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Master of Mercy

Luke 4:40-41

The Sabbath ended at dusk.  Religious rules said that nobody could be healed on God's special day.  But after Jesus healed Simon Peter's mother-in-law in her house, the word was out.  At sunset, sick and demonised people were brought to Jesus.  Whatever their problem, they believed that He would be able to deal with it.  Jesus was not just a specialist in reducing high temperatures; He confronted a wide variety of illnesses, personally laying His hands on each person - and they were all healed (Matthew 14:36).

The Priority of Telling the Truth

Luke 4:42-44

The previous evening, Jesus had demonstrated His power to heal and to expel demons (Luke 4:40-41).  Very early the next morning He left Simon Peter's house: new crowds of sick people who were desperate for His touch were so disappointed.  Somehow, they found out where He was, but instead of meeting their immediate needs, He said that He had come to announce God’s kingdom.  Although the crowds were desperate to keep Him in Capernaum (Luke 4:31), He told them that He must move on to other towns.  To some it might have seemed strange that He did not want to exploit His popularity.  Others woul

Nothing Accidental

Luke 5:1-3

Jesus was quite intentional about who He wanted to be His first disciples.  Today we start the account of how He called Simon, who He later renamed Peter (Matthew 16:18).  This fisherman already knew Jesus; the Master had stayed in his house at Capernaum and healed his mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39).  But Simon was still going about his usual business - mending nets and preparing the boat in the daytime, and fishing at night.  Jesus deliberately chose that shallow bay, where the boats were partly hauled-out, to teach the crowd.

Working with Powerful Words

Luke 5:4-8

Simon has just hosted the preacher, Jesus, who had used his boat as a pulpit to address the crowds (Luke 5:1-3).  The Master selected Simon's boat because, although he did not know it, Jesus wanted him to become His disciple.  The word 'disciple' does not mean 'follower', as many think, but 'learner'.  True learning is always practical.  It is not enough for disciples to be present or to hear (like many who sit in church); it is essential that they learn what they have heard by putting the teaching into practice (Luke 14:27).

Surprise, Surprise

Luke 5:8-11

This passage should surprise us.  First, Simon Peter caught a shoal of fish but describes himself as a 'sinful man': then Jesus is kind to the self-confessed sinner and makes him the first disciple!  What is going on?  Well, Simon Peter did not really believe any fish would be caught.  He protested to Jesus and then put out his nets to demonstrate that Jesus did not know what He was talking about (Luke 5:4-5).  In fact, it was Peter who was out of order. That was proved when so many fish came aboard the two boats that they were in danger of being swamped by the waves (Luke 5:6-7).  

Healing Touch

Luke 5:12-13

Leprosy was terrifyingly bad news.  The Bible uses the term 'leprosy' to include a variety of skin conditions which God knew could spread from person to person.  Leviticus 13:1-46 reads like a dermatological textbook, so that the priests (who were also the public health officers of Israel) could make a diagnosis.  But there was no effective treatment, no antibiotics and no steroids.  The only action that could be taken to stop the disease being passed on, was isolation.  Lepers were put into lockdown.  In Jesus' day lepers were not allowed into town, could not live with their families, were

No Advertising

Luke 5:14-15

A leper had just been healed (Luke 5:12-13).  But Jesus wanted no credit, and certainly no advertising.  However, He instructed the man with new normal skin to go to the priest to certify that the disease had gone – the priests acted as the Public Health Officers of Israel using Leviticus 13:1-46 as their dermatology textbook - then to offer the sacrifices required under Moses' law to complete the ritual cleansing (Leviticus 14:1-32).  It was a ceremony of thanksgiving and consecration to God.  So, the leper’s need and the religious law were both satisfied by Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18).

Space to Pray

Luke 5:15-16

Most busy people have little time away from the job.  The pressure of 'things to get done', opportunities 'not to be missed' and 'disasters to avert' is constant.  Jesus knew what that was like.  With so many ministry opportunities and obvious popularity, He made the right decision.  Stop and pray!

Complacent or Persistent

Luke 5:17-19

Jesus had become a major focus in the region of Galilee.  Although He had made clear that He had come to announce God’s kingdom (Luke 4:42-44), He was also full of compassion and often responded to the needs of broken people (Psalm 116:5).   The religious leaders were feeling under threat from this Man whose healing was miraculous and teaching was the breath of God, and they searched through all the good He said and did to find something that would discredit Him.  

Faith Rewarded

Luke 5:20-23

Jesus does not play games.  When the paralysed man was lowered through the roof by his friends, they were serious about getting the sick man to Jesus (Luke 5:17-19).  They would not have taken all the trouble to remove a large piece of roofing, risking the anger of the house owner, if they believed that Jesus would not heal their friend.  Faith, as always, is not just a pious thought but a total confidence in God which leads to practical actions - not letting anything get in the way of coming to Jesus.