Extraordinary Things

In Luke 5:17-26, we read the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man. That’s an amazing miracle, but that’s not extraordinary.

In the story, the house where Jesus is staying is packed, so the people who brought the man had to tear a hole in the roof and lower him down. That’s an impressive commitment to a friend, but it’s not extraordinary.

As Jesus encounters the man, after his friends have lowered him in, while the people are all waiting to see a miracle, Jesus does something truly extraordinary.

He tells the man, “Your sins are forgiven.”

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When You Touch the Untouchable

Lepers were to be treated as though they were dead. You took them to the edge of town and you left them there. And yet Jesus touches the untouchable. Who needs our touch?

Jesus the Rule Breaker

In the story of Jesus healing a leper in Luke 5:12-16, we hear the man begging Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Verse 13 tells us of Jesus’ response. “And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately, the leprosy left him.”
Anyone reading the story in that culture would have been shocked, not by the healing, but by Jesus doing something that was absolutely forbidden. He touched the leper.

Leviticus 13 tells how the priests were to diagnose leprosy and then treat the leper. They were to examine the sores but never touch. Once diagnosed, the leper was cast out of the community, beyond the city walls. You treated him the way you would treat a corpse.

He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Leviticus 13:46

But Jesus Broke the Rules

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Let Down Your Nets

Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish didn’t just challenge what Simon knew about fishing, it changed everything he believed possible. Let down your nets.

Fishing Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson, philosopher

The great philosopher Ron Swanson once said, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish and feed yourself. He’s a grown man; fishing’s not that hard.”

While I agree that fishing is not difficult, I would counter that it’s not a matter of “don’t teach a man to fish,” but rather, “you can’t teach a man to fish.” I’ve been around a lot of fishermen and one trait they all seem to have is that they are all thoroughly convinced that their method of fishing is the best. They don’t need you telling them how to fish.

And so, the most amazing thing for me in the story of the miraculous catch of fish from Luke 5 is that when Jesus told Peter let the nets down for a catch, he actually did it.

“Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5
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Walking Jesus’ Path

If we’re walking Jesus’ path we’ll encounter Jesus’ people.

There Are No Shortcuts

In Luke 4:14-30, we read of Jesus’ return to his home in Nazareth and the message he delivered to those in his home synagogue.

It does not go well.

Walking Jesus' path

Trust me; I know what it’s like to preach a bad sermon. I even know what it’s like to preach a bad sermon at my home church! But I’ve never preached a sermon so bad that the whole congregation took me to the edge of town to throw me off a cliff!

Of course, it does help that we don’t have any cliffs nearby.

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Is the Devil in the Details?

Since You Are the Son of God . . .

Sunday, we looked at Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Luke 4:1-13. The devil challenged Jesus to use his status as the Son of God to meet his own needs rather than the needs of others.

Is the Devil in the Details? Jesus' temptation in the wilderness (Stock Image)
“Dude, this totally looks like something out of Inception!”

Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness

I have to tell you; I struggled with how to preach this one. The struggle was mainly because I’ve heard the story mishandled before and, honestly, I’m certain I’ve mishandled it myself.

One of the worst examples of the mishandling of this story is a longstanding debate about the devil’s temptation for Jesus to bow down and worship him. In Matthew’s account, we read, “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me'” (Matthew 4:8-9).

Can you guess what the debate over those verses is? That’s right, the debate is, “What mountain did the devil take Jesus to?”

Was it Mount Everest? That’s the highest, but you can’t see all the kingdoms at once there. Was it just a hill in the desert where the devil gave Jesus a vision? Was it a real mountain or a figurative mountain?

That’s Not the Point

As the old saying goes, “The devil is in the details.” Sometimes we can get so caught up in the little details that we miss what we’re supposed to see in the Scriptures. The story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness isn’t about what mountain the devil took him to any more than it’s about what kind of stones make the best bread.

The point is about what Jesus endured for you.

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