Jesus Heals a Crippled Man
Luke 5:20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” :21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus took notice of the faith that would go to such lengths to bring a needy case to His attention.
When He saw their faith, that is, the faith of the four plus the invalid, He said to the paralyzed man, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” This unprecedented statement aroused the scribes and the Pharisees. They knew that no one but God could forgive sins.
Unwilling to admit that Jesus was God, they raised the cry of blasphemy.
Luke 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? :23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?
The Lord then proceeded to prove to them that He had actually forgiven the man’s sins. First He asked them if it was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise up and walk”? In one sense it is just as easy to say one as the other, but it is another thing to do either, since both are humanly impossible.
The point here seems to be that it is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven you,” because there is no way of telling if it has happened. If you say, “Rise up and walk,” then it is easy to see if the patient has been healed.
The Pharisees could not see that the man’s sins had been forgiven, so they would not believe. Therefore, Jesus performed a miracle which they could see to prove to them that He had truly forgiven the man’s sins. He gave the paralytic the power to walk. In your opinion, what is it necessary for the man to actually walk?
Luke 5:24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—The title, the Son of Man, emphasizes the Lord’s perfect humanity. In one sense, we are all sons of man, but this title “the Son of Man” sets Jesus off from every other man who ever lived. It describes Him as a Man according to God, One who is morally perfect, One who would suffer, bleed, and die, and One to whom universal headship has been given.
Luke 5:25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
In obedience to His word, the paralyzed man got up, carried his small sleeping pad, and went home, glorifying God.
Luke 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
The crowd was literally amazed, and they too glorified God, acknowledging that they had seen incredible things that day, namely the pronouncing of forgiveness and the miracle that proved it.
Jesus Chooses Levi
Luke 5:27 After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” :28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
Levi was a Jewish tax collector for the Roman government. Such men were hated by their fellow-Jews, not only because of this collaboration with Rome, but because of their dishonest practices.
One day while Levi was at work, Jesus passed by and invited him to become His follower. With amazing promptness, Levi left all, rose up, and followed Him. Think of the tremendous consequences that flowed from that simple decision. Levi, or Matthew, became the writer of the First Gospel.
It pays to hear His call and follow Him.
Luke 5:29 Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. :30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
It has been suggested that Levi had three purposes in arranging this great feast. He wanted to honor the Lord, to witness publicly to his new allegiance, and he wanted to introduce his friends to Jesus.
Most Jews would not have eaten with a group of tax collectors. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. He did not, of course, fraternize with them in their sins, or do anything that would compromise His testimony, but He used these occasions to teach, to rebuke, and to bless.
Their scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for associating with these despised people, the dregs of society.
Luke 5:31 Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Jesus answered that His action was in perfect accord with His purpose in coming into the world. Healthy people do not need a doctor; only those who are sick do.
Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
The Pharisees considered themselves to be righteous. They had no deep sense of sin or of need. Therefore, they could not benefit from the ministry of the Great Physician.
But these tax collectors and sinners realized that they were sinners and that they needed to be saved from their sins.
It was for people like them that the Savior came. Actually, the Pharisees were not righteous. They needed to be saved as much as the tax collectors. But they were unwilling to confess their sins and acknowledge their guilt. And so they criticized the Doctor for going to people who were seriously ill.
People Ask About Going Without Eating
Luke 5:33 Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”
The next tactic of the Pharisees was to interrogate Jesus on the custom of fasting. After all, the disciples of John the Baptist had followed the ascetic life of their master. And the followers of the Pharisees observed various ceremonial fasts. But Jesus’ disciples did not.
Luke 5:34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? :35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”
The Lord answered in effect that there was no reason for His disciples to fast while He was still with them. Here He associates fasting with sorrow and mourning. When He would be taken away from them, that is, violently, in death, they would fast as an expression of their grief.
Luke 5:36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.
Three parables follow which teach that a new dispensation had begun, and there could be no mixing of the new and the old.
In the first parable, the old garment speaks of the legal system or dispensation, while the new garment pictures the era of grace. They are incompatible. An attempt to mix law and grace results in a spoiling of both. A patch taken from a new garment spoils the new one, and it does not match the old one, either in appearance or strength.
J. N. Darby states it well: “Jesus would do no such thing as tack on Christianity to Judaism. Flesh and law go together, but grace and law, God’s righteousness and man’s, will never mix.”
Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson