A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF LUKE

Building Your Team

SCC 3/13/16 Luke 5

 

 

CHRIST IS WILLING TO USE REGULAR PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE

1-3: After the incident in His home town, Jesus moved His ministry to the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was a little over a year since He was baptized by John. As Jesus entered the area of the north shore of the Sea, near Capernaum, He taught the people. What they came to hear was the Word of Godóthat is, a message based on revelation from the heavenly Father.

PT: In this case Luke does not record any of Jesusí teaching, but he tells us where He taught. Most of Jesusí teaching was not in a building, and when it was it was a very small room, or in a synagogue, never in an auditorium. Christ here uses Peters boat as a pulpit.

4-10: Then he performed the miracle of the miraculous catch of fish with nets breaking and the boat sinking v 6-7. Its frantic. Peter responded with worship v 8 and Christ responded with a new assignment for Peterócatching men v 10. Tensions about who Jesus is are introduced and eventually resolved. The point is, just as Peter was unable to catch fish by himselfóeven though he was an experienced fishermanóhe was able to do so with abundance when Christ was doing it with Peter involved with Jesus. Jesusí ministry prioritized people. He focused the attention of His disciples on becoming fishers of men.

NB: If God is directing our ministry, we will be fishing for people. If God is directing our life, people will be our first priority. The lesson here is about Christ directing the disciples to become fishers of men. Jesus uses the abundant catch of fish as an illustration for ministry. Itís in ministry that people should be a priority. We are reminded of John 15:5 ďI am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. Sharing in this mission is a call to participate in the building of the current for of the kingdom.

11: When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. But remember they had already known Jesus for over a year. Peter and John had been with Jesus since they left John the Baptist. They were with him at the wedding at Cana, the trip to Jerusalem where Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple, spoke to Nicodemus about being born again and with the Samaritan woman as they made their way back north to Galilee. They were also not with him full time or named as apostles yet at this point. Yet the life of discipleship is about to begin for these witnesses.

THE TRUTH IS COMMUNICATED IN UNPREDICTABLE WAYS

12-16: One year after he turned water to wine at Cana, Jesus made a trip down into the Jezreel Valley and back to Capernaum. He continued to heal and teach about the kingdom of God. He instantaneously heals a leper v 12-14. The teaching and healing drew large crowds as well as the religious leadership from all over Palestine. While news spread, Jesus sought prayer rather than fameóspending time with God 15-16.

NB: The significance of this event is He ordered him [the healed leper] to tell no one, ďBut go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses [that is the Mosaic Law ó Leviticus 13] commanded, as a testimony to them.Ē Jesus shows he was living under the Mosaic Law, which required quarantining lepers until a priest declared them clean. This was also a testimony to the priests that Jesus was the Messiah sending a message to the priests that he does not disregard the law.

17-26: This is the first mention of the Pharisees observing Jesus ministry v 17. Reports about Jesus were not going unnoticed. When Jesus forgave the sin of the man lowered through the roof back in Capernaum (Mark 2:1), the Pharisees objected. Jesus then healed the man to prove He had the authority to forgive sin v 24. Jesus knew exactly how they would respond and used their response to teach about faith in Himself as the Messiah v 25-26. Jesus said, Friend, your sins are forgiven you. This (a) pointed to the real problem, (b) indicated that sickness was because of sin (personal sin or imputed sin from Adam), and (c) it irritated the religious leaders who rightly thought, who can forgive sins, but God alone? Which is why Jesus told him his sins were forgiven.

NB: We should be able to anticipate how people will respond to us. The passage gives us the example of Jesus knowing the response to His teaching and teaching in a way that brought about the predicted response. We must know the problem and the people to communicate the truth persuasively. Paul reasoned, persuaded and gave evidence in Acts 16. There is something to say for a combination of both street smarts and book smarts. Notice Jesus did not compromise the truth in order to build a bridge to people. We declare the truth and by their response wait to see who God is calling to Himself.

 

MINISTRY TO PEOPLE IS A PRODUCT OF TIME AND FRIENDSHIP NOT LEGALISM

27-28: Capernaum was on the Via Maris, the main highway through Palestine, which ran all the way from Egypt to Babylon. So it was a point where a customsí office had been set up to collect a tax from those entering Galilee, especially from the north. One of the tax gatherers was a Jew named Levi (who later became the Apostle Matthew). Levi lived in Capernaum while he worked as a tax or customsí official. Jesus takes initiative with the rejected, ostracized, and the obscure v 28. Levi accepts the invitation.

29-32: After following Christ, Levi gave a party for Jesus that filled the house with pagan public officials because lots of them lived in Capernaum. But Capernaum is not much larger than a good sized city block, so obviously everybody knew about the party, including the religious right. They want to know why Jesus is associating with these known sinners. Jesusí answer is, I have not come to call the righteous [those who think they donít need to repent] but sinners [those who realize they are sinners] to repentance [a change of mind leading to a change of life.] When the conservative religious officials complained about the company Christ kept, He said He came especially for them. Jesus spent time with worldly people. He focused on those who saw themselves as needy, pagan, sick sinners.

NB: We should spend time with the unbelieving friends of new believers. The passage shows Jesus socializing with Leviís unbeliever friends and His teaching is about focusing on those who see themselves as sinners. The passage shows Jesus in Leviís home with Leviís friends not doing friendship evangelism in public places like bars and alleys. We do get the picture that it is a common pattern with Christ, and the early church met exclusively in homes. Jesus is carrying out his ministry to the spiritually needy who need a cure at the same time offending the separatism of the Pharisees who never would share this way.

PT: Our mission is not accomplished by separatism. Jesus will not wait for sinners; he will seek them out. He will accept them as persons while challenging them to meet the God who binds their wounds and brings health. Some will be startled by the openness of this ministry which they think taints a teacherís credentials. Risking ridicule associating with sinners for such openness is Christ like. Ministry is attempted in various ways but always with anotherís eternal welfare in view not just being friendly.

 

OUR MESSAGE IS NEW LIFE NOT TRADITIONAL RELIGION

33-35: Jesus was questioned about the differences between His disciples and those of John and the Pharisees v 33. The main issue was that theirs fasted, His ate and drank. They want to know why Jesusí disciples do not fast like theirs and John the Baptistís. Jesus refers to his upcoming death and says they will fast then v 34. Right now his presence is one of joy. Fasting does not fit the occasion. Which was not what they wanted to know. They wanted to know why Jesus wasnít a conservative with the law.

36-39: Christ responded telling them He was not trying to reinforce old religious practices v 36. Jesus tells the first parable in Luke about new vs. old cloth; new vs. old wine skins. The point is, new wine [Christís message of repentance for the Kingdom of God is at hand] must be put into fresh wineskins [repentant sinners, like Levi and Christís disciples]. And no one, after drinking old wine [the Rabbinic Judaism of the Pharisees]; wishes for new; for he says, ĎThe old [Rabbinic Judaism] is good enough.

PT: This is why it is rare to see someone from the cults or someone comfortable with a traditional church converted. You canít convince anyone of anything new until they are desperate. He had new revelation and He Himself was new revelation. He also had a new assignment from God the Father which included His disciples. But a new message will not fit inside old institutions and institutional people. They are already satisfied with what they have. Jesus avoided the inflexible, the institutional, and the traditional. His leadership provided something new which would not fit into old systems. Following Christ often means putting aside your prejudices and your paradigms. It means welcoming newness without which one can mature.

 

SO WHAT?

1. God wants to use you to participate in what it is he is doing. What an invitation!

2. Communicate the truth creatively without compromising the message it contains.

3. Donít make the mistake of believing that spending time with worldly people is worldly.

4. Detach sacredness from the established institutionalized form of Christian religion including its systems and structures.