Yesterday Jesus spoke teaching his disciples the Beatitudes (the poor in spirit, those that mourn, the meek…), today we see the example in actions. First, the leper.
2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
The focus is not on the healing but on Faith. Once again, he instructs him to comply with the ceremonial law BUT also tells him not to tell anyone. Jesus will make his own public declaration when it is time (The Passover).
Next, a Centurion is a highly ranked, wealthy member of the Roman Army with 80-100 men in his command. More importantly, he is a Gentile. The Jews had 2000 years of scriptures about the Lord healing or saving them. Yet, they did not believe. The Centurion approaches Jesus in an attitude of submission and great faith but he also recognizes Jesus’ authority under The Lord.
In the Luke account of this story, you can see clearly that this powerful military leader, who is used to saying “jump” and people say “how high” comes before him so unworthy and humble that he sent others on his behalf. The Centurion is making a public profession of Faith. (very risky if word got back to Rome)
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
Before we go any further, you need to know that these healings are for a testimony that is going to be needed for John the Baptist. Just pay attention to the sequence so far so people can be a witness for John.
The widow’s son- a story about God’s compassion on us when we don’t even ask. Without even being asked, Jesus restores Life. I don’t call it a resurrection, because that would entail a new glorified body. However, Jesus restores the life of a widow’s son just as John the Baptist restored the life of a widow’s son in 1 Kings 17. Click here to read. That is why the crowd said:
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (as a prophet-Elijah)
John the Baptist is sitting in prison for rebuking Herod. Herod had lured his brother’s (Philip) wife (Herodias)away from him and was put in prison for it. Recalling the scriptures, his expectations of the Messiah to come was to “set the captives free”, as it states in Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
Well…in all fairness to John…he is captive…when is the Messiah going to set him free. Jesus has a testimony for John to put him at ease.
22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Elijah continually quoted from Isaiah so Jesus reassures him with that testimony since it meshed together several Isaiah quotes “He spoke his language”
Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.
Isaiah 35:5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Isaiah 35:6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
After the messengers left, Jesus speaks to the crowds about John: he did not come in fine clothes (like a king) with something to gain but he came as The Prophet to pave the way for the Lord. His role as a Prophet-no other role is greater. BUT the people who humble themselves and come to the Lord-they are greater than the role! Then he tells them that this generation will never be satisfied- John came poor in spirit and they called him a demon because of his strong message of repentance-he was too conservative for them. Then Jesus, the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’-too liberal for them. They would never be satisfied!
The last story has so many details: If I hear about this story elsewhere most people concentrate on the expense of the perfume, the anointing as a foreshadowing of his death to come, or her “loose” lifestyle since she was so casual to let he hair down. (All true) But I want to look at some other details:
- Why did the Pharisee have Jesus for dinner? Because it was customary? To question him? Curiosity? To show off his famous guest? I am not sure…but what I am sure about is the Phariss did not respect Jesus from the moment He walked in. If he had he would have :
- Offered him water
- anointed His head
- washed His feet
But she did ❤.
- The Pharisee said TO HIMSELF (not even out loud):“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”He concludes that Jesus is not the Prophet people were claiming Him to be, because to a Pharisee, letting a sinful person touch you made you “spiritually unclean”. Well, I say thank Heavens the Pharisee didn’t kiss him on the cheeks like he was supposed to when he entered!! Ha! Talk about a plank in his eye!
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Read this carefully. She was not forgiven because she loved Jesus. She loved Jesus because she was forgiven. (for much)
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (they still question this as Blasphemy….who does he think he is??? God??) Ummmmmvyup.
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (To the Pharisees this was Ludacris! She is a sinner…she probably even works on the sabbath!)