Guest Blogger: Daniel Ethridge
Growing up Pastor Grant’s son was quite the adventure. I remember when I was five years old I packed a suitcase, full of all my essential toys, and walked out the front door. After a few minutes of walking down the road I heard a car behind me. When I turned around I saw my dad, hanging out the window, with our family video camera. He was filming me run away. Once I got tired, he put me back in the car, drove me home, and the minute we walked inside he sat me in front of the TV and made me watch the video. It was impactful enough that I still remember it. He gave me something extremely effective that day: a new perspective to see who I truly was.
This past Sunday, in Luke chapter 5, we saw a story of multiple types of people who encountered Jesus. Which one of them would you have been?
The report about Jesus was beginning to grow and Luke tells us in verse 15 that “great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.” The sad thing in this story is that only one man leaves healed. Why was it that out of all the people there, only one man would leave having been changed? The scripture explicitly says that the “power of the Lord was present with Jesus to heal.” Yet for some reason, they would leave the same. Every week we have people who sit in our congregation and leave the same. Many individuals want to get close enough to Jesus to experience the work of God, but not close enough to be changed by it. We want all the benefits without any commitment. How committed are you to the things of God? Are you a bystander? At Liberty we say, “It’s not just church, It’s life!” Does that adequately describe your life?
The Pharisees are a part of the same crowd as the bystanders, but they are a very different group. Luke tells us in verse 17 and 21 that they were sitting and questioning the things of God. This is a great picture of religious people today. They come to be a part of the church activities but they aren’t active in the mission that Jesus was on. This crowd claimed to know the things of God but they couldn’t see Him when He stood in front of them. What was it that kept them from seeing and believing Jesus? When you look at the gospels, it can be summed up in two things: status and tradition. Have we become a people so set on our preferences that we are keeping others from getting to Jesus? My fear is that we’ve become a social club for the saved, rather than a home for the lost or a hospital for the sick. In Matthew 23:13-15 Jesus called out the Pharisees. “You shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” That is exactly what Luke 5:18-20 shows us they did.
Not everyone in the story responded incorrectly. The friends completely reoriented their lives in order to get this man to Jesus. They believed that Jesus was what the crippled man needed and they were willing to do anything to remove the hindrances! Are you doing everything possible to see your coworkers, family, neighbors, and friends come to Jesus? Verse 20 says, “And when [Jesus] saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Does your faith in Jesus lead others to Him? James tells us that faith without works is dead.
The Healed Man
This character was the one who left completely changed. Can you imagine when they lowered him at Jesus’ feet? He had to know something incredible was about to happen, and then Jesus said, “your sins are forgiven you.” It couldn’t have been what the crowd expected. This man was unable to walk! Yet Jesus sees our greatest need. His legs were what brought him to Jesus but his soul was what was really in need of transformation from God. What is bringing you to Jesus? It might be a failing marriage, an economic struggle, a wayward child, a physical illness, or even a death in the family. All those things are just a symptom of a greater issue. Ask God to forgive your sins and begin to walk daily with Him. The story ends with the man’s legs being completely restored. I cannot promise that walking with Jesus is going to be easy, but I can promise that it will be worth it. If He is able to save you and give you an eternity with Him, you can rest assured, knowing that He can guide you through whatever you are facing.
If you had been in this story, who would you have been? I am praying that God would personally touch you today, so that you will know the power of God and live a life bringing others to Him.