Bible Study: Luke Chapter 5



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Welcome back to another Bible Study. Let’s jump right into this one.

1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

Luke 5:1 KJV

Gennēsaret is part of the western shore of the sea of Galilee. It is a fertile plain and the name literally means a harp. This is because this coast was shaped like a coast.

And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

Luke 5:2 KJV

Washing their nets means they had just finished fishing. Most likely this is the morning, as fisherman tended to fish at night when there were more fish to be caught.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Luke 5:3 KJV

So here is the image. Jesus is out just a little from the shore and all the people around the this portion of the lake can hear Jesus ministering to them. He basically turned the ship into a pulpit and the shores were the pews. He was showing that the building is not important, it is the message.

Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Luke 5:4-5 KJV

This is odd because during the day, fish tend to lumber down to the depths of rivers and lakes. So Simon being a professional fisherman would know this. So if the fish were too deep during the night they sure as heck would be too deep during the day.

It is also notable that the word master here is epistata (ἐπιστάτα) which is commander or chief but in even more modern terms it would be like captain. This is giving authority to Christ, regardless of his personal doubts.

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

Luke 5:6 KJV

That is a lot of fish but how many. I mean when we picture a fishing boat its pretty big but let me give you some details as to what the boat would have been like. The boat would have been around 27ft long, 7 and half feet wide. We know this because in 1986 a fishing boat preserved in mud from the same era was discovered. It is safe to assume this boat is much the same.

And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

Luke 5:7 KJV

So not only do we have one boat filled but two and they began to sink they were so full. That is about 200 square feet of fish. Imagine a haul like that. It was the haul to end all hauls.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

Luke 5:8-9 KJV

Any fisherman knows that this was not a natural occurrence and that Jesus was clearly no mortal man. He displayed his command over nature itself thus proving him to be only one thing, God incarnate.

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Luke 5:10 KJV

This is Jesus calling them to a full time ministry. Jesus is displaying to us once again our ministry is the soul cause for our living. We are to live and serve him.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Luke 5:11 KJV

Let’s look closely at this forsook all. Aphentes panta (ἀφέντες πάντα), to leave alone everything. Meaning their boats full of fish and their gear and even the boats themselves, they left it all behind and instead followed Jesus.

Sometimes in our own personal lives we must leave everything behind and follow Christ. These are things that are holding us back. It can at dreadful times be relatives and friends, ones who are outside of the lord and keep you from walking upright with him. Many alcoholics know this well. It can be the closest people to you who are your worst enemies keeping us in our sinful lives.

Another element at times is our occupations, lets say you have a job that preys on the weak. Or a job that requires you to compromise your morals. You must leave those places.

This however is not to say that you cannot have your own life as well. Not everyone is called to be a minister, likewise not everyone will have the same looking ministry. Your ministry could be in cleaning floors as a janitor. If you do it to the best of your ability and treat it like an art and when people ask you, why do you work so hard at cleaning these floors, you can answer them, because I wanted to tell you about Christ.

Ministry can take many forms. It is not always the conversions of pastor or priest duties.

I personally write fiction. Why? Well, because it brings in people that would otherwise not hear of the bible at all. In doing great secular fiction I hope to draw a few readers to my bible studies. Maybe through the secular I can build a road. I would like nothing more than my readers to find Christ and to heal with him in their life.

12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Luke 5:12 KJV

This man was not just a leprous he was in an advanced stage, hence full of leprosy. In Leviticus chapter 13 we can read a very detailed list of instruction on how to deal with leprosy. I am not going to be quoting the fifty nine verses. Instead I will give a quick explanation.

Leprosy is a skin condition which causes sores and boils to form on the skin, and it looks horrible. It spreads easily as well, and not only does it spread easily but it ultimately kills people.

In dealing with a leper, they are considered ceremonially unclean. Not only that but they are to be isolated from the community entirely. Isaiah uses the condition as a analogy for sin.

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Isaiah 1:4-6 KJV

This is a very well painted image of leprosy. Instead of seeing leprosy as a condition however, they took the analogy literally and leprosy came to be synonymous with sin itself. They went from being ceremonially unclean to being damned in the eyes of the Israeli people. It was brave of this person to go out into public to see Christ. He no doubt was well avoided by people. Looked down upon as committing some kind of filthy sin to deserve him of his sickness.

Make sure you do not fall into that trap. I have seen it preached in the modern church. You will not be sick if you are in the Lord. Do not fall for these pieces written by devils who only wish to sow pride in your heart.

13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

Luke 5:13 KJV

Now Jesus touched a leper. This would make him ceremonially unclean. I have seen atheists use this as a gotcha thing. However, what people are failing to understand is Christ is not a mortal man. He is the one who cleans. He is not a hand but the detergent that cleanses this man of leprosy. He is the source of cleansing itself. So it is not possibly to get him dirty because he is what cleans. I think I emphasized that enough.

14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Luke 5:14 KJV

Jesus is instructing the man to carry out the cleansing ritual listed in Leviticus 14. Once again its long. However, leprosy is not something that goes away. In scripture there is only a couple examples. Miriam in Numbers 12 and Naaman who we talked about yesterday.

So this would be a sign to the priests because it was always an act of God that healed these people when a prophet was among them. Also I think Jesus had a sense of humor here. He sends this guy who had leprosy to be cleansed by the priests already healed. This is something that would no doubt cause an uproar.

15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Luke 5:15-16 KJV

So after hearing of Jesus’s healing powers people flooded him. So many in fact it actually stressed him out. So he did what everyone should do when stressed. Get away from society and people and go pray. This is actually something I cling to. As someone with social issues, I have to be very mindful of how stressed I am. I do as much as I can but this gives permission for that. I am thankful for Christ’s example.

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Luke 5:17 KJV

Luke is pointing out that the religious officials are gathering. Most likely the most venerated of them or at least their eyes. The reason I say this is because Jerusalem was the capitol. It is where the highest priests would be.

Pharisees were very legalistic in nature. They took the law and memorized it not to follow but to wield against others with the pride they held within themselves. Pharisee means to separate. Meaning they were separate and above the unclean. It is and was a satanic doctrine which based the majority of its validity on the Babylonian Talmud. Anyone following such a wicked set of teachings will be cut off from God. Make no mistake about that. The Torah and the Prophets alone are the only valid Jewish traditions.

18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

Luke 5:18-19 KJV

This tells you that there was so many people swarming where Jesus was it blocked off any possibly way of entry. He was the original rock star. So this is just as it sounds. Now there is something to understand about houses in this time. Generally they were built on the hill slopes. So the roof of someones house tended to be the balcony of another. So getting onto the roof is not really a difficult ordeal in itself normally.

Carrying a couch with someone laying on it however, would be. Palsy for you folks who don’t play classic 16-bit RPGs, is paralysis. So this man was paralyses in some way. It often results in tremors of the body as well. A very serious condition for the time. It would mean a real struggle for the family to provide for the person.

Their faith was so strong that Jesus could heal the man or the man’s situation was so desperate they went through with this little feat to get into his presence.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Luke 5:20 KJV

I want you to notice Jesus’s reaction upon seeing this. He does not heal the man, not yet at least. He tells him that his sins are forgiven. But why? Because he saw their faith. Jesus is giving us a lesson. He is telling us that forgiveness of sin is by our faith alone in Christ and not anything else. It is also the man’s most dire ailment. What troubles him for a lifetime is far less important than what will trouble him for his eternity.

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

Luke 5:21 KJV

Seeing Jesus as a man, the religious leaders among them saw this as a blasphemy because no man can issue the forgiveness of sin. It comes from God alone. They were right in their reasoning, wrong in their own ignorance of who was before them. The seriousness of that is something that is to be punished with DEATH.

16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

Leviticus 24:16 KJV

Watch how Jesus responds to their accusation.

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

Luke 5:22 KJV

Luke is making it a point that not only is Jesus able to reason what their suggestion was by their words but he could also perceive the very thoughts in their mind. Another proof of Christ’s God nature.

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

Luke 5:23 KJV

A direct challenge to these religious leaders own senses. I argue that their hearts were wrong in this. It is much harder to forgive sins than it is for a man to walk. However, in the minds of these ministers they believed the contrary.

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Luke 5:24 KJV

Before I go off into the weeds a little let’s finish this portion. Jesus commands the man to get to his feet and take up his couch or bed into his own house. Saying such a thing is a ridiculous command. Even if healed the man surely would have suffered from atrophy. His muscles would be absolutely deteriorated and the idea of him lifting his bed or even laboring himself up to his house would be impossible. So Jesus is not just saying stand up, he is not saying move your legs, he is not even telling him just to walk. He is telling him to get up, take his couch and go home. Which means carrying his couch through a massive crowd of people too. Just to get the image clear.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

Luke 5:25-26 KJV

And he does just that. A new and purified man. Do not be confused. The forgiveness of his sins is not what healed this man of his ailments. Some people will use this as a defense that sickness or ailment is the result of personal sin. It is not. The lesson here is that Jesus has power and authority over EVERYTHING. He is King of all creation. Everything bows to his authority, and in him is the forgiveness of sins.

The response of the religious leaders is “We have seen strange things today.” The words strange things is actually paradoxa (παράδοξα); it means contrary to opinion or expectation. It is a troubling kind of word. It bothered them. Maybe forced them to rethink their theological stances. It is important to review old information as new information becomes available in all things we do. Especially in spiritual matters. Christ really smashed a lot of orthodox views.

Now I wanted to talk about the term Son Of Man. It is a word used in Hebrew that means humanity in general. Some people have extrapolated this to mean that Jesus is not claiming to be God. However I believe Jesus uses this term to demonstrate that he is God and man. That he came to us as a perfectly human entity. This is my admitted conjecture on the topic. So I could be wrong but that is my personal view. I believe it was also a slight at the Hebrew leaders who thought him to be Just a man. It was a sarcastic way of saying I am just a man as you say, yet look what I do, can just a man do this? A challenge to their own sensibilities.

27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

Luke 5:27 KJV

A publican is an official of Rome. Levi’s duty was tax collection but a publican held any number of jobs. We first see him as he was sitting at a toll booth for collecting taxes.

The way Roman’s set up their tax system is a little different. People would bid into becoming a tax collector. The highest bidder was able to receive the charge of turning in the taxes for whatever area they had purchased rights to. The same time they were given an assessed figure and any amount of taxes collected above the amount they could keep for themselves.

This is a pretty good system for the Roman government. Someone is held responsible and they themselves were not bothered by the job. Not only that but someone had to purchase their position. So money on top of money. Good system. However this invited people to tax unfairly.

We are not given where Levi collected taxes from or what exactly he held for tax rights. We can make theories but that is all they are. In any capacity this would make the religious community very angry with him. Who likes the tax man after all? Most likely he would have been kept from worship and serving in any religious capacity. He might as well have been considered a gentile as far as the Hebrew community would be concerned.

So Jesus approaching him and telling him to follow him would have naturally invited negative gossip.

28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Luke 5:28 KJV

This is more than just leaving for a moment. We are given that Levi is leaving behind his charged toll completely and leaving his future with Rome. He would never be allowed to go back to his profession after this. He left everything behind just as Peter did.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Luke 5:29 KJV

Levi most likely used a fair bit of money to put on this dinner. Not only that but he also invited his colleagues to take part. Naturally Levi would have been amazed that Jesus would care for him at all considering how the religious leaders treated him. This was an occasion for celebration in his eyes.

30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

Luke 5:30 KJV

Now notice, the reaction of the leadership of the synagogue was that they were associating with publicans, and sinners. The fact that they associated publicans in general as sinners shows they had an extreme bias towards them. Not only this but eating an drinking denotes fellowship. This in the minds of the Pharisees and scribes was unacceptable.

I want you to notice that Levi’s company was other publicans alone. This is how isolated he was from the rest of his community. He was absolutely alone other than his fellow colleagues.

31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:31-32 KJV

Jesus declares him mission statement to these publicans. He makes no distinction of which who was who among them or beyond them. He simply states what he is here to do. I find this interesting because all of us were/are in need of his remedy.

This may have been a call to certain people in that group but surely it is also to those who were outside spreading rumors. However it was not in accusation but rather in a statement of fairness and love.

Now the Pharisees on the other hand would rather all sinners die and be slaughtered and if ever given the hand to do so would have in a heartbeat. They had hearts of wickedness and violence against all they felt were beneath them. Instead of helping others in their righteousness they helped people FOR their “righteousness”. The only time a Pharisee was kind was simply to show how good they were. How generous they could be. Don’t be like a Pharisee, do good for goodness sake alone.

33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?

Luke 5:33 KJV

John here is disciples of John the baptists. They make a distinction because the Pharisees rejected the baptism of John as heresy and most likely viewed him rightly slain for his trouble. The Pharisees also had a decree that people had to fast twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. If you did not then you were not a godly person. They also made it a point to pray really loudly on street corners and in widows houses and made sure they were heard because they were such “righteous” people.

34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?

35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

Luke 5:35 KJV

Jesus is making reference to himself being the bridegroom here and the people around him are the children of the bridechamber. He is also giving them a hint that he will be taken away from them by force in fact. Aparthē (ἀπαρθῇ) it means to lift off. It is most often used in terms of forceful action. So this is suggesting of the crucifixion or maybe just the arrest.

Now is Christ calling for us to fast? We are clearly in the days that he has been taken away. Is this a call to fast? I am not entirely sure. I practice fasting personally for COMPLETELY nonspiritual reasons but perhaps I should consider the benefits of fasting for spiritual reasons. If any of you are interested in doing a spiritual fast please first discuss this with your doctor, especially if you have some kind of illness.

36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.

Luke 5:36 KJV

Clothing today goes through a process to pre-shrink their size. Back in their times they did not do these practices. So when an garment was washed several times it would naturally shrink and wear. Placing a new material onto old garments would cause the old to rip and for them to be unevenly deteriorated.

The old garment is the laws of Moses. What the Jewish leadership is attempting to do at this time is take the old law and by new ordinances make it new. Just like taking old material and putting new material onto it. Instead of making a new garment they would make some hideous patchwork that is not desirable by anyone. Likewise Jesus is telling them that what the Jewish leadership is trying to achieve will not work. Their ordinances are not in line with God and are just ugly.

37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

Luke 5:37-39 KJV

Once again likewise it is about getting trapped in our old ways instead of becoming enlightened by new information. Christ is among them revealing all the hidden things of God to them and yet they are so stuck in their traditions that they cannot see the forest through the trees. Never allow yourself to be so steeped in expectation that you fail to see what is directly in front of you.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this session. Be sure to come back as I will be doing the whole book of Luke by the end of the month. Please have yourself a great today and a better tomorrow.


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