Reading through the Bible together
Jesus attracted crowds so large that he had to use Simon’s fishing boat (Luke 5:3) as a platform to preach to the crowd gathered along the shore of Lake Galilee.
Jesus’ miracles amazed everyone. But people were also “astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority” (Luke 4:32). What made Jesus’ word so astonishing and authoritative?
Jesus, the living Word, presented truths about God which were good news for His listeners. As you read the four stories found in Luke 5--the calling of Simon, James and John; the healing of a leper; the healing of a paralytic; and the calling of Levi Matthew--look for the Gospel truth in each story. Here are two ways you can find the God-centered, Good-news truth in any passage in Scripture:
1. Follow the Power – The power in every Bible passage is always God’s action, never man’s action. When you discover the power in a text, you will find the truth about God the author intended to teach.
2. Find the Motivation – The actions of biblical characters are often motivated by a God-centered truth. Find their motivation and you often will find the Gospel truth being taught by the story.
The story of Jesus healing a leper in Luke 5:12-16 is a good place to start looking for God’s power and character’s motivation. The leper revealed his motivation for coming to Jesus when he “implored Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean’” (Luke 5:12). The leper believed the truth that Jesus had the power to cure his leprosy. His only question, “Do you have the desire to heal me?”
Jesus answered: “I am willing, be cleansed. Immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:13). Although Jesus had warned the healed leper not to tell anyone, so powerful was the God-centered truth, “Jesus can cure Leprosy,” that, “great multitudes came to Jesus to be healed of every sickness” (Luke 5:15).
It is still good news that Jesus has the power and the desire to make us clean both physically and spiritually! Come to Jesus today and pray, “Lord, if You are willing You can make me clean.”
Look in each of the other stories in Luke 5 for the God-centered, Good news idea it contains and then ask yourself how that truth can transform your life. As you follow God’s power and find the motivation of the characters in the stories of Luke 5, you will see why Galileans eagerly listened to Jesus’ words, and you will find spiritual nourishment and healing for yourself.
Douglas Jacobs, D.Min.
Professor of Church Ministry and Homiletics
School of Religion, Southern Adventist University