Today: [Luke 5] Are You a Mess Maker? God wants you to be willing to make a mess to get your miracle! In Luke 5 there are several instances where Jesus calls on people to stop what they are doing, make a mess and get a miracle. Sometimes we have to set aside the status quo, and be willing to inconvenience ourselves and to inconvenience others in order to receive from God. Are you a messy Christian? In the chapter we study today, you will find that being willing to make a mess of things is many times the very key to receiving your miracle!
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[Luk 5:1-16 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing [their] nets. 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. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 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. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto [their] partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw [it], he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so [was] also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. 12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13 And he put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 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. 16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
After being rejected at Nazareth Jesus travels throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues. While He spent much time laboring in religious venues, He also reached out to the working class, in this case a group of fishermen by the sea of Galilee. He encounters the crews of two fishing vessels washing their nets after a futile night in which no fish were brought in. Jesus steps into one of the boats which belonged to Simon and He asks Simon to put the boat a short distance from shore, so He could teach the people. Now, this was an inconvenience and it came at a frustrating time when the men had worked all night without any success. Peter could have easily demurred to Jesus’ request because of the work that needed to be done, getting ready to go out again the next night. Be prepared in your life to be put at a disadvantage just when it is time for your miracle. Be interruptible. Be willing to hear the voice of God asking something of you that you feel you are least prepared to give and the most inopportune time. Those are the moments when miracles are in the making.
After Jesus was through speaking, He says to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught…” Notice that Jesus doesn’t command Simon to do this. He simply says this to Simon in a way, again that could have easily been disregarded, and in fact Simon objects at first. He must have thought Jesus didn’t know much about fishing because he explains how they have worked all night long and taken nothing. Isn’t that the way it is in ministry sometimes? The preacher asks something of you that we are tempted to think if he or she knew what was going on in our life at the time, they wouldn’t have been so demanding. Perhaps because Peter sensed something different about Jesus, or because Jesus had just healed Peter’s mother-in-law, he tells Jesus “at thy word I will let down the net…” Did you hear what Peter agrees to do? He agrees to do something that everything in him told him that it would be a waste of time, effort and money because he would have to pay the men who crewed the boat with him.
So Peter launches out into the deep. What was he doing? When you launch out into the deep you are getting in over your head. Have you ever done this? Sometimes when we need a new car or a new house or want to send our kids to college we get in over our head for what we hope to gain by doing so. Then after a time the decisions we make come back around and we struggle to deal with the problem we created when we let our heart overrule our head in making the decision that put us at a disadvantage in the first place. When you get in over your head with the world you wind up in bondage to your creditors. What happens when you get in over your head with God? What happens when you launch out into the deep? Verse 6 tells us that they let down their net and they pulled in a net breaking catch.
What would have happened if Peter would have launched out into the deep but didn’t put down his nets? Many Christians have the heart to step out in God and believe God for big things, but they never let down their nets. What is the net that you need to let down in order to see your net breaking catch? It has to do with your faith. It took faith for Peter to do this. When Jesus healed the man, who was lowered through the roof that was broken up by his friends, the scripture says Jesus “seeing their faith” heals the man. Faith isn’t faith until you see it. Faith is not invisible. The net you need to let down is faith’s corresponding action. Peter had to act in the very area of his greatest need. Likewise, you must act in faith in the very area you need something to happen whether it is money, or whatever you are believing for. I remember one couple I met years ago who told me what givers they were. They said that would get paid, pay their bills, buy their groceries, go out to eat, fill up their gas tank and then whatever they had left they would then give God ten percent of that. They actually thought that was faith believing. They were casting a net the size of a sippy cup and expecting a whale of a blessing and they didn’t understand what God wasn’t holding up His end! Don’t be like that couple. Learn the lesson in God that when you get in over your head, when you launch out into the deep for the sake of the kingdom you will always come back with a net breaking catch.
[Luk 5:17-39 KJV]
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. 18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought [means] to bring him in, and to lay [him] before him. 19 And when they could not find by what [way] they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with [his] couch into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. 25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. 27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise [the disciples] of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? 34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was [taken] out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old [wine] straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Jesus continued in Capernaum, and many Pharisees and doctors of the law were sitting by and verse 17 says that the power of the Lord was present to heal them. What is this? It is God’s manifest presence. What does this mean, isn’t God always with us? There are differentiations of God’s presence in our lives.
There is the indwelling presence of God that is in us by virtue of the new birth. There is God’s ambient presence that is everywhere in creation all at once. There is never anywhere that God isn’t. This is His ambient presence. Then there is God’s manifest presence. That is what is showing up here. This was not necessarily a completely friendly crowd but nonetheless God was there, present to heal.
There is a man suffering with uncontrollable shaking and his friends can’t get to Jesus, so they climb up on the roof and tore up the tiles to lower their sick friend down to Jesus. Let me ask you something, what are you willing to tear up to get to Jesus? This was not the way to get things done. The gospel of Mark tells us that this was Peter’s house. Can you imagine impetuous Peter who cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant? He wasn’t too happy I’m sure to see these men making such a mess of things at his house. Everyone wants a miracle but few people are willing to make a mess to get one. These men went beyond the pale to see their friend get his miracle. Notice what it says in verse 20: Jesus SAW their faith.
Faith is something you can see. It isn’t invisible. Faith that you cannot see, measure, and demonstrate is not faith, it is something else and God is not obligated to honor it. People say “I believe God!” but they aren’t risking anything to receive from God. They think it is all up to Jesus and they stand there waiting on a miracle that will never come because while they think they have faith they actually have none because if you have faith it will be seen. This is faith’s corresponding action that James referred to when he taught that faith without works is dead. A dead thing never produces anything. If you battery is dead in your car you can turn the key all you want and you are going anywhere. You can call the car dealer and complain about the car he sold you but it isn’t the car dealer’s fault. You have a battery that needs a charge. Your faith is like that battery. It is your corresponding action in the area where you are believing God that will cause your faith to take legs and walk you into your blessing place!
When Jesus heals the man, He does so by telling him that his sins are forgiven. That made the Pharisees mad and it makes people mad today. To Jesus, forgiving sin and healing the sick are one and the same thing. Ask your pastor if Jesus heals the sick on the same basis He forgives sin and you will get a variety of answers. We generally believe that God always forgives sin when we sincerely ask and repent before Him, but we don’t believe that God will always heal. Instead we teach that sometimes God will refrain from healing us for any number of reasons. To Jesus however healing and forgiveness of sin are so akin one to another that He speaks of them interchangeably and produces miracles when He does so. For us if our theology says God doesn’t always heal even if we ask in faith, then we have to then conclude based on Jesus approach to these matters, that we can ask God to forgive sin and He might forgive and He might not, because what is true of forgiveness of sin is also true in Jesus’ doctrine of asking for healing. Now we know that God always forgives, therefore we must conclude that it is always His will to heal. If we are not healed, there are reasons to be sure but they do not lie in perverting the message of the gospel to deny God’s heart toward healing and forgiveness of sin are one and the same thing.
Having healed the man and inflamed the hypocrites, Jesus leaves Peter up on the roof repairing the tiles that were torn up, and goes to find Levi, otherwise known as Matthew. Even though this is Luke’s gospel, both Luke and Mark make mention of Levi because he is a tax collector, but Jesus called him anyway.
Nobody likes the tax man but Jesus loved him and said to him “come follow Me…” Matthew is so excited he doesn’t know what else to do so he throws a “come follow Me” party with all his friends, notorious sinners and publicans. The scribes and Pharisees don’t like this. They murmur against Jesus because they don’t like the company He keeps. They see these people as sinners, but Jesus sees them as sick people, saying “they that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick…” Here again Jesus equates sin with sickness and sickness with sin. Can the sinner save himself? No he cannot. In that light sin is like a sickness. When you are sick all you can do is hope to get better, but until God heals you or nature takes its course all you can do is abhor or hate the condition. That is what John’s repentance message was – that people, sinners without God should hate sin. That is all a sinner can do. Then Jesus comes in and gives us the enabling power not only to hate sin but to forsake it altogether.
The scribes and Pharisees don’t like the way Jesus talks about sin and sickness, so they begin criticizing the fact that Jesus’ followers aren’t fasting and being religious like they are. Jesus points out that there is no need for them to fast after the manner of these religious mentalities, why? Because the bride-groom is with you. You don’t need to fast to get God to show up because Jesus dwells in your heart by faith.
Does that mean you never fast? No it doesn’t mean that, because Jesus fasted and the Father was always with Him, but fasting for a believer is a very different thing than fasting is with people who are not God-inside minded. The Pharisees do not understand this and Jesus explains it by giving the example of putting new wine into a new wine skin. This is because in those days if you put new wine into an old wine skin, it would swell and burst because the new wine would stretch it all out of proportion. Again, we see how messy the gospel is. It results in roofs being torn up. It causes the perfectly good doctrines of men to be contradicted and set aside. It makes the container we use to frame spiritual matters and spiritual understandings in to burst and spill out because we haven’t learned to let go of the old and embrace the new thing God is doing. The gospel is messy. It is demanding. It is inconvenient, but it does produce miracles!
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