Lesson 30: A Couple Sample Scenes on the Galilean Tour
Matthew 8:1-4, 9:1-8, Mark 1:40-2:12, Luke 5:12-26
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A Blending of The Four Gospel Records.
This is lesson # 30. We're going to start with Luke 5:12. Jesus of course traveled all over Galilee preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand from synagogue to synagogue and every opportunity in between. Healing and teaching were never really separated. Miraculous manifestations were PART OF Jesus' teaching. Everything Jesus DID manifested and attested to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah from God. As the rainy season diminished and the weather improved over those early months of AD 31 it would seem the crowds began to increase. Jesus' word and fame began to spread in an infectious way. Crowd control became a problem and surely all Palestine would soon be convinced that Jesus was the Christ. And, just as the people of Galilee sought an opportunity to crowd around and to hear a lesson from the lips of Jesus; we have the natural urge to focus in and observe the great miracles and the beautiful tid-bits of divine knowledge that undoubtedly exuded along the trail of Jesus' Galilean ministry. But, the only window afforded to us is a few carefully selected descriptions that flowed from the pen of these great writers. Let's read! Luke 5:12-16. Are you ready? "And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy; who seeing Jesus fell on his face and besought him saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: But go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to ' be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."
Now, from the pen of Mark, are you ready? Mark 1:40 thru the end of the chapter. Let's read it! "And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth is hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter."
Such a beautiful story, I'm sure you would like to hear it again; so, let's read Matthew. Right at the beginning of chapter 8. Four verses, are you ready? "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
O.K. Luke said this man was FULL of leprosy. I just took the time to read about leprosy in the World Book Encyclopedia. This book says there are still 5-12 million cases in the world. With 2000 cases in the U.S., which I did not realize. But, of course, there were no Sulfur drug at the time of Jesus. Notice Luke 5:12 says, this man FULL OF LEPROSY fell on his face, i.e. he worshipped Jesus. Now, observe what the man said. He simply expressed faith in Jesus. "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Can't you just see the attitude of Peter in his fishing boat on the sea of Galilee that day, Lord "I'm a sinful man." You see this leper did not take the attitude that Jesus owed him a miracle. He desired to be cleansed, YES. But, you can see from the man's statement that he still would have believed in Jesus; even if Jesus had not healed him. He simply said, Jesus, you could if you would. V.41 in Mark's accounts said Jesus was "moved with compassion." Jesus touched the man and said, "I will; be thou clean." No send me a dollar! No go home for 30 days and pray. No medicines and no gimmicks. Jesus defied the laws of nature. Nothing but a miracle can account for the sudden change. Jesus simply spoke the word. What's the message? Jesus Christ is God's son. No question about it. Why were these books written? (John 20:30).
Now, there's another lesson here! The man said, "if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Jesus could defy nature and control nature because nature is a product of Jesus' hand. It is said very plainly, John 1:3. We've already covered that verse. Jesus said he DID NOT come to condemn the world, do you remember that? John 3:17? So, WHY did Jesus come? That the world through him might be saved. SAME VERSE! As I talk with people from day to day, some say, "Why is the Lord punishing me WITH this or with that? Why is he punishing me FOR this or FOR that?" My friend, don't ever say that. It's not true. Jesus does not punish, you! God does not punish us here. Now there's coming a time when Jesus will sit on his throne and divide the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32). And the last verse in that chapter (Matt. 25) teaches both: everlasting punishment AND life eternal, THE SAME VERSE, v.46. But, James said (1:13) [now listen at it] "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, [now listen!] NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN..." Have you got it? My friend, the trouble is with Satan's department and that stuff called sin. James explains that in the next two verses. Jesus did not come to condemn the world. He said so! It is Jesus' will that all be saved. Jesus told the leper, "I will, be thou clean."
Then notice, Jesus instructed this man to do two things: (#1) tell no man, (#2) go to the priest and make an offering as Moses commanded. Let's deal with the last first. In the book of Leviticus (the priest's handbook) there were certain instructions in the O.T. concerning the disease of leprosy. So, Jesus simply told the man to check with a priest and comply with that instruction. It was the priest's duty to legally declare a man clean when he was cured of leprosy. This shows clearly that Jesus' ministry and teachings were dovetailed firmly to the Mosaic system and DID NOT compete with that system in any way. A point that Jesus will make again in no uncertain terms. Now, (#1) why did Jesus tell this cured leper that he MUST NOT tell any one? WHY? Mark says Jesus "straitly charged him." Notice now, that word is spelled S-T-R-A-I-T-L-Y, and NOT s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t-l-y. There's a difference, i.e. Jesus gave the man specific and stringent instructions, "say nothing to any man." (Mark 1:44). Why? I used to wonder, why did Jesus say that? Some have conjectured that telling someone to keep a secret results in it being told all the more. Thus, they think Jesus wanted it told. But, my friend, that's NOT the reason. And that man did a bad thing when he went about publicizing it, when Jesus told him not to do it. I can understand how elated the man was and how excited he must have been. But, when he published it MUCH as Luke says, he defiantly disobeyed Jesus. If you read it close the point becomes very clear. Jesus was trying to prevent precisely the very thing that happened. The answer lies in what our modern day police would call: crowd control. Do you get the point? look at Mark 1:45, "Jesus could no more openly enter into the city." The message is, that when Jesus gives a command there's a good reason. I may not understand that reason. It may seem trivial to me; but, when Jesus gives instruction, follow it. If you don't follow it, it's going to hurt you OR somebody else. In the example here, it hurt Jesus, you see. That's the last thing this cured leper intended, I'm sure. But, there's a great lesson in this text.
Let's read some more! Luke 5:17-26, "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know-that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy, 1say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today."
Strange things! Amen! Now, Mark beginning in ch. 2. Twelve verses. Ready? "And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they came unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was born of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately, when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether it is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." Now, 8 more verses in Matthew. Beginning in Matthew chapter 9. Are you ready? "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."
O.K. first notice this was Capernaum (Mark. 2:1). Matthew said "he entered into a ship...and came unto his own city." We mentioned this reference once before; Matthew considered Capernaum as Jesus' own city. Then, we learn, they traveled what ever was the most expedient way on that tour over Galilee. The ship, likely one of those little fishing boats, was used to facilitate the crowd control problem like VIP's have today, darting around from here to there trying to elude the crowds. Look at Mark again, "It was noised that he was in the house" and immediately the crowds began to gather around that residence. Notice the description of the crowd, the crowded doorways, etc. What they Knew as palsy may have been what we know as paralysis. The friends of this sick man KNEW that Jesus could heal the man if they could simply get the man to where Jesus was to make that request. So, being an enterprising, ingenious and ambulatory crew with no sirens or red lights they fell upon a plan to get the man inside the walls. Hardly approved by the fire marshal; but, we won't get into that. Now, look who was inside, quite interesting, Luke said: "there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem." Mark called them scribes. Obviously, Jesus was getting the attention of the Jewish religious leaders. Right? Jesus sought to have national influence and that goal was being attained. These Jewish religious leaders came out of every little town. And, it would appear that Jesus simply interrupted his lesson to say, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Again, notice that word: immediately. Luke said (v25) "immediately he rose up before them..." Now, why did Jesus say, "Thy sins are forgiven...?" Does that equate sin with disease? Well, sometimes diseases are the consequence of sin. We DO NOT know the conscience of this sick man; but of course, Jesus did. And Jesus knew the thoughts and hearts of those scribes (Matt. 9:4). This is the second time, we observe a direct confrontation of scribes and Pharisees with Jesus; much more heated than before. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg that came later. Of course, if Jesus had NOT BEEN the one he claimed to be, this would have been an absurd claim. Bro. McGarvey says the Pharisees were not faulty in their logic, they were working from a mistaken premise. You see, the Pharisees were overlooking the credentials of Jesus. WE must NOT make that mistake. They thought it was all right for Jesus to do miracles; but they objected to his claim of being God. My friends, you can't separate the two. One is just as miraculous and as divine as the other. O.K. the time has got us. But, it's been an experience. Two opportunities to observe in a remote way the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Two samples. Jesus healed the Leper and the Palsied man. Have a good day.