Summary: Jesus performed many great miracles. This one shows the willingness of Jesus to forgive as well as heal. It also shows the role of friends bringing friends to Jesus,

There were four people sitting in a train compartment: an elderly lady who was knitting, a young woman who was reading a book, a Professor who was talking about his research, and his young student whom he was taking to a conference, and who was listening to his professor and taking down notes.

This situation continued for quite a while. The lady was knitting, the young woman was reading, the professor was talking away, and the student was listening. Then the train went into a tunnel, and the compartment was plunged into darkness. No-one could see anything. Suddenly there came the sound of a loud kiss, followed by a hearty slap. As the train came out of the tunnel, everyone was in the same position as they had been before.

Now the lady thought that she knew what had happened. Good for her, she thought, that young man has just kissed the girl, and she slapped him.

The young woman thought that she knew what had happened. She liked the kiss but she couldn’t believe the older lady had the audacity to slap the young man.

The professor thought that he knew what had happened. It’s not fair, he thought, my student kissed that girl, and she slapped me by mistake.

The student thought This is the greatest day in my life I just kissed the young woman, then slapped his professor.

If you want to Grow spiritually you have to make the most out of every opportunity.

Luke 15.17-26

I. God Is Willing

A. In Spite of Negative Influences

1. Pharisees and Torah-Teachers

a. Pharisees were Rabbis with Authority to make judgments/give new interpretations

b. Torah Teachers could only teach what was already revealed

c. Wide Range of Pharisees and Torah Teachers present

2. Present for Criticism and Debate

a. [NASCAR – people often do not attend to see the race but to see the wrecks

b. Yeshua’s Self-Defense – Matthew 5.17-19

17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

B. Because of the Friends’ Compassion

1. They were acting in harmony with God – he is compassionate

2. They expressed faith in Yeshua (Jesus) – v. 20

There’s a familiar old story that’s told about a tightrope walker who did incredible stunts. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts at tremendously scary heights. Then, he would do it blindfolded, then he would go across the tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow.

As the story goes, there was an American promoter who read about this in the newspapers and wrote a letter to the tightrope walker, saying, "Tightrope, I don’t believe you can do it, but I’m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your transportation fees, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls."

Tightrope wrote back and said, "Sir, I’d love to come." Well, after a lot of promotion and setting the whole thing up, a crowd of people came to see the event. Tightrope was to start on the Canadian side and come over to the American side on this rope suspended over the falls. After a suspenseful drum roll, he came across blindfolded.

The crowds went wild, and he came to the promoter and says, "Well, Mr. Promoter, now do you believe I can do it?" He said, "Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it." "No," said Tightrope, "do you really believe I can do it?" "Well of course I do, you just did it." "No, no, no," said Tightrope, "do you believe I can do it?" "Yes," said Mr. Promoter, "I believe you can do it." "Good," said Tightrope, "then get in the wheelbarrow."

You see, faith is never something just to be talked about. It is something that must be demonstrated in the way we live. Paul Harvey once said, “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.” There’s Biblical basis for that statement. James said, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18).

3. They expressed chutzpah – persistence – widow/Syro-Phoenician Woman

C. Because of the Man

1. Yeshua (Jesus) sees the individual – not the crowd/critics/friends

2. Yeshua (Jesus) values the individual as well as the crowd

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