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Chapter five continues Luke’s account of Jesus’ first year of ministry, in Galilee, with a specific focus on four events – calling, healing, forgiving, and teaching. In each of these we find a profound sense of Jesus’ compassion. First, Luke recorded Jesus’ calling of some of his early disciples (vs. 1-11). Using a boat to give him some space (and possibly amplify his voice), Jesus was teaching the crowds. Knowing that the fishermen had caught nothing, he miraculously provided them with a large haul. This miracle served to provide for them and to prove his identity to them (vs. 8). They were convinced that he was worth following.
Second, Jesus healed a man “who was covered with leprosy” (a doctor’s notation). The preliminary discussion was about Jesus’ willingness to do so, which he was. The man’s natural response was to show and tell everyone he knew, but Jesus required that he follow the Mosaic Law, because he was still considered unclean until certified by a priest that he was not. Verse 16 adds another aspect to Jesus’ humanity. In addition to showing Jesus’ total reliance upon the Holy Spirit, Luke emphasized that Jesus also depended on prayer in order to fulfill his ministry.
Third, in what is usually seen as a healing miracle, Jesus used the opportunity to forgive a man’s sins. As was usual, the healing was a secondary act meant to prove who Jesus was. Miracles always supported the message (vs. 26). Finally, Luke recorded a particular teaching moment, which showed Jesus’ human compassion for the most overlooked. Even as a doctor, Luke knew that Jesus was concerned for more than just people’s physical health, and Jesus’ statement he was the physician for the spiritually sick (vs. 31-32) must have been special him. When confronted by the religious legalists who condemned him for his disciples’ actions, Jesus used the opportunity to identify himself as the long-awaited one (using a bridegroom for an example). He also used a short parable to point out that did not come to offer simple additions to their old way but a new, better way. However, he already knew that many would reject him, because they were comfortable with their old way of life (vs. 39). What a great reminder to follow Jesus, even when it becomes uncomfortable for us.