I had the privilege of preaching at West Side Community Church last Sunday (01.19.20). The congregation is in a transitional season and is calling upon local ministers, even pastors from other congregations, to preach on Sundays.
I was asked to take time to introduce myself, so I won’t include that in these notes. If you would like to know more about me CLICK HERE
West Side is doing a fantastic job with media, but they do not post sermon notes, so I will do so here.
If you watch the video, please view the whole service, and don’t just skip to the sermon. I believe we lose track of the impact of sermons if we do not keep them within the context of worship in the community of faith. I don’t post the worship sets for my other sermons because of copyright issues, but West Side is capable of posting their entire service. Please allow worship to have its rightful place in preparing the soul for the ministry of the Word.
Pastor Jared at West Side
i. Luke 5.17-20
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” – New Revised Standard Version
The four friends
We could talk a lot about the faith of the paralyzed man’s four friends. They fight the crowd . . . they take a detour . . . they raise the roof!
In the ancient Near East roofs generally are like a porch with a guest room. They’re covered by mortar. Below the mortar, stone slabs lay over the joists. So the friends dig down through mortar, lift the stone slabs, and lower the paralytic to Jesus. It’s quite a project!
This is important because Jesus sees their faith . . . He sees them. There is a side sermon here: never underestimate your activity and engagement in Christian community.
Then what does Jesus Christ do?
Because of his friends’ faith, Jesus forgives the man?! I don’t want to be disrespectful and say Jesus “missed the memo” . . . He didn’t heal . . . He forgave . . . but Jesus doesn’t make mistakes. So the question becomes, what am I missing in the story?
I may not have all the answers, but I do have some good questions, and this one is crucial to Luke’s Text:
Is there a difference between what we want and what we need?
ii. Luke 5.21-23
Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?
The Pharisees are shocked about how Jesus forgives, not about how He heals
Why are people in ancient Israel used to healing and not forgiveness?
Nigel Allan points out that Jesus is only 1 of many healers in that time. There are plenty of writings outside of the Bible that show us there are other healers and miracle-workers in that age.
Allan reminds us that the Bible itself speaks of other “healers” and doctors. Priests basically have a medical license from the Law of Moses to diagnose and provide cures. Then there is a rise of a professional class of doctors in Greece and Israel, practicing primitive medicine. Paul calls Luke “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4.14).
Jesus mentions physicians and personally relates to them in Luke 5.31-32:
Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
We often refer to Jesus as “The Great Physician” based on Scriptures like this.
Pharisees like healing, but operating in forgiveness?! That’s blasphemy!
iii. It’s exactly the opposite for us now
We understand God’s forgiveness, but do we understand healing? I’m not so sure.
Let me just offer a casual observation about healing and the body.
WE’RE TRYING TOO HARD WITH THE HEALTH TRENDS!
Actually, some of us are trying too hard, maybe not me, but some of us . . . And we’re Christianizing it now . . . Have you read any of these books?
21 Days of Paleo Praise
The Keys and Keto to the Kingdom
4 Essentials of Christian Leadership: And Their Corresponding Essential Oils
You Can Get Bitter or Ghee Butter
Let’s get real. When I was a kid a “hearty breakfast” was a bowl of Wheaties, 2% milk, O.J. from concentrate, and Flinstone Vitamins.
What have we become?!What are we doing?
I think we’re chasing healing and we don’t even know it
We’re hungry for healing, not just for the body . . . but the cure of souls!
iv. Luke 5.24-26
But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the one who was paralyzed – “I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”
Luke offers answers, but we have to get to know Luke’s voice . . .
Luke uses certain terms to describe God’s power and the Holy Spirit. Two of Luke’s terms are found here, even if the Spirit is not mentioned.
Before I share Luke’s key terms, I think he’s asking a question here:
Do you want to give Jesus permission to operate in your life?
The Pharisees don’t want to give Jesus permission to be the Messiah, or even to do something new.
On the other hand, the paralytic seems to be happy with forgiveness. He’s not complaining, so we should not read anything like that into the Text. So he’s happy with forgiveness, and then healing as a bonus.
If we’re okay with allowing Jesus to operate first, then maybe we can see how Luke explains the way Jesus operates in this passage.
The power of the Lord was with Him to heal – Luke 5.17
The term “power” is dunamis in the Greek. It’s 1 of the 2 big terms Luke uses for the power of the Holy Spirit. We get our terms dynamite and dynamo from dunamis. It’s virtue flowing from God for miracles and healings.
The way this sentence is constructed in the Greek is very strong. It seems to show that Jesus is like a direct conduit for God’s miraculous, healing, creative power. In His church, the true community of faith, the power of the Lord is still present to heal.
Will you give Jesus permission to heal you, body and soul?
the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins – Luke 5.24
This word “authority,” exoosia in the Greek, is another of Luke’s Holy Spirit words. It’s often translated power.
Not only does Jesus Christ have the power to heal, He has authority to forgive.
We might understand forgiveness, but I’m not convinced. Do we ever lay awake at night haunted by secret guilt, or wrestling with pain someone else has caused us?
FYI: Our Lord is fully licensed and authorized in forgiveness! He frees the debtor, and washes us whiter than snow. He teaches us the cycle in the Lord’s Prayer, forgive so you can be forgiven. Jesus even frees us from secret guilt that haunts us at night.
How? Because Jesus is the Kingdom’s authorized agent of forgiveness. It’s His specialty to speak forgiveness over you . . . and through you.
Will you give our Lord permission to operate in His authority to forgive?
v. My key takeaways from this story
It’s not just another story about how Jesus outwits the Pharisees. We love those stories, but we’re not even sure why we love those stories.
It’s not just another healing story, although it’s pretty magnificent. If Jesus can heal a paralytic, then what can He do for me?
It may not be all about the faith of this man’s friends, but as we say in some circles “That’ll preach!”
The story is also about:
Permission to Operate
We must let Jesus operate as only He can. Two of the ways He operates are summed up in the two statements we’ve already looked at (Luke 5.17, 24).
The power of the Lord was with Him to heal
the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins
West Side Community Church
“The sole purpose of building this church has always been about people. Our hearts are for people first. Our prayer is that this facility will be a lighthouse to those in need of a safe harbor during the storms of their lives – a place that is loving, accepting and nurturing to the community and world around us.”
Please pray for West Side’s pastoral search as the Spirit reminds you.
To visit the website CLICK HERE
Rev. Jared Ingle
Pastor: Long Lake Friends Church
Supervised Therapist: Individuals, Couples, and Families
Traverse City, MI
JC Ingle, Inc.