Vol. 18, No. 28 – July 28, 2019
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14 – 9:50.
A. The Announcement of His Ministry, Luke 4:14-30.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
1. Over demons, Luke 4:31-37.
2. Over disease, Luke 4:38-44.
3. Over the disciples, Luke 5:1-11.
4. Over defilement, (a leper healed), Luke 5:12-16.
5. Over defectiveness, (a paralytic healed), Luke 5:17-26.
6. Over the despised, (the call of Matthew and parables about new vs. old), Luke 5:27-39.
4. Over defilement, (a leper healed), Luke 5:12-16. Jesus now demonstrates His authority over defilement by healing a leper. This scene is also noted in Mat 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-44.
Luke 5:12, “While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean’.”
“Leprosy” is the Noun LEPRA that also literally means, “scaliness.” This Noun is only used in Mat 8:3; Mark 4:42; Luke 5:12-13, in regard to this scene and Jesus’ healing. In the OT, it is the Hebrew word ISARA’ATH, Lev 13f; 14f; Ex 4:6; Num 12:10. The Adjective LEPROS is used also in the synoptic Gospels for calling someone with the disease a “leper.” We briefly noted lepers in Luke 4:27, when Jesus was using Elisha’s healing of a Gentile man named Naaman as a warning to the people of Nazareth of their rejection of the King-Messiah.
“Herodotus and medical authors used LEPRA to describe a skin disease that gave a scaly or bumpy texture to the skin. It was associated with LEUKE, a whitish affliction of the skin. In fact, the Bible uses it for a number of skin disorders. In Leprosy, the skin had an absence of pigment resulting in an irregularly pale color or white patches, apparently caused by a microorganism. The disease caused the formation of ulcers or lesions in the skin followed by loss of sensation of feeling. In some cases this condition could lead to the loss of the extremities due to the absence of the sense of feeling.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
In the NT, it is used for the disease of leprosy. It was actually thought of in NT times as a “scourge,” as the word LEPRA indicates in its Hebrew background. Because of the fear associated with contracting this disease, lepers were required to keep a distance of at least 6 feet away from people, or if the wind came from their direction, at least 100 feet.
“He fell on his face and implored Him.” Despite prohibitions against contacting a healthy person, Lev 13:1-46, the leper fell at Jesus’ feet to beg for help. “Implored Him,” uses the Verb DEOMAI δέομαι for “implored” that means “beg, beseech, request, or pray.” In the LXX, it is used in a variety of ways but 20 times it is used for, “to plead for mercy or grace.” It is a request, and generally is the language of prayer and petition to God, Deut 3:23; Dan 9:18, 20. It suggests humility and dependence upon the Lord, Deut 9:18, 25.
Deut 9:18, “I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke Him to anger.”
DEOMAI is used 22 times in the NT. Luke uses 15 times in Luke and Acts. Luke followed the pattern established by the Septuagint, i.e., that it concerns either a request for Divine intervention or a simple human request, cf. Luke 10:2; Acts 8:34; 21:39. When referring to requests of God, it falls in the category of “prayer, petition, request, or entreaty.” It was used of “requests” made to Jesus in our verse for healing mercy, and later it implied submission to a higher authority or power, cf. Luke 8:28; 9:38. The Lord God is the one who hears such petitions, for it is only He who can grant them, Acts 8:22, 24; cf. Rom 1:10; 1 Thes 3:10.
Acts 8:22, “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”
The gentleman covered with leprosy then made the request of Jesus by calling Him, “Lord,” (KURIOS). By addressing Him as Lord, he showed respect and understanding that He was YHWH, the God of Israel.
“If You are willing.” In humility He recognized the “will,” THELO of God to heal Him. He knew that it was God’s sovereign choice to perform this healing. Jesus responds positively to the man’s petition in the next verse.
“You can make me clean” uses the Verbs DUNAMAI, “to be able, have the power to, etc.,” and KATHARIZO, καθαρίζω that means, “cleanse, make clean, or purify.”
KATHARIZO is used in both a moral and ethical sense. It is used to describe cleansing from the defilement of sin and to free from the guilt of sin, Acts 15:9; 2 Cor 7:1; Eph 5:26; Titus 2:14; Heb 9:14; James 4:8; 1 John 1:7, 9; and in the LXX in Ex 29:37; Psa 51:7. So, it can be used to “cleanse” in the sense of purification, legal or ceremonial, Heb 9:22, 23; cf. Acts 10:15; 11:9. It is used in the LXX this way in Lev 13:6, 23, 28, 34. As such, it is also related to “sanctification.”
Interestingly, in the NT, the removal of leprosy is called cleansing, Mat 8:3; 10:8; 11:5; Mark 1:42; Luke 4:27; 5:12-13; 7:22; 17:17, while the removal of other diseases is spoken of as healing, THERAPEUO and IAOMAI, “to heal.” Whenever someone was healed of the disease of leprosy, the person is always, (with one exception, Luke 17:15), referred to as having been “cleansed” rather than “healed.” This was most likely due to the idea prevalent among the Hebrew people that sin was a major cause of leprosy, and therefore one was not healed as in the case of other diseases, but rather was cleansed as by the removal of sin from the life. This is why Jesus came!
Luke 5:13, “And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing (THELO); be cleansed, (KATHARIZO).’ And immediately the leprosy (LEPRA) left him.”
In Mark 1:41 it says, “Moved with compassion, Jesus….” It uses the Verb SPLANCHNIZOMAI, σπλαγχνίζομαι that means, “have compassion, feel sympathy, have mercy.” From the root word that means “inner parts” in Greek literature it meant the source of emotions such as pity, mercy, or compassion. This verb is only used in the Synoptic Gospels and for the “showing of compassion” of Jesus Christ as His typical response to crowds or individuals who were in need. As a result, He extended His mercy to them.
The compassionate character of our Lord is most clearly illustrated in John 3:16. God in Christ is moved with compassion and pity to act on behalf of a lost and dying world. At the heart of this compassion is His great love for all mankind. This is what Jesus was demonstrating throughout all of the healings and exorcism He performed.
Notice, Jesus “stretched out His hand to touch” the gentlemen with leprosy, whereas most of the people were stretching out their hands to touch Jesus for healing. To touch even a garment or other object the leper had touched rendered a person unclean, but Jesus was different from all other men. As deity, He was greater than Deity’s laws.
This action shows that our Lord was willing to take upon Himself the man’s sin, as He was willing to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world by having His hands stretched out upon the Cross. The touch of Jesus’ hand communicated a sense of love to the man, and love for all of mankind as He cleanses all from their sin. We also see that in the cleansing of our sin, Jesus came to us; we did not go to Him!!
“I am willing,” THELO, Jesus Christ was willing to save and able to save, “be cleansed,” KATHARIZO. Through His work upon the Cross and our non-meritorious faith in Him, He cleanses His bride of her sins for all of eternity, thereby; sanctifying her positionally, cf. Eph 5:26.
Luke 5:14, “And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, (KATHARISMOS) just as Moses commanded, as a testimony (MARTURION, witness, proof, evidence), to them.”
“And He ordered him to tell no one.” Once again, we see a command to be silent from our Lord, as with the exorcised demons, and for similar reasoning, especially to prevent an impulsive uprising of the people against the established authorities in order to make Jesus king.
“Go and show yourself to the priest.” The Law prescribed a ritual for purification and cleansing of leprosy, as we will note below. The purpose of this was to show both Christ’s observance of the Law and to provide evidence for this miraculous healing. Jesus wanted the Pharisees to see His cleansing work as proof of His Messiahship. He wanted the message to be given to the Pharisees directly, a firsthand account, so that the information could not be tainted by others. This healed leper was a direct witness as to who Jesus Christ was. Later in Luke 17:11-19, He would heal ten other lepers. In addition, without the sanction of the priest, this man would not have been accepted back into society for fear of communal contamination. This speaks to our acceptance into the “family of God,” as a result of being cleansed of our sins for salvation.
Most importantly, as we have noted, leprosy represents sin and the ritual inscribed in Lev 14, represents what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us and accomplished upon the Cross. In fact, the healing of such an incurable disease identified Jesus as the Messiah, Luke 7:22; cf., Luke 4:18. As such, we see this cleansing ritual of leprosy as analogous to the cleansing the unbeliever receives for Positional Sanctification at the moment of belief in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
In Lev 13, there was a lengthy test to determine if one had leprosy. If he was found to have it, Chapter 14 speaks of the cleansing process he was to go through once he was healed of the disease. Since Jesus healed this man of his leprosy, He instructed him to go to the priest and perform the ritual as prescribed by the Law.
A final note is that Jesus’ statement sanctioned the ascription of the human authorship of Leviticus to Moses, who was God’s instrument in the writing of the Law.
Doctrine of Cleansing the Leper, Lev 14.
We last taught this doctrine in the summer of 2017, when we were studying Eph 5:26-27.
This chapter explains the ritual for the ceremonial cleansing of lepers so that they might enter society again. The ritual found in Leviticus 14 speaks of cleansing or purification of one who acquired leprosy. And as we have noted, having leprosy represented having sin upon the soul. As such, we see this cleansing ritual of leprosy as analogous to the cleansing the unbeliever receives for Salvation / Positional Sanctification at the moment of belief in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. As you review these passages and principles, think, in your mind’s eye, how our Lord performed this ritual on you at the moment of your salvation, to purify and cleanse you of your sin, and thus entering you into eternal fellowship with God, based on your Positional Sanctification.
1. The priest goes to the leper, vs. 3.
Of course, the leper was barred from coming into the camp, so the priest had to go “outside the camp” to him. What a picture of Christ who came to us and died “outside the camp,” that we might be saved, Heb 13:10-13.
Heb 13:12, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
We did not seek Him; He came to seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10.
Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
2. The priest offers the sacrifices, vs. 4-7.
This ceremony is a beautiful picture of the work of Jesus Christ. The priest took one of the birds and placed it in an earthen vessel, (clay jar), and then he killed it. Of course, the birds were not created to live in jars, but to fly in the heavens. Christ willingly left heaven and took upon Himself a body, put Himself, as it were, in an earthen vessel, that He might die for us.
Note, that the bird was killed over running water, a picture of the Word of God as given by the Holy Spirit, as we see in the analogy of Eph 5:26b.
The priest then took the living bird, dipped it in the blood of the dead bird, and set it free. Here is a vivid illustration of Christ’s resurrection. Christ died for our sins and was raised again, and He took the blood, (spiritually speaking), back to heaven that we might be cleansed from sin.
The priest finally sprinkled some of the blood on the leper, for “all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” Heb 9:22.
3. The leper washes, shaves, and waits, vs. 8-9.
The priest had already pronounced him clean, so he was acceptable as far as the Lord was concerned, but he had to wash, shave, and wait. The work of the sacrifice having been complete and applied, we now see the leper having to accept the sacrifice through washing, (i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit), shaving himself, (representing the new man, the new creation), and then waiting 7 days, (the number of spiritual perfection), and then on the eighth day gain fellowship, (the number of satisfying, satiating, new beginnings, superabundance, regeneration, and resurrection). So, it speaks of all three in regard to the new believer in Jesus Christ.
4. The leper offers the sacrifices, vs. 10-13.
He was now back in the camp at the door of the Tabernacle. He offered a trespass offering, a sin offering, and a burnt offering.
The trespass and sin offerings took care of his defilements, his unknown and known sins, (i.e., wrinkle or spot). The burnt offering represents the judgment of our sins by God the Father in the person of Jesus Christ that propitiated the Father.
In regard to Experiential Sanctification, this also speaks to the application of 1 John 1:9.
5. The priest applies the blood and oil, vs. 14-20.
This is a touching part of the ritual; pun intended. The priest took the blood and applied it to the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the man, symbolizing that his whole body had now been purchased and belonged to God, (i.e., hear the Word, work in the Word, walk by the Word).
A leper had blood placed on his ear, vs. 14, to indicate the importance of hearing Bible doctrine for salvation; i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Putting blood on the ear, thumb, and big toe, also indicates that post-salvation, he was to listen to God’s Word, work for God’s glory, and walk in God’s ways.
Then the priest put the oil on the blood to symbolize in a different way, the Holy Spirit’s work in our salvation and sanctification. The blood could not be put on the oil; the oil had to be put on the blood. The blood represents Jesus’ sacrifice upon the Cross. The oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
You see in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the blood comes first, then the Holy Spirit through common and efficacious grace can apply the blood of Jesus for our salvation. This means that the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel of Jesus Christ understandable to the unbeliever. Then, for those who believe it, the Spirit makes their faith effective for salvation. For where the blood has been applied, the Spirit of God can work.
The rest of the oil was poured on the man’s head by the Priest, and thus, he was anointed for his new spiritual life with the power of the Word and Spirit in His life.
If you read Lev 8:22-24, you will see that a similar ceremony was performed for the consecration of the priests. In other words, God treated the leper as he would a priest. And for the Church Age, all believers are Royal Priests, 1 Peter 2:9.
Of course, all of this is accomplished today through faith in Jesus Christ. He went “outside the camp” to find us. He died and rose again to save us. When we trust Him, He applies the blood and oil to our lives and provides eternal fellowship with God.
1 John 5:8, “For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”
1 Peter 1:2, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.” Cf. Heb 9:14
In Luke 5:12-14, one day a leper said to Christ, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” He replied, “I am willing; be cleansed.” See Mark 1:40-45. Christ is willing to save and able to save. And through His work upon the Cross and our non-meritorious faith in Him, He cleanses His bride for all of eternity, thereby, sanctifying her positionally.
Now back in Luke 5.
Luke 5:15, “But the news (LOGOS) about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.”
Even though Jesus told the demon and the leper not to say anything, the information about what He was doing got out to the surrounding areas. This is what God desired; to let Jesus’ actions speak for themselves. As a result, many came to first “hear,” AKOUO, Him, (i.e., take in doctrine through the ear gate). They came to learn more of God’s Word, and receive the Gospel message. They also came to be “healed from their sicknesses,” THERAPEUO ASTHENEIA. As previously mentioned, sometimes ASTHENEIA is associated with demon possession, Luke 8:2; and other times not, Luke 13:11.
Mark adds that the crowds generated by these healings and miracles made it impossible for Jesus to publicly preach in the cities, lest the authorities arrest Him and accuse Him of sedition, Mark 1:45. Therefore, Jesus had to stay outside the cities. Nevertheless, the people came to hear Him.
Luke 5:16, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away (HUPOCHOREO, cf. Luke 9:10), to the wilderness and pray, (PROSEUCHOMAI).” Cf. Luke 4:42.
Once again we see Jesus finding solitude to enhance His spiritual relationship with the Father that gave Him rest both mentally and physically.
5. Over defectiveness, (a paralytic healed), Luke 5:17-26. Demonstrating His authority over defectiveness by healing a paralytic and discussing the forgiveness of sin, Luke 5:17-26.
This scene is also recorded in Mat 9:2-9; Mark 2:2-13, and took place in Capernaum.
In this healing, Jesus tells us plainly what has been in the underlining of all of His healings and exorcism, the forgiveness of sins. As we have noted, in Hebrew thought, illness, disease, and even demonic possession where caused by sin in a person’s life or in the life of close relatives. Therefore, when Jesus would heal an illness or disease, or perform an exorcism, He was really demonstrating His and God’s authority and power / ability to forgive our sins, which Jesus and God the Father would accomplish upon the Cross.
In this parable, we have a type of an “a fortiori” principle, that is, if God can do the greater, He certainly can do the lesser. In this scene, the principle is applied from a human perspective, in that it is easier for man to forgive someone of a wrong done than it is to give a paralyzed person the ability to walk again. Yet, for God, it is easier to make someone walk again than it was to forgive us of our sins. Therefore, from a human viewpoint, in the presence of these Pharisees and all the other by standards, Jesus utilized the “a fortiori” principle.
Luke 5:17, “One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.”
“Pharisees,” is the noun PHARISAIOS, Φαρισαῖος, they were one of two dominate parties of Judaism at that time, the other being the Sadducees, the liberals of their day, who were more aligned to the political scene than the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a strict, legalistic, religious party that arose after Jewish exiles returned from Babylon. They were the “fundamentalists,” conservative in their views.
The word PHARISAIOS is likely derived from the Hebrew word PARASH that means, “to separate” or “to separate oneself.” A Pharisee, then, was a “separated one” or a “separatist.” The word is found in Josephus and also in the NT about 90 times. It is not found in classical Greek or the Septuagint.
“The Pharisees are traced back to the Hasidim, a religious group during the Second Century B.C., and were firmly established by 100 B.C. (Meyer, “Pharisaios,” Kittel, 9:16). The Hasidim strongly resisted the hellenization being forced on the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes. In particular they were opposed to the priestly party that had submitted to Hellenistic influence (the predecessors of the Sadducees). The Hasidim, as well as the Pharisees, were more concerned with maintaining religious purity than with political matters.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
As is typical of a religion or religious group, they usually start out right but later are corrupted by Satan’s influence. Originally, the Pharisees looked upon themselves as the ones who were keeping alive the true worship of the Lord, while the rest of Israel was in apostate. They were known for their strict observances to the “letter of the Law,” for their austere life, and for their obsession with oral tradition. The oral tradition was designed to be a hedge around the Torah to prevent possible infringements. They held that the oral law was equally as inspired and authoritative as the written Torah. So, you can see where Satan had an avenue for corruption.
They also believed the oral law was given to Moses at Sinai and eventually the oral law was written down and is known as the Mishnah. The Sadducees accepted only the written law as binding. The Pharisees also believed in the resurrection of the dead, immortality of the soul, future judgment, and the existence of supernatural beings (angels, demons, Satan). All of these were rejected by the Sadducees.
“The Pharisees were very popular and highly respected among the masses during the time of Christ. Because of their popularity, the Sadducees usually had to submit to their decisions or else evoke the wrath of the people.” (Josephus Antiquities 18.1.4).
We now know who the Pharisees are, but here we also have “teachers of the law,” which is the Noun NOMODIDASKALOS, that is only used in NT Greek and only three times, here, Acts 5:34; 1 Tim 1:7. It is not an official office, but more of a title of responsibility by any that were part of the Jewish Sanhedrin. In fact, our passage later says in vs. 22, “Pharisees and Scribes” and in Acts 5:34; the Pharisee Gamaliel is called a “teacher of the law.” In 1 Tim 1:7, Paul uses it as a description of false teachers.
A “Scribe,” GRAMMATEUS, γραμματεύς, “secretary, clerk, or scribe,” was one who was a “legal expert” and custodians of the Book of the Law, cf. 2 Chron 34:13, 15, 18, 20. They were considered the “Biblical Scholars” and “experts of the Law” in their day. Early on, the Levites were called to fulfill this position as a “SOPHER,” cf. 2 Chron 19:11; 34:13; Neh 8:7-8. They were the “lawyers,” or “legal experts” for the Jewish religion and are synonymous with “teachers of the law.”
Scribes are frequently mentioned in the NT in conjunction with Pharisees, e.g., Mat 5:20; 23:27; etc. But, being an expert in the Law did not automatically mean that one was a Pharisee, or vice versa, e.g., Acts 23:9. Many Pharisees were not legal experts, although most of the leaders of the sect were. Scribes were also found in the party of the Sadducees, but their influence there was only minor. Also, some of the priests where Scribes, but this was not usual. Most had a civilian occupation. This was one aspect of the legal expert’s “wisdom.” Normally they were businessmen or craftsmen or farmers who earned their livelihood by means of their hands; their scribal duties were done without pay. Even though they were held in high regard in society, they were typically of the poorest class of people in Israel. The common people addressed them as “rabbi,” an address of respect meaning “master” or “my great teacher,” RABBONI.
Next, we see that these religious leaders came, “from every village (KOME as small town or village) of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem.” In other words, they came from every “nook and cranny” of Israel. Three areas are given: “Galilee,” because that was the headquarters of the Sanhedrin council. “Judea,” meaning all of Israel during the time of the Maccabees, as noted above, and, finally, “Jerusalem,” because that was the home of the Temple and another epi-center for the Sanhedrin. The linking of the three geographical areas shows that the entire country had developed a common interest in the ministry of Christ.
Interestingly, three is the number of Divine perfection, and in the last part of this verse we see that “the power (DUNAMIS) of the Lord (KURIOS, the Greek equivalent to YHWH) was present for Him to perform healing.” Perfect Divine power was given to Jesus to heal.
“Healing,” is the Verb IAOMAI, that means, “to heal, cure, or restore.” It is synonymous with THERAPEUO, and was used in the KJV translation of Luke 4:18, for the added portion of the quote for our Lord to “heal the brokenhearted,” the portion of Isa 61:1, that was not quoted by our Lord when reading, according to the earliest and most reliable texts. In the LXX, it translates the Hebrew word RAPHA, “to heal or cure.” It unanimously gives all healing powers to YHWH alone, cf. Ex 15:26; Deut 32:39; Psa 41:4; 103:3; Isa 19:22; 30:26; Jer 3:22; Hosea 5:13; 6:1, Also in the OT LXX, the concepts of forgiveness from sin and healing of body or situation are inseparable, cf. Isa 53:5. Therefore, the connections of sickness and sin, healing and forgiveness are continued in this narrative.
Ex 15:26, “…for I, the LORD, am your healer.”
Deut 32:39, “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
Psa 41:4, “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You’.”
Psa 103:3, “Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.”
But remember, Jesus rejected the idea that all sickness is a result of personal or familial sin, though all sickness is ultimately the result of our fallen state. Also, we are reminded that faith is expressed in connection with healing, Mat 8:8-13; 15:28; Mark 5:29; Luke 5:17-20; 17:15. Likewise, in Acts, Christ is proclaimed “Healer” by the apostles, Acts 3:6; 9:34; 10:38.
Luke 5:18, “And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him.”
“Paralyzed” is the Verb PARALUO, παραλύω, that means, “weaken, be palsied, be paralyzed.” Luke used the word 4 of the 5 times it is used in the NT, Luke 5:18, 24; Acts 8:7; 9:33. Heb 12:12, is the other. Being a physician, He always used the Perfect, Passive, Participle form, (the more technical term used by the classical medical writers). Matthew and Mark used the more common nonprofessional Adjective PARALUTIKOS in their parallel passages.
This scene of “to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him,” here and in vs. 19, gives us the idea of laying our sins or sin offerings before the Lord for forgiveness, as the word “bring,” is the Verb EISPHERO that is also used in Mat 6:13 and Luke 11:4, for “lead” in the Lord’s prayer, “do not lead us into temptation,” or “do not bring us into sin temptation,” and in Heb 13:11, for bringing a sin offering.
Heb 13:11, “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.”
Luke 5:19, “But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.”
“Tiles” is the Greek word KERAMOS, κέραμος. This is where we get our word “ceramic” from. It is only used here in the Bible and means, “clay, earthen vessel, or roof tile.” This reminds us of the lepers healing and cleansing according to the Law, where the first dove was placed in the earthen vessel and sacrificed, while the second was set free. Here, Jesus is the first dove in the earthen vessel Who would be sacrificed for our sins, and the paralytic is the second dove who would go home healed / free of sin.
Two other words used in this passage, DOMA, “roof or housetop,” and KATHIEMI, “let down, send down, or lower,” are also used in Acts 10-11, for Peter’s scene of foods that were considered unclean by the Law that are now considered clean to eat; as we are no longer under the Law, because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
Next, they placed the man, “in front of or before Jesus,” like placing our sin offerings before God, Mat 5:24. This shows the faithfulness of this man’s friends; they knew and believed that Jesus could heal them, cf. James 5:14-16, “…the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Luke 5:20, “Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you’.”
“Their faith,” ATUOS PISTIS, may just mean the faith of the four friends or it could include the paralytic man too. The important part is the plural aspect of their faith; it was not just the faith of the paralytic.
“Friend,” is actually ANTHROPOS that means, “human being, man, person, or mankind.” It should read, “Man your sins are forgiven you.” It is a play on words that carries the double emphasis of this one man and all of mankind. Matthew and Mark use “son” here. This man was a friend of the men dropping him through the roof we assume, but the Greek reads “man.”
“Forgiven,” is the common Greek word APHIEMI, as is “sins,” HAMARTIA.
Here, Jesus equates this man’s paralysis with sin. Jesus forgave His sins and the man was physically healed. Once again, we are reminded of His proclamation in Luke 4:18 and Isa 61:1, that spoke of His great work upon the Cross as our Savior to forgive us of our sins and heal us from its corruption.
Luke 5:21, “The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?’”
Now, we see the “Scribes and Pharisees” coming into play.
“Reasoning” is the verb DIALOGIZOMAI, διαλογίζομαι that means, “consider, ponder thoroughly, reason, deliberate,” which we noted in Luke 1:29, regarding Mary “pondering” and then in Luke 3:15, for the peoples, “wondering” about who John was. Here, the Pharisees are wondering about what Jesus had just said, “your sins are forgiven,” HAMARTIA APHIEMI. They wondered “who is able,” TIS DUNAMAI, to do this?
To them this was a “blasphemous” thing to say. It is the Greek word BLASPHĒMIA βλασφημία, that means, “blasphemy, evil speaking, slander, or reviling.” In the NT, it has the general meaning of “evil, slanderous, or injurious speech.” This is the only time Luke uses this term. It is used in reference to injurious and impious speech directed towards God and the things of God. That means it is used of mortal men claiming Divine authority or personhood, as reflected by the Jews’ incorrect view of Jesus, cf. Mat 26:65; Mark 2:7; 14:64; John 10:33.
The Scribes and Pharisees thought that “God alone,” MONOS THEOS, could forgive sin, which is true. They correctly interpreted Jesus statement to mean Jesus was assigning to Himself a power that belonged only to God. But, Jesus is God and He was claiming to be Deity. And, as a man, He came to take on the sins of the world, so that God could forgive man of his sins. This is what the Scribes and Pharisees failed to understand.
Hundreds of years before, Isaiah had quoted God as saying, “I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins,” Isa 43:25. Now, Jesus was presuming to possess this prerogative.
Therefore, what they were not willing to admit and did not know, was that although Jesus was a man, He was also God in the flesh.
Luke 5:22, “But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?”
Jesus knew, (EPIGINOSKO), of their objections, (“reasonings,” the noun DIALOGISMOS and verb DIALOGIZOMAI once again), and answered them (APOKRINO) saying, “why are you wondering about this.” We could even say, “Why are you doubting?”
This may have been another miracle of Jesus, knowing their thoughts. To the supreme God, thoughts are the same as words.
Luke 5:23, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
In answering their question, Jesus asks them a question, “which is easier” that uses the comparative Adjective EUKOPOTEROS. It is only used for two object lessons in Matthew, Mark and Luke, plus a third only in Luke 16:17, where the Law is said to “never fail.” The two object lessons are this one and the one regarding a camel going through the eye of a needle, Mat 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25. In that object lesson, the rich man does not accept God’s forgiveness of sin for salvation because he is too locked in to the things of this world.
In this object lesson, Jesus uses the a fortiori principle of what is easier to do. Interestingly, both are impossible for man to truly do. But for God, all things are possible!
Luke 5:24, “‘But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’—He said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home’.”
As we stated above, for man, it is easier to forgive someone of a wrong they have committed against you, than it is to heal a paralytic. So, Jesus heals the man to show that He, as God, can do the greater, therefore, He is able to do the lesser, “forgive sin,” from a human perspective.
Perhaps for the first time, Jesus openly asserted His messiahship. He had referred to it in the synagogue at Nazareth when quoting from Isaiah 61, but now He was making the claim before religious leaders. This act should have caused the Scribes and Pharisees to realize Jesus was the “Son of Man,” cf. Dan 7:13, which, as we noted previously in the Gospel of Luke, means that He is God incarnate, the King-Messiah. And, in addition, that He has God’s “authority,” EXOUSIA, “authority, right, and power” to rule, which means He is God and is the King-Messiah.
Jesus’ claim to authority which belonged only to God was the act that caused the religious leaders to launch their organized opposition to Him from that time forward.
“Get up” is the Present, Active, Imperative of EGEIRO for a command to, “raise, rise up, etc.” It is used as one of the words for “resurrection” or rise from the dead.
“Pick up your stretcher and go home,” was Jesus’ command for the healed man to live for himself the unique spiritual life, the resurrection life, that was now given to him.
“Go” is the Verb POREUOMAI, πορεύομαι that means, “to go, depart, travel, to order one’s life, or walk.” So, it speaks to our daily walk in Christ as well; living in our new citizenship of being a part of the Royal Family of God. So, it speaks to our positional sanctification that leads to living in our experiential sanctification.
“Home,” OIKOS, “house or dwelling,” gives us the idea that when our sins are forgiven and we are healed from its corruption positionally, we have a new home, a heavenly home called our POLITEUMA, Eph 2:19; Phil 3:20; cf. Col 3:1; Heb 12:22.
Phil 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Col 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
We also see that Jesus healed this man with His Word, unlike the leper whom Jesus touched.
Luke 5:25, “Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.”
This man does not hesitate; he immediately, PARACHREMA, does as Jesus says, just as Peter’s mother-in-law did in Luke 4:39. It is a picture of faith in action. Then it says he, “gets up” ANISTEMI, that word which also speaks to Christ’s and our resurrection from the dead.
No one could see the healing / forgiveness of this man’s sin, but they could see the healing of his body, just as we cannot see or fully understand Jesus’ spiritual death for the forgiveness of our sins, but we can see and understand His physical death upon the Cross.
Next, he picks up the stretcher that he was lying on. This shows that he was taking responsibility for his own spiritual life. No longer would he be dependent on others for his life. Now, he would live his own unique spiritual life unto Christ, now that he was a new man, 2 Cor 5:7; Eph 2:15, in Christ, with a new home called heaven.
And, while living this new life in Christ, he would “glorify God,” DOXAZO THEOS, just as you and I do every time we are walking in fellowship with God.
Luke 5:26, “They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen remarkable things today’.”
“Astonishment,” is the Noun EKSTASIS, ἔκστασις that means, “amazement, ecstasy, displacement of the mind.” We could say today that “they lost their minds.” In other words, they did not know what to think. Jesus had turned their evil deliberations into one of amazement and astonishment. He “blew their minds.”
This word is also used in Acts 10:10; 11:15, that we noted above, for the “trance” that Peter fell into on the roof top when God told him he could now eat those animals that previously, according to the Law, were unclean. All had been made clean because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins!
Because the Pharisees and Scribes believed that sickness was a result of sin, their own proof of this man’s sinfulness was destroyed by his physical healing. If he was no longer ill, then his sins must be forgiven. This conclusion left them “dumb founded” / speechless.
As a result, it says that they “began glorifying God,” the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of DOXAZO. I hope this includes the Scribes and Pharisees, as is says “all,” HAPAS, “all whole, every, all together,” glorified God.
In addition, they were all “filled with fear,” the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of PLETHO and the Noun PHOBOS. That means, they were overwhelmed by what they heard and saw Jesus do and had respect for Him as a result. This emotion was shown by their words, ‘We have seen remarkable things today’.”
“Remarkable things,” is the Adjective PARADOXOS, παράδοξος that means, “magnificent, unusual, incredible, marvelous, or contrary to expectation.” It is only used here in the NT, a hapaxlegomena. This is where we get our word “paradox” from. It is used in a positive sense and means, “beyond what they thought or expected.” In the negative sense, it would be “beyond belief.” It denotes the unusual element in the works done by Jesus. This is beyond what they have seen, done, or imagined before.
It was a precursor to the “Life Beyond Dreams,” Eph 3:20. Notice the parallels to Eph 3:17-21, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do far more (exceedingly) abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
6. Over the despised, (the call of Matthew and parables about old vs. new), Luke 5:27-39. Here Jesus is demonstrating His authority over the despised in three ways, Luke 5:27-39.
This scene is paralleled in Mat 9:9-17; Mark 2:14-22.
There are three parts to this section:
- The first is the call of Matthew where he throws a large dinner party for Jesus, vs. 27-32.
- The second is Jesus’ rebuke of the grumblings of the Pharisees by the bridegroom analogy, vs. 33-35.
- The third is Jesus’ parables about old vs. new, using wine and wineskins in analogy, vs. 36-39.
Luke 5:27, “After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me’.”
“Tax collector” is the Noun TELONES, τελώνης that also means, “revenue officer.” It had a negative sound in Jewish ears as we see throughout the Gospels. “The Greeks would say about them: “All are TELONES, all are thieves”.” (Xenophon; cf. Hillyer, “Tax,” Colin Brown, 3:755). We noted this group in Luke 3:12-14, in John the Baptist’s preaching.
Since the time of the Greek city-state, people were hired to collect taxes and customs. These tax collectors guaranteed the city-state a certain amount of revenue; anything above the guaranteed revenue for the state went into the pockets of the tax collectors. The reason tax collectors were disliked was that their income was determined by their ability to exact money. Therefore, the more they took, the more profitable they were. And, they had the Roman army to back them. So, whatever they said would be.
In addition, the imposition of taxes and the right to collect them was auctioned off each year to the highest bidder. Rich citizens bought tax-collecting rights from the state. They then engaged agents or magistrates who in turn appointed local civil servants to collect the taxes from the people. This naturally increased the tax pressure upon the common people.
“In Judea, a Roman province under the jurisdiction of a Roman-appointed ruler, the tax was paid to the emperor (Mark 12:14). But Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee who had the authority to collect taxes in Galilee and Peraea, used a system of renting the collection of taxes to independent collectors.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
In addition, there was another form of taxation called “customs.” Customs were paid based on goods transported and traded throughout the region. Custom stations were set up along the extensive Roman roads, next to bridges, and in port cities. When goods came by, they were taxed.
The reason the Jews hated tax collectors, was because they were considered “unclean” based on their daily contact with Gentiles, because they violated the Sabbath commandment, and because many were unscrupulous in the tax gathering. Also, they represented the Roman government that reminded them that they were ruled by a foreign power.
As such, they were regarded as traitors and liars; the worst sinners, up there with prostitutes, thieves, adulterers, Gentiles, and the ungodly. Therefore, they were excluded from synagogue fellowship, cf. Mat 18:17; 21:31; Luke 18:11.
Luke 18:11, “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector’.”
The tax collector in view here is named “Levi,” which is LEUIS, Λευίς in the Greek from the Hebrew LEWI. It means, “joined or associated with him.” It is only used here and in vs. 29, and Mark 2:14. He is better known as the apostle Matthew, as Matthew identifies himself in this scene as “Matthew,” in Mat 9:9. You can see more detail about Levi / Matthew in our doctrine of the apostles on our web site, www.gracedoctrine.org.
Matthew probably knew Peter and John, as well as other fishermen at the Sea of Galilee, since it is quite likely he would have collected duty on their fish catches.
Jesus actually found Levi, while he was performing his job, just like He did with Peter, Andrews, James, and John. Levi was at the “tax booth,” TELONION, τελώνιον that also can mean, “tollhouse or tax office,” cf. Mat 9:9; Mark 2:14, all referring to this scene.
Jesus says to Levi, as He did with Simon-Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Philip in the other Gospel accounts, “follow Me” the Verb AKOLOUTHEO, ἀκολουθέω that means, “follow, accompany, or to cleave steadfastly to one,” with the Dative, 1st Person, Singular, Personal Pronoun of EGO; MOI, “Me.”
None of the Gospel accounts give detail regarding the selection of Levi other than Mark that says he was the “son of Alphaeus.” We do not know on what occasion He ran into Him or why. We only see that He did.
“Follow Me” is used three times more by Luke in His Gospel in Luke 9:23, 59; 18:22. In the first, Jesus gives a stipulation, “deny self and take up your cross daily.” In the second and third, we see the details of life and the world getting in the way of people following Jesus; (e.g., burying the dead and getting rid of worldly possessions). For us to truly “follow Jesus,” we must place Him as top priority in our life.
Luke 5:28, “And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him.”
Here, we see Levi’s positive response to Jesus’ call by “leaving everything behind,” the Verb KATALEIPO, καταλείπω that means, “leave behind, abandon, forsake, or depart.” This meant his job, family, home, etc. This was the same reaction as Simon, Andrew, James, and John.
His “getting up,” uses ANISTEMI, which Luke has used throughout this narrative that also means, “rise from the dead or resurrection.” So, Levi’s getting up to go and follow Jesus signifies the new spiritual life, the resurrection life of the born again believer that he was now beginning.
Interestingly, Matthew means “gift of God.” This is possibly the name Jesus gave him, as He did Simon who became known as Peter, to show the change in his new life in Christ.
“Began to follow Him,” uses the Verb AKOLOUTHEO from vs. 27 once again, this time in the Imperfect, Active, Indicative for ongoing, continuous action, to show Levi’s response to Jesus’ calling, i.e., “follow me.”
Luke 5:29, “And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.”
“When a man finds acceptance with the Lord, he naturally wants to celebrate. A person who finds acceptance with God wants his friends to find in Jesus what he found. So, Levi throws a dinner party for “a large crowd of tax collectors and other”.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
“A big reception,” is the Adjective MEGAS with the Noun DOCHE, δοχή that means, “reception or feast.” It is used only here and in Luke 14:13, for the parable of the types of guests we should invite to our receptions, “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” This list reminds us of Luke 4:18; Isa 61:1, the type of spiritually needy people Jesus came to heal / save. Therefore, as Jesus went out and invited these categories of spiritually deficient people to salvation, so too should we. And if we do, Luke 14:14 says, “you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
We should not only invite the saved to our gatherings, but the unsaved as well, so that we might have the opportunity to witness to them.
Notice, Levi did not just invite one or two of the lowly of society, but “a great crowd,” POLUS, “many,” OCHLOS, ὄχλος that means, “crowd, throng, multitude, mob, the common people, populace,” which we have noted several times prior in this Gospel. This also tells us that Levi must have been quite wealthy to throw such a feast.
Levi held the reception in honor of Jesus, and to introduce Him to his associates and friends who must have been astounded at Levi’s abrupt decision to leave his lucrative business to follow a poor carpenter. The occasion gave him the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus and to learn for themselves the kind of person Jesus was who could so dramatically work a change in Levi’s life.
The invited guest included “tax collectors,” the same as Levi above, and “other people,” the Pronominal use of the Adjective ALLOS, “another, different, additional, or the rest.”
Here, Luke does not mention the type of people the “others” where, as does Matthew and Mark, who call them “sinners,” HAMARTOLOS, “sinful, sinner, or heathen.” Luke would wait until vs. 30, where the Pharisees brand them as “sinners.” Remember, Simon-Peters called himself a “sinner” in vs. 8.
These guests were “reclining at the table with them,” which Uses the Verb KATAKEIMAI κατάκειμαι that we noted in vs. 25, for the paralytic that means, “lie (down) or to recline.” It is used both ways in the NT, but predominately for those who are not well and are “lying down” sick or paralyzed, cf. Mark 1:30; 2:4; John 5:3, 6; Acts 9:33; 28:8.
Therefore, we see the link here with Jesus’ other miracles of the paralytic and Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, Mark 1:30, as to who these “others” are. They are not the physically sick, but the spiritually ill; those without salvation.
The other use of “reclining at a table” is in Mark 14:3; Luke 7:37, where at a dinner party held by Simon the leper, a woman anointed Jesus with costly perfume, symbolically preparing Him for His burial after His completed work for the payment of the penalty of our sins was completed on the Cross that purchased our sins and provided salvation to all, i.e., the poor, sick, lame, etc., sinners, spiritually.
Luke 5:30, “The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?’”
Notice that in this passage the “Scribes,” GRAMMATEUS, are said to be “the Pharisees,” i.e., “their.” That means that the Pharisees brought their lawyers with them in order to trap or catch Jesus in some misstep, violation, or an inaccurate application of the Law. They were all lawyered up. So we ask ourselves, who were the violators of the law in this scene?
Their “grumbling” is the Verb GONGUZO, γογγύζω that means, “grumble or mutter.” It is used of speaking in a low voice under one’s breath, usually with a negative connotation of grumbling, muttering, murmuring, or complaining, Mat 20:11; John 6:41, 43, 61.
“At His disciples,” uses MATHETES, μαθητής for the first time in Luke’s Gospel to describe the disciples of Jesus. It means, “learner, pupil, or disciple.”
As mentioned above, the Pharisees and Scribes identify these people as “sinners,” HAMARTOLOS, in their eyes. How did they know they were “sinners.” Because of who they were, what they were doing, because they were Gentiles, or having prior knowledge of their sins? We do not know; maybe, just because they were at Levi’s / Matthew’s home, whom they considered as a “tax collector,” to be a sinner. This is pure self-righteous arrogance, Luke 18:11, “I am not like… this tax collector.”
They accused Jesus of “eating and drinking” with them. Luke uses the common words ESTHIO and PINO. Eating and drinking in the ancient world, as today, had a special meaning. They are tokens of mutual affection and confidence and symbols of loyalty, sometimes even to death. Therefore, this shared activity implied Jesus’ and the disciples’ acceptances of such people as one’s “brothers and sisters,” cf. Acts 11:3.
In addition, the Pharisees objected to Jesus associating with these people, for they forbade people to eat with sinners, lest they should become ritually defiled or appear to condone their lifestyles. In their eyes, even as contact with lepers, vs. 12–16, brought ritual uncleanness, so too does contact with tax collectors and sinners bring moral (as well as ritual) uncleanness.
But, as we have noted many times in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus came to take on our “uncleanness,” (i.e., our sins), so that we could be rendered clean, sanctified, purified, and holy before God.
This would not be the last time they murmured this way, as they had a similar complaint and criticism in Luke 15:1- 2.
These self-righteous religious types hold an idea of holiness that requires total separation from sinners. They apparently think they themselves are not sinners! Yet they should, so that they too could take a place at the table with Christ. But, unfortunately, many of them remain(ed) blind to their own condition before God.
Luke 5:31, “And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.”
Jesus reply to the self-righteous religious crowd was, “profoundly simple but also simply profound.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Luke, unlike Matthew and Mark, uses “well,” HUGIAINO, ὑγιαίνω that means, “be in good health, be sound, wholesome, or correct.” In its LXX use, it almost always is used for SHALOM, “peace or well-being.” The idea includes not only a wish for good physical health; it also includes a wish for general well-being. In the NT, it is a curious mixture of literal and figurative. Luke was obviously using it in the literal sense within the metaphor, but in the figurative sense overall for what Jesus was conveying to the Scribes and Pharisees.
“Physician,” is the Noun IATROS, ἰατρός that also means, “healer,” who Luke is said to be a “beloved one,” in Col 4:14. Jesus, because of His healing miracles, is considered to be the great physician in reference to this passage and Mat 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 4:23.
Jesus says those that are well, in good physical condition; do not need a doctor, which is true in the literal and physical sense. But, Jesus was using this as an analogy for those who are self-righteous and think that they are saved because of their goodness or good deeds. They think that by their good works they are saved and do not need a Savior, i.e., Jesus. “Because they trust themselves, there is no room in their hearts to trust God’s Son.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
John Calvin rightly observed, “Such is our innate pride, we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also—He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself.” (Institutes, 37)
On the other hand, those who are “sick,” do need a physician. “Sick,” is the Adjective KAKOS, κακῶς that means, “be sick, ill, or suffer severely,” also is used for those who “(speak) wrongly or badly,” i.e., verbal sins. Its cognate Adjective KAKOS, κακός, (with a different letter “o” in the Greek), means, “bad, evil, wicked, etc.” In both the LXX and the NT it is an idiom that means, “to be sick.” So, we see the analogy of the “sick” with the “sinner.”
Therefore, this is a contrast between self-righteous arrogance that believes salvation is by works and the humble who know they are a sinner and need a Savior.
Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Now, Jesus tells them why He is there, and why He came to the earth.
First, He did not come / appear to “call the righteous,” which uses the Verb KALEO, that means, “call, name, summon, or invite,” with the Adjective DIKAIOS for “just, righteous, upright, etc.”
“But,” is the contrasting Conjunction ALLA, “but, yet, or rather.”
“Sinners,” HAMARTOLOS, using the Pharisees’ title for these people.
Jesus’ invitation to everyone is “to repentance,” EIS METANOIA. METANOIA means, “repentance, turning about, or change of mind,” and harkens us back to John the Baptist’s ministry as he called and baptized to repentance, Mat 3:8, 11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, 8.
He was saying that His message was for the humble of heart who would recognize they are a sinner and need a Savior. Yet, the Pharisees would never admit their need for inner cleansing. After all, they claimed to follow the letter of the Law. “Jesus’ mission was to the lowly who were conscious of their sins, not to the spiritually haughty who deceived their own hearts.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Jesus would later say in Mat 5:20, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
1 Tim 1:15, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
Luke 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Acts 5:31, “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Interestingly, in Mat 9:13, there is an added quote from Jesus, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, (ELEOS, mercy, compassion, pity), AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ …), which is a loose quote from Hosea 6:6. Cf. Mat 12:7.
Hosea 6:6, “For I delight in loyalty (CHESED, grace, steadfast love) rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Jesus was challenging these hypocrites to go learn from the Law what God truly desires, “good works and sacrifices,” or “love, grace, mercy, and compassion.” Man offers good works and sacrifices, God provides love, grace, mercy, compassion; the forgiveness of our sins. This is a challenge to them to learn the difference between human good works for salvation that does not earn or gain salvation, compare to God’s love and grace that provides salvation to all who believe.
Therefore, in this scene, Jesus is being a little sarcastic toward the Pharisees and Scribes who were judging the guests to be sinners compared to themselves. Jesus tells them the “self-righteous,” i.e., “those who are well,” do not need a Savior, (in their own minds), even though they actually do, will not receive the physician / Savior because they do not think they need Him. Yet, those who recognize they are “sick,” (i.e., a sinner who needs a Savior), will receive the care / physician (i.e., Savior), necessary to heal them, that is “save their souls from sin.”
“We cannot call people to repentance if we are never with them. We cannot reach sinners without going where sinners are. They are not likely to come where we are. They find our parties boring. They find our fun boring. That’s okay. We expect them to. They have tastes for this world, while we have tastes for heaven. Those differing tastes are not easily joined together, so it creates a burden for us to cross a bridge to reach them without adopting their tastes.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
How can you know when and when not to attend a gathering with unbelievers, from the “Christ-Centered Exposition.”
1. Know your limits and temptations as you go into the world. If you are easily tempted with alcohol, you do not need to go with colleagues to the bar after work. You should avoid that setting. Give no room to the devil or make provision for the flesh. That means being honest about our temptations and the sins that so easily entangles us.
2. Keep a redemptive purpose or goal in mind as you go into the world. We are not going into the world simply to hang out with the world. Sometimes Christians boast of their worldliness. That is immaturity and a bad example. We go not to boast of how liberal we are with the world but to seek their spiritual benefit and salvation.
3. Remember that Christ is our holiness (1 Cor 1:30). Colossians 2 tells us that multiplying rules is powerless to subdue the flesh. That kind of asceticism does not produce righteousness but produces hypocrites and Pharisees. Rather, we go into the world trying to fully embody life in Christ. We go declaring it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us (Gal 2:20). We go into those places and relationships with our hearts stocked with God’s Word.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-074 & 19-075 & 19-076
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!