Luke: How deep is your faith? (Part 2)-03/26/17

Series Title: ‘Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘How deep is your faith?’pt2            Text: Luke 5: 12-26

Introduction: Whatever it takes!  Perhaps if someone you loved had a life threatening illness, you’ve thought or even said those words. But what does it mean exactly… whatever it takes?

I suppose if we take it at face value it means:

  • We don’t care what it costs us… money, time, convenience, reputation, comfort zone, even danger.

Why? Because the person we’re trying to help, matters to us. It’s that simple.

  • When someone truly matters to us,
  • we’re often willing to do whatever it takes to help them.

 In our text this morning, there are 4 men of faith, who were willing to ‘go the distance,’ to do whatever it takes, to help their friend, who was paralyzed, see Jesus and be healed.

 Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 5:17. For it’s there we’ll see that, how far we are willing to go, is directly related to the depth of our faith.

  1. Luke 5:17-26 The faith of 5 friends

Read: Luke 5:17

To say that Jesus was teaching, sharing His Gospel, to a hostile crowd, would have been putting it mildly. Scholars believe the room was full of Pharisees and teachers of the Law (Scribes) some, who had traveled a great distance.

  • It was the job of the Pharisees and Scribes to teach and interpret the Law to the Israelites.
  • They also made it their job, to see if others who teach the Law, (those who were not Pharisees and Scribes) were doing so in line with their beliefs and standards.

And it was in that later capacity that the Pharisees and Scribes were there, in that room. They were looking for an opportunity to condemn Jesus.

  • You see, for the Pharisees and Scribes, the Law was preeminent.
  • And they believed their job was to tell the people of Israel how to live under their interpretations of the Law.

And Jesus, well, He wasn’t falling into place. They were hearing how He had already crossed many of the lines the Pharisees and Scribes had set up for strict obedience to the Law.

  • But for Jesus, it wasn’t the Law that was preeminent.
  • It was the cry of hurting and lost people.
  • It was seeing them wander around like sheep w/o a shepherd.
  • To Jesus, it was people who mattered.

I believe the Pharisees and Scribes knew that. And so did the people. The religious leaders thought

Jesus was making them look bad.

  • Remember, they didn’t care about people, people didn’t matter to them. All they cared about was the people’s complete obedience to them and to their strict and manmade interpretation of the law.

So the Pharisees and Scribes really weren’t there to give Jesus their stamp of approval. They were there to catch Him at false teaching. So they could condemn Him and perhaps regain the respect of the people.

So, let’s set the scene:

  • There is a room full of theologians and lawyers, the big guns of the Jewish religious scene.
  • Because of their elevated positions in society, it’s believed that they would have kept the common people from entering the house.

Read: Luke 5:18-19

So where were all the townsfolk, the common people? Outside! In Mark’s Gospel were told that there was a huge crowd outside the house where Jesus was teaching. There were trying to peek in a window or listen at the door to hear Jesus speak.

Back inside the house, because of the hidden agenda of the Pharisees and Scribes, tension in the overcrowded room was high.

And then there were…

  • 4 men who were on a mission.
  • 4 men who had one objective, one purpose, one desire.
  • 4 men who refused to abandon their quest for any obstacle that might come their way.
  • 4 men who had gone to the deep end of faith.
  • 4 men who were willing to do whatever it takes.
  • Because there was 1 man, who truly mattered to them, their friend who was paralyzed and needed to see Jesus.

So, I’m sure they tried to get their friend in through the door or even a window, but they were blocked by other people who wanted desperately to see Jesus too. So, they had to be creative.

  • The common home in Jesus’ day was one story and had a flat roof with a slight decline to allow water to run off.
  • The wood roof joists were close together and the space between the joists was filled with hardened mud and straw. Some roofs were then covered with clay tiles, like the one in our text.
  • There were often stairs on the outside of the home to allow the residents to sit on the roof, and enjoy the cool evening air.

So, these 4 men, believing that Jesus could, and perhaps would, heal their friend, saw an opportunity. And going all in, they took to the stairs.

  • When they got to the roof they started to remove the tiles and dig out the mud and straw between the joists, most likely by hand.
  • When the hole was big enough, they lowered their friend, on his cot, through the hole in the roof, down into the room, and right between Jesus and the religious leaders.

OK, can I say it? This is actually pretty comical.

The tension in the room is thick with the Pharisees and Scribes just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on Jesus and condemn Him as a false teacher.

At the same time, while their eyes and ears are fixed on Jesus,

  • They start to hear some noise coming from the roof.
  • They begin to feel something in their hair, something falling on their clothes.
  • They look up and some small twigs and crumbled mud hit them on the face.
  • Then, perhaps in utter disbelief, they see someone on a cot being lowered to the floor, in front of them.

And by the way, if you were the owner of that home, you know what you would have been thinking: Are you INSANE! You’re so gonna pay for the damages!

To me… it’s comical. But, to the 4 men, it was an act of total desperation, of an ‘all out’ desire to do whatever it takes to help their friend see Jesus.

So, they did it. They got their friend in front of Jesus.

Read: Luke 5:20-25

Here’s the thing. All the Pharisees and Scribes heard, was Jesus imply He was God, by claiming to have the authority to forgive that man’s sin.

What they failed, to even acknowledge, was that Jesus miraculously healed that paralyzed man and how that miracle proved what He was claiming.

The Pharisees and Scribes began to criticize Jesus among themselves, they said Who can forgive sins but God alone? So listen, they acknowledge that only God can forgive sin.

Jesus, seeing an opportunity to declare His divinity, says Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? What’s the answer to that question?

  • Sure, it’s easier to say your sins are forgiven, because there’s no way to prove that someone’s sin is forgiven.

So, since the Pharisees and Scribes had said that only God can forgive sins, Jesus does the harder thing…

  • Jesus told the man to pick up his cot and go home.
  • And because that man had faith, he immediately got up, took his cot and went home… glorifying God all the way!

Remember from last week with the leper, that the religious leaders and most Israelites believed that suffering/illness was the result of personal sin. And if that person was healed, it was because God hade forgiven them. Do you see it?

  • Jesus healed the suffering man, thereby proving that not only was his sin forgiven, but that Jesus had the authority to forgive sin.
  • Jesus used their own beliefs to prove that He was God.

But the Pharisees and Scribes hated Jesus.

  • They hated His love for the people.
  • They hated His keen ability to interpret and teach the Scriptures.
  • They hated how He didn’t follow their rules.
  • And they hated how the people were drawn to Him, respected Him and loved Him.

And because they hated Jesus, their hearts were hardened to the truth that was right in front of them.

OK, we don’t want to move on w/o noticing that  this is the first time in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man.

  • The Greek phrase Son of Man is the equivalent of the Hebrew phrase ben adam which usually means human being.
  • But, in the Book of Daniel the name Son of Man is used to identify the Messiah.
  • No doubt the Pharisees and Scribes knew that.

Son of Man. It’s a powerful name, because it identifies both the humanity and divinity of Jesus.

  • A little Christology on the dual nature of Christ.

Read: Luke 5:26

The people left that day in amazement:

  • They saw Jesus really tick of the Pharisees and Scribes.
  • They saw that people truly mattered to Jesus.
  • They saw there was something very different about Jesus… was He… could He be, the promised Messiah?

But, the Pharisees and Scribes left, caring not that a man was healed, but believing they caught Jesus in blasphemy.

Conclusion: One of the marks of Luke’s Gospel is that he will often compare or contrast two people or groups of people as a way of teaching us how to live out our faith. There are two contrasting groups in our text this morning:

  • The religious leaders and the 4 men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus.

And I believe Luke is asking us ‘Which one are we?’

  • Are we people who look to criticize others, while missing the great work of God in their midst?
  • Or are we people who do whatever it takes to bring our friends to Jesus, believing that He will do a great work in our friends?

Action: Play Video

In our text this morning, the 4 men who carried their paralyzed friend were willing to do whatever it takes to get him to see Jesus. Because he mattered to them. And, they didn’t care what it cost them.

  • They didn’t care that it wasn’t going to be easy for them to get their friend to see Jesus.
  • They didn’t care that they ruined the roof.
  • They didn’t care that they were going to have to pay for the damages.
  • They didn’t care that they disrupted a very important meeting with a lot of high level religious leaders from all over Israel.
  • They didn’t care what anyone thought of them.
  • All they cared about was their friend because he mattered to them and they needed to get him to see Jesus.

If that was your friend, how far would you be willing to go, to get him to see Jesus?

Remember in the beginning of chapter 5, Jesus called Peter, and us by association, to become Fishers of Men? Well, I have to wonder.

  • Rather than becoming ‘fishers of men’ and doing the work of seeking the lost,
  • have we become too comfortable, just hoping, that the unsaved will find their own way to our doors on a Sunday morning?

Church, Christian, that’s just not good enough, can no longer be enough!

We all have those in our sphere of influence who are lost and hurting, because they don’t know Jesus as their Savior.

What are we, as a community of faith going to do about it?

  • How far are we willing to go to make a difference for the kingdom of God, to help build the kingdom of God?
  • Are we willing to do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus?

Let’s make it a bit more personal. What are you going to do about it?

  • How far are you willing to go to make a difference for the kingdom of God, to help build the kingdom of God?
  • Are you willing to do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus?

One last story from Pastor Steven Cole.

ILL: A long time ago a young boy, dirty and dressed in scruffy clothes, came into a Christian bookstore. His head reached just above the counter. He asked the shopkeeper, “How much are your Bibles, mister?” The man pulled his cheapest Bible off the shelf, one with children’s pictures, but the $1.87 in the boy’s hand was not enough. “Hang on, I’ve got more money in my sock,” the boy said. He sat down on the floor, pulled off a shoe and then a long, woolen sock. “The Bible’s not for me; it’s for my friend.

I want him to know Jesus like I do.” “You can have the Bible,” the shopkeeper said. “Shall I rub the price off?” Putting his sock and shoe back on, the boy answered, “No, leave it on. I want my friend to know how much I like him.” (Adapted from Steven Cole)

Here’s a thought. In our text, Luke says Jesus saw the faith of the 4 men and the one on the cot. Christian, has Jesus seen your faith?

Let me challenge you:

  • Step out into the deep end of faith by asking God to show you someone in your sphere of influence who doesn’t know Jesus and doesn’t have a Bible.
  • Then give them one. I have a few free ones if you need one.

Or how about this?

  • Step out into the deep end of faith by asking God to show you someone in your sphere of influence who doesn’t know Jesus and invite them to our Easter Breakfast and Resurrection Service?
  • Pray for them and remember to show up on Easter morning. Then see what God will do.

Are you with me? Let’s wade out into the deeper waters of faith… together.