after this event Levi (Matthew) hosted a dinner party for Jesus and invited his friends (also tax collectors and questionable-character-people). The Pharisees and teachers were getting angrier by the minute and instead of going to Jesus - they went to his disciples and told them it wasn’t right for them to be there socializing with “those type of people.”

Jesus stepped in and told all of them, “people who are well don’t need a doctor, people who are ill do.

Some people (meaning these accusers) think they always have to obey the laws and I haven’t come to help people like that. Some people know they’ve done wrong things in life or gone down wrong paths. I am asking them to come to me for help because I want them to change the way they live.”


EARS TO HEAR

They didn’t care what Jesus said and wanted to nitpick by saying that John (the Baptist)’s disciples and they and their followers would often fast but they “noticed” that Jesus and HIS friends were always at parties socializing and never fasting. They just couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see the bigger picture.


WHAT HE SAID

Jesus addressed them again saying “when you go to a wedding party, you celebrate with the bride and groom and eat and drink. You wouldn’t sit in a corner fasting and not celebrating and enjoying the honorees. But there is a time that comes after the event when the groom is taken away from his friends and they will stop eating the food.”


STORYTELLING

Jesus often spread His messages through stories so He told another. “Nobody would take a brand new piece of expensive clothing and cut it up to mend an old coat because He would ruin the new item and it wouldn’t match the old material anyway.


He said a final story in this chapter saying that nobody pours new fresh wine into old wine skins. The new wine would tear the skins, you’d lose the wine, the skins would spoil. Instead you pour new wine into new skins and let it become great. Nobody wants to drink new wine after he has tasted mature wine which tastes better.


You can interpret this however your heart says. For me it says that the new is that Jesus came to teach us to love God and love others above all else and the old was the complicated laws of the past. It also says to me that you can’t live your new life with your old life and hinder what God has for you. The teachings of Jesus were not about following legalistic rules, but about following Him and His Father. Old ways were about punishments. Jesus was about to do something “new” that was crafted before time began. The new way was about grace and forgiveness no matter what.


PRAYER

Lord thank you for making me new every day. Thank you for calling me and for healing me from the inside out. Thank you for asking me to follow you. Help me not be afraid of what is different, or afraid of the need to go deeper. Thank you for forgiving everything in me no matter what. May I be less afraid to stand up and move. Amen.



Tomorrow - chapter 6



MUSIC - the universal language

Here’s a song to welcome us to this day:

Are you a Tauren Wells fan? His first band was called Royal Tailor. I saw them perform over a decade ago at AtlantaFest and loved them since then. His voice is so good. Be prepared - this is a song that will make you want to jump on a treadmill or dance around the house. But you’ll see how it’s linked to the message today https://youtu.be/-IZ4YB4eqvg


In this song by Hillsong, the lyrics share that Jesus is making us the new wine. Crushing. Pressing. Breaking new ground. Lord make us whatever You want us to be. https://youtu.be/1ozGKlOzEVc?si=mCUwQPhnL6bmlOgV


EXTRAS:

Here’s a really beautiful 2 minute mindfulness exercise with cardinals and snow and will gift you moments to think about what you read above https://youtu.be/v3PY6GwwBv8

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