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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Luke 5

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-26

Testimony of Jesus’ Authority over Sin (The Spiritual Realm) In Luke 5:1-26 the author gives us three testimonies that emphasize Jesus’ authority over sin, or His power to save us from our sins. We have the story of Peter crying out that he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8). We then have the account of Jesus cleansing a leper (Luke 5:12-16), which sickness is associated with sin in the Law of Moses. Then Jesus tells a paralytic that his sins have been forgiven (Luke 5:20). Peter confessed his sins because he was made mindful of them. The leper revealed sin in his physical body in the form of leprosy. The paralytic received the forgiveness of sins in his heart. Thus, these three stories appear to place emphasis on the manifestations of sin in the spirit, soul and body of men.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Calling Disciples from their sins Luke 5:1-11

2. Cleansing a Leper Luke 5:12-16

3. Forgiving a Paralytic Luke 5:17-26

Luke 5:1-11 Jesus Calls His Disciples (Matthew 4:18-22 , Mark 1:16-20 ) In Luke 5:1-11 we have the account of Jesus calling some of His disciples by the Sea of Galilee. In this story, Peter gave to Jesus the use of an empty boat, and Jesus returned to them, by their obedience to His word, a boat full of fish. This is a good illustration of sowing and reaping. This story shows some of the reactions of people to Jesus’ authority over sin by recording Peter’s comment to Jesus, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8)

Luke 5:2 Comments - We read in Luke 5:2 that two fishing boats were pulled up on the shore with the fishermen washing their nets from the previous night’s labours. Peter will say in Luke 5:5 that they had fished all night and caught nothing. If these fishermen had caught fish the previous night they would not be washing their nets, but rather gathering their catch of fish, mending their nets, and taking the fish to the market. Thus, they may have missed a divine opportunity to be with Jesus. Sometimes events in our lives that seem a failure are actually being used to lead us into better situations. We must trust the Lord at all times, in the times of prosperity, and in the times of seeming failure. Peter had thought while mending his nets that this day was a failure with no fish to take to the market. Little did he know that he was about to become a fisher of men.

Jesus understood divine providence, how God the Father was always with Him making a way and making provision. When the crowd became too large to manage in His present situation, the Holy Spirit showed Him the two boats along the shore and how they could be used as a method of better addressing the growing crowd. For us also, the Lord always has divine provision in every situation we face. Jesus will soon teach this principle of divine provision to His future disciples by telling Peter to launch out into the deep for a catch of fish (Luke 5:4).

Luke 5:3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Luke 5:3 Comments - Jesus used wisdom in His decision to push His boat out from the land in order to improve the amplification of His voice to the crowd. If He had stood on the shore there would have been very little amplification of His voice for the people to hear Him clearly. But now His voice would carry a long way upon the water and up the bank to the growing crowd that was gathering.

Luke 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Luke 5:4 Comments - Note Jesus’ boldness and assurance in God in Luke 5:4 as He told Peter to launch out his boat and expect a catch of fish. We have been given that same spirit of boldness and authority (2 Timothy 1:7-8). When we walk closely with the Lord, we can walk in that same boldness.

2 Timothy 1:7-8, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”

Luke 5:5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Luke 5:5 Comments - When God tells us to do something, or a boss on a job gives us an order, it is easy to try to reason things out instead of first simply doing it. Peter overcame his mental confusion and obeyed in faith. Peter had to put his faith in God’s Word alone by obeying the voice of his heart, which was his conscience and by ignoring the voice of his mind, which was reason..

Illustration - Once Nate Lisenby, my boss n 1983-84, told me to pull a garbage bag out of the back of the garbage truck in order to close the tail back tight. I proceeded to drag out the rest of the bags trying to do a better job. He did not tell me to do this and he became agitated. He told me patiently that he did not want me to remain long between the body of the truck and the tail. I learned that obedience is better that sacrifice, and to do exactly what you are told and not ask too many questions.

Luke 5:8 Comments - Peter's reaction is much like Isaiah's reaction in Isaiah 6:5, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Luke 5:10 Comments - Luke 5:10 reveals the underlying theme of Luke’s Gospel, which is the training of the Twelve to take the Gospel to the nations by becoming witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Verses 1-39

Witnesses of Jesus Justifying Him as the Saviour of the World (God the Father’s Justification of Jesus) Luke 4:31 to Luke 21:38 contains the testimony of Jesus’ public ministry, as He justifies Himself as the Saviour of the world. In this major section Jesus demonstrates His divine authority over man, over the Law, and over creation itself, until finally He reveals Himself to His three close disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration as God manifested in the flesh. Jesus is the Saviour over every area of man’s life and over creation itself, a role that can only be identified with God Himself. This was the revelation that Peter had when he said that Jesus was Christ, the Son of the Living God. Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50 begins with His rejection in His hometown of Nazareth and this section culminates in Luke 9:50 with Peter’s confession and testimony of Jesus as the Anointed One sent from God. In summary, this section of material is a collection of narratives that testifies to Jesus’ authority over every aspect of humanity to be called the Christ, or the Saviour of the world.

Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world that was presently under the authority of Roman rule. He was writing to a Roman official who was able to exercise his authority over men. Thus, Luke was able to contrast Jesus’ divine authority and power to that of the Roman rule. Jesus rightfully held the title as the Saviour of the world because of the fact that He had authority over mankind as well as the rest of God’s creation. Someone who saves and delivers a person does it because he has the authority and power over that which oppresses the person.

In a similar way, Matthew portrays Jesus Christ as the Messiah who fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Matthew’s presentation of Jesus as the King of the Jews supports His claim as the Messiah. John gives us the testimony of God the Father, who says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John uses the additional testimonies of John the Baptist, of His miracles, of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and of Jesus Himself to support this claim. Mark testifies of the many miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing the preaching of the Gospel as the way in which these miracles take place.

This major section of the public ministry of Jesus Christ can be subdivided into His prophetic testimonies. In Luke 4:31 to Luke 6:49 Jesus testifies of true justification in the Kingdom of God. In Luke 7:1 to Luke 8:21 Jesus testifies of His doctrine. In Luke 8:22 to Luke 10:37 Jesus testifies of divine service in the Kingdom of God as He sets His face towards Jerusalem. In Luke 10:38 to Luke 17:10 Jesus testifies of perseverance in the Kingdom of God as He travels towards Jerusalem. Finally, in Luke 17:11 to Luke 21:38 Jesus teaches on glorification in the Kingdom of God.

The Two-Fold Structure in Luke of Doing/Teaching As Reflected in the Prologue to the Book of Acts - The prologue to the book of Acts serves as a brief summary and outline of the Gospel of Luke. In Acts 1:1 the writer makes a clear reference to the Gospel of Luke, as a companion book to the book of Acts, by telling us that this “former treatise” was about “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” If we examine the Gospel of Luke we can find two major divisions in the narrative material of Jesus’ earthly ministry leading up to His Passion. In Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50 we have the testimony of His Galilean Ministry in which Jesus did many wonderful miracles to reveal His divine authority as the Christ, the Son of God. This passage emphasized the works that Jesus did to testify of Himself as the Saviour of the world. The emphasis then shifts beginning in Luke 9:51 to Luke 21:38 as it focuses upon Jesus teaching and preparing His disciples to do the work of the Kingdom of God. Thus, Luke 4:14 to Luke 21:38 can be divided into this two-fold emphasis of Jesus’ works and His teachings. [186]

[186] We can also see this two-fold aspect of doing and teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, as Jesus always demonstrated the work of the ministry before teaching it in one of His five major discourses. The narrative material preceding his discourses serves as a demonstration of what He then taught. For example, in Matthew 8:1 to 9:38, Jesus performed nine miracles before teaching His disciples in Matthew 10:1-42 and sending them out to perform these same types of miracles. In Matthew 11:1 to 12:50 this Gospel records examples of how people reacted to the preaching of the Gospel before Jesus teaches on this same subject in the parables of Matthew 13:1-52. We see examples of how Jesus handled offences in Matthew 13:53 to 17:27 before He teaches on this subject in Matthew 18:1-35. Jesus also prepares for His departure in Matthew 19:1 to 25:46 before teaching on His second coming in Matthew 24-25.

Jesus’ Public Ministry One observation that can be made about Jesus’ Galilean ministry and his lengthy travel narrative to Jerusalem is that He attempts to visit every city and village in Israel that will receive Him. He even sends out His disciples in order to reach them all. But why is such an effort made to preach the Gospel to all of Israel during Jesus’ earthly ministry? Part of the answer lies in the fact that Jesus wanted everyone to have the opportunity to hear and believe. For those who rejected Him, they now will stand before God on the great Judgment Day without an excuse for their sinful lifestyles. Jesus wanted everyone to have the opportunity to believe and be saved. This seemed to be His passion throughout His Public Ministry. Another aspect of the answer is the impending outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the sending out of the Twelve to the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus understood the necessity to first preach the Gospel to all of Israel before sending out the apostles to other cities and nations.

Verses 12-16

Jesus Heals a Leper (Matthew 8:1-4 , Mark 1:40-45 ) Luke 5:12-16 records the story of Jesus healing a leper. Within the context of the theme of Luke, which is the training of the Twelve to be witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this leper himself became a witness of his miraculous healing. Jesus instructed him to simply give a testimony to the priest of his cleansing, but the leper takes his testimony much further, to the multitudes, so that Jesus had a difficult time entering the cities and had to withdraw into the wilderness for solitude.

Luke 5:12 Comments In Luke 5:12 the leper asks Jesus Christ to make him clean ( καθαρι ́ ζω ) rather than to heal him. According to the Mosaic Law, leprosy was a disease of uncleanness that required his separation from society (Leviticus 14:1-57). This testimony of Jesus cleansing the leper is placed within the context of a section in Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus is demonstrating His divine authority over sin.

Luke 5:14 Comments - In Luke 5:14 we see that Jesus commanded the lepers to follow the Law of Moses in their cleansing process. This legal procedure is found in Leviticus 14:0.

Leviticus 14:2, “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:”

In this verse Jesus charges the healed leper not to testify to other men, but rather limit his testimony to the priest. In contrast, in the region of Gadara, where Jesus was rejected (Luke 8:39), He told the healed demoniac to tell all the Gadarenes what God has done. However, in some places in Palestine where people received Him, He told them to be silent about what God had done (Matthew 8:4; Matthew 9:30, Mark 5:43, Luke 5:14; Luke 8:56). Why did He do this? Perhaps because Jesus knew that He could not return to the country of the Gadarenes and there would be no one else to preach the Gospel to them. However, in the regions where multitudes came out to hear Jesus, He needed the liberty to move about and to teach to smaller crowds in order to better communicate the Good News.

Luke 5:15 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.

Luke 5:15 Comments - The people who were healed are those received from Jesus because they believed in His Words. When the Scriptures says that they came “to hear and to be healed,” it describes the attitude of their hearts. Those who heard were the people whose heart was opened and they believed His Gospel and were able to receive healing.

Verses 17-26

Jesus Heals a Paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8 , Mark 2:1-12 ) In Luke 5:17-26 we have the story of Jesus healing a paralytic. When comparing this narrative material in the Synoptic Gospels, their individual themes are clearly reflected. Mark makes the unique statement that He was preaching the Word unto them (Mark 2:2), reflecting the office of the evangelist. Luke makes the unique statement that He was teaching the people and the power of the Lord was present to heal them (Luke 5:17), reflecting the office and anointing of the prophet. Thus, we can see a clear emphasis in Mark’s version of an evangelist preaching of the Gospel with signs following, which is the foundation theme of this Gospel. Luke’s parallel passage emphasizes Jesus’ power and anointing in the office of the prophet; and within the context of Luke’s literary structure, Jesus is demonstrating to His disciples His authority over sin. Matthew makes no such comments, but rather places emphasis in this section of narrative material on His ability to heal all manner of sickness and disease in order to demonstrate the healing ministry to which He was about to commission His disciples.

This Miracle was a Demonstration that Jesus’ Claim to Divinity was Accepted by God - In this passage of Scripture, Jesus performs a miracle to demonstrate His authority to forgive sin. The foundational theme of Mark’s Gospel is the testimony of Jesus’ works to prove His divinity (and Jews knew that only divinity could forgive their sins). In the Old Testament the evidence that God received a person’s sacrifice and granted forgiveness of sins was demonstrated when the sacrifice was received. For example, we can find examples of God coming down and consuming sacrifices as He did for Moses at the dedication of the Tabernacle (Leviticus 9:24), for Manoah, the father of Samson (Judges 13:19-20), for King David at the threshing floor of Ornan (1 Chronicles 21:26), for Solomon at the dedication of the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1) and for Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:38) as a way of receiving their sacrifices. In a similar way, the evidence that Jesus has the divine power to forgive man’s sins was by the fact that He healed him, since the Jews understood that sickness and sin went hand in hand. Thus, the Jews saw that Jesus’ claim to divinity was accepted by God. In addition, the fact that sickness and sin went hand in hand testifies to the fact that divine healing of men’s physical bodies was embedded in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

This Miracle Demonstrated the Sinful Nature of Every Person - In this story, Jesus heals a man by first forgiving him of his sins. One reason Jesus discussed His authority to forgive sins and demonstrate this authority in front of the Pharisees was so the Jews would have no excuse in knowing Jesus and the Father (See John 15:22-24).

John 15:22-24, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.”

Luke 5:17 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 Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Luke 5:17 “that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by” - Word Study on “doctors of the law” Strong says the Greek word νομοδιδα ́ σκαλος (G3547) literally means, “an expounder of the (Jewish) law, i.e. a Rabbi.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 3 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “doctor of the law 2, teacher of the law 1.”

This word is equivalent to “scribes” as this word is substituted for “doctors of the law” within this same passage of Scripture.

Luke 5:21, “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

The other two places where this word is used are:

Acts 5:34, “Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law , had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;”

1 Timothy 1:7, “Desiring to be teachers of the law ; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”

Luke 5:17 “and the power of the Lord was present to heal them” Comments - Note that this verse follows verse 16, which tells us that Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to prayer. Prayer is our means of receiving power and strength from God.

Luke 5:24 Comments - In Luke 5:24 Jesus reveals His authority over man’s sins by forgiving the paralytic. He will soon reveal His authority over the most sacred Jewish institution, the Sabbath; thus, implying His Lordship over all Jewish traditions and lifestyle, and even the Jewish people as well (Luke 6:5). This revelation of divine authority will culminate on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus will reveal Himself to His disciples in a measure of His heavenly glory (Luke 9:28-36). This ultimate revelation will be given to only a few select disciples whom Jesus knew would believe in Him as the Son of God, and would carry this testimony to the world.

Verses 27-39

Testimony of Jesus’ Authority over Jewish Customs (The Mental Realm) In Luke 5:27 to Luke 6:11 the author gives us three testimonies of Jesus’ authority over Jewish customs. When Jesus calls Levi, He also answers the questions of the scribes and Pharisees about their traditions of avoiding fellowship with publicans and sinners (Luke 5:27-29). Jesus then plucks grain on the Sabbath contrary to their tradition in order to demonstrate that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5). This story is followed by Him healing in the synagogue on the Sabbath, which angered the scribes and Pharisees because it again conflicted with their traditions (Luke 6:6-11).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Calling Disciples from their Traditions Luke 5:27-39

2. Authority over the Sabbath Luke 6:1-5

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 5". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/luke-5.html. 2013.
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