Summary: A sermon about the perils of legalism and the freedom offered in Jesus.
All right, Luke chapter 5. Now as we’ve been following these stories about Jesus, as we go into Luke chapter 5, Jesus begins to have confrontations starting in Luke chapter 5 with a group of religious people called Pharisees. And it starts in Luke chapter 5 and it does not get any better for the rest of the book. I just want to tell you this that these confrontations with these religious legalistic people grow in intensity, but it starts here in Luke chapter 5.
So this morning the title of the talk is “Roof Rippers and Bag Phone Believers, Roof Rippers and Bag Phone Believers.” So I want you to look at the story now. In Luke chapter 5, Jesus has launched into His public ministry, launched right in. Let’s pick it up in verse 17. “One day as He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem were sitting there.”
In other words just a huge collection. Pharisees, legalistic religious leaders from all over the country have gathered to hear this young prophet who they were—in fact they were a bit concerned about Jesus because Jesus is gathering these big crowds. And so they’re all there to listen to Him. “And the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick. Some men carrying a paralytic on a mat and they tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. And when they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles in the middle of the crowd right in front of Jesus.”
Can you imagine how shocked people were to suddenly see this guy coming from the ceiling? They break open the roof; they lower this guy. Here this guy comes in a mat. And I don’t know how safe this was either. I mean this guy was already in bad shape. What if the rope had broken? What if the mat had given way? Here’s this guy being lowered down in front of Jesus; in front of all the crowd because they couldn’t get through the crowd to get to Jesus. So these friends, very innovative.
All right, let’s keep reading. And He says verse 20, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” And a gasp went throughout the crowd. Jesus just said something that only God Himself could say. “He says, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ And the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’”
And Jesus knew what they were thinking and he asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or say, “Get up and walk”?’ But you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins. He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he’d been lying on and went home praising God. And everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled…” Look at the word here, “They were filled with awe.”
Remember that’s one of the three words that God is returning back to our fellowship. Awe, the sense and awareness that God is among us; the miraculous nature of God is present among us even today. They were filled with awe, and He said—and I forgot where I am now. Okay, anyway I’m going to pick it up here. Oh, it says, “We have seen remarkable things today.” Verse 27: “After this, Jesus went out. He saw a tax collector by the name of Levi, sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow Me,’ Jesus said to him. Levi got up, left everything and followed Him.”
“Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered them, ‘It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’”
“And they said to Him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, why can’t You be more like them?’” This is what they were saying. Ever had somebody tell you that? “And he says, ‘And so do the disciples of the Pharisees but yours go on eating and drinking.’ And Jesus answered, ‘Can you make the guest of the bridegroom fast while he’s with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them and in those days they will fast.’”