But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
Simon was a common Biblical name. Since there were two disciples named Simon, they were distinguished as Simon Peter and Simon the zealot (Luke 6:15). In addition, the New Testament names seven other Simons including Simon the step-brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55), Simon the leper (Matt. 26:6), Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32), Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36–40), Simon, the father of Judas Iscariot (John 13:2), Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9), and Simon the tanner (Acts 10:6).
and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”
Catching men. Jesus calls to us, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). You may think you lack the personality or skills to win souls, but Jesus will make you into fisher of men. Jesus is the wise winner of souls, and he wins souls through you. Our part is follow or trust him.
But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
(a) Large crowds. The crowds were like an army besieging Jesus; see entry for Matt. 11:12.
(b) Hear him. People were drawn to Jesus because he spoke the words of eternal life (John 6:68). The law-teachers put heavy yokes on people while the rabbis baffled them with manmade tradition, but Jesus spoke with authority and led people in the way of life.
(b) Their sicknesses. The original word (astheneia) means feebleness or weaknesses. It includes mental illness as well as physical infirmities.
Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
(a) Seeing their faith. Jesus saw the actions that accompanied the faith of those who carried the paralyzed man. The four men risked the rebuke of others by removing the roof of the house. They did this because they believed that Jesus could help their friend.
(b) Your sins are forgiven. Jesus forgave the paralyzed man to show us that God freely forgives us on account of grace and without any regard for our behavior (Eph. 1:7). Jesus died for us while we were sinners, and he forgave us while we were sinners (Col. 2:13). Before you repented, confessed, or did anything, the Lamb of God carried away all your sins – past, present, and future. See entry for Luke 23:34.
The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”
Who can forgive sins; see entry for Forgiveness.
“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
Your sins have been forgiven; see entry for Luke 5:20.
“But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”
(a) The Son of Man; see entry for Matt. 8:20.
(b) Forgive sins; see entry for Luke 5:20.
The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”
Tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors like Levi were revenue collectors for the hated Roman occupiers, while sinners were unrighteous lawbreakers (Matt. 9:13). In the highly religious society of first-century Israel, tax collectors and sinners were social outcasts. Yet Jesus said he came especially for people like them (Matt. 9:12–13, Mark 2:17).
To the disgust of the religious leaders, Jesus befriended them and ate meals with tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 11:19, Mark 2:15–16, Luke 7:34, 15:2). In turn, these sinners sought him out and enjoyed his company (Luke 15:1).
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
(a) The righteous are those who trust in their own righteousness (Luke 18:9). Self-righteous religious people, in other words.
(b) Sinners. If the original language did not lack punctuation marks, the word “sinners” would be in quotation marks. Religious people called them sinners; Jesus called them lost sheep (Matt. 10:6, 15:24).
(c) Repentance is the ability to receive the truth that sets us free. It’s a change of mind that causes us to see as God sees and think as God thinks.
Jesus is not saying that he expects sinners to put on sackcloth and ashes and flagellate themselves for their mistakes. He is saying, “I have come to bring the good news of God’s grace. The self-righteous will not receive it, but those who know they are lost are going to love it.”
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.
Whenever Jesus engaged with the priests in the temple, there was conflict and aggravation. The new wine of the new covenant wouldn’t go into the old bottle of old covenant religion. The new wine needed a new bottle, a new temple of the Holy Spirit.
“And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
No doubt many priests breathed a sigh of relief when Jesus died. “Finally we can get back to the way we’ve always done things.” The old covenant had been replaced by the new, but they weren’t interested in upgrading. “The old is good enough.” If you’re accustomed to Moses, you won’t see your need for Jesus. If your liquor is law, you won’t guzzle grace.
Further reading: “The old is good enough”
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- Luke 5:8
- Luke 5:10
- Luke 5:15
- Luke 5:20
- Luke 5:21
- Luke 5:23
- Luke 5:24
- Luke 5:30
- Luke 5:32
- Luke 5:37
- Luke 5:39