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Forgiven in Person

Luke 5:24-26

Jesus had just forgiven the sins of a paralysed man (Luke 5:17-23).  The disabled person and his friends knew that if he could get to Jesus, Jesus would do the rest.  Lowered down through a hole in the roof, he became the focus of attention until Jesus said that He personally forgave the man's sins.  Religious protocol was upset; only God could do that!  They watched Jesus' next move very carefully.  He was not cowered by their criticism; indeed, He made a point of proving that He had authority which they did not.

Following by Command

Luke 5:27-28

Tax collectors had a bad reputation.  They took their pay as a sort of informal 'commission' from the tax-payers.  Nobody knew quite how much they ought to pay, and everybody suspected that the revenue officers were corrupt.  Their social stigma placed them with prostitutes as the most despised people in society.  No religious leader would be seen in their company (Luke 18:11).  But Jesus knew that He was their only hope, and so He ate and talked with them (Mark 2:16-17).

The Joy of Repentance

Luke 5:29-32

Jesus had commanded a corrupt tax collector to leave his old life and become His disciple.  Levi's immediate obedience was evidence of his repentance (Luke 5:27-28).  That is, he changed his thinking and therefore his actions.  He left everything associated with his old way of life.  Perhaps his heart had been troubled for some time.  Perhaps he had been waiting for a way out, but he was trapped in a corrupt system from which he could not escape.  If he did, where would he go to?  But when Jesus called him, he responded with joy - released from a rich but empty way of life (1 Peter 1:18).

The Joy of Belonging

Luke 5:33-35

One thing was obvious about Jesus and the disciples - they enjoyed life and loved people.  But that was a sharp contrast to the religious leaders who enforced many restrictions in the guise of 'pleasing God'.  Their attitude was mournfully dutiful, sending outward signals of holiness, even if they had no relationship with God.  One set of rules was about fasting.  This was intended to be a normal part of submitting to God and praying for His purpose to be revealed and fulfilled.  It was not wrong, but it had a specific purpose in moving people's focus away from themselves onto serving God,

All New

Luke 5:36-39

Religion is often seen as a prop, crutch or help in difficult times; a psychological addition to normal life or a part of the social fabric providing a structure to life.  And for many, their religion is just that.  The word ‘religion’ means to bind oneself to a duty or obligation – ‘what you do creates your holiness’.  In these verses, Jesus is telling a parable to prove that what is brand new will not mix with what is old.  

Fit for Purpose

Luke 6:1-5

Christless religion always cancels any real relationship with God, reducing it to a set of rules.  Of course, before Christ, apart from a few people who God filled with His Spirit, it was not possible to know Him personally.

Hating Jesus

Luke 6:6-7

Jesus went to 'church' (synagogue) to teach people what God’s Word means (Luke 4:16-21).  The congregations were amazed as the Scriptures came to life.   Religious leaders thought they had nothing to learn but they came to find fault with Him.  They did not have open minds to receive any message from God to help them understand what the Old Testament prophets wrote about Jesus.  Instead, their hearts were hard.  They had already decided that Jesus was an intolerable threat to their authority and power structure.  He needed to be removed ...

Lessons in Grace

Luke 6:8-11

Jesus knew that the religious leaders were hoping He would heal this man on the Sabbath day so that they could accuse Him of 'lawbreaking', and they were not disappointed.  Of course, Jesus is never fooled by anybody; He knew everything they were thinking, and it was not God honouring - they needed to know the truth.  He also knew that His disciples needed training in how to deal with this sort of confrontation (Acts 4:8-12).  So, He met the challenge head-on, in full view of a packed synagogue - showing His authority over everything dysfunctional.  The man's hand instantly gained strength

Planning Ahead

Luke 6:12-16

In business, teams are important.  It is said that everybody brings something special to the table and makes a unique contribution.  That simply recognises that God has made us all differently and there is a unique contribution we can all make.  But when Jesus selected His team of raw recruits it was not through applications and interviews.  He spent a night in prayer.  The Father and Son deliberately chose those with leadership skills, like Peter; journal writing skills, like Matthew; an evangelist, like Andrew; a man with a clear conscience, like Bartholomew otherwise called Nathaniel (Jo

Powerful Attraction

Luke 6:17-19

Lots of people wanted to learn from Jesus; they called themselves 'disciples', which means learners or pupils.  However, the Master had selected just twelve of them to be on His apprentice training course to become the foundational apostles (Luke 6:12-16).  From now on, Jesus would be teaching and healing many of the crowd who came to Him, but, at the same time, He was training the future leaders of the Early Church.