-The chapter begins with Jesus taking Simon’s boat and pushing out a little ways into the Sea of Galilee to teach the crowds that were pressing around Him. What a scene this must have been as people were hungry to see and hear this man of God. They simply could not get enough and wanted more and more knowledge and instruction from Jesus. So He provided it.
-As He finished speaking, aware of Simon’s need for a large catch of fish and knowing all things, He implored Simon to put his boat out into the deep and let down his net for a catch of fish. This didn’t make sense to Peter because he had labored all night to no avail. He didn’t think any fish were in the area, but he obeyed nonetheless. Suddenly a miracle occurred as too many fish were caught to even be contained in his boat. They signaled to their partners to come assist with their boat because the nets were about to break from the weight. Both boats were filled to the point that they began to sink. When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus feet and said, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8)!” *Application* When we are confronted with the Higher power of Christ Jesus in our lives, it brings us face to face with our limitations and imperfections. At times we don’t feel like we could ever measure up to His goodness, righteousness, grace, and forgiveness. At these times, remember that the LORD loves us and grants to us gifts that are immeasurable and unattainable on our own. Just enjoy His good pleasure on you for the lavish presents He affords.
-Peter, James, and John (James and John the sons of Zebedee) left everything behind and followed Jesus in order to catch men from that point forward. It wasn’t that they would never go fishing again, but their lives now had a new and powerful purpose that was above the mundane existence they had known before. I wonder what Jesus had been teaching on that day in the boat when the crowds were pressing in on Him. It must have been a wonderful and powerful message that stirred complete life change. It must have also involved confession of sin and turning all over to the LORD in repentance.
-Luke next delineates some of Jesus’ healings based on people’s faith in Him. Leprosy was cleansed and a paralyzed man healed and forgiven. It is interesting to note that Jesus instructed the man that had leprosy to go to the priest as a testimony to them. Jesus never strayed away from the Law of Moses. He obeyed the Scriptures in every point.
-With the situation of the healing of the paralyzed man, several things can be noted. Here we see the Pharisees (strict followers of the Law and Jewish man-made tradition) and teachers of the Law were present from all over Galilee, Judea, and even Jerusalem. The word about Christ was drawing important religious people. Power for healing was given Him so that they all could know that He was from God and was in fact God in the form of man. This was an opportunity to accept Him and receive eternal life, and God was at work producing fear and amazement in their midst. Jesus was not only about healing the physical disease, but the spiritual condition as well. It was sad that it took the physical healing, which could be realized, for them to understand the magnitude of this Messiah. Also, here we see the power of friends. The paralyzed man was totally dependent on his friends to carry him to the place where Jesus could minister healing to him. These friends, with dogged determination, made sure that their friend had a chance to be seen by the Lord. They went to great lengths to bring this lame man to Christ. *Application* How involved are we in the lives of our unsaved or broken friends? Are we carrying them to Christ in a spiritual sense? Do all you can to bring your friends into spiritual growth and healing when you know there is a need.
-Now Jesus calls Levi (Matthew), the tax collector. It is interesting that Jesus went out and noticed him while he was sitting at his place of work in the tax booth. What did Jesus notice about this individual? Did He notice the longing for something better? Did He observe the frustration of a life being lived for self? Obviously Jesus knew the heart of Levi and called him to follow Him. The Scriptures say simply that Matthew left everything behind and followed Jesus just as Peter, James, and John had done. *Application* This is a poignant example for us when we get the call of God on our own lives for either salvation or life mission. Don’t delay in accepting the call. Don’t be like the rich young ruler who could not give everything up to follow the Lord (Mark 10:17-22).
-Levi (Matthew) was in love with his new Lord and gave a big reception for Him in his house. This drew the ire of the Pharisees and their scribes because of the sinful nature of the people Jesus was hanging out with. Jesus, knowing their hearts, taught that the whole reason for His coming was for people like these that needed healing spiritually from the condition of sin. He did not come to call the righteous (or should we say the self-righteous), but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Then they questioned Jesus on His disciples’ conduct and their lack of fasting. Jesus simply reminded them that this was a time of celebration for them while the bridegroom was with them. A time would come He predicted that they would fast when He was gone from them.
-Jesus then gives the “new wine skin” teaching. He is offering the new way of the Lord to this rigid class of individuals who could not understand the pure and direct teaching of God. What He meant was that it was new in a sense that it was not perverted with the traditions of men and condemnation that these Pharisees had created. These religious zealots would never capitulate to the truth that Jesus was bringing and therefore a “new wine skin” was necessary. The skins that held wine in Jesus’ time were goatskins that formed watertight bags for preservation. New wine expands as it ages in these pliable bags. A used skin, having become more rigid, would break and spill the new wine because of its stiffness, strictness, and unwillingness to change. *Application* This is a perfect example by the Man who has all wisdom. It is a reminder for us in our day and time not to get so rigid with our customs and ways that we do church that we neglect the Holy Spirit and what He is doing in our midst. Methods will change to reach new cultures and peoples that we come across. The Word of God will never change and has power to any generation. Stay flexible so that the Lord can be appealing to everyone. Be all things to all people as Paul was (1 Corinthians 9:18-23).
Verse to Memorize: Luke 5:20