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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Luke 5



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 Prayer of Manasseh , O Lord." ( Luke 5:8)

Luke 5:2Comments- 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 5:3Comments- 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 5:4Comments- 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 5:5Comments- 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 5:8Comments- 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 5:10Comments- 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 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 5:12Comments - In Luke 5:12 the leper asks Jesus Christ to make him clean ( καθαρί 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 5:14Comments- 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.

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 5:15Comments- 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 νομοδιδά σκαλος (G 3547) literally means, "an expounder of the (Jewish) law, i.e. a Rabbi." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 3times 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 5:24Comments- 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.

Verse 27

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

3. Authority over the Sabbath — Luke 6:6-11

Verses 27-39

The Calling of Levi and Questions on Fasting ( Matthew 9:9-17, Mark 2:13-22) - In Luke 5:27-39 we have the story of Jesus calling Levi as His disciple. This account places emphasis upon forsaking Jewish traditions, while the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John placed emphasis upon the disciples forsaking their own sinful ways.

The Parable of the Garments and the Wine Bottles - In Luke 5:36-39 Jesus tells the people the Parable about the Garments and the Wine Bottles. Jesus is saying that the new (the Kingdom of God) is entering in and that the old (the Old Covenant) is perishing. Likewise, in the natural realm of life, such as food and clothing, you cannot mix the old and the new. One or the other has to be set aside. In Luke 5:36-38 Jesus uses a natural illustration to explain how the old had to give way to the new. You cannot mix mourning ( Matthew 9:15) with feasting. The old covenant must be done away with in order to institute the new covenant.

Matthew 9:15, "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast."

Luke 5:30Comments- The scribes and Pharisees made two false accusations against Jesus because they found him eating with the publicans and sinners. The believed that it was wrong to eat with sinners (verse 30) and to neglect the practice of fasting (verse 33). They saw Jesus guilty on both accounts.

We see in Luke 6:7 that the scribes and Pharisees were searching for accusations against Him.

Luke 6:7, "And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him."

Luke 5:37Comments- The bottles that Jesus mentioned to illustrate the story of wine and bottles were made of animal skins. The older they were, the more stiff them became, and less stretchable. If new wine was poured into old wineskins, the fermentation process, which is not complete, would produce gases and burst the old, stiff wineskins. Today, manufacturer in the wine industry add sulfites to the wine in order to kill the yeast and stop the fermentation process. In ancient times, wine must have continued fermenting until it was consumed.


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 5:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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